Campus Sustainability






Drawn from the Student Green Fee, grants up to $5,000 are available to current UGA students who wish to initiate projects that 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. Grants are awarded based on merit, positive impact, implementation feasibility, and available funding.

To advance Foodshed UGA and the Sustianability + Arts initiative, special consideration will be given to projects related to the local food system and projects that incorporate the arts.


  • Pre-proposals accepted October 1, 2019
  • Pre-proposals due October 11, 2019
  • Applications due 9am November 11, 2019
  • Grants awarded December 5, 2019
  • Final reports due June 30, 2020


Pre-proposals are accepted beginning October 1 and grants are awarded on Fall Reading Day each academic year.


Imagination Squared: Pathways to Resilience

  • submitted by Christina Foard, MFA student in Lamar Dodd School of Art
  • under the direction of Dr. Michael Marshall

The Imagination Squared social experiment is a display of what resilience means to the community of Athens, Georgia.

Please click on the link below and then scroll down to view the story.


UGA Recycle Education Initiative: Building Sustainability Awareness through Online Education
  • submitted by Mira Bookman, a senior Biology and Anthropology double-major
  • under the direction of Dr. David S. Williams, Honors Program

Incoming freshmen at the University of Georgia receive lessons and training on a few important topics before coming to college, notably alcohol and drug abuse and sexual assault and misconduct. UGA students Mira Bookman, Aditya Krishnaswamy and Raquel Hazzard think that something else should be added to the roster of pre-college educational materials: an online tutorial that teaches students proper recycling techniques.

The trio is using the funds from a Campus Sustainability Grant to design and implement an educational module to increase student awareness of recycling resources. They hope to implement the short module into First Year Odyssey Seminar classes to reach and inform students who are just beginning their college journey.

The ultimate goal of this educational initiative is to reduce the proportion of recyclable materials that end up in the landfill. Last year, UGA sent 5,474 tons of material to the landfill and recycled only 1,200 tons. The EPA estimates that over 75 percent of the U.S. waste stream is actually recyclable.

Similar educational modules have been implemented with success at colleges such as the University of Wisconsin-Stout and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both of which have been guiding examples for the UGA module.

The recycling initiative team will be hiring a couple of computer science interns this summer to help create the module, which they are hoping to start testing this summer to get feedback. The module will include an interactive game to help train people on what is and is not recyclable.

The team said this project fits into the idea of sustainability because it aims to change people’s habits. This project will eliminate the confusion around what is and is not recyclable to hopefully create a more sustainability-minded campus in the future.

Written by Jordan Meaker

The Urban Pollinator Project
  • submitted by Joshua Grier, a senior Biology major
  • under the direction of Dr. Marianne Shockley in the Department of Entomology

    The Green Roof Garden on top of the Geography-Geology building at the University of Georgia has flourished since 2007, hosting not only a productive fruit and vegetable garden, but also a pollinator garden full of native plants. But when Joshua Grier, a senior Biology major, visited the garden with one of his classes, he noticed a lack of bees, one of the most important pollinators.

    Grier grew up working with his grandparents’ bees and wanted to connect his knowledge of beekeeping with his Campus Sustainability Grant project. Grier’s project will bring honeybee hives to the Green Roof Garden so the bees can pollinate local plants and serve as an educational and research opportunity for the campus community.

    “What I really love about the rooftop of Geography-Geology is that it’s accessible to the public,” Grier said.

    Grier is hoping to unite students and faculty from all academic fields, from biology professors to business students who can learn entrepreneurial skills related to urban agriculture. Grier also plans to kickstart a UGA Honey Bee club to unite people who love bees and spread more information about the importance of honeybees as pollinators.

    Rooftop gardens are becoming more common throughout major cities because they allow for the growth of crops on limited amounts of space. The Green Roof Garden at UGA has the additional advantage of being centrally located on campus, making it more accessible to students and faculty.

    Bees are extremely important pollinators and are crucial to the growth of most fruits and vegetables, and some estimates say one-third of the food we eat relies on pollinators to grow.

    Bees have faced many threats to their numbers over the years, such as mites, pesticides, Colony Collapse Disorder, monocultures and climate change. Grier’s project aims to boost honeybee health right on UGA’s campus. Grier said the health of bees is supported by people taking an interest in them.

