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Past Sustainable Initiatives Fund Projects

The Student Sustainability Cooperative has funded 70 student-led projects and awarded almost $165,000 since 2006. Check out our past projects for inspiration!

Explore Past Projects

Tree Ring Spring Field Science Weekend

Amount: $6,198.60

Granted to: Idaho Tree Ring Lab Graduate Students

Project Description: Graduate students of the Idaho Tree Ring Lab, Nick Koenig, Ellen Bergan, Richie Thaxton and Kate Brings, were awarded $6,198.60 to create a multidisciplinary field week to expose and immerse undergraduate students (especially students from historically excluded groups) in tree ring science (dendrochronology) research and outdoor adventures. A group of 16 students traveled to the McCall Outdoor Science School during the Spring Break 2023; the trip sparked generative conversations and workshops surrounding topics such as climate change, printmaking, anti-oppression, indigenous scholarship, illustration techniques, research design and execution, fieldwork practices and tree ring science.

Current Status: Complete.

ASUI Menstrual Cup Project

Amount: $3,550

Granted to: Saloni Khetan; Director of Sustainability, Associated Student University of Idaho (ASUI)

Project Description: ASUI was awarded $3,550 for the Menstrual Cup Project, an effort to make sustainable menstrual products accessible to the campus community. Representatives from ASUI went to different living groups on campus including Greek Chapters and the Residence Halls to distribute over 300 cups and provide education about how and why to use the alternative products. ASUI also held tabling events in the Idaho Student Union Building to give out menstrual cups to students. The remaining cups will be placed on a shelf in the Vandal Food Pantry for anyone who wishes to grab the product.

Current Status: Complete.

Pollinator Garden Revival

Amount: $1600
Granted to: Haylie Betham, Elizabeth Bloomsbug, Will Hanosky, Elizabeth Rabdau and Argha Kashyap
Project Description: This team of students was awarded $1600 to revive the existing pollinator garden on campus to attract native pollinators. Native pollinators are important because they have evolved alongside the native plants, making them more efficient and effective at pollination. The garden is located on the east end of Guy Wicks Field along Paradise Path. They planted Jessica’s Aster, Idaho Fescue, Yarrow and several others.

Current Status: Complete.

Sorority and Fraternity Aluminum Can Recycling

Amount: $983
Granted to: Addie White
Project Description: Addie White, a senior in biological engineering, was awarded $983 to conduct an aluminum recycling competition among the Greek houses. This project will introduce U of I students in the Greek community to the practice of recycling and to reduce the amount of aluminum cans entering the landfill.

Current Status: Complete.

ATD Textile and Paper Recycling Bins

Amount: $783
Granted to: Ellie Hafer
Project Description: Ellie Hafer, a freshman in the school of Apparel, Textiles and Design, was awarded $783 to build and install recycling bins for scrap fabric and paper in the ATD Department’s design studios. These bins will reduce the amount of reusable material entering the waste stream and will educate students about textile sustainability.

Current Status: Complete.

Energy Smart Readers

Amount: $2,200
Granted to: Beth Hoots and Natalie Wiley
Project Description: Beth Hoots and Natalie Wiley, who are both seniors in Ecology and Conservation Biology, were awarded $2,200 to install Smart energy meters in five fraternity and sorority houses. These will be used to host an energy use competition between the houses that will incentivize them to reduce their energy consumption.

Current Status: Complete.

Hartung Grasses

Amount: $2,728
Granted to: Annika Esau
Project Description: Annika Esau, a senior in computer science, was awarded $2,728 to replace a 12,500 square foot section of lawn grass in front of the Hartung Theater with a drought-tolerant grass. This new grass requires less mowing and watering, reducing our campus water use and carbon footprint.

Current Status: Complete.

Greek Smart Energy Competition

Amount: $2,300
Granted to: Cameron Weller
Project Description: Cameron Weller, a senior in the Geography Department from Scottsdale, AZ, was awarded $2,300 to organize an energy use competition for five Greek houses to incentivize them to reduce their energy usage.

Current Status: Complete.

Hydroponics Green Wall

Amount: $2,177
Granted to: Madigan Hawkins and Celine Knudsen
Project Description: Madigan Hawkins, from Olympia. WA, and Celine Knudsen, from Moscow, ID, are both seniors in the Plant Sciences Department. They and their team, The Hydroponics Club, were awarded $2,177 to build a hydroponics green wall where they will grow fresh herbs and greens to sell to students on campus.

Current Status: Complete.

Menard Law Building Occupancy Light Sensors

Amount: $2,590
Granted to: Riley Newton
Project Description: Riley Newton, a third-year law student from Twin Falls, ID, was awarded $2,590 to install occupancy sensor lights on the first floor of the Law Library. These lights could save $750+ per year in electricity costs.

Current Status: Complete.

Plant Paradise Path

Amount: $478
Granted to: Sophie Morosky
Project Description: Sophie Morosky, a senior in Civil and Environmental Engineering, along with her team, The Humanitarian Engineering Corps, was awarded $478 to plant 100 native trees and shrubs along Paradise Path on campus. These native plants will decrease water usage, reduce soil erosion and sequester carbon dioxide, as well as beautify our campus.

Current Status: Complete.

Sensor Water Faucets

Amount: $2,220
Granted to: Sierra Brantz
Project Description: Sierra Brantz, a junior double majoring in International Studies and Environmental Science from Osburn, ID, was awarded $2,220 to install sensor water faucets in the first-floor bathrooms of the Teaching and Learning Center. This was a pilot study to determine the water savings these faucets provide to campus.

Current Status: Complete.

