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SIU gives thousands to “green” projects in honor of Earth Day

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siu campus, carbondale

(WSIL) -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale celebrates Earth Day 2021 by awarding thousands of dollars in grants to a wide variety of “green” initiatives that include recycling projects, bike trails and wind turbines.

Sustainability program officials announced the award of $37,428 in Green Fund grants to 11 sustainability projects.

The recipients of the 2021 Green Fund grants, along with the amount of funding each was allocated and a brief description of each project, are:

  • Multi-use Trail Project Surveys – $9,363 toward the second phase of Touch of Nature Environmental Center’s bicycle trail building project. The first phase was completed in December and this phase will add 30 miles of trail. The grant will fund archaeological and botanical surveys prior to trail extension construction. Students from the plant biology department will assist with the surveys and other volunteer opportunities will also be available.
  • The Recycling Salukis – $7,989 to a new registered student organization to assist with the group’s goal of recycling plastic waste generated on campus into usable products. The hands-on project calls for washing, shredding and melting the plastic using equipment and molds purchased with the funds.
  • Evergreen Terrace Recycling Program – $4,407 to initiate a recycling program at Evergreen Terrace Apartments similar to those at other residence halls. That will include purchasing recycling bins and educational flyers for apartments.
  • Green Roof Renewable Energy Initiative/Hybrid Small Wind Turbine – $4,124 to expand the campus small wind turbine activities that began during the 2020-2021 academic year. The student-led Green Roof Team is the result of a cross-disciplinary collaboration and provides unique experiences working on a renewable energy project that incorporates initial feasibility studies, fabricating, installation and research components. The funds will assist in conducting a study and purchasing and installing wind turbine construction equipment.
  • Paperless for Patients – $2,722 to buy two tablets and a keyboard for the SIU Dental Clinic to transition to electronic patient forms to greatly reduce paper use and waste.  
  • Athletics Building Recycling – $2,988 to SIU athletics to purchase a milk dispenser for post-workout nutrition and reduce the number of single-use plastic bottles.
  • Clinical Center Electronic Testing Expansion – $2,660 toward the purchase of iPads and software for the center to use to conduct electronic testing and reduce the use of paper products.
  • Life After Death Educational Seminar – $1,500 to a student-led initiative to bring awareness to mortuary science students and the general public about “green burials” and sustainability through efforts such as a speaker series.
  • Touch of Nature pollinator plot – $1,000 to help create a pollinator destination on a 1.22-acre plot at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.
  • Bee Campus USA – $520 to a student-lead initiative to begin efforts for SIU to become affiliated with Bee Campus USA. A committee will be formed over the next year to move forward with the application.
  • Sustainable fashion at SIU – $209 for a student-led project to set up a clothing recycling drop-off location on campus and to highlight sustainability in fashion. The project will work in conjunction with SIU’s fashion design and merchandising program.

The funding comes from a student-initiated Green Fee established by the SIU Board of Trustees.  Since the student fee began in 2009, nearly $2.3 million has been allocated for 214 sustainability projects, including the 2021 grant awards.