Innovation Grants Results Fall 2013

Innovation Grants Fall 2013
Warm thanks to everyone who participated in the Innovation Grants program.  The Committee feels inspired by the proposals we reviewed, which reflect commitment of the University community to improving the quality of life on campus and of the University’s connection to the regional community. Many proposals also reflected commitment to environmental sustainability.

The successful grants listed below all have the potential to offer transformative, positive change to campus life.  The committee members (Amy Hauber, Noah Fitch’14, Elaine White, Jeremy Freeman, and Lisa Cania) loved the variety of ideas in all proposals, and chose these four to have the optimum effect on campus.  We also were thrilled with the student-faculty and student-staff partnerships.

Please note:  we will have a new competition for the Spring 2014, with a deadline of March 17.  We also are considering expanding the awards to one major award of $10,000, and several smaller awards.  If you’ve been waiting for the perfect chance to propose your great idea, let’s hear from you!

Garden-Dining Hall Partnership
Ben Swimm, Sophie Owen-Jankowski '14

The Seed to Table Garden is a student-run garden that focuses on providing local food to the campus community. Despite a successful 2012 season, the garden was not restarted for the 2013 season, and this period revealed some weaknesses in the program. Our proposal addresses these issues in an effort to make a student run garden a permanent fixture of the University.
Growing food, especially when it is to be sold, requires a year-long commitment from those involved, as well as an expertise in marketing and maintaining business relationships. We will address this issue by moving the garden to the Sustainability Semester site, where it will be under the supervision of a full time SLU staff member, the Homesteader-in-Residence (HIR). The HIR will mentor students in growing food of the right quantity and quality for Dana Dining Hall. The HIR will also facilitate communication between Food Service staff and the student group, as well as guiding the student group through transitions as existing leaders graduate or go abroad.  The grant also will fund one intern for the summer of 2014.

Healthy Connections
Maddie Wetterhahn’15, Tim Corbitt, Pat Ellis

We propose to establish a working partnership that will primarily be between one or more student representatives and the Health and Counseling Center, and will also involve significant secondary collaboration with other campus organizations such as SWELL, The Hill News, and Residence Life. Our objective is to improve communication between the Torrey Center and the student body in order to ensure students are aware of the resources available to them, and that the Torrey Center is cognizant of the perceived needs of students.  First, to use more assertive and visible advertising (as well collaboration with Residence Life Staff) to distribute information to students concerning the services the health center offers, as well as to provide more information if clarification on these services is necessary. Second, to collect comments and questions regarding available services from St. Lawrence students, and use this information to target unaddressed areas of student interest and concern. Third, to start dialogues concerning health issues of interest to St. Lawrence students by organizing an annual major Awareness Week. A Spring 2014 Eating Disorder Awareness Week could include documentary screenings, a revival of the Healthy Body Student and Faculty Fashion Show, an advertisement Wall of Fame/Shame, and a positive messaging campaign. Last, we aim to increase accessibility to substance-free campus culture through programming such as movie nights, game nights, and group dinners off campus.

Integrity Week
Alison Del Rossi, Mary Jane Smith, Lia Pizzicato’14

The project coordinators, who represent Academic Affairs, the Faculty, and the Academic Honor Council, respectively, will work with their group members and members of other campus groups (detailed below) to organize a week of events around the theme of “integrity.” We have two goals: 1) to make students more aware of the St. Lawrence University Academic Honor Code to reduce the incidence of academic cheating on campus; and 2) to create a culture in which students connect the necessity for academic honesty in the classroom with the necessity to create and maintain a campus environment where integrity and honesty are the rule in all social interactions. Tentative events include: an integrity fair of campus organizations; a CTL workshop for faculty on academic integrity and the Honor Code; panel discussions on integrity in different academic disciplines (e.g., science/medical ethics and creativity and property rights); panels on integrity in co-curricular life, community interactions, and/ or relationships; presentation/panel on integrity in one’s professional life; a Thelmo town hall meeting on academic integrity; a film screening on integrity in journalism; and an outside speaker to address some issues of honesty, integrity, ethical behavior in education, politics, and work. We want the events to create multiple opportunities for conversation and reflection about what it means to behave in an ethical and honest manner in one’s academic, professional, civic, and personal life.

Orienteering Course
Brian Berg, Carol Cady, Jacob Malcomb

With the support of an Innovation Grant we propose the development of a new permanent orienteering course on the Kip Tract portion of campus. Orienteering is a sport in which participants find their way to various checkpoints across a landscape with the aid of only a map and compass. Orienteering can be enjoyed as a competitive sport, a training exercise to develop skills in navigation, or simply as an engaging walk in the woods. We envision this as a long-term project that will serve the campus community by providing an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff of all experience levels to explore the campus property and to learn or hone basic navigation skills. Through a partnership with Nature Up North this project will also reach out to local North Country residents and draw interest to St. Lawrence University from the surrounding community who may use the course as an opportunity to get outside or to develop navigational skills. Our hope is that this will be the first step leading to the creation of a local orienteering club at St. Lawrence University which will host events inviting other clubs in the New York region, students from the four local colleges, and community members to participate in orienteering competitions. This project will encourage our students to get outside and to explore these abundant natural resources, and drawing interest to the St. Lawrence campus from the surrounding community.