    “The more people that have their hands in it, the more people are going to be passionate about it and the more we can prevent things from happening,” Grier said.

    The rooftop will be buzzing soon, as the bees settle into their new home and start pollinating the spring flowers.

    Written by Jordan Meaker


Guarding Gorillas through Electronics and Elementary Art
  • submitted by Caroline Jones, PhD student in Psychology
  • under the direction of Dr. Roberta Salmi, Anthroplogy, and Dr. Dorothy Fragaszy, Psychology

 Gorillas, old cell phones, and hundreds of third graders. While at first glance, these three things might not have a lot in common, one Campus Sustainability Grant project is bringing all three together to engage the University of Georgia and Athens communities around an effort to consider how our actions have a wider impact beyond just us.

Caroline Jones, a Ph.D. student in psychology, and Carrie Siegmund, the director of instructional technology at Northeast Georgia RESA, are working with third-grade classes from around Athens to teach them about the link between recycling cell phones and helping gorilla populations in a project called Guardians of the Gorillas.

Cell phones contain a metallic ore called coltan which is mined in the Congo. The mining process for coltan often includes the destruction of gorilla habitats and the hunting of gorillas for food. Also, conditions are poor for the miners themselves, as the industry is often militia-regulated, leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation.

“Third graders are unique because they’re very curious, and they’re very passionate about this project.”

– Caroline Jones. 

Jones and Siegmund have created a project-based program to first educate the elementary schoolers all about gorillas, then inspire and empower them to take action to create a movement around recycling cell phones.

“The Guardians of the Gorillas started with the idea of empowering students to action,” Siegmund said. “I was at a session at Zoo Atlanta at a conference and they were showing the connection between gorillas and cell phones. I knew the students could help with that.”

Jones conducts research on gorillas at Zoo Atlanta and first started teaching the third graders after she was contacted by Siegmund.

“Third graders are unique because they’re very curious, and they’re very passionate about this project,” Jones said. “When I go in, I play devil’s advocate, and I say ‘gorillas are in Africa and you’re here in Athens. If they’re dying over there, it’s not really affecting you, so why should we care about them?’ And they’re like ‘No! We need them!’”

During the education phase of the project, the students read a book about gorillas and create a replica of a gorilla habitat. The students create educational flyers and zines to share what they’ve learned about gorillas and how recycling cell phones can reduce the demand for coltan. Then, Siegmund said the students make the connection that right here in Athens, they can take actions to help gorillas that live across the globe.

“It’s pretty cool when they make the connection that they are going to be able to help, instead of being just sad,” Siegmund said.

For the culminating event of the project, about 250 third graders will visit UGA’s campus at the end of March to share their knowledge with the UGA community. The students will work with a journalism professor to learn how to communicate their message of helping gorillas through cell phone donations to a wider audience, and then head out to interact with UGA students and faculty.

“They’re really excited and passionate about the choices that they make and what they should tell other people about the choices they’re making to protect our environment,” Jones said.

To support the students’ goal of collecting 500 cell phones, there is a donation box at Tate Student Center where anyone can drop off their old cell phones. In addition, the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials accepts cell phones all year round and is providing support for the guarding gorillas initiative.

If a third grader approaches you asking to chat about gorillas, here them out — they’re all experts on the topic now — and consider recycling your old cell phones.

Written by Jordan Meaker

Speaking with nature at Lake Herrick: an ecological narrative through eco-art
  • submitted by Alexandra Hofner, PhD student in Integrative Conservation and Anthropology
  • under the direction of Dr. Richard Hall, Odum School of Ecology

In 2002, all water activities at the University of Georgia’s Lake Herrick ceased. Declining water quality due to human activities at the lake required putting an end to all swimming, boating and fishing that had taken place at the lake for many years.

But with this reduction in human activity at the lake came a resurgence in the lake’s natural beauty and the many animals that call the lake home such as beavers, turtles and at least 200 species of birds. After dedicated revitalization efforts, Lake Herrick was opened to the public once again for passive recreation in October 2018.