Solar Collector Refurbish

Amount: $713
Granted to: Addie White
Project Description: Addie White, a junior in biological engineering from Boise, ID, and her team, The Vandal Clean Energy Club, was awarded $713 to refurbish a solar collector that was donated to the club. This solar collector will be used to heat water needed for refining the biodiesel they produce to provide a clean fuel source for campus vehicles.

Current Status: Complete.

Bioconversion of Compost

Amount: $1,354
Granted To: Kimia Kajbaf
Project Description: Kimia Kajbaf Shiraz, a doctoral student in animal and veterinary science, was awarded $1,354 to design an efficient organic waste management system that uses fly larvae to bio-convert compost, collected from Vandals Dining, into high-quality larvae. These locally grown larvae will save the university $5,000 annually and provide U of I’s Aquaculture Research Institute with a sustainable and eco-friendly fish food source.

Current Status: Complete.

Biodiesel Fueling Station

Amount: $1,962.65
Granted To: Melissa Marsing and the Vandal Clean Energy Club Project Description: Melissa Marsing, a junior in chemical engineering, and her team, the Vandal Clean Energy Club, was awarded $1,962.65 to install a B100 biodiesel fueling station behind the James Martin Laboratory to serve the Biodiesel Education Program and university steam plant vehicles. The Vandal Clean Energy Club is a new club on campus and is eager to educate and further the usage of biodiesel in University of Idaho and Moscow community in the coming years.

Current Status: Complete.

Reduce by Reuse

Amount: $550
Granted To: Michelle Benedum
Project Description: Michelle Benedum, a graduate student in the College of Natural Resources, was awarded $550 to create a program between campus vendors and students by re-establishing and promoting discounts for patrons who bring their own reusable beverage containers. Benedum will also offer students reusable beverage containers in exchange for a small donation to one of three environmental nonprofit organizations. This project is a step in the right direction toward reducing single-use containers and promoting more sustainable food systems on campus.

Current Status: Complete.

Water Bottle Refill Station in Janssen

Amount: $1,600
Granted To: Andrea Boyd
Project Description: Andrea Boyd, a junior in civil and environmental engineering, was awarded $1,600 to install an Elkay EZH20 Bottle Refill Station on the main floor of the Janssen Engineering Building on campus in order to promote water conservation and a reduction in single-use water bottles.

Current Status: Complete.

Wallace Light Sensors

Amount: $2,630
Granted To: Danielle Colter and the Environmental Science Club
Project Description: Danielle Colter, a graduate student in the College of Natural Resources, and her team, the Environmental Science Club, were awarded $2,630 for their project to install 20 motion sensors on lights in hallways and common areas of the Wallace Residence Center on campus. This project will serve as a pilot to test the efficiency of the light sensors and their reduction of energy waste. Danielle hopes that “this project will show how small changes to our daily habits can help reduce our impact on the planet.”

Current Status: Complete.

Xeriscaping the University of Idaho Golf Course

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Brian Feldhaus
Project Description: Brian Feldhaus, a graduate student studying Landscape Architecture, was awarded $3000 to transform a portion of University of Idaho’s golf course into a native xeriscape. His project will take a section of the course that is currently filled with gopher holes and weeds and redesign it into a beautiful hillside. Through this grant, Feldhaus will gain experience in landscape architecture while helping the university replant the Palouse prairie with native trees and shrubs that will thrive for years to come.

Current Status: Complete.

Pollinate the Palouse

Amount: $900
Granted To: Cassandra Goodmansen
Project Description: Cassandra Goodmansen, a senior studying Ecology and Conservation Biology within the College of Natural Resources, was awarded $900. Goodmansen’s garden will showcase native species and begin blooming by the end of the academic year. The flowers will beautify our campus, welcoming native pollinators in the area.

Current Status: Complete.

Biogas Energy Feasibility Assessment

Amount: $1,425
Granted To: Kenneth Sheffler
Project Description: Kenneth Sheffler, a junior studying Electrical Engineering, was awarded $1,425 to complete a “Biogas Energy Feasibility Assessment” by identifying if biogas is a feasible source of power. This project has great pertinence to campus sustainability. Sheffler will be utilizing U of I Library as well as facilities and faculty expertise throughout his project. This project helps the university identify renewable energy options.  

Current Status: Complete.

Water Awareness and Water Advocacy Event

Amount: $2,757.50
Granted to: Courtney Cooper, Mary Engels, Sarah Olsen, Meghan Foard
Project Description: Courtney Cooper, Mary Engels, Sarah Olsen and Meghan Foard, three Water Resource Graduate Students and an environmental educator respectively, are awarded $2,757.50 to facilitate a three-day water resource awareness weekend (WAWA) during earth week this spring. They will facilitate and lead a stream restoration and clean-up event alongside Paradise Creek, a data visualization workshop and a youth water conference. By involving undergraduate and graduate students, the U of I-WAWA will advance campus shifts towards more sustainable behaviors and attitudes, and help University of Idaho move towards enhanced resilience in the face of climate change.

Current Status: Complete.

RF Harvesting

Amount: $1,700
Granted To: Alexa Aguilar, Tyler Larson, Andrew Davies
Project Description: Another piece of the puzzle has been made possible by the funding support of the UISC for the student-led organic farm. This grant will help the Soil Stewards establish infrastructure for successful farming and outreach activities for their new North Farm. The student-run farm will be able to rebuild two hoop houses, restock irrigation and tool supply, install a sign and buy solar lights. By the end of the season, the farm will be able to serve a greater number of students, faculty, staff and community members.

Current Status: Complete.

Sustain-a-Swag Bag

Amount: $1,986.50
Granted To: Madeleine Phelan, Hailey Herrington
Project Description: Madeleine Phelan and Hailey Herrington, sophomores in the Colleges of Business and Education respectively, were awarded $1,986.50. Their project, “Sustain-a-Swag Bag” will help raise awareness about the damage excessive plastic waste has on the environment by offering reusable grocery totes to students. The totes include a fact sheet about plastic bag waste and will help raise awareness in the student body. The grocery bags will help reduce single-use plastic bag waste.

