Grants Enable Sustainability and Social Justice Action to Flourish at Emory University

By Natalia Ruich

As Emory’s campus was preparing for the Thanksgiving holidays last year, the Incentives Fund Selection Committee gathered to review and award funding to 11 on-campus projects through the Office of Sustainability Initiatives’ (OSI) 2023 General Sustainability and Social Justice, Green Labs, and Green Office Incentives Funds.

For years, OSI has offered grant funding for sustainability and social justice projects led by Emory students, faculty, and staff. These funds allow the Emory community to innovate and integrate sustainability practices across campus. These awards are part of OSI’s broader efforts to engage the Emory community in building a greener future.

The Incentives Fund supports three areas:

  • The General Sustainability and Social Justice Incentives Fund is open to Emory students, faculty, and staff, providing up to $3,000 for projects that research, promote sustainability behaviors, or make campus improvements focused on sustainability or social justice.
  • The Green Offices and Green Labs Funds are open to Certified Green Offices or Certified Green Labs within Emory University and Healthcare, providing up to $5,000 to projects that make sustainability improvements and/or promote cultural change in offices and labs.

Winners of the 2023 Incentives Fund bring creative and inclusive improvements to the daily lives and operations of our campus. From providing awareness of, and sustainability solutions to period poverty to improve menstrual health, to offering sustainable heating for laboratory experiments, these projects expertly tackle numerous sustainability and social justice issues.

The project “Library Landscape Pilot” aims to create harmony amongst and awareness of the people, plants, and histories that occupy the Emory Atlanta campus. Team leader Laura Akerman says, “We designed this project as a pilot to enhance the landscaping in a designated space at the entrance to the Woodruff Library building. We intend to take these lessons and expand to more Atlanta campus library environs as well as the Oxford campus. This project can also improve collaboration with Exterior Services through the sharing of research to increase biodiversity, use of native species, and support for pollinators and other wildlife.”

According to student project lead Kamea Alleyne, “the purpose of the Menstrual Health Awareness and Resources Coalition (MHARC) is to raise awareness of period poverty, provide support to menstruating people, and bring attention to the symptoms and experiences of menstruating people. We also aim to share knowledge about the experiences of menstruation and the impacts of period poverty on the lives of menstruating people.  MHARC hopes to enrich the Emory community annually by providing Emory students experiencing period poverty with 2-3 months’ worth of free and sustainable menstrual products in collaboration with Student Case Management and Intervention Services each year.”

The complete list of projects supported by OSI’s Incentives Fund include:

General Sustainability and Social Justice Incentives Fund

  • Acoustic Panels for “Songs from the Compost” Installation (team leader, Dave Armistead)
  • Library Landscape Pilot – Pollinator and Native Species Plants (team leader, Laura Akerman)
  • Menstrual Health Awareness and Resources Coalition’s Annual Distribution Day (team leader, Kamea Alleyne; faculty advisor, Amanda Trubetskoy)
  • Inquiry into the Water Quality of the Atlanta Metropolitan Region (team leader, Theodore Hung; faculty advisor, Eri Saikawa)

Green Labs Incentives Fund

  • Blakey Lab Goes Green: Year 6 (team leader, Eleda Plouch; faculty advisor, Simon Blakey)
  • Ultrapure Water on Site to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Purchased Fluids (team leader, Joshua Chandler)
  • Sustainable Practice in the Liotta Lab (team leader, Hannah Gold; faculty advisor, Dennis Liotta)
  • A Green Chemistry Revolution: Transformation with Sustainable Heating (team leader, Emily Williamson; faculty advisor, Frank McDonald)
  • Sustainable Mini Refrigerator for Reagent Storage (team leader, Gokul Raghunath)
  • Precise, Green, and Safe Heating for Nano Material Synthesis towards Renewable Energy (team leader, Lili Wang)

Green Offices Incentives Fund

  • Sustainable Tote Bags for the Robert W. Woodruff Library 2.0 (team leader, Mark Johnson)

OSI deeply appreciates the work of the Incentives Fund Selection committee, whose thoughtful consideration contributed to these award selections. Members included: Maggie Beker, James Johnson, Cleo Lyles, Nithya Narayanaswamy, Jimmy Powell and Hilary Rosenthal.

Applications for the 2024 Incentives Fund will open in May and will be available on OSI’s website. Descriptions of past projects are available to inspire you to pursue an Incentives Fund project proposal to better the Emory community.

To learn more about these grant projects and the work of OSI, subscribe to OSI’s weekly newsletter and follow OSI on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

One thought on “Grants Enable Sustainability and Social Justice Action to Flourish at Emory University

  1. Thanks for sharing this update about the grants enabling sustainability and social justice action at Emory University! It’s inspiring to see the dedication of the Emory community to implementing innovative projects that contribute to a greener future and promote social justice. These initiatives not only benefit the campus but also have broader implications for environmental and societal well-being. It’s wonderful to witness such proactive efforts towards positive change.

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