Graduate students Alexandra Hofner and Elizabeth Wrobel want to celebrate the abundant wildlife and natural beauty of Lake Herrick through a collaboration between artists and researchers who study Lake Herrick. Their Campus Sustainability Grant project will reach across the traditional divisions between the arts and sciences.

“There’s a big push for scientists to be able to translate their research in a way that the public can understand, and I think that’s really important,” Wrobel said. “What’s the point of doing research to improve the world if you can’t get that message across?”

Hofner and Wrobel have paired researchers with artists and asked them to find a way to display the researchers’ information in an artistic format. Beyond that, the pairs have the freedom to create whatever they want with no boundaries.

“It is rigorous science, but it’s situated in a broader, emotional experience of people.”

– Alexandra Hofner

At first glance, it might seem difficult to conceptualize how hard science can translate into art, but Hofner and Wrobel agreed that the pairs are finding compatibility through a mutual love for Lake Herrick.  

“I think it’s a combination of, the artists who have agreed to work with us are really interested in environmental issues, inherently, then the researchers are working with Lake Herrick and they have a very emotional connection to that space,” Hofner said. “It is rigorous science, but it’s situated in a broader, emotional experience of people.”

The pairs of researchers and artists will be using most of the spring semester to create their art projects which will be displayed at an art festival at Lake Herrick in April. Attendees of the festival will not only be able to view the finished projects, but also create art right on the spot.

“There’s a big push for scientists to be able to translate their research in a way that the public can understand, and I think that’s really important.”

– Elizabeth Wrobel

The festival is also meant to break down the barrier between Lake Herrick and the larger Athens community. Hofner and Wrobel prioritized not only including UGA artists, but artists from all around Athens as well.

“Going into this project, we wanted to break down that barrier and bring in the wider community of Athens to utilize that space and to not view it as just a part of UGA,” Wrobel said. “It’s also a place for them to go and connect with nature.”

The art created through this collaborative project will be on display at a festival at Lake Herrick in early April. Check back at for updates on the festival.

Written by Jordan Meaker

Bicycle Powered Vermi-Compost Sifter
  • submitted by Victoria Luna, a senior Horticulture major
  • under the direction of Dr. David Berle

UGArden, a community garden at the University of Georgia focused on creating a sustainable food system through teaching people about sustainable gardening practices, runs like a well-oiled machine. Volunteers and interns work year-round to help grow food, but these volunteers also receive help from some small, wiggling worms as well.

UGArden utilizes a vermicomposting system to transform waste into a nutrient-rich soil supplement. UGArden intern Victoria Luna’s Campus Sustainability Grant project is aimed at creating a bicycle-powered vermicomposting system to reduce compost sifting time from eight hours to only about 30 minutes.

The vermicompost system works like this:

  • Food scraps are placed in a vermibed, a 3×10 box full of bedding materials and worms.
  • The worms eat the food scraps and poop them out, creating nutrient-rich castings.
  • Volunteers sieve out the castings to use as a fertilizer and split the worms into two separate boxes, starting the process over again.

To create the new bicycle-powered system, Luna is using a donated bicycle from BikeAthens to create a large trommel to separate the dirt and worms from their castings. The bicycle-powered sifter will not only assist UGArden in their food growing efforts, but will also help fulfill the garden’s mission of education community members.

“We have so many kids that come out, like the Athens area middle schools, and they interact with the whole farm … so it’s going to be cool because they’re going to get on a bike and sift some compost,” Luna said. “That one thing of getting on a bike that they’ve done a million times is going to connect them to this whole other form of how they can deal with their waste.”

Improving the efficiency of UGArden’s composting methods directly impacts another goal of the garden, which is to grow and donate food to members of the community who are in need. In a service-learning approach, UGArden trains volunteers to be able to serve the community in a more informed, competent way.

“You’re getting food to people who are transitioning out of homelessness and giving to women that are in need and the elderly. You’re doing all this by educating yourself on sustainable practices,” Luna said.

Luna said in her view, sustainability is an all-inclusive viewpoint that takes into consideration the Earth, future generations and marginalized populations.

“Sustainability and a wholesome view are synonymous to me,” Luna said. “If you’re going to look at some system, you can’t just look at a part of it.”

