Presidential Green Grants given to fund sustainability projects

Green Grant recipient Kayla Quarless ’21 working in the Octopus’s Garden, which she will support with her grant. Photo by Katarina Zahedi.

Green Grant recipient Kayla Quarless ’21 working in the Octopus’s Garden, which she will support with her grant. Photo by Katarina Zahedi.

Alex Appel, News Editor

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The eleventh annual Presidential Green Grants were awarded to students and faculty at Union on January 24. The Presidential Green Grant is a program that funds grassroots projects that are meant to further sustainability on both a campus and global level.

In the past these grants have been used to put recycling bins in first-year dormitories to buying an environmentally friendly oven for Chabad at Union. Since its conception, $173,000 have been awarded to 132 grassroots projects.

Grants were awarded to Coordinator of Campus Events for Admission Lilia Tieman, Residence Director Ben Weiner, Anat Tewari ’19, Raya Petrova ’21 and Sruti Bandlamuri ’21, Andrew Wojtowicz ’19, Aaron Rapaport ’20 and Kayla Quarless ’21. Their grant ideas are detailed on the College’s website.

While up to eight grants can be awarded each year, only seven grants were awarded this year. This is because some of the applications submitted had projected costs that could not be covered by the budget of the Grant.

Both Tewari’s and Pretrova’s and Bandlamuri’s grants seek to institute new changes to make the campus more sustainable. Tewari plans to work with Ecovative Design, a design company that uses sustainable merchandise for their products, to create Union merchandise out of sustainable material. Petrova and Bandlamuri proposed putting environmentally friendly menstrual materials in some women’s bathrooms on campus.

Rapaport and Wojtowicz are both working with faculty advisors to create green technology. Wojtowicz is working with Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering David Hodgson to design solar thermal water pasteurization systems that would be capable of providing 1,000 liters of clean water a day.

Rapaport plans on working with Co-Director of Nanotechnology and Professor of Chemistry Michael Hagerman to print solar energy devices.

Quarless’s grant will support the Octopus’s Garden, a garden created with a Green Fee by students in the past. The Octopus’s Garden is an on campus garden that provides fresh, organic produce for the campus and to be donated to the Schenectady community.

Similarly, Weiner’s grant will build off the momentum of past green initiatives by educating students in Davidson Hall and Webster House about proper recycling and other tips to be environmentally friendly.

Tiemann’s grant will go towards providing distance markers for walking paths on campus with the hope that it will encourage both faculty and students at the College and members of the Schenectady community to walk further.

One of the College’s stated beliefs on its website is, “sustaining resources,” a sentiment echoed in the school’s Strategic Plan.

Lawrence Eisenberg ’64 and Ellen Eisenberg have volunteered to fund Green Grants for the next three years.