Sustainability Grants

Deadlines for 2015 – 2016 Academic Year:
Pre-Proposal & UGA Housing Project Proposal Form – Monday October 19, 2015 (send PDF to
Final Proposal – Monday November 16, 2015
Notification of Award – Wednesday December 9, 2015
Project Completion –  All funds must be expended by June 30, 2016

UGA Campus Sustainability Grant Application_FY16
UGA Campus Sustainability Grant Guidelines_FY16
UGA Campus Sustainability Grant_Reporting Guidelines_FY16

The UGA Campus Sustainability Grants Program provides competitive funding for student-proposed projects and initiatives designed to advance sustainability through education, research, service, and campus operations. Successful projects will address priorities outlined in UGA’s 2020 Strategic Plan to actively conserve resources, educate the campus community, influence positive action for people and the environment, and provide useful research data to inform future campus sustainability efforts. Interdisciplinary projects designed to inspire, beautify and uplift – as well as to inform and conserve – are encouraged. Proposals are accepted from current UGA students and will be selected based on merit, positive impact, implementation feasibility, and available funding.

For the 2015-16 grant cycle, a special joint-grant offering is provided in partnership with Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE), an interdisciplinary initiative for advanced research in the arts at UGA. This Sustainability + Arts grant is available to interdisciplinary teams with innovative and collaborative projects that creatively envision new projects or processes that address UGA’s Strategic Plan goals as listed above.

Eligibility: Available to all current full-time UGA students with a minimum G.P.A. of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Amounts: A maximum of $5,000 is available for individual projects. Successfully approved proposals will receive funding based on merit and feasibility. Number of projects awarded is dependent upon total funds available.

Questions? For additional help, contact the Office of Sustainability at 706-542-1301 or

2015 Campus Sustainability Grants recipients:

reCYCLE: Abandoned Bike Repair and Redistribution Program
Yasmin Asghari, an Environmental Health Science major in the UGA College of Public Health from Norcross, GA, will work with UGA Parking Services, Bike Athens, UGA Bike Co-op, Students for Environmental Action, Office of Sustainability and others to implement an abandoned bicycle recycling project. The program will repair abandoned bikes and distribute them to selected UGA students with demonstrated need and a commitment to use and care for the bikes. The bike repair and redistribution program hopes to encourage and increase biking as a viable mode of transportation and mobility to promote a culture of sustainability and health at UGA.

 It’s All About the Bags
Tiffany Eberhard, an Environmental Health Science major in UGA’s College of Public Health from Athens, GA, will work with UGA Housing, Bag the Bag student organization and the Office of Sustainability to increase recycling of plastic bags and other hard-to-recycle materials in UGA residence halls. The project will increase infrastructure such as new bins and processes for collection and provide educational activities to promote a mentality of “zero waste” among student residents.

Aquaponics at UGA: a quintessential model for sustainability education, research and outreach
Elizabeth Hincker, a Master’s Candidate in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources from Danville, VA, and Dr. Robert Bringoff, Associate Professor in the Warnell School, will construct a greenhouse dedicated for an aquaponics system at UGA’s Whitehall Forest to accommodate the increasing demand for education, outreach and research in this exciting and rapidly growing area of sustainable food production. Workshops will be designed for high school students as well as middle and high school teachers to familiarize them with the fundamentals of aquaponics and the many possibilities for its use in sustainability education, research and entrepreneurship.

UGArden Recycled Compost Screen
Kaela Horne, an anthropology major in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences from Nahunta, GA, received funding to create a mechanical compost sifter at the UGArden Learning and Demonstration Farm. Design and construction of the sifter will be a collaborative effort between UGArden and the UGA College of Engineering. The sifter will be constructed using reclaimed and recycled materials and will serve as an example to other small-scale organic farming operations.  The UGA student chapter of Engineers Without Borders will assist with the final design and the project will be constructed by student volunteers.

Outdoor Challenge Course Signage
Matt Kasten, a master’s candidate in UGA’s Sports Management and Policy program from Charlotte, NC, will partner with the UGA Department of Recreational Sports, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Office of University Architects, and Facilities Management Division to create and install interpretative signage at UGA’s recently renovated outdoor challenge course and outdoor education facilities.