Current Status: Complete. 

The Sustainable Film Festival @ the Kenworthy

Amount: $1,200
Granted To: Randy Annunciato and Wyatt Vargas
Project Description: Randy Annunciato and Wyatt Vargas are University of Idaho McCall Outdoor Science School graduate students. Their project, "The Sustainable Film Festival @ the Kenworthy," will showcase videos and other creative presentations that highlight the expression of sustainability and its role in both University and community members' lifestyles.

Current Status: Complete.

Sustainability Surveys

Amount: $1,300
Granted To: Nicole Carter, Brooke Sausser and Timothy Martin
Project Description: Nicole, Brooke and Timothy are University of Idaho Housing Eco-Ambassadors. Their $1,300 grant will fund sustainability surveys that serve as an educational tool for the population of students living in residence halls as well as an assessment of how the U of I Sustainability Center can continue to help make our campus more environmentally conscious.

Current Status: Complete.

Fill it Up @ U of I

Amount: $861
Granted To: Elizabeth Kang
Project Description: Elizabeth Kang is working towards a master's degree in Organizational Learning and Leadership. Her grant, "Fill It Up @ U of I," will fund the installation of a 24-hour accessible water bottle refill station in the university's LLC Residence Hall. By installing this refill station, student consumption of plastic water bottles will be reduced.

Current Status: Complete.

Reflections Gallery Fixture Improvement

Amount: $785.84
Granted To: Joshua Kirby
Project Description: Joshua Kirby is an MFA candidate in Studio Art. Kirby's work as the Reflections Gallery curator led him to create his "Reflections Gallery Fixture Improvement Project." His $785.84 grant will fund LED light bulb replacements and a permanent acrylic poster frame in order to reduce campus energy consumption and eliminate unnecessary waste.

Current Status: Complete.

If Everybody Did

Amount: $1,909
Granted To: Katelyn Wilcox
Project Description: Kate Wilcox is a senior pursuing degrees in Fishery Resources and Spanish. Kate's $1,909 grant titled, "If Everybody Did" will fund the purchase of reusable grocery bags. These bags will be distributed to University of Idaho students in order to educate students about the detriment of plastic bags on the environment and to include the student body population in a community movement to reduce Moscow's plastic bag use.

Current Status: Complete.

Social Justice in a Changing Climate

Amount: $173.22
Granted To: Kennedy Caisley
Project Description: Kennedy Caisley is a freshman pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. Caisley's work at the U of I Women's Center motivated his project titled, "Social Justice in a Changing Climate." This project will fund a multimedia presentation that addresses the issue of climate change from a social perspective.

Current Status: Complete.

Kibbie Dome Recycling Expansion

Amount: $2,904.93
Granted To: Koichiro Tanaka
Project Description: Koichiro Tanaka is a senior completing a degree in organizational science. His "Kibbie Dome Recycling Expansion" project will fund additional recycling, compost and waste bins in University of Idaho Kibbie Dome in order for the game day audience to help University of Idaho reduce waste.

Current Status:Complete.

Anyone Can Grow

Amount: $866.01
Granted To: Madison Bass
Project Description: Madison Bass is a sophomore pursuing degrees in agricultural education and 4-H Youth Development and Agribusiness. Her work as president of the Soil Stewards student club motivated her to create the project, titled, "Anyone Can Grow," to help improve the infrastructure at the Student Farms' new Farm Road location. Her $866.01 grant will fund the installation of Hoop Houses at the Student Farm as well as a more permanent sign marking the location.

Current Status: Complete.

Theophilus Tower Native Landscaping Project

Amount: $3,340.60
Granted To: Patrick Johnson
Project Description: What comes to mind when you think of native plants? Patrick Johnson has worked to bring together different campus entities including University of Idaho Sustainability Center, University of Idaho Facilities and University of Idaho Landscape Architecture Department, to showcase the beauty of native Idaho plants in a high-profile location. The Theophilus Tower Landscaping Project will show that native plants can be just as aesthetically pleasing as non-native, and water-intensive landscaping. Furthermore, it will lead to an increase in native landscaping on campus and will decrease the impact on the depleting aquifers. With Sustainability Center grant funding, Johnson plans to engage students in the project and purchase much-needed soil for the raised beds.

Current Status: Complete. With the help of the UISC, Patrick was able to purchase the needed soil to ensure that there was an adequate amount for plant survivability. This was an important first objective that was met and was spread throughout the site with the help of student volunteers in October. Following this purchase, money was secured from U of I Housing and U of I Facilities to purchase needed irrigation equipment to ensure plant survivability at a reduced price due to the generosity of Horizon Irrigation. Following this delivery, money was secured from Palouse Prairie Foundation, U of I Housing and Associated Students of University of Idaho to purchase all of the needed plants for the site. This was preceded by extensive work with U of I Facilities to ensure that the plan was going to meet all of the project objectives. In addition, Plants of the Wild, the plant provider, made large plant donations and allowed purchase of plants at a reduced price. The volunteer planting day was a success, as all of the plants were planted and high survivability is expected. Moving forward, the project will be managed by U of I Facilities to ensure long-term survivability.

Peas Lettuce Build an Awesome New Farm

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Maddy Bass, Kailie Leggett, Brita Olson & Matt Roth
Project Description: Another piece of the puzzle has been made possible by the funding support of the UISC for the student-led organic farm. This grant will help the Soil Stewards establish infrastructure for successful farming and outreach activities for their new North Farm. The student-run farm will be able to rebuild two hoop houses, restock irrigation and tool supply, install a sign and buy solar lights. By the end of the season, the farm will be able to serve a greater number of students, faculty, staff and community members.

