Business & Tech, Features

BU entices students to address sustainability issues with new grant

[email protected] and Boston University Sustainability have partnered up to create the “Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant,” a grant that will help fund student-led projects addressing sustainability challenges at BU.

Sustainability innovation seed grant
The BUild Lab interior. [email protected] and Boston University Sustainability partnered together to create the “Sustainability Innovation Seed Grant,” which will fund student projects to combat sustainability challenges at BU. SOPHIE PARK/DFP FILE

The grant, which operates under the motto, “ideas to impact,” will supply the winner with up to $500 for the cost of materials, stipends and printing, according to the grant’s website. Students will also have use of the BUild Lab in order to bring about “something [they] really want to bring to reality” to further BU’s sustainability, Lisa Lavina, the assistant director of operations at [email protected], said.

“It’s a very local attempt to think about sustainability,” she said.

Emily Ryan, an associate professor in mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering and the associate director of the institute for sustainable energy, said everyone can and should utilize sustainability in their lives to become a “conscientious citizen.”

“Everyone plays a role in the amount of energy used and waste generated, and therefore we can make a difference just by making small changes in our lives,” Ryan said. “While activism and research are needed to push sustainable goals forward, a lot can be accomplished by reducing your own energy use, increasing composting and recycling.”

Ashley Duong, a College of Communication freshman and a member of the Environmental Student Organization, said she believed a lot more can be done to encourage sustainability on campus.

“The number one thing is always education first,” Duong, who is also rushing for environmental fraternity Epsilon Eta, said. “I think [if] people had more education on it, they would be more passionate about it and … understand the severity of everything going on.”

Students applying for the grant are asked to present ideas that can support sustainability at BU and are in line with the “Climate Action Plan” — an initiative which outlines BU’s goal of net carbon emission neutrality by 2040 through renewable energy.

“The innovations that come out of this program help us address climate action in exciting ways,” Lisa Tornatore, the sustainability director at BU, wrote in an email.

The ultimate goal of the grant is to “provide funding for student projects that might stall without it,” she said.

As the application for the grant states, each project must relate to one or more of the Climate Action Plan’s focuses which include climate change resilience, emissions and energy, education and engagement, environmental justice and zero waste.

“We love to see students who are thinking broadly about the big challenges around climate change,” Lavina said. “It’s about the passion and desire to have an impact.”

Through the grant, Tornatore said she also hopes to connect students with similar passions in an environment where they can be free to better their community through sustainability.

“Connecting like-minded students is one way we can make positive, impactful change both at BU and beyond,” Tornatore said.

Students from all BU colleges are welcome to apply. Applications for the grant close on February 21.

 

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