A4P (Air Purifying Plants Proliferation Project) 2.0
Ryan McCullough, a graduate student in the Lamar Dodd School of Art from Dayton, OH, will work with the printmaking department, Facilities Management Division and others to enhance air quality in art studios.  The A4P will incorporate careful selection and use of non-toxic chemicals in the art-making process and construction of a plant repository in the Lamar Dodd School of Art to proliferate and distribute air-purifying plants. A living plant installation is envisioned to hang in the Lamar Dodd School of Art as a center for education about the benefits of air purifying plants and cleaner ecological approaches to studio practices.

Chew Crew Junior Herder After School Program
Ansley McKinney, a Cellular Biology major in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences from Orlando, FL, will work with the College of Environment and Design and College of Engineering to create the Junior Herder Program, an afterschool environmental education program in Barrow Elementary School. This program aims to give elementary students the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning in areas of ecological restoration, outdoor education, and sustainability through direct involvement with the Chew Crew, a prescribed grazing project which uses goats to remove invasive plant species and restore native landscapes.

UGArden Biodiesel Processor
Mitch Reynolds, an Environmental Economics and Management major in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from Stone Mountain, GA, will create a biodiesel processor for use at the UGArden Learning and Demonstration Farm. The generator will convert waste vegetable oil sourced from the Georgia Center for Continuing Education or other local commercial kitchens with the hope of powering diesel equipment used at UGArden.

Development of a Site Specific Management Plan for Campus Grass Areas and Campus Intramural Athletic Fields
Chase Straw, a PhD student in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from Frankfort, KY, will work with Facilities Management Division Grounds Department and UGA Turf Club to conduct performance testing on campus turf areas including UGA’s intramural athletic fields. The performance testing will lead to site-specific management plans for large grass areas on campus to reduce the application of water and other necessary inputs for a thriving turf landscape. Read the Final Report here.

“Material Re-use, Thinking Inside the Box”
Mason Towe, an Economics major in the Terry College of Business from Watkinsville, GA, will work with the Lamar Dodd School of Art, College of Environment and Design, Office of University Architects, Facilities Management Division and the Material Reuse Program, to establish a program to facilitate reclamation and re-use of materials by current and future art students and faculty.  The project envisions developing a program and a storage facility that enables artists to conserve money and resources by reusing diverted “waste” materials.

Analyzing Electric Vehicle Use in the University of Georgia and Athens Community
Huawei Yang (Xi’an, China) and Kevin Wu (Johns Creek, GA), PhD and undergraduate students in the College of Engineering, will implement smartphone technology to analyze electric vehicle use within the Athens and UGA communities.  Application of this research will assist in the development of a planning tool for communities to optimize the locations and installations of electric vehicle charging stations. Read the Final Report here.
2014 Campus Sustainability Grants recipients:

Outdoor Solar Charging Station for Personal Electronic Devices
Elizabeth Crute and Katie Dean, environmental engineering students in the UGA College of Engineering, are teaming up with Brian Holcombe, an anthropology major, to design and install the Outdoor Solar Charging Station for Personal Electronic Devices.  The project will provide opportunities for solar energy education and research, as well as enable more students to work, study or simply use the internet outdoors.

Public Bike Repair Stations
Joseph Robinson, a graduate student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, plans to install public bicycle repair stations on the UGA Athens campus.  The stations are designed to promote the culture of cycling and sustainability at UGA by allowing for more user friendly self-care of bicycles.

Waste? NOT! Pilot Composting Program in a UGA Residence Hall
Diana Downward, Levares Jackson, Wendy Lam, and Valerie Martinez de Ubago, all freshmen participating in the Global Engagement Learning Community, plan to implement a pilot composting program in a residence hall.  The project team will apply the simple adage of “each one teach one” to encourage their peers to reduce waste and improve their communities through composting.

