Applications Open for Paid Sustainability Fellowships at PLU
By Evan Heringer ’16
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, Wash. (Feb. 25, 2015)—Pacific Lutheran University’s Sustainability Committee is now accepting applications for two 2015-16 Sustainability Fellowships.
The Fellowship, which has been selecting students since 2006, is open to students from any discipline. It is an opportunity for students to research, examine and propose strategies that could strengthen sustainability efforts and practices on PLU’s campus.
Amy Scott ’15 is a Political Science major and a 2014-15 Fellow. She is working on a mapping project in which she is “trying to create one cohesive map that includes both sustainability devices on campuses and in the Parkland community,” she said.
Scott is identifying sustainability points in the Parkland area, which include community gardens and fitness and educational opportunities, and hopes to plug their location into a digital map that may be accessed online or through an app.
“My hope is to create a small bridge of resources so everyone can know what’s out there,” Scott said.
This year’s other Sustainability Fellow, Bailey Smith ’16, is examining the spectrum of food from production to compost. She’s now compiling research, which she will present this May.
“My goal is to examine which areas of the food spectrum contribute the most waste, particularly on a PLU scale,” Smith said. “We may not be making a change now, but we have the opportunity to encourage change in the future.”
Assistant Professor of Biology Romey Haberle, chair of PLU’s Sustainability Committee, hopes the Fellowship will provide students such as Scott with an exceptional learning opportunity while allowing them to contribute to campus sustainability—and make some money.
“Fellows are gaining research experience; getting paid; and developing the key soft skills of writing, oral communication, collaboration and working across disciplines and into the community,” Haberle said. “We hope to see projects proposed that will connect the individual student interests with larger initiatives and commitments that the university has regarding attaining our Sustainability goals.”
In 2007, for example, PLU signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The pledge contains numerous sustainability goals, one of which is becoming carbon-neutral by 2020.
Two students will be selected and funded for the 2015-16 academic year. Students are permitted to propose a topic from any sustainability area at PLU and “may include how these intersect with diversity and justice”; they also must select a staff mentor and a faculty mentor to assist with their projects. Students are required to complete eight 40-hour weeks of work between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016. The Fellows will receive $3,500 for their 320 hours of work; on-campus housing and meals are not provided.
Fellowship applications are due on April 2, and applicants will be notified in mid-April. The applications are available on the PLU Sustainability Committee webpage. On Feb. 25, ASPLU will table in the University Center from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to promote the Sustainability Fellowship and GREAN funds.