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University of Kentucky Sustainability Grant Winners Implement Positive Changes

LEXINGTON, KY – Seven interdisciplinary teams of University of Kentucky (UK) students, faculty, and staff from across campus will begin work on sustainability projects next semester after being selected to receive Sustainability Challenge Grants totaling $200,000.

The Sustainability Challenge Grant Program is designed to engage all members of the university community in the creation and implementation of ideas that will promote sustainability by simultaneously advancing economic vitality, ecological integrity, and social equity. The projects selected span the spectrum of social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability, and have broad representation across colleges and centers.

"The projects supported by the Sustainability Challenge Grant program facilitate partnership and collaboration on our campus,” says UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric N. Monday. “Even more importantly, these grants provide students with the kinds of hands-on, real-world learning opportunities that prepare them for success in the future. That experience aligns with our central goal at UK: preparing students for lives of meaning and purpose."

The 2019 Sustainability Challenge Grant Winners are:

  • Improving Bicycle Infrastructure Using SPIN Bike-Share Trip Data ($27,500);
  • Nature Playscape and Native Landscape at the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass ($36,000);
  • Just Food: Engaging UK in Racially Equitable Food Systems Development ($34,648);
  • Tree CATS ($19,871);
  • Sustainability Module for First Year Experience ($11,000);
  • Organic Waste Composting Pilot Project ($36,094); and
  • Kentucky Integrated Biorefinery ($34,887).

To read descriptions of each project and information on the departments and individual team members involved, please visit www.uky.edu/sustainability/sustainability-challenge-grants.

"For the fifth consecutive year, our campus community has generated impressive ideas to solve sustainability-related challenges on campus and beyond," says UK Sustainability Coordinator Shane Tedder. "We were thrilled with the diversity of the interdisciplinary partnerships, the creativity and the potential impact of these proposals."

Eighteen interdisciplinary teams—representing 57 academic programs from 11 colleges and multiple centers and institutes—submitted proposals this year requesting a total of more than $684,000 for their projects.

The Sustainability Challenge Grant Program is a joint effort of the Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment, UK Office of Sustainability, and the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. Funding is provided by the Student Sustainability Council, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. In the first five years of the program (2019 included), 29 projects have been awarded a total of $900,000 to pursue transformational, sustainability-driven projects.

Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign is a comprehensive campaign focused on increasing opportunities for student success, funding innovative research, improving health care, strengthening UK's alumni network, and supporting the university's athletic programs.

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