A pile of worms might seem like a small part of the UGArden system, but these little animals play a huge role in the overarching mission of the garden to create a sustainable food system and address needs within the community.

Written by Jordan Meaker

Building Better Businesses for a Better Georgia: Business-Student Collaboration Utilizing the B-Corp Framework
  • submitted by Zack Godfrey, MBA student in the Terry College of Business
  • under the direction of Jake Mosely

University of Georgia MBA student Zack Godfrey is challenging business owners in Georgia to rethink their practices and consider using their companies as a force for good.

Godfrey’s Campus Sustainability Grant project connects students with businesses to help companies improve their social and environmental impact on their communities by implementing sustainable practices. The ultimate goal of this clinic is to help local businesses improve their operations and to give students tools to be able to make a difference in their careers.

The B Corp certification is granted to businesses with the “highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose,” according to the B Corp website.

To become B Corp certified, businesses must earn at least 80 points out of a possible 200. Businesses are scored in categories like workers, customers, community, and environment.

Godfrey’s project connects MBA and sustainability capstone students with local companies looking to improve their scores. The students act as consultants for the companies, assisting them in solving problems and pinpointing areas for improvement.

“If you want to grow and be better, we have people here in place at the university who want to plug in and help those businesses,” Godfrey said. “It’s one of the best ways a company could choose to go through the process is by engaging students who want to help.”

There are currently 13 B Corp certified businesses in Georgia, and students are working with three more Atlanta and Athens-based companies that want to achieve this certification.

“Cutting your costs, being more efficient operationally, building more loyalty by having these programs in place that make you an attractive business, that’s how you keep your business going long term.”

-Zack Godfrey

The Atlanta-based companies are the Sustainable Community Solutions Network, which provides consulting for Black-owned businesses, and The Come Up Project, an organization that provides at-risk youth with support, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. The third business, the Imery Group, is an Athens-based construction company that builds sustainable, efficient homes.

Godfrey said Georgia is behind on its number of B Corp businesses when compared with other southern states like North Carolina, which has around 50 B Corp businesses.

“It’s really interesting because it usually takes somebody being a champion and saying we need to put ourselves to the test,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey sees this push from businesses that want to improve their score as necessary for not only the sustainability of businesses, but also for the sustainability of the community as a whole.

“Cutting your costs, being more efficient operationally, building more loyalty by having these programs in place that make you an attractive business, that’s how you keep your business going long term,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey hopes to engage people from all across the university to use their skill set to help with this project.

“You don’t have to be a sustainability expert to be a part of this,” Godfrey said. “It takes people that care and want to take a stand to make this work.”

Written by Jordan Meaker

Oconee Forest Pond Revegetation Project
  • submitted by Katharine Bugbee, MLA student in the College of Environment & Design
  • under the direction of Dr. Jay Shelton, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources
Trash Music
  • submitted by Ciyadh Wells, pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts
  • under the direction of Mark Callahan, Ideas for Creative Exploration

As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. But for Ciyadh Wells, one person’s trash is another’s music. Wells’ Campus Sustainability Grant project, titled Trash Music, is challenging musicians and composers to think outside the box about what music is and how it can be created.

“I really want people to think broadly but simply about what trash means and what music means,” Wells said. “Someone was like hey, what if we take an empty chip bag and rub it between our hands, is that trash music? And I said oh, yeah.”

Wells was inspired to start this project by the zero-waste, low-impact movement. The project is meant to draw attention to how materials can be reused and repurposed to create something new and useful.

“As a musician, I was wondering what else I could do in the sustainability movement that would also tie in my love of music,” Wells said.

Trash music is bringing together composers, builders, and artists from the University of Georgia and Athens communities. Their efforts will culminate in a Trash Music performance in April.

“I really want people to think broadly but simply about what trash means and what music means.”

-Ciyadh Wells

Wells hopes the project and performance will get people, especially musicians, thinking about being mindful of the Earth.

“I hope that it’s getting people to think deeper about our natural resources and how we use those as they become more scarce,” Wells said.