Current Status: Complete. During the course of this grant, the Soil Stewards have moved their hoop houses from their old site on Plant Science Road to their new farm behind WinCo. The funding received from the grant has allowed them to repair hoop houses with new plastic coverings and concrete and wooden bases. In addition, the grant funded new tools, such as hoes and pruners, to replace worn-out and broken tools.

Savvy Finance Skills for Students

Amount: $745.58
Granted To: Kelsie Smathers
Project Description: Money management is something that weighs on many students' minds. This project will help educate the campus community through monthly presentations on money subjects that include: Surviving the Holidays, Ins and Outs of Student Loans, Credit vs Debit, Budgeting and Insurance. Students and U of I affiliates can come learn how to better their spending habits and be more sustainable in their economic tendencies.

Current Status: Complete. This grant reached many students living in the dorms. Kelsie also had a table at the annual Bike Fix event in the spring to promote financial wellness, collect data on U of I students and promote the School of Family and Consumer Sciences as having a personal finance program.

Soil Stewards Investments for the Future

Amount: $2,235
Granted To: Josie Greenwood
Project Description: Josie Greenwood is a sophomore in Environmental Science and a member of University of Idaho Soil Stewards club. Greenwood’s $2,235 grant, “Soil Stewards Investments for the Future,” will fund efforts to help the ten-year-old, student-run farm move closer to campus, purchase needed farm equipment to increase the capacity for growing produce, sell more produce to Campus Dining and promote the farm.

Current Status: Complete. The Soil Stewards have secured a site and began to move to their new farm, located behind WinCo. Grant funds were used to fence in the farm which protects it from wild and domestic animals and enables the student run farm to sell to Sodexo, the campus dining provider.

Food and Farm Compost Facility Upgrade: Static Pile Aeration

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Nick Plass
Project Description: Nick Plass is a senior in Animal and Veterinary Science. Plass’ $3,000 grant, “Food and Farm Compost Facility Upgrade: Static Pile Aeration,” will upgrade the compost facility located at University of Idaho Dairy north of Campus. Currently, compostable material generated on campus is delivered to the U of I Dairy for composting but the system is near capacity. The static pile system will significantly increase capacity and efficiency as well as increase the quality, safety and sustainability of the final product.

Current Status: Complete. The static pile system is now in place. Nick Plass said, “I feel that with what I have seen so far, I can say that the blower has outperformed my expectations”.

University of Idaho Wind Resource Assessment

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Kelly Moore
Project Description: Kelly Moore is a junior in Mechanical Engineering. Moore’s $3,000 grant, “University of Idaho Wind Resource Assessment,” will identify University of Idaho buildings suitable for wind energy systems and measure the wind source available on those buildings. This research will show whether wind energy could substantially supplement the energy use of University of Idaho Moscow campus, making the university more sustainable and helping it to realize its energy independence.

Current Status: In progress.

Get Active, Get Green U of I

Amount: $2,000
Granted To: Ryan McGrath
Project Description: As an update to the UISC’s 2008 transportation survey, McGrath is conducting an extensive campus-wide survey to determine needs of students regarding alternative transportation as well as a U of I Parking and Transportation component. In order to encourage students to participate in this survey (which could lead to new sustainable transportation projects and policies on campus, such as the implementation of a “Green Bike” program), McGrath will set up a drawing for a variety of prizes (ranging from Ipods to commuter bikes) as incentives. The survey will be conducted throughout April, with prizes awarded during Earth Fest.

Current Status: Complete. Nearly 400 students participated in this survey and 70% felt that long-term investment in alternative forms of campus commuting is a very important priority. Transportation Survey results.

Climate Change Awareness Seminar Series

Amount: $2,560
Granted To: Matt Mumma and Robert Lonsinger
Project Description: What’s the one thing that all Idahoans love? Many often think of the state’s pristine fish and wildlife but Mumma and Lonsinger worry that climate change may have detrimental effects upon Idaho’s natural resources. Through this grant, Mumma and Lonsinger plan to illuminate the current and future impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife communities and promote interdisciplinary collaboration via their climate change awareness seminar series, “Oceans, Ice and Climate Change.” Two speakers, Dr. Shallin Busch and Dr. Steven Amstrup (a U of I alum), will give presentations throughout the Spring 2013 semester on climate change; Dr. Busch will discuss ocean acidification while Dr. Amstrup will present the plight of the polar bears. Hear Dr. Amstrup's presentation on the U of I Sustainability Center’s website at 

Current Status: Complete. Over 200 students attended the seminar series and were well. Dr. Steven Amstrup’s presentation concerning declining Polar Bear populations (a signature event in the Climate Change Awareness Seminar Series).

Making the Drop Go Further

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Matthew Aghai
Project Description: Considering that the U of I Pitkin Nursery produces over 350,000 seedlings for reforestation and restoration efforts, water reduction methods are paramount. With Aghai’s grant, the nursery will construct a major subirrigation system that will significantly improve their water use efficiency by at least 30% and reduce nutrient runoff. 

Current Status: Complete. U of I Pitkin Nursery continues to use Aghai’s subirrigation system to grow seedlings.

Student Bike Light and Safety

Amount: $1,912.50
Granted To: Garry Whitebird
Project Description: Through support from Paradise Creek Bicycles and Vandal Cycling, this grant’s funding went towards subsidizing the purchase and installation of bicycle headlights and taillights for only $2 for U of I student bicycles at the UISC’s Bike Fix event in Spring 2012. Whitebird’s grant made great strides in bringing about a sense of sustainability concerning transportation through safer biking practices.  

