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Sustainability Initiative Grant winners update on their progress

Sustainability Initiative Grant winners update on their progress

Friday, December 08, 2017

Sustainability is part of who we are at Fort Lewis College. To support that aspect of our campus culture, the Sustainability Initiative Grant funds projects that enhance sustainability in our academics and research, student leadership and organizations, administration, and the physical campus itself.

“The Sustainability Initiative Grant is an award available to students, staff, and faculty every year for work that supports sustainability on campus,” says Kathy Hilimire, assistant professor of Environmental Studies. “This year, we had a record number of applicants, and we want to highlight the projects of the four winners.”

The concept and practice of sustainability are integral to FLC, so proposals are accepted each Spring semester for grants up to $2000. Check out the SIG page for more information about the grant process, and keep reading for updates on the four 2017 projects.

Project: Art Department Sustainability Improvements

Solvent waste reducing brush washing unitProfessor of Art & Design Chad Colby, Associate Professor of Art & Design Anthony Holmquist, and Art Gallery Director & Lecturer Andrea Martens set out to incorporate non-toxic methods for printmaking and painting. Because the Art & Design Department has a common goal of reducing its environmental impact while modeling lifelong health and safety best practices for students and faculty, their intent with this proposal was to allow students to learn about sustainable approaches to creating art.

The funding from the Sustainability Initiative Grant enabled Colby, Holmquist, and Martens to make several additions to the department’s facilities and materials. The print shop in Art Hall has new faucets for screen printing and intaglio processes, in order to conserve water. In addition, the print shop is now stocked with more non-toxic inks and cleaning products for intaglio, monotype, and silk screen processes. And the painting studio now has a brush-washing unit that reduces solvent waste by 75%. 

Project: Leadership and Food Production 

Emily Adie, assisting with farm operationsBeth LaShell, coordinator of The Old Fort at Hesperus, and Elicia Whittlesey, program manager for the Old Fort Market Gardens, intended to put an experienced young farmer in a position of leadership. The purpose was to increase capacity for the Old Fort campus to produce food for the San Juan Dining Hall, as well as creating another step in its multifaceted farmer training program.

With the support of the Sustainability Initiative Grant, LaShell and Whittlesey were able to hire an FLC alumna, Emily Adie (Environmental Studies, ’16). She was able not only to advance her budding career in sustainable agriculture, but also to support the Old Fort’s summer interns and oversee record-setting food production. Beyond the immediate results of the harvest, this position enabled the Old Fort to strengthen its mission of supporting a close team of interns, farmers-in-training, and staff.

Project: FLC Campus Energy Consumption Dashboard

Marty Pool, assistant coordinator of the Environmental Center, and Mackenzie Carter, a senior Economics major, are developing a tool to inform campus members about their energy consumption and better allow FLC to track the impact of energy conservation efforts on campus.

So far, planning and implementation of this project have been delayed due to personnel turnover. However, Pool and Carter are continuing work in the planning and decision-making phase of the project. They are currently redefining their implementation plan with a readjusted goal of purchasing the necessary resources at the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester.

Project: Food for Thought Campus Food Forest

Students working the Campus Food ForestRachel Landis, coordinator of the Environmental Center, applied to restore the vole-damaged campus orchard with a food forest that will provide students with applied agricultural training in orchard management, a unique classroom experience, and food production that supports FLC’s commitment to sustainability.

Thanks in large part to the Sustainability Initiative Grant, the Food For Thought Campus Food Forest concept has become a reality. Five EC student staff members redesigned the damaged portions of the existing orchard space with FLC and EC alumnus Duke Jackson (Environmental Studies, ’16) and converted it to a water-saving, soil-building, community-creating, and student-feeding food forest. Together with the 2017 Summer Sociology Block, 35 members of the incoming class of 2021, and many other volunteers, the EC team has planted more than 145 trees and 30 species of plants. This crew has also lasagna mulched over 1000 square feet of interior space in preparation for next season’s planting.

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