Written by Jordan Meaker

Global Issues, local choices: Assessing and reducing the use of palm oil at UGA
  • submitted by Kristen Morrow, PhD student in Integrative Conservation and Anthropology
  • under the direction of Dr. Roberta Salmi

Odds are, if you pick up any processed snack food, cleaning product or cosmetic product inside your home right now, it will probably contain palm oil, or a palm-oil derivative. Palm oil is a vegetable oil that is nearly ubiquitous in common household products. It contains no trans fats, which makes it a more attractive option for American consumers who are thinking about healthier food choices. It’s also a high-yield, efficient crop.

However, there’s a darker side to this pervasive ingredient. Palm oil plantations cause the destruction of rainforests, lead to the decline in endangered species such as orangutans and tigers, release a large amount of carbon pollution through the clearing of rainforests by fire, and displace indigenous people from their native lands.

Kristen Morrow, a Ph.D. student in Integrative Conservation and Anthropology, is looking to raise awareness on campus and in the community of the problems caused by palm oil production.

“The idea is to help [UGA Campus Dining Services and Vending] get a better understanding, with regards to palm oil sustainability, where do we stand as an institution and what changes we can make.”

– Kristen Morrow.

Morrow’s Campus Sustainability Grant project has two objectives: to work with Campus Dining Services and Vending to identify products that contain palm oil and provide a list of alternative suggestions, and to conduct research and host focus groups on student awareness of palm oil. Eventually, the project will lead to an outreach initiative involving social media, film screenings, tabling at events and more.

“The important thing to know about our project is it’s not a boycott of palm oil because to do so is unrealistic. It’s a globally important commodity and a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on the production of that product,” Morrow said. “But there are certain ways to consume palm oil more sustainably than others.”

Morrow is working with a team of undergraduate students to comb through UGA’s food products to discover the extent to which palm oil is present on campus.

“We’re really grateful that [UGA Dining Services] is working with us and doing this because it’s a really large database of products that they have … and often switching to more sustainably sourced products is more expensive,” Morrow said. “The idea is to help them get a better understanding, with regards to palm oil sustainability, where do we stand as an institution and what changes we can make.”

For individual consumers, it can be difficult to identify products with palm oil because the oil can go by hundreds of different names. Sometimes, palm oil can even just be labeled as vegetable oil, making it challenging to avoid using palm oil even if you’re being vigilant.

Nevertheless, Morrow stressed the importance of taking incremental steps and making an effort to make sustainable choices when possible.

“My approach to the issue is to try and be as pragmatic as possible … where do we stand, where can we make incremental improvements and what’s the easiest way to do that to make ourselves more sustainable and provide better options to our consumers,” Morrow said.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that boycotting palm oil and switching to a different ingredient such as coconut oil might actually be worse for the environment. Palm oil is a high-yield, efficient crop because it produces a large amount of oil per unit of land. The conversation around palm oil has shifted from boycotting the crop to finding ways to grow it more sustainably.

“Conservation and sustainability issues involve really hard trade-offs and really powerful influences like major global corporations and an entire western hemisphere that wants to consume processed food that is most cheaply produced with palm oil,” Morrow said. “In the shorter term of coping with these issues, the solution needs to be focused on making palm oil sustainable.”

One place to start making more sustainable choices is through purchasing products that have the RSPO label. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is an organization that assesses products on a set of environmental and social criteria and issues certifications to companies that meet these standards. Companies can use the RSPO label to indicate that the palm oil used in their products is sustainably sourced.

“If companies receive pressure from consumers [saying] ‘I only want to buy your products if it has sustainably sourced palm oil,’ that’s where change can start to happen,” Morrow said.

Although the issue of palm oil production may seem complex, helping to conserve and protect the wildlife and people who are harmed by the palm oil industry starts with providing education on the topic and encouraging sustainable choices when they’re feasible.