UGArden Keyhole Garden Diversity Project
Sarah Bess Jones, a senior anthropology major, will install three “keyhole” gardens at the UGArden learning and demonstration farm to teach alternative means of sustainable agriculture. The keyhole gardens will replicate a simple design that is commonly used to alleviate food insecurity internationally to challenge the traditional, linear agricultural model and facilitate students learning about innovative sustainable solutions.

UGA Bulldog Bikes Program Expansion
Sahana Srivatsan, a junior international affairs major in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs, seeks to create an avid bike community and culture on campus through expansion of the Bulldog Bikes bike sharing program.  The project intends to reduce carbon emissions through alternative transportation and promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

Terrell Hall Renovations
Davidson Goldsmith, a junior studying history and political science, is teaming up with students on the Georgia Recruitment Team to promote UGA’s commitment to sustainability in the UGA Office of Admissions.  The project will add a water bottle filling station to reduce plastic bottle waste, signage to communicate sustainability initiatives at UGA and other features to help establish a culture of sustainability as part of the first impression for prospective UGA students and their families.

Validation of Wireless Charging Electric Vehicle Technology
Yabiao Gao and Christopher Mershon, PhD and undergraduate students respectively in the UGA College of Engineering, will conduct research to validate and advance wireless electric vehicle charging technology.  The project will evaluate emerging technologies aimed at making electric vehicle charging easier and safer.

Water Quality on Campus and Beyond: Using Service Learning to Monitor & Improve Water Quality
Keri Lydon, PhD student in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, plans to address water quality in campus streams by incorporating service-learning within the current Environmental Health Science curriculum to expand bacterial monitoring efforts in partnership with Upper Oconee Watershed Network (UOWN).  In addition to performing water quality monitoring, students will engage in outreach efforts to enhance awareness of sustainability initiatives on campus and in the local community and seek to get more people involved in improving our impaired waters.

UGA Bicycle Co-operative
Shafkat Khan, PhD student in the Odum School of Ecology, plans to establish a bicycle co-operative to help UGA students with bicycle maintenance and repair.  Through partnership with Bike Athens and regular events on the UGA campus, the co-operative will teach bike maintenance skills, encourage students to use their bikes more often and promote a culture of sustainability by building an active student community around biking.

2013 Campus Sustainability Grants recipients:

  • Tawfig Bhuiyan, a master’s student in the College of Engineering, will focus on curbing poor water quality from storm runoff through the use of pervious concrete pavements (PCP). Bhuiyan will construct a PCP test site and use tests for compressive strength, durability, porosity (drain time) and water quality to gain a better understanding of the technological aspects of PCP and to address sociological barriers that have limited the use of this material.
  • Aaron Joslin, a Ph.D student in the Warnell School of Forest Resources, Greg Skupien, a master’s student in Ecology, and Holly Campbell, a master’s in natural resources (MNR) student, will work to reduce the volume and mass of solid waste at UGA. The group plans to implement a pilot program to collect organic, compostable waste in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and deliver it to the UGArden for composting. View final report here.
  • Allie Brown, a senior Anthropology major in the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences, Tyler Faby, a finance major in the Terry College of Business, and a team of engineering students aim to aid the University in its mission to reduce energy use and identify  feasible alternatives to the current fossil-fuel based energy system. The multi-disciplinary, policy-oriented and student-based research project will explore the environmental and economic implications of various energy sources and efficiency options on campus.
  • Coral Frederick, a senior Mass Media Arts and Women’s Studies double major from the Grady College of Journalism and the Institute for Women’s Studies, will increase technology transfer for UGArden’s current aquaponics system, a sustainable food production system that integrates vegetable production with fish production. Frederick will work with researchers in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources to optimize fish diet for maximum sustainability of fish production and develop online outlets to share information about the project and aquaponics. View final report here.
  • Kareem Mahmoud, a junior finance major in the Terry College of Business, hopes to increase usability and facilitate an easier method of bike sharing within UGA’s Bulldog Bikes program. With the goal of reducing traffic congestion and promoting alternative transportation options, Mahmoud will collaborate with researchers in the College of Engineering to create an automated system for bike check-in and check-out at any of the three existing bike share locations on campus.
  • Lucy King, Amy Ferguson, Jason Bowman, Kyle Hady, and Mathew Logan, all senior Environmental Engineering majors the UGA College of Engineering, will build a solar recharge station for UGArden’s new electric vehicle. The vehicle will be used to deliver food grown in the garden to families in the Athens area. The group hopes this recharge station can serve as an example for future alternative energy projects at UGA. View final report here.
  • Sophie Giberga, a sophomore political science major in the School of Public & International Affairs, will use her funding to help the Lunchbox Garden project expand its reach to other schools and increase outdoor education. The Lunchbox Garden Project is an afterschool gardening and nutrition education program and currently operates at Barnet Shoals and Chase Street Elementary Schools.

