Fall 2018 Innovation Grants

Now in its eighth year, the Innovation Grants program has inspired so many wonderful programs on campus.  Take a moment, if you can, to review some of the past proposals as we celebrate the successful Fall 2018 proposals.

The next competition will take place, as usual, in Spring 2019.  For those who wish to mark your calendars and plan ahead, the deadline for applications in March 15, 2019.  We will remind the campus when the Spring semester begins.

Before sharing the new awards, we have good news!  The Innovation Grants Program will continue past 2018-19!  We have a funding commitment for three more years; the Committee is discussing structure for the next years and will share its plans after appropriate consultations. 

Alcohol-free programming, resources for students with color-vision deficiency, mental health and coping services, the natural environment, technology accessibility and convenience, and awareness of University history are the concepts that the committee found to be most well designed and innovative from among the dozen proposals. The committee members (In-Sil Yoo, Hana Bushara’21, Elaine White, Jeremy Freeman, and Lisa Cania) loved the variety of ideas in all 20 proposals (the largest number in several semesters), and chose these six to have the optimum effect on campus.  We also appreciated the many proposals that teamed faculty or staff with students.

Fall Awards

First Saturdays
Laura Lavoie, Cheyenne McQuain '20

First Saturday alternative-to-alcohol programming will provide free, on-campus events for students who prefer not to engage in drinking culture, to take place on the first Saturday of each month: February 2 (Extreme Laser Tag), March 2 (Paint & Sip with Mocktails), April 6 (Grocery Bingo), May 4 (Glow-in-the-Dark Roller Rink). With the geographical location of the North Country, there are limited resources for students to enjoy a “night out” outside of party culture, particularly during the winter months. While there are numerous campus events that are not centered on alcohol, most are of an academic or career-preparation focus, which, while beneficial, do not fill the need for casual socialization and a break from the rigors of academic coursework.

Accessibility for CVD Students
Madeleine Frank’19,  Erkan Toraman, and Student Accessibility Services

Around 8% of males and .5% of females deal with some sort of color vision deficiency (also known as “color blindness”). This means that at St. Lawrence University there are around 100 students who are dealing with this daily. Color vision deficiency (CVD) can make succeeding in class more difficult, especially in the sciences and arts, where color is often an integral part of learning. With this Innovation Grant, coordinators will purchase Enchroma glasses that optically remove certain wave lengths of light to make color vision possible for people with a deficiency. However, these glasses are expensive, and the average student may not be able to afford them. Student Accessibility Services will provide these glasses free-of-charge on a loan system. Then, when a student knows that they might need to distinguish color in a chemistry lab, for example, they can check out a pair of glasses for the afternoon.

Building Mental Whealth
Tina Tao, Tara Tent, Tsewang Lama, Colleen Coakley, Sam Heikkinen ’19

This initiative creates opportunities for all students to access mental health strategies and concepts outside the Counseling Center. Many people do not feel comfortable accessing mental health counseling but may be open to engage in positive coping strategies. The four main components to this program are: 1) Mental Whealth Days, 2) “Hear Our Stories”- mental health conversations with faculty and staff, 3) Translation of health and counseling forms, 4) QPR suicide prevention training for students. These events will take place throughout the academic year. This project will have a direct impact in students’ success and satisfaction at St. Lawrence University. Faculty and staff are welcome to participate in the activities and engage in discussions about mental health awareness on campus.

Chargers to Borrow
Aimee Hebert ’21, Cecelia Rooney ’20 and Rene Thatcher

This proposal is to provide St. Lawrence students the access to chargers for laptops, phones, and tablets while studying in the student center or ODY library. This will alleviate the stress of having to find one elsewhere or walk all the way back to your room, which for some maybe quite far. Chargers for MacBook, IPhone, Androids, and Chromebook will be provided at the student life desk on the second floor of the student center and at the front desk of the library. In exchange for a student ID, students may borrow a charger for as long as they need to complete their work.

Bat Boxes on Campus
Erik Sauer ’20, Eliza Gillilan ’19, and Sara Ashpole

Upstate New York has been the epicenter for the spread of what has become an extremely prevalent disease in bats, White Nose Syndrome. The disease was first sighted in 2006 near Albany, New York and has since spread to locations as far as Washington state. The disease is highly destructive; eliminating as much as 90-100% of populations in a given area. The surviving species need safe places in which they can raise their young and thus ensure the species can recover. Bat boxes provide an easy and cost effective way to not only assist endangered species, but also provide a medium for educating the St. Lawrence students and the general public about bats. We would like to implement 4 pairs of bat boxes at the Living Lab site as well as along the Saddlemire Trail. Bat boxes are simple wooden structures, not unlike bird houses in appearance, that aim to mimic the space between bark and a tree trunk. (Accompanying these boxes would be small interpretive posters that would educate readers about bats and their value to agriculture and the natural ecosystem. Furthermore, the boxes, if fitted with ultraviolet lights could provide inoculation sites to combat white nose syndrome.

SLU Building Signage Phase II
Paul Haggett, Marcus Sherburne, and Paul Doty

Many people have influenced the development of the St. Lawrence University campus over its 160 year history. One way of recognizing that influence is through the naming of buildings and other spaces on campus. These names and buildings become landmarks, yet, in many cases, signage identifying them often does not add any historical context to the building or its namesake. This project adds interpretive signage at major entrances to certain campus buildings and other spaces, explaining the history behind the name, the building, or both.