Written by Jordan Meaker




Build It and They Will Come: Building Bat Houses and Creating Habitat for Bat Conservation and Environmental Awareness
submitted by Kristen Lear, a PHD student in Integrative Conservation & the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources under the direction of Dr. Jeffery Hepinstall-Cymerman

Connect to Protect the Monarchs
submitted by Suzie Henderson, a senior in the OdumSchool of Ecology under the direction of Heather Alley

Generating Educational and Research Opportunities Through Medicinal Herb Production at UGArden
submitted by Teri Rakusin, a senior Horticulture major under the direction of Dr. David Berle

Market on the Move (creating mobile farmers markets with Athens Land Trust)
submitted by Jaiko Celka, a sophomore in Environmental Economics and Management under the direction of Josh Green

UGAfforestation: Measuring Carbon Sequestered in Trees of UGA and Planting Native Trees to Revitalize Lilly Branch Watershed
submitted by William Fox, a junior Forest Resources major under the direction of Dr. Puneet Dwivedi

4 Precious Plastic Recycling Machines
submitted by Sam Cherof, a senior sculpture major in Lamar Dodd School of Art under the direction of Lindy Erkes
This project has the distinction of receiving this year’s Sustainability + Arts Award

Season Extension in the UGA Geography Department Roof Garden
submitted by Emma Courson, a junior majoring in Horticulture under the direction of Dr. Amy Trauger

Tracking and Managing Non-Point Source Pollution at Lake Herrick Watershed
submitted by Ashwini Kannan, pursuing a masters in Environmental Engineering
under the direction of Dr. David Radcliffe

Trailing Granitic Outcrop Plant Species on Extensive Vegetated Roof
submitted by Kelsey Brooks, masters student in Landscape Architecture under the direction of Jon Calabria

Estimating Material and Energy Needs of Green Spaces on UGA’s Campus
submitted by Haley White, a junior in Agricultural Education under the direction of Dr. Puneet Dwivedi


Utilizing Floating Wetlands to Improve Water Quality in Lake Herrick

Sarah Hensey, in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, under the direction of Dr. Susan Wilde, will construct an aquatic system of floating plant material designed to improve water quality in Lake Herrick. Other student collaborators include Aaron Trimble, Cody Matteson, Muhan (Harry) Qiu, and Jordan Francis.

Sustainable Inspection of Campus Facilities using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology

Julian Moore and John Box, in the College of Engineering, under the direction of Dr. Zion Tse will utilize drones to provide low-cost, high efficiency inspection of roofs, moisture, and radiant heat on campus structures.

Sunshine Savings Initiative

Tommy Lehner, in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, under the direction of Jason Perry, will use enhanced lighting controls to conserve energy in the Miller Learning Center.

Development of a tensiometer and automated irrigation controller to reduce irrigation water use

Jesse Lafian, in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, under the direction of Dr. Marc Van Iersel, will measure soil moisture to determine optimal timing for irrigation.

Missing Spokes: Mapping Diverse Bicycling Experiences in Athens, GA

Ian Rossiter, a Geography Masters student in Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, under the direction of Dr. Jerry Shannon, will collect comprehensive and representative data necessary to develop an equitable bike master plan. Other student collaborators include with Sam Webber, David Rickless, Sam Tingle, and Stephen Jordan.

A Focus on Learning: FACS Hygiene Closet

Anna Beth Smith, in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, under the direction of Dr. Cara Simmons, will expand the FACS Hygiene Closet by installing additional shelves and purchasing needed items to better serve students in need. Other student collaborators include Erika Massie and Dana Carney.

Measuring the effectiveness of sustainable stormwater design at the Science Learning Center

Callie Oldfield, a plant biology PhD student in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, under the direction of Dr. Chris Peterson & Dr. Michelle Momany, will evaluate the effectiveness of recently installed stormwater infrastructure around the Science Learning Center and increase awareness of sustainable stormwater practices among students and the public. Other student collaborators include Molly Smith, DeShantra Kelly, Ansley Vardeman, Jeffrey Rones and Tae-In Lee.

Vegetated Rooftop Rejuvenation Project

Grace Catherine Peoples, a student in the School of Public and International Affairs, under the direction of Dr. Todd Rasmussen, will enhance the green roof at Boyd Hall.

Regenerative Gym Equipment

Nico Hoernle, a student in the College of Engineering, under the direction of Dr. Javad Velni, will create an exercise spin bike that generates electricity. Other student collaborators include Hayden Salyer and Josef Provatakis.