2012 Campus Sustainability Grants recipients:

  • Brandi Bishop, a senior agricultural education major at UGA’s Tifton campus, will develop a recycling program at the extended campus. She plans to install 60 Waste Reduction Stations in 15 of the busiest buildings at the university. The stations will make it easier and more convenient to recycle and will save items from being sent to landfills. Bishop will also implement a public relations campaign to encourage university and community members to reduce their waste.
  • Katie Shepard, a master’s student in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, will monitor the effectiveness of an East Campus rain garden at filtering pollutants from stormwater runoff. Shepard’s project will take soil moisture and water quality measurements to determine how well the rain garden does its job. Her findings will help ensure that other current and future rain gardens on campus continue to act as effective filters for stormwater. The project will be monitored by classes in the Warnell School of Forestry, Crop and Soil Sciences and the College of Environment and Design, allowing it to serve as a living laboratory for future education.
  • Chris McDowell, a master’s student in the College of Environment and Design, will demonstrate how construction and demolition waste products can be diverted from the landfill and converted into tangible community-based improvements. He will work with authorities to collect waste items from construction sites, and with the help of volunteers will reuse materials to complete construction projects that benefit the campus and local community. He also plans to implement a communications campaign to recruit volunteers and educate the public on the benefits of material reuse.
  • JoHanna Biang, a master’s student in horticulture, will construct a living wall planted with seasonal herbs and vegetables to research and demonstrate the effectiveness of vertical gardening. The wall will be installed at UGArden, UGA’s campus community garden, and will be maintained by student volunteers. The herbs and vegetables grown on the wall will be harvested by Campus Kitchens for distribution to the Northeast Georgia Food Bank and community members in need.
  • Graham Pickren, a Ph.D student in geography, is expanding a program that collects, donates and recycles unwanted items from student residence halls during move-out week. Pickren will be working with Dawgs Ditch the Dumpster Move-Out Donation Program to implement an electronic waste collection to go along with the clothing and furniture donation program. At the end of the year, students will have the chance to bring unwanted electronics to campus drop-off sites to be recycled or donated to local charities.
  • Zach Richardson, a senior landscape architecture student, will create a prescribed grazing program to remove exotic invasive plants and restore native forest adjacent to Tanyard Creek. His project will use a herd of goats to remove non-native plants such as privet and English ivy. He, along with faculty in the College of Environment and Design and the Warnell School of Forestry, will coordinate student volunteers to assist the four-legged campus visitors in removing larger invasive plants from the project area and will monitor the project’s effectiveness over time.

2011 Campus Sustainability Grants recipients:

  • Emily Karol, a 2011 UGA graduate, was awarded $950 to implement a water refilling station on the second floor of the Miller Learning Center. Since then, the refilling centers have been installed in several buildings on campus, including the Tate Center and the UGA Visitor’s Center.
  • Andrew Douglass, a 2011 graduate, received $5,000 to implement a rainwater harvesting system at UGArden. The system includes a 3,000 gallon cistern that collects water from the roof of adjacent Horticulture Greenhouses – water which is used to irrigate the garden year-round.
  • Sheena Zhang, a 2011 graduate, received $3,300 to develop a bike sharing program in Building 1516 on East Campus.
  • Nick Martin, a 2011 graduate, received $3,700 to expand a program that collects unwanted items from freshman dorms during move-out week at the end of the semester. Last spring, Dawgs Ditch the Dumpster collected unwanted items from 11 dorms and donated approximately $33,000 in reusable items to local charities.