A new grant program helps students launch sustainable projects.
The GW Sustainability Collaborative began awarding mini-grants to student projects last semester. Leaders in the collaborative said the $250 grants, funded by the program, are awarded to students to support research, travel, conference registration or other academic pursuits related to sustainability.
Ariel Kagan, the student adviser for the collaborative, said officials started the program to help students who approached the group hoping to get financial support for their projects.
Kagan said students are encouraged to apply as individuals or in groups for the one-time grant and that the collaborative can fund up to 10 grants per semester. The grants are not intended as supplemental income for internships, and people who receive the grants are expected write about their experiences in a blog or on social media, she added.
“The strongest proposals will include the three E’s of sustainability — ecology, economy and equity,” Kagan said in an email.
Anna Hedlund, a senior who is minoring in sustainability, received a grant last semester for a project in Panama. The $250 grant Hedlund received covered her travel costs to Coiba National Park, a small marine-protected area off the Panamanian coast.
Hedlund said the the grants encourage students who are interested in sustainability to pursue projects related to the topic.
“The grant program opens a lot of doors for people to expand what they’re doing, dive deeper into what they’re doing and just take their research to another level,” Hedlund said.
Kayla Williams, a fellow at the sustainability collaborative and a GroW Garden manager, said although the $250 grants are relatively small, they have a significant impact on students starting projects because they help cover travel or supply costs.
These grants can open doors to students from different socioeconomic backgrounds to get involved with sustainability, Williams said.
“Sustainability is a very intersectional movement,” Williams said. “This removes that income barrier, and it opens the doors and provides accessibility for a lot more people, which is a key part of sustainability.”