SEAS students on Dow Distinguished Awards winning teams
SEAS students are members of the 1st and 2nd place winning teams in the Dow Distinguished Awards Competition held in December, 2019. The teams were awarded a combined total of $75,000 in grants to support the work and impact of their projects in Costa Rica and Uganda. Both interdisciplinary teams work with Sustainability Without Borders (SWB), a student organization founded and based at SEAS.
The 1st place winning team was awarded $50,000 to support their project, “Developing a Net-Zero Biological Field Station in Costa Rica,” and included SEAS students Thomas Hayek and Jacob Picardat.
The Net-Zero Costa Rica Team created a carbon-neutral energy plan focusing on renewable energy for a research and education center in the Taboga Forest Reserve (Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica). Working in collaboration with researchers at U-M and La Universidad Técnica Nacional students also focused on developing a sustainable water and waste management plan. The project team will continue to work on efforts to support international and interdisciplinary work on the research station.
The 2nd place team team was awarded $25,000 to support their project, “Social Life Cycle Assessment and Health Impacts of Ceramic Water Filters in Uganda,” and included SEAS students Lauren Balotin, Lynn Socha, Annalisa Wilder, and Fantasia Williams.
The SWB-Uganda team has been investigating improved access to water resources through the use of ceramic water filters and assessing the overall needs of more than 26 million Ugandan citizens lacking access to safe water. The project team will continue working on social life cycle assessments, GIS mapping and other methods to improve access to safe water.
Both teams are part of the cohort of eight Distinguished Award project teams awarded seed grants earlier this year. Teams competing for support include students working collaboratively from at least three distinct disciplines, U-M project advisors and a variety of project partners.
SEAS assistant professor Jose Alfaro founded SWB while he was a SEAS student in 2011, and served as a project advisor for both of the winning teams.
The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan is an innovative program that supports approximately 45 outstanding fellows per year at the masters and doctoral levels. The program also includes a Distinguished Awards for Interdisciplinary Sustainability competition for applied projects that cut across disciplines and academic levels. Distinguished Award teams include approximately 70 U-M students per year at all academic levels.
Read the full story on U-M’s Planet Blue.
Photo: Representatives from Large Grant Award-winning teams working in Costa Rica and Uganda.