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Environmental Issues Committee starts Sustainability Research Awards

In an effort to establish a continuing support of sustainability efforts at Weber State University, the WSU Alumni Association will provide a $500 award to the winner of the 2011-12 Student Sustainability Research Project.

The winner will be selected by members of the WSU Faculty Senate Environmental Issues Committee, including a representative from the Alumni Association. The award will be given at the National Council on Undergraduate Research Conference, March 28-31. The Alumni Association will continue to give the award annually.

Lynell Gardner, WSU Alumni Association executive director, said she jumped at the chance to do more to support sustainability efforts on campus.

“In the past, we’ve included tips on sustainability, recycling and energy efficiency in the Environmental Issues Committee’s newsletters when we have the opportunity to do so,” Gardner said. “But I was looking for a way to contribute and maintain a commitment with those efforts long-term. When the committee decided to do these awards, I realized this would be the perfect solution.”

Gardner said she believes the Alumni Association should support sustainability efforts at WSU and the community because alumni form the community WSU students live in.

“I think this award will communicate to students the appreciation we have for their efforts to find solutions to the problems we face today with economic growth and environmental concerns,” Gardner said.

Eligible submissions include any student research project completed in 2011-12 in the area of sustainability.

According to the Environmental Issues Committee, “sustainability research addresses components of sustainability (e.g., social equity, ecological health, the use of scarce resources and a belief that economic development must consider all of these) or particular goals of sustainable living (e.g., waste reduction, renewable energy, clean resources, climate change adaptation, comprehensive land use planning, or generally, the design of efficient environmental policies or regulations) as it furthers human understanding of complex interconnections between society and nature. At its core, sustainability research recognizes that human/societal and economic health is inextricably linked to a healthy natural world and the sustainable use of resources; it strives toward solutions to these challenges.”

Gardner said this award will be different from many others because it will reward action instead of a plan of action.

“This award will be given to a project completed, not just an idea, something that’s demonstrated its value,” Gardner said. “It will be presented on an annual basis. Students engaged in this will compete for the award annually and compete for the accomplishment awarded to them.”

The Office of the Provost will provide a $1,000 award for the best faculty sustainability research project in 2011-12. The Environmental Issues Committee will also select the winner, but the award will be presented at the April 2012 faculty senate meeting.

For consideration, students must e-mail a 250-word project summary to Hal Crimmel, the Environmental Issues Committee chair, at [email protected] by March 23, 2012.

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