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Student-Led Sustainability Projects Awarded Grant Funding

November 02, 2016

The University of Idaho Sustainability Center has awarded grants totaling $6,444 to three student-led sustainability projects, covering topics from reducing plastic bag waste, to creating a way to turn radio frequency signals into power, to educating campus about water resources and cleaning up Paradise Creek.

The center’s student-led grant program facilitates student engagement in building and institutionalizing campus sustainability. This is the 11th year of the grant awards. Since its inception in 2006, the program has distributed more than $135,000 to increasing sustainability on campus and the community. The grants support initiative work in areas such as sustainable transportation, carbon neutrality and climate change.

UISC Grant recipients for 2016-2017 are:

  • Courtney Cooper, Mary Engels, Meghan Foard and Sarah Olsen: $2,757.50 to facilitate a three-day water resource awareness weekend (WAWA) in spring 2017. This project will facilitate and lead a stream restoration and clean-up event alongside Paradise Creek, a data visualization workshop and a youth water conference. By involving undergraduate and graduate students, the UI-WAWA will advance campus shifts toward more sustainable behaviors and attitudes, and help UI move toward enhanced resilience in the face of climate change. Cooper, Engels and Foard are all graduate students studying water resources in the College of Education; Olsen is a graduate student studying environmental education in the College of Education.                                                                 
  • Alexa Aguilar, Tyler Larson and Andrew Davies: $1,700. This team of seniors in electrical engineering in the College of Engineering are pursuing a research project in harvesting radio frequency (RF) signals — such as wireless internet — in efforts to convert electromagnetic energy back into usable electricity. The grant award will fund the team’s goal of researching, designing and building a device that is powered completely from ambient radio frequency signals. Advancements in RF harvesting will showcase this group’s work as leaders and visionaries for further research in this area nationwide.
  • Madeleine Phelan and Hailey Herrington: $1,986.50 to fund “Sustain-a-Swag Bag,” which will raise awareness about the damage excessive plastic waste has on the environment by offering reusable grocery totes to students. The totes include a fact sheet about plastic bag waste and will help reduce single use plastic bag waste. Phelan is a sophomore in the College of Business and Economics and Herrington is a sophomore in the College of Education.

A student-led and student-funded organization, the Sustainability Center supports efforts to create an active culture of sustainability and we are committed to developing and maintaining healthful, educational living environments while fully integrating sustainable practices at the University of Idaho. For more information about the center and Earth Fest 2016 activities visit

Media Contact:
Bryce Dinger
Projects Coordinator
UI Sustainability Center

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at