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Michigan State

Funded projects for 2016-17

To support MSU’s commitment to furthering knowledge and improving life around the world through the convention of research, MSU Sustainability’s Be Spartan Green Student Project Fund provides financial support for students looking to use campus as a laboratory to investigate solutions for today’s most pressing and relevant sustainability issues.

The funded projects for the 2016-17 academic year focus on reducing energy use on campus, reducing waste and increasing recycling, addressing environmental and ecosystem challenges, and advancing sustainable approaches to food, housing, health and transportation. Several of the projects are still in the early stages of research and will be completed during the 2017-18 school year.

The Toolbox: A technique for enhancing sustainability reasoning and communication

Jessica Richardson, College of Arts and Letters

As sustainability becomes an increasingly vital tool for students, faculty and professionals, there is a pressing need to explore strategies for integrating sustainability into research and curriculum on campus. This projects aims to empower MSU faculty to teach the skills needed for reasoning and communicating about the value dimensions of sustainability and other science-laden social issues. Initial focus is on classrooms in programs like Natural Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife, Community Sustainability, Integrated Science Studies and Agriculture.

Sustainable Spartans Earth Day Extravaganza 2017 at the MSU Rock

Sustainable Spartans, MSU student registered organization

At MSU, many student groups address various aspects of environmental sustainability through their work. Near Earth Day, the Sustainable Spartans host the annual Earth Day Extravaganza at the MSU Rock, where these groups share those environmental efforts with the MSU community to raise awareness about sustainability at MSU and beyond. The event features numerous activities including a trivia wheel, games hosted by each group and a plant giveaway, and is a unique way to engage students who don’t study environmental topics in a conversation about today’s most pressing sustainability issues.

A photo of members of the Sustainable Spartans holding up a banner during their Earth Day event at the rock.

Learn more about the Sustainable Spartans.

Improving cycling safety on MSU's campus

MSU Cycling Club, MSU registered student organization

To enhance the volume and safety of cyclists on MSU’s campus, the MSU Cycling Club is using this project to promote cycling specific information that helps the MSU community understand safe and proper biking behavior and biking rules and regulations on campus. They are also distributing rear bike lights to all riders, in an effort to reduce injury and collisions with pedestrians, other bikes and motor vehicles.

Learn more about MSU’s Cycling Club.

The Spartan Woot Wall project

Kathleen Schenkel, Christina Nazar, Allyson Ray and Hayley Penn, College of Education

To support youth education in the Lansing community, this project brings renewable energy and engineering opportunity to local middle school students through Spartan Woot Wall Day, a day where teams of youth, undergraduates and instructors construct several ‘Woot Walls.’ The Woot Walls display classroom accomplishments, and are powered by 18 LED lights using a hand crank generator. Their purpose is not only to showcase student success, but also to generate conversation between students, parents and instructors about renewable energy.

Capture of CO2 from power plant emissions for value-added on-site use to produce sustainable hydraulic cement

Faris Matalkah, College of Engineering

Through this project, a fraction of emissions from MSU’s T.B. Simon Power Plant will be processed through a pilot-scale mill in order to capture the CO2 content of emissions during processing of raw materials into hydraulic cement. This new class of cement, which embodies CO2, has a distinctly low carbon footprint due to its simple processing without elevated temperatures. It also offers improved durability characteristics and low energy content, positioning it as a competitive alternative to the industry standard cement.

Citizen Scholars Residence Hall Compost Initiative

Claire Gault, College of Arts and Letters

This project will offer compost bins to a residence hall floor and educate willing participants through events and meetings, generating a compost team who will then facilitate the ongoing use of the compost bin for the remainder of the academic year. In addition to notable diversion of organic waste, the initiative will add value by tying residents to waste management, potentially inspriring them to incorporate sustainable practices into their personal lives during and following college.