UTSA offers Campus Greening Idea Contest to improve sustainability

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(Nov. 22, 2011) -- When it comes to greening up the UTSA Tri-Campus community, there's a great chance you might have the next big idea. Thanks to generous support from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building, UTSA is hosting the UTSA Campus Greening Idea Contest. Your ideas can help us reach the next level in sustainability. UTSA undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit implementable and sustainable ideas to aid the greening of UTSA.

>> Download the contest submission form (Word document) with guidelines and other details. The submission deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 29.

A jury of eight representing the administrative, academic and student sectors at UTSA will evaluate submissions and select five winners Tuesday, March 6. Through the support of UNCF, there will be cash prizes including $1,500 for first place. Participants will be invited to an awards ceremony in mid-March, during which the winners will be announced.

The contest was created to add momentum to the goal of making UTSA greener through innovation and realizable ideas from students across the university. Each idea team must have at least three members, and the members must be from at least two colleges. Multidisciplinary collaboration is the focus of the contest, since successful campus greening initiatives need a variety of student perspectives.

Partners in the competition are the UTSA Sustainability Council, which discusses, coordinates and helps implement campus sustainability plans; The Movement, a UTSA student organization that focuses on sustainability and philanthropy through innovative initiatives; and the Green Fund Committee, a student-led committee that reviews and approves funding for sustainability-related projects submitted by students or other affiliated with the university. As voted on by UTSA students, the Green Fund fee of $5 per semester is in effect and has been accumulating over the last few semesters.

Felicia Davis, director of the UNCF Institute for Capacity Building, visited UTSA recently. "Greening the campus is important on two levels," she said. "Certainly, reducing cost and emissions is one objective. Second, and probably more importantly, is the goal of educating the next generation of leaders because they will have to grapple with enormously challenging problems that will take time to resolve. Having a mix of institutions participate in this initiative, especially minority-serving institutions that exemplify the diversity within America, is critical in that leadership development. I really believe that we are the force behind that paradigm shift."

"I think the contest is one of the best ways on campus [to demonstrate] that students can actually make a tangible difference and help the university progress," said Travis Jourdan, chief officer of the student organization The Movement and vice chair of the Green Fund Committee. "It can help active students get their name out there, and it just opens up a lot of opportunities. Though the contest is separate from the Green Fund, submissions have the opportunity to be turned into an application that could be reviewed by the Green Fund."