Current Status: Complete. The UISC continues to hold biannual Bike Fix events for free to all U of I students.

Biochar as a Compost Amendment

Amount: $2,700
Granted To: Gabe Garcia
Project Description: Just how effective is the Food and Farm composting system in the Idaho Commons? Garcia researched the outcomes of adding biochar, a valuable soil amendment, to compostable waste. His research helped the UISC’s compost program become more efficient, reduced overall campus waste and thus brought U of I one step closer to a closed compostable waste system.

Current Status: Complete.

LLC Water Conservation

Amount: $756.72
Granted To: Patrick Frome and Luke Ivers
Project Description: Focused on conserving water in the Living Learning Community (LLC), Frome and Ivers installed a dual flush retrofit to eight of the toilets found in the unisex bathrooms on the first floor of each building in the complex. This retrofit allowed residents to use a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste. While it is estimated that a dual flush option can save an average American family 30 gallons of water per day, Frome and Ivers expected to see even greater benefits in these living communities. Additionally, this project focused on advertising this water-saving option as well as others through an informational sign campaign.

Current Status: Complete. This project is a strong candidate as a repeat project if a proposal includes a letter of support from U of I Housing documenting their level of satisfaction with the program, especially with the qualifier that they view the program as a success. 

Finding the Palouse Prairie

Amount: $1,500
Granted To: Matthew Dolkas
Project Description: The Palouse Prairie is one of the most critically endangered ecosystems in the world. It has been estimated that less than 1% of the native prairie remains. Dolkas’ project aimed to raise awareness and gain support for conserving the Palouse Prairie through photography, gallery showings and publishing a beautiful book (of which all the proceeds went to the Palouse Prairie Foundation).

Current Status: Complete. Dolkas’ book has helped raise thousands of dollars for the Palouse Prairie Foundation which seeks to promote preservation and restoration of native Palouse Prairie ecosystems in Latah and Whitman Counties (in Idaho and Washington), through public awareness, education, literature resource, encouraging responsible local seed production and acting as a leader or consultant in Palouse Prairie restoration efforts. 

New Hoop House Purchase and Construction for Soil Stewards

Amount: $2,969.67
Granted To: Wieteke Holthuijzen
Project Description: This grant was used to purchase and construct an additional hoop house (greenhouse) for the Soil Stewards, a student-run organization committed to local, sustainably-grown organic produce. Once constructed, this hoop house allowed the Soil Stewards to practice proper crop rotation, as well as extend their growing season. In addition, the Soil Stewards developed a contract with Campus Dining and now provide seasonal locally-grown organic produce for use in campus dining locations.

Current Status: Complete. The hoop house was completed in June 2011 and is currently used to grow organic produce throughout the season. There is much potential in follow-up projects; contact

Terracing and Garden Expansion at the Campus Christian Center

Amount: $2,700
Granted To: Randy Davenport
Project Description: Davenport’s project deals with the vacant lots next to the Campus Christian Center (CCC) on the corner of University Avenue and Elm Street. By landscaping and terracing these lots to expand the garden beds at the CCC, Randy helped educate students about sustainable food sources and gardening practices while providing fresh, local produce for local food charities.

Current Status: Complete.

Investigation of PLA-based Corn Bioplastics Degradation in Compost

Amount: $1,652
Granted To: Christopher Currie
Project Description: With the recent introduction of composting stations in the Idaho Commons and the use of poly-lactic acid (PLA) based corn bioplastics for utensils and sushi containers in campus dining locations on campus, this project advanced the knowledge about the microorganisms that break down PLA-based products with the goal of continuing efforts to handle compostable waste on campus in a closed system.

Current Status: Complete. Results from Currie’s project showed that PLA products were fully compostable. However, this project also helped U of I composting to determine that the utensils took longer than expected to break down. With a compost screener, this is no problem. Because the finished product is land-applied as a soil amendment or used as animal bedding, partially composted shards of sharp PLA should be avoided.

SOPE Native Vegetation Garden

Amount: $564.57
Granted To: Carolyn Boyd and Steffany Dignum
Project Description: The Student Organization for People and the Environment (SOPE) proposed to expand native vegetation gardens around campus. By promoting low maintenance and drought tolerant alternatives, Boyd and Dignum planned to create self-sustaining and beautiful sections of campus not used for express recreational purposes. It was their hope to enable a culture shift from non-native grasses to native species and preserving aspects of the diminished Palouse prairie.

Current Status: Complete. These native vegetation gardens are located in the court yard of the Life Science Building

LLC Green Bike Shelter and Bioswale

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Ryan Beitz
Project Description: This project involved the design of a covered bike shelter adjacent to the Living Learning Communities along 6th Street. Stormwater runoff from the shelter and some of the LLC buildings would be directed into a constructed bioswale on site that would filter the water before it enters nearby Paradise Creek. Unfortunately, this project remains unconstructed due to incompatibilities with the university’s design aesthetic.

Current Status: Unfinished. This project remains unconstructed due to incompatibilities with the university’s design aesthetic.

Biochar: A Product of Bioenergy and Contrivance for Soil Enhancement and Carbon Sequestration

Amount: $2,828.11
Granted To: Kristin McElligott
Project Description: Kristin McElligott completed a lab study of Idaho soils to examine the potentials of the local use of biochar, a type of charcoal, in improving fertility of soils, increasing plant productivity and sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change. McElligott also hosted events at the U of I Pitkin Nursery and the U of I Earth Week to show the benefits of biochar and how it can be used locally; she continued outreach efforts throughout the summer at field sites in McCall and even presented the results of her study at the US Biochar Conference in Ames, Iowa.

Current Status: Complete. 

