Sustainability Grants

Deadlines for 2014 – 2015 Academic Year:
Pre-Proposal – Tuesday October 14, 2014
Final Proposal – Tuesday November 11, 2014
Notification of Award – Wednesday December 10, 2014

UGA Campus Sustainability Grant Application_FY15
UGA Campus Sustainability Grant Guidelines_FY15
UGA Campus Sustainability Grant_Reporting Guidelines_FY15

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 2014-15 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


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.