Sustainability Center Helps Create Student-Led Sustainability Opportunities

Tuesday, February 5 2013


By Wieteke Holthuijzen

MOSCOW, Idaho – Helping University of Idaho students become more active by reducing their carbon footprint and showing how climate change will impact Idaho recreation, the University of Idaho Sustainability Center is supporting two student-led sustainability projects with grants totaling more than $4,500.

Ryan McGrath, a doctoral student in exercise science with research interests in physical activity epidemiology, as well as physical activity and community development, was given a $2,000 grant for his project entitled, “Get Active, Get Green U of I.” The project includes an extensive campus wide survey of what kind of alternative transportation efforts could encourage U-Idaho students to become more physically active.

The survey results will support new policies, projects and other events encouraging students to limit vehicle transportation and invest in biking, walking and other sustainable forms of transportation.

“I am very pleased to have been selected by the UISC grant committee,” said McGrath. “My intention is to help U-Idaho students become more physically active via eco-friendly modes of transportation.”

Through this grant and survey, McGrath hopes to develop a program on campus comparable to WSU’s Green Bikes program – a bike share system that aims to decrease traffic congestion, limit carbon emissions and encourage health and physical exercise – and create a new campus culture dedicated to sustainable transportation.

“University of Idaho students will have the opportunity to save some money while helping the environment,” said McGrath.

Matt Mumma, a doctoral student in fish and wildlife resources studying caribou, coyote and black bear interactions in Newfoundland, Canada, was awarded $2,560 to create the “Climate Change Awareness Seminar Series.” The seminars will highlight current and future impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife communities and promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

“I felt compelled to apply for a university sustainability center grant to bring in several speakers that will highlight the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife populations across North America,” said Mumma.

Mumma added political issues and the U.S. economy tend to overshadow the need to address the impacts of human-induced climate change.

Knowing that fish and wildlife populations hold a special place in the hearts of most Idaho residents, Mumma hopes these seminars with scientists at the forefront of climate change research will inform and inspire people to take actions to limit personal contributions to global warming, as well as in their communities.

The projects will be completed by May 2013. The center’s student-led grant program facilitates student engagement in building campus sustainability, where students develop grant writing, project management, budgeting, program evaluation, leadership and teamwork skills. The grants support initiative work in areas such as sustainable transportation, carbon neutrality and climate change.

As increasing environmental awareness drives interest in sustainable practices, the University of Idaho continues to seek carbon reduction initiatives to meet the current and future needs of society and to contribute to the quality of life and the natural resources in Idaho, the nation and the world. For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts, contact the University of Idaho Sustainability Center at uisc@uidaho.edu or visit www.uidaho.edu/sustainability.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.