UI Composting Design and Pilot

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: John Boyd
Project Description: John Boyd and his self-titled team “The Green Machine” worked to design and implement a compost system for University of Idaho utilizing 100% of campus food waste, animal carcasses and slaughter offal. The preliminary conceptual design consisted of a 3-bin, negatively-aerated static pile system. This system is designed to handle a waste stream of 100 tons of compostable food waste per year. However, at the time of the writing of this report, U of I Dairy implemented a non-aerated static pile system for the composting of animal carcasses. 

Current Status: The composting project switched gears and required a different system to operate because of the size of the waste stream. This change, however, was beyond the scope of the project. John Boyd recommended that Darin Saul and the UISC use the remaining money to make payments on the composting system mentioned in the Green Machine report. Of the awarded $3,000 to the composting project, $689.75 was spent.

Lights Are Working with Sustainability (LAWS Project)

Amount: $1,950
Granted To: Sally Butts
Project Description: This project provided motion-sensor light switches and related motion-sensor equipment in the Menard Law Building in the three large classrooms (rooms 103, 105, and 107). The results of the project increased energy efficiency in these rooms and reduced energy costs once installed. Additionally, the sensor technology provided a daily reminder to students, faculty and staff that energy conservation is important. In fact, Butts’ project saved about 69 hours of energy use per week which translated to savings of $1,070 annually. This project was truly sustainable as it paid for itself in less than two years. 

Current Status: Complete. However, this project is a compelling contender for a repeat project, along with a much stronger marketing component to educate campus about the ROI (return on investments) that energy efficiency upgrades provide. Possible new projects concerning energy efficiency could include an energy efficiency project with the Nez Perce tribe.

Green Living Workshop Series

Amount: $1,400
Granted To: Michael Hazel
Project Description: Michael Hazel and SOPE (Student Organization for People and the Environment) hosted four workshops on campus that were available to all students to learn simple ways to decrease their environmental impact. In the workshops, between 30-40 students participated in hands-on activities such as making their own environmentally-friendly cleaning projects, building windowsill gardens, discovering ways to reduce consumption of disposable goods and cooking their own meals with local ingredients.

Current Status: Complete.

Vandal Community Garden

Amount: $1,050
Granted To: Danie Merriman
Project Description: For this project, Danie Merriman and U of I Environmental Club will created a campus community garden — an area for students on campus who are interested in gardening and growing their own food but who do not have land needed to create their own. The club worked hard throughout the year in order to have the garden plots available to students for the spring. The project culminated in the construction of two 12’ by 4’ by 1’ foot raised garden plots in the LLC courtyard that gardeners may use for their own gardening purposes. 

Current Status: Complete. These garden plots are still available for student gardening use year-round. Email to reserve your own garden plot.

Moscow Coffee Compost Project (MoCoPro)

Amount: $697.59
Granted To: Owen Baughman
Project Description: Coffee grounds are excellent composting material due to their high nitrogen content and pre-grounded nature. In addition, they are quite abundant on any college campus. Baughman, a Conservation Social Sciences major, developed this creative program to compost coffee grounds through student and volunteer support via the Ecology and Conservation Biology Club. The U of I Dining Services and local coffee sellers were provided with containers in which coffee/tea grounds and filters were collected; grounds were then transported via bicycle to a central location. Together, these enthusiastic bicyclists transported grounds to the PCEI and the U of I Soil Stewards to be properly mixed and decomposed into real compost.

Current Status: Complete but needs to be reinitiated. The bike trailer is still available for use; if you are interested, please contact Donna Mills ( Currently, most coffee grounds on campus are composted through the Food and Farms program. However, there are a few locations on campus that do not have access to this program; in addition, several local Moscow businesses do not compost their coffee grounds. 

Food Miles: The Real Cost of What’s on Your Plate

Amount: $2,050
Granted To: Matt Drown
Project Description: This project investigated the carbon footprints of meals eaten in Moscow based upon the emission from transportation and production. Once the research phase was completed, Drown began an informative campaign that encouraged students to consider what types of food they bought and consumed. Moreover, the campaign focused on changing consumer spending habits by promoting the purchase and support of locally grown foods in order to reduce their impact on the environment. 

Current Status: Complete.

Web Video Series

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Mary Packer
Project Description: The web has become an increasingly popular place to promote green causes or encourage sustainable lifestyles through a variety of media. Packer, supported by various U of I Journalism and Mass Media professors, produced six short interdisciplinary web videos highlighting campus, local, regional and national sustainability efforts and issues. The videos were also submitted to local, regional and national film, television and video festivals so that students could further share and discuss sustainability practices and issues with new audiences. Packer's goal was to provide students with an experiential, interdisciplinary and transformational learning environment that aided in creating awareness about sustainable behaviors for faculty, staff, students and community members.

Current Status: Complete. These videos can be found at the U of I Sustainability Center profile on YouTube.

Cover Cropping at U of I Organic Farm

Amount: $1,488
Granted To: Derrick Reeves
Project Description: Students at U of I have the opportunity to directly learn and work with sustainable agriculture techniques at the U of I’s very own certified-organic student research farm (Parker Farm). However, organic farming requires intense tillage to control weeds and the low efficiency of natural fertilizers threatens the sustainability of organic systems. Cover cropping is an integral component of this particular agricultural system yet it is not commonly practiced in the Palouse region. In this project, Reeves compared two different cover crops, Winter Triticale and Austrian Winter Peas, at U of I’s organic farm. His results were able to aid decisions to determine if the use of Winter Triticale and Austrian Winter Pea cover crops could improve soil quality and the long-term sustainability of the U of I’s organic farm, providing a truly sustainable source of fresh produce for the university. 