Testing Model Predictive Control to Determine On-Campus HVAC Energy Reduction 

Matthew Becton, a PhD student in the College of Engineering, along with biochemical engineering student Nicholas Winter, will work to conserve energy in campus buildings through software that predicts outdoor temperatures under the direction of Dr. Xianqiao Wang.

Dodd’s and Ends

Kira Hegeman, an Art Education PhD student in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, under the direction of Chris McDowell, will enhance learning among students and teachers in local middle schools through hands-on design and construction using salvaged materials. Other student collaborators include Isabel Hinsch and Hary Harrison.


Making and the Theatre: A Theatre for Young Audiences Event Encouraging Sustainability, Creativity and Innovation

Kelsey Brown, a theatre and communication sciences and disorders major from Lexington, Kentucky, was the recipient of the Sustainability + Arts award where she will work to write and produce an original play for young audiences that fosters sustainability, creativity and innovation.

IMPACT’s Environmental Impact: Introducing Mess Kits to Cut Waste

Brittany Whitlock, a biology and psychology major from Johns Creek, will work to reduce waste created during IMPACT spring break trips by better educating trip participants and by supporting the communities where IMPACT serves.

Launching a Campus-Wide Green Labs Program

John Derosa, an environmental engineering major from Lilburn, will work to implement strategies that enhance safety, conserve resources and reduce waste in UGA laboratories.

Fecal Source Tracking and Nutrient Analysis in the Lake Herrick Watershed

Thalika Saintil, a student in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, will collect and analyze water samples from the Lake Herrick watershed to identify primary sources of pollution.

Reusing Consumables at the Science Library MakerSpace

Kollin Adams, a computer science major from Atlanta, will work to recycle and reuse plastic materials at the science library MakerSpace-an area with a 3-D printer, laser cutter, digital scanner and more.

Aquaponics at UGA

David Balinsky, a student in the College of Veterinary Medicine from Annapolis, Maryland, will work to establish aquaponics systems that demonstrate sustainable solutions to food insecurity.

Piedmont Prairie Planting Design as Sustainable Campus Landscape Management Trial Study

Sean Dunlap, a student in the College of Environment and Design from Winterville, will establish a five-year research program studying the effectiveness of southern piedmont grasses and forbs in place of traditional lawn and bed plantings.

More Walkable UGA

Xuan Zhang, a geography master’s student from Wuhan, China, will work to identify preferences, barriers and solutions to promote walking on campus.

Greek Goes Green

Matt Siegel and Anna Trakham, both from Marietta and students in the Terry College of Business and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences respectively, will implement an ongoing program to enhance recycling and other green initiatives in the Greek Life community.

Why Can’t We Be Sustainable Later? Examining the Role of Environmental Attitudes on Sustainable Behaviors in the Present and in the Future

Julie Delose, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology from Orlando, Florida, will examine sustainability behaviors in the context of goal pursuit and self-control.


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.


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.


Development of a Pervious Concrete Pavement Test Site for Educational, Research, and Outreach Initiatives at the University of Georgia

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.

Composting of Organic Waste in Academic Buildings on UGA Campus

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.

Enhancing the Sustainability of UGA’s Energy Infrastructure through Multidisciplinary Student Research and Policy Outreach

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.

Sustainable Food Production: Technology Transfer for Aquaponics

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.

Bulldog Bikes Automated Bike Sharing System

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.

Solar Recharge Station for UGArden Electric Vehicle

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.

The Lunchbox Garden Project

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.

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Georgia Recycling & Environmental Awareness Team (GREAT)

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.

Quantifying the Benefits of Campus Rain Gardens

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.

Material Reuse Program

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.

Great Wall of Food

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.

Improving Electronic Waste Collection at the Dawgs Ditch the Dunpster Program

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.

The Tanyard Creek Chew Crew – A Proposal to Restore, Redesign, and Celebrate a Rare Urban Forest and Stream

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.


Take Back the Tap: Water Bottle Refill Station

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.

Linking Community Gardening with Rainwater Harvesting

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.

Pilot Bike Share Program

Sheena Zhang, a 2011 graduate, received $3,300 to develop a bike sharing program in Building 1516 on East Campus.

Dorm Move‐Out Waste Reduction

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.