Spring 2020 Innovation Grants

Even as we moved away from campus and online for our duties, the Innovation Grants program  continued, though we committee members needed more time than usual to evaluate and deliberate.  This announcement comes later than we hoped, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding.

This spring we are funding three proposals.  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.  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 of the potential that 2020-2021 will have a different shape than any other year. Our successful proposals can proceed regardless of the ways we are together next year and, we think, speak to needs and values of our community.  We expect to continue the program in 2020-21 and will share program information and deadlines near the beginning of the semester.

Breathe to Perform
Brian Atkins and Sinead McSharry

Breathe to Perform shares the latest science from the sport, scientific, and medical community regarding the role that breathing plays in stress, anxiety, and physiological state management. They discuss why breathing matters, practical application, restorative breathing, and long term application. They teach how to do basic breath assessments and provide a framework for why breath awareness and breath control offers distinct and unparalleled advantage with it comes to stress management, anxiety mitigation, and mental focus. This can provide a better understanding of mental health and provide strategies on ways to improve the mental health in the academic, medical, business, and athletic realm. The series is designed to bring the most effective protocols to reduce stress and anxiety, bring peak mental focus, and improve performance. It will provide stress and anxiety management skills all while using the breath. It will teach simple techniques to reduce stress, improve sleep, and lower stress immediately when overwhelming moments occur. Everyone will learn how to apply these simple and effective principles with consistency so that it will be able to provide long term benefits. Additional resources will be provided to further guide progress even after the seminars. This would be able to provide scientific education on reducing stress and anxiety and improving mental performance all while using the art of deep breathing. It would be a blend of breath education, brain science, and leading edge performance training to bring to our community together and help us collaborate together.

The Object Project
Nicole Roche

The “Object Project” is a SLU-based Story-Corps–style community-storytelling program focused on all populations of St. Lawrence students. The program begins with 3-4 recording events early in the fall semester—“collection days”—in which students across campus (and across campus communities) will be invited to record stories based on a meaningful object they have brought from home. “The Object Project” will provide students from all identities, backgrounds, cultures, countries, etc. an opportunity to come together and celebrate their diverse individual backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of home while also promoting interconnectedness and solidarity within the SLU community—their new home for the next four years. Partnerships with the First-Year Program, Digital Initiatives, and Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) will allow this program to extend into future semesters and onto multiple platforms. A proposed Sophomore Seminar in Spring 2021 will provide students the opportunity to learn how to curate an exhibit of objects featured in the student recordings collected in Fall 2020. Students will also learn to process, produce, and archive the recordings into Digital Narratives that will also be featured in the exhibit and thereafter have an online home through St. Lawrence University’s digital archives, thereby creating a permanent snapshot of our diverse student body, and its stories, in 2020 and beyond.

Bat Houses
Marcus Sherburne with Jim Hennessey and Craig Siddon

With exercise being even more important than ever, this proposal will fund construction of four Bat Houses on the Appleton Golf Course in areas where there is need to reduce mosquitos and other insects in an environmentally sound manner.

Baby Changing Stations
Laura Lavoie with Melissa Miller

The Gender and Sexuality Committee is expanding the number of baby changing stations in restrooms where the public most likely needs the service.  The project has been funded as a statement of equity and inclusion and new stations will be added in the Student Center (2), Augsbury (2)- Men’s 130 & Women’s 132 (close to pool);Lee Hall (1)- All-Gender Restroom Chapel (1)- All-Gender Restroom, Owen D. Young Library (2)- All-Gender Restrooms close to main entrance, Sykes (2)- Men’s 1010 & Women’s 1009, Noble Center (2)- Men’s 119 & Women’s 115 (close to Gulick Theatre & Brush Gallery) and Griffiths (2)- Men’s 110 & Women’s 109 (close to Black Box & Peterson-Kermani theatres)