Current Status: Complete. Overall, Austrian Winter Peas and Winter Triticale both showed promise as cover crops. Both grew well and effectively suppressed weeds despite cold conditions and a late planting date. Although Winter Triticale produced the most biomass, the pea treatments resulted in more biomass nitrogen being returned to the soil. While the study suggests that Austrian Winter Pea is the better crop in terms of enhancing soil fertility, Winter Triticale may be useful as a catch crop to remove and recycle nitrogen that would otherwise be leached out of the soil profile.

Discovering the Importance of Native Vegetation

Amount: $3,000
Granted To: Kate Zuck
Project Description: Since 1900, 94% of the grasslands and 97% of the wetlands in the Palouse ecoregion have been converted to crop, hay, or pasture lands. In order to highlight the fragile and changing Palouse prairie, Zuck and the student organization SOPE (Student Organization for People and the Environment) collaborated to create this proposal to build native vegetation gardens in the Living Learning Communities and the on the corner of 3rd Street and Highway 8. Plants were purchased from Plants of the Wild (a local seed producer) and plantings were conducted during Earth Week 2009 and at U of I’s annual “Saturday of Service.” Once completed, these gardens enriched various campus areas, not only aesthetically but also educationally by providing a living laboratory for students to utilize. The gardens also provided a variety of important environmental functions, such catching and absorbing storm water runoff, a benefit in both the short and long term.

Current Status: Complete.

University of Idaho College of Law Recycling Initiative

Amount: $486
Granted To: Dylan Hedden-Nicely
Project Description: Without a permanent and widespread recycling system in place, the College of Law was unable to provide this basic service to the +300 students that pass through its doors each day. Seeing this as an opportunity to develop an inexpensive yet effective project, Hedden-Nicely proposed a grant to replace the 65 trash cans in the Law Library with recycle bins with small hanging trash cans. Early surveys indicated that the majority of students within the Law School would recycle if it were readily available. Through his grant and volunteer support from the Environmental Law Society, recycling became a commonplace and easily-accessible activity in the College of Law. 

Current Status: Complete. However, a campus-wide recycling system is still needed.

McClure Hall Energy Efficiency Analysis

Amount: $190
Granted To: Kenneth Peters, Adam Radel and Mason Croft
Project Description: Just how much energy is used to power all of the computers in the high-use labs and terminals of McClure Hall? Three geography students surveyed this campus building to determine its power consumption footprint, with special emphasis on the demands of computers and lighting. This data was collected by “Kill-O-Watt” meters that monitored and recorded power consumption during peak and non-peak times. Their results were quite interesting and showed that all 419 computers left on for 8 hours, and in “stand-by” mode for 16, were far more energy efficient (over $7,000 in savings) than those computers left on for a full 24 hours. This project became a model to adopt simple yet cost-effective energy saving strategies for other U of I departments, organizations and student groups.

Current Status: Complete. This project could be reinitiated or expanded by 1) implementing an education campaign, 2) calculating savings in cooling costs, 3) anticipating energy usage in new buildings planning, or 4) conducting an accurate census of computers and consumption campus-wide.

Solar Fans on the Soil Stewards Hoop House

Amount: $1,982.63
Granted To: Jonathan LeBlanc
Project Description: In 2007, a hoop house (otherwise known as a mini greenhouse) was erected on the U of I organic student research farm (Parker Farm) managed by the student club Soil Stewards, in hopes of being able to start seedlings during the winter, increase the length of the growing season and produce more vegetables. To solve ventilation issues that stressed and damaged plants, LeBlanc developed a project to install solar-powered fans and ventilation pieces on the hoop house. In addition, he also installed internal thermostats to ensure proper temperatures for seedlings and plants. Through his efforts, seeds could be started earlier and continue later in the season. Moreover, his project served as an example for future sustainable endeavors with solar power.

Current Status: Complete. The fans and ventilation system are still in use for this hoop house.

Campus Move-Out Program (RE-ZY)

Amount: $10,760
Granted To: Esther Ngumbi, Fafanyo Asiseh, Genevieve Armstrong, Willow Falcon and Cynthia Mika
Project Description: In order to address the issue of moving-out at the end of the year, this project created and coordinated a sustainable move-out program (RE-ZY) for living communities on and around University of Idaho campus. A strategic system was implemented to intercept clothing, food, furniture and other reusable items before students disposed of them either during or after moving out. In addition to a vigorous marketing campaign, the project culminated in a campus-wide (and sustainable) yard sale.

Current Status: Complete. The UISC and other organizations on campus have implemented a similar program that takes place at the end of every Spring semester. Robert Goodrich (, in particular, works with his classes to set up this program when students are moving out at the end of the school year.  

Campus Energy Assessment

Amount: $10,650
Granted To: Harshana Thimmanna and  A.B. Rakesh Kamal
Project Description: Part of the U of I Sustainability Assessment, this project analyzed twelve buildings on the U of I campus including residence halls, office buildings, as well as lab buildings. This involved a thorough survey of all the buildings which focused on calculation of CO2 emissions based on consumption of electricity, gas and steam. Along with numerous newspaper articles to share the results to U of I students and staff, the project leaders also implemented a campaign to encourage sustainable and energy-saving choices via interactive seminars, a Kill-a-Watt competition, stickers on light switch panels and fliers.

Current Status: Complete. However, there is a need for a continuously updated U of I Sustainability Assessment. 

McCall Outdoor Science School Composting

Amount: $1,630
Granted To: Jenn Kullgren and Jacob Dolence
Project Description: The goal of this project was to implement a large-scale composting program at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) to reduce food waste and become more sustainable. Students, staff and faculty at MOSS worked closely with their cooks in order to develop a list of easily compostable foods. Measurements (weight and amount of waste reduced) were taken during the beginning of the project to establish baseline data to which future progress could be compared to. Once the grant was completed, the compost system became part of the daily chores that field instructors and students at MOSS complete daily. In addition, MOSS developed a program to donate compost to the community as well as outreach opportunities to local schools to plant native species throughout their campuses. 

