February 2, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU Green Fund monies bring lectures, films to campus
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Liberty Merrill, a Slippery Rock University graduate student in the master of sustainable systems program, is at work lining up "green" speakers for spring semester after having been selected to receive funding as part of the University's Green Projects program.
Merrill's application for $3,085 for "Sustainability Educational Programming for Students" was among five projects that received go-ahead funding this year following review by the Green Projects Advisory Board and SRU President Robert Smith.
"We are now in the process of scheduling three to five local speakers, including some big names at the regional level, to come to campus as a way of further extending the green movement," Merrill said.
She said topics could include energy efficiency, green building design, community development "and we are looking at the possibility of doing something with LEEDS certification in Pittsburgh or the Sustainable Pittsburgh Program."
The Sustainable Pittsburgh project affects decision-making in the Pittsburgh region to integrate economic prosperity, social equity and environmental quality bringing sustainable solutions to communities and businesses.
Merrill, of Le Grande, Ore., said the overall idea of bringing speakers to campus is so other students can learn about such environmental initiatives and help incorporate them both on campus and in their individual lives. She said the lectures could also be of interest to local residents a businesses looking to help improve the environment.
In another Green Fund program grant, Evans Endres, also an SRU graduate student in the sustainable systems program, said his project used Green Fund support earlier this year to screen the documentary "Food Inc."
"We are still hearing compliments about the films," he said. The documentary was brought to campus while it was still showing in large-market theatres, including Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Los Angeles.
The SRU showing, which drew some 300 viewers, included a panel discussion involving local organic farmers, restaurateurs, students and faculty. The discussion included the advantages of buying locally grown and produced food.
"The video is now available at video rental stores and from Netfkix," Endres said.
"As a promotion for the video, we brought some of the chickens we have at the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable System Education and Research to the Bailey Library Quad. The chickens piqued student's curiosity and we were able to tell them about the upcoming film," he said.
SRU's Macoskey Center serves as the laboratory classroom for sustainable system programs and projects, including a wind turbine, a photo voltaic cell and a straw bale construction demonstration site.
Endres, of Ligonier, is involved in a fellowship with the Green Cities program in Pittsburgh and is active in the Penn Future, climate campaign.
Other projects funded by this year's Green Fund grants went to:
� Occupancy sensors for classrooms and high-tech electric meters; $11,600; sought by Scott Albert, director of facilities;
� A biofuels processor project; $6,900; also sought by Albert; and
� A Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program; $4,150; sought by Langdon Smith, associate professor of geography, geology and the environment. (This project will be featured in next week's rockpride online.)
Jerry Chmielewski, SRU biology professor, is chair of the fund's advisory board that is comprised of SRU students, faculty, an administrator, a representative of the facilities and planning staff, and a member of the off-campus community.
SRU's Green Fund is a student-initiated program approved in 2008 by the SRU Council of Trustees. Funding, awarded through a grant application process, supports environmental-related initiatives on campus or in the community.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.