St. Lawrence Awards Spring 2017 Innovation Grants

St. Lawrence University announced the Spring 2017 Innovation Grant award recipients, which include teaching about fire safety, improving energy efficiency and safety in theme cottages, enhancing student music performance space, training for website accessibility strategies, and understanding new opportunities for student and regional community engagement are the concepts that the committee found to be most well designed and innovative from among the dozen proposals.

Supported by the President’s Office as a result of a $100,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Innovation Grants program began in 2010 to encourage initiatives that will improve the quality of life at St. Lawrence through curricular, co-curricular or campus life projects and provide a foundation for St. Lawrence’s future. Students, faculty and staff are eligible for the grants.

Below are the winning proposals:

“After the Fire”
Nick Ormasen (Purchasing)John Robert O’Connor (Student Activities & Leadership), Patrick Gagnon (Safety & Security)

This grant would provide funding to invite to campus Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos, who share the story of their survival during a dormitory fire at Seton Hall University on Jan. 19, 2000, where three of their fellow classmates perished and 56 others were injured. Their story is one of survival, perseverance, inspiration, hope, courage, and friendship. They inspire to motivate students and professionals that life will give you many obstacles. It’s how you overcome those obstacles by drawing strength, knowledge, and motivation from those around you. With these tools in life’s endeavors, they prove that there is life “After the Fire.”  This event will be scheduled for the first weeks of the fall semester.

“Arts Annex Performance Space”
Robert Baird ’17, David Henderson (Music), Kelsey Mattison ’18 

For the past three years, the Performing Arts Annex theme house has been working to create a music practice space in the building to further its mission as a theme house. Students have had considerable success hosting performance events in the house, including our Stoop Show, Battle of the Bands, and student band performances. They grant would provide a practice space that is acoustically treated and outfitted with the necessary equipment to amplify live sound, and it would provide for a small stage that can be used for performances in the Annex. The acoustic treatment and stage will be portable, so no physical changes will be made to the building.

“Cooking Up Savings”
Melissa Miller (Facilities Operations) and Bruce Streeter (Facilities Operations)

The grant will be used to increase the safety and efficiency of electric stoves in University residential housing. The Smartburner cooking system reduces the heat delivered to the heating elements by controlling the element temperature and the electricity. Traditional electric elements quickly become red hot and reach dangerous temperatures. Each Smartburner element is an electronically controlled, solid cast-iron cover plate that is installed directly into the stove, limiting the maximum temperature of the plate to 350°F. This cooking temperature is high enough to allow for efficient and effective cooking, but low enough to significantly reduce the risk of ignition of household materials.

“Next Steps: Web Accessibility”
Matt McCluskey (Disability & Accessibility Services)

In recent years, St. Lawrence has begun the process of making its websites and online content accessible to all people, including those with visual, auditory, physical, cognitive and other disabilities. This innovation grant would be used to bring in outside expertise to help take the next steps in this crucial area and continue to fulfill our legal and ethical responsibilities. The goal is to develop a working relationship with a skilled professional who has experience in building campus-wide (and ideally, consortium-wide) commitments, as we look to develop best practices, policies, training, cross-professional teams and additional institutional capacity.  

“SLU in the Community: Pathways to Engagement Innovation Grant”
Ashlee Downing (Student Activities & Leadership), Julie Johnson(CBL), Alexis Joy’19

More than 80 percent of first-year students said in a survey they were engaged in community service before arriving on campus. Yet, students often say that they are unaware of opportunities to “engage” with the local community. The intent of this proposal is to build new and exciting opportunities for Laurentians and enhance current programming to include – but not limited to – CBL courses, Volunteer Services opportunities, service/engagement themed housing, Public Interest Corps (SLUPIC) internships, and events hosted by student organizations that focus on service and the THELMO Canton Community Outreach committee events that bring the campus and the local community together.

The Innovation Grant committee members included Associate Professor of Music In-Sil Yoo, Rian Falcon ’18, Executive Secretary Student Life Elaine White, Executive Director of Admissions Jeremy Freeman, Vice President for Community and Employee Relations Lisa Cania.