Current Status: Complete. MOSS continues to use this composter, primarily during the summer months. In addition, the compost created is used on-site with the development of MOSS’ fire-wise landscaping. Community outreach programs included volunteer events to plan and model native species as part of the fire-wise landscaping.

U of I Sustainability Resource Compilation Project

Amount: $1,174.70
Granted To: Melissa Firor and Tess Studley
Project Description: Originally aimed at aiding students in the planning of future campus sustainability projects and educating themselves on environmental topics, this project aimed to build a collection of sustainability-focused magazines, books, films and online sources.  Although the library of these collected materials was never completed, a feasibility study was conducted to outline how to develop, organize and catalog the library. 

Current Status: Unfinished.

Reducing Campus Waste: One Freshman at a Time

Amount: $4,600
Granted To: Jacob Dolence and Student Organization for People and the Environment (SOPE)
Project Description: In order to address waste reduction on campus, SOPE distributed 500 16-oz reusable stainless steel travel mugs during Fall 2007 Orientation, one Core Discovery class, the CNR 101 class and a random sample of other student coffee drinkers. In addition, though collaboration with a 400-level statistical analysis class, a pre- and post-survey were administered to students who received mugs in order to analyze their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors towards sustainability as well as personal contributions to a solution of a waste-free campus.   

Current Status: UISC gives away sustainable water bottles, bags and more at Freshman Orientation each year.

Sustainability Conference and Design Charette

Amount: $4,657
Granted To: Jens Carlson
Project Description: This grant developed as an opportunity to turn the four UISC office rooms in Shoup Hall into a demonstration of a green office space through a design charrette. Jens Carlson, supported by the College of Art and Architecture, created and co-hosted this design charrette with world-renowned sustainable design guru, Sim Van der Ryn, who gave an evening keynote speech following the charrette. More than 50 Art and Architecture students attended the event and had the chance to create sustainable plans and designs for the UISC office space make-over; the winning team’s design was used and implemented over time by the UISC.   

Current Status: Although this was a very interesting project, the designs submitted by the Architecture teams were too expensive to implement. In addition, some of the submissions overlooked basic rules enforced by Facilities (fire egress, etc.). Currently, The UISC offices have now moved downstairs to Shoup Hall 105 and sustainable furnishings were purchased. 

Rainwater Harvest Demonstration Garden

Amount: $10,000
Granted To: Robert Farnsworth
Project Description: Farnsworth’s grant demonstrated how rainwater could be harvested from the roof of the historic Art and Architecture building and provide the sole water source for a sustainable and educational garden of native plants. Funds went towards designing a system to store and reuse water, water-wise landscaping and the removal of senescent arborvitae trees on the building’s east side. In addition to reducing water, this project also showcased a practical and effective water conservation innovation for the U of I community.

Current Status: Complete. The garden in front of the Art and Architecture Building is the rainwater harvest garden. 

Road Map for Wind-Powered Electric Vehicles with Disabilities Services

Amount: $1,540
Granted To: Erik Luvaas, Kyel, Harbacheck and Justin Saydell
Project Description: This project’s intentions were to determine the feasibility of implementing a project to harness wind energy on campus and convert it to electricity to power a fleet of electric vehicles (specifically to be used by U of I staff, faculty and students with disabilities), thereby reducing U of I’s carbon footprint. Working with the various entities on campus, performing extensive background research and understanding the resources and needs on campus made the electric vehicle project very feasible. However, creating a prototype vehicle through the Senior Design Project of the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department was too large a scope for student ability; this project is available to be continued and expanded.   

Current Status: Unfinished. Only the feasibility study was completed. In addition, all the group members graduated and noted in their final report that the scope of the project was too big and needed to be scaled down; “we learned that it will be more fiscally feasible to buy an electric vehicle than to have students modify one.” 

Our Green Campus Interactive Website

Amount: $6,674
Granted To: Jed Kleppen, Ben Cote, Francisco Martinez, Jennifer Mano & Michael Holland
Project Description: Just how “green” is our campus?  A team of students with majors ranging from digital media production to mechanical engineering decided to find out by creating an interactive website that functioned as a learning environment of “green zones” and projects across the U of I campus. By interviewing students, staff and faculty, using green screen technology as well as cutting edge video editing software, the team created 30-second clips of each zone and environmentally “clean” projects, like the U of I arboretum and steam plant. Incorporating Google-Earth imaging and a user-friendly, interactive interface, the “Our Green Campus” website was launched.   

Current Status: The website was taken down after the students responsible for the grant graduated.

Reducing Consumption and Saving Money at the U of I Computer Labs

Amount: $3,415
Granted To: Justin Saydell and Kimberley Higgs
Project Description: With students printing more than 3,000,000 pages of reports, homework assignments and more per year at U of I, both the environmental and financial costs are of great concern. In collaboration with the Office of Information Technology (OIT, formerly ITS), this project encouraged students using campus computer labs how to save paper by printing double-sided and putting more on each page.  This included placing print and digital information in 19 student computer labs across campus in the forms of posters, custom mouse pads (750), as well as a desktop icon with step-by-step instructions. Not only will this project decrease paper usage and printing costs, it will also encourage sustainable lifestyles to reduce waste.  

Current status: Complete. The mouse pads are still in use but some may need to be replaced. In addition, in order to reduce paper waste, ASUI is working with OIT to implement a system that will make all computer lab printers automatically print double sided.

U of I Student Sustainability Cooperative

Physical Address:
Idaho Student Union Building Room 302
Moscow Campus

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2535
Moscow, Idaho 83844-2535

Phone: 208-885-4106


Web: Student Sustainability Cooperative