Fall 2020 Innovation Grants

To:                   The St. Lawrence Community

From:               Innovation Grants Committee (In-Sil Yoo, Jeremy Freeman, Elaine White, Hana Bushara ’21
                         and Lisa Cania)

Date:                November 18, 2020

Subject:           Fall 2020 Grant Results and Program Extension

The Innovation Grants program continued this fall and the committee has selected three proposals for funding.  While several of the other proposals certainly had merit, the committee provided feedback to the unsuccessful grant writers to indicate why their proposals were not funded at this time.  The Committee reminds all potential grant writers that the program is intended:

  • to improve the quality of life for the St. Lawrence community in new ways;
  • that it cannot purchase replacement equipment;
  • that grants should not require future university funding to sustain them;
  • that we cannot hire new personnel or substitute grant funding for routine student positions; and
  • that all proposals must have at least one employee sponsor for continuity.

The committee was mindful that 2020-2021 has a different shape than any other year. Our successful proposals can proceed regardless of the ways we are together this year and, we think, speak to needs and values of our community.

Campus Community Garden
Sara Ashpole

Seed to Table, a student organization that manages the Permaculture Garden and the Sustainability Program is seeking an innovation grant to support a new inclusive community garden. The community garden involves the Permaculture Garden being collectively gardened by the SLU community, including the availability of raised garden beds for individuals or shared groups to grow annual vegetables. In spring 2021, the Sustainability Program is running an online internationally recognized Permaculture Certification Course, with an 80-hr hands on practicum end of April. This grant helps provide the needed infrastructure for the garden to improve its maintenance in sustainable ways: new raised beds, environmentally sustained paths ways, and a locally constructed storage shed for tools.

Living Lab Earth Art Trail
Aaron Iverson
David Murphy
Peter Pettengill

The goal of this innovation grant is to expand the accessibility and use of Saddlemire Trail by developing an additional trail system plus a warming hut/visitor center that offers artistic perspectives of the environmental crises facing society today. First, the trail will offer artistic perspectives of the multiple environmental crises facing global society today. Second, the ENVS department is building (and funding) a state-of-the-art passively heated solar greenhouse on the Living Lab property, and they will use Innovation Grant funds to equip this as a warming hut/visitor center that will be incorporated as an element of the trail network. In addition to the solar energy captured in the greenhouse, the heating system that will allow for a warming hut will be aided by a geothermal forced-air system, the effectiveness of which will be monitored and improved through class research projects.

The Belonging Project
Grace Harkins ’21
Prof. Jeff Frank

The Belonging Project, an independent study course, works to give students and faculty a way to share how much certain people and places have made them feel like they truly belong at St. Lawrence. By the end of the semester, Grace Harkins will have completed a visual presentation of The Belonging Project and completed interviews with people across all areas of campus with the goal to ultimately recognize 5 to 7 people or places that have truly made a deep impact on our community. Innovation Grant funds will allow Ms. Harkins to present each of these people or places with a Plaque of Belonging.