Students Form ‘Green’ Partnership

Students Form ‘Green’ Partnership

On a sticky July afternoon, Katharine Grant and Andrea Lewis walk through an empty house near Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte to see the work in progress. Renovation crews have already installed new energy efficient windows and siding, but there’s more to be done before the homeowners can move back in and start saving on their monthly bills.

The project is part of a broader collaboration between JCSU and Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, where Katharine and Andrea are graduate students. Over the summer of 2010, they worked with JCSU on several sustainability projects as part of their master’s program.

Organizers say the collaboration provided multiple benefits for everyone involved.

“It was a great opportunity to provide learnings for both institutions,” says Sherrill Hampton, special assistant to the president at JCSU and director of the school’s Center for Applied Leadership. “It provided peer-to-peer interaction, and brought a different perspective to this growing sector.”

Katharine and Andrea’s work began in 2010. That summer, they:

  • Documented the campus sustainability work that JCSU had already completed, and evaluated historical data.
  • Worked with the school on a repair and weatherization project in 12 neighborhoods near campus. JCSU had funding through a Housing and Urban Development grant to renovate houses; the school included energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades as part of the effort. Katharine and Andrea reviewed participant materials, outlined a homeowners’ manual and made presentations to neighbors on energy and water savings.
  • Prepared an overview of green business ideas for women entrepreneurs in the community. The students researched ways for women to “green” their workplaces and identified green business opportunities in Charlotte.
  • Brainstormed ideas for a “Go Green” campus initiative to educate students, faculty and staff on sustainability. Grant and Lewis collected suggestions for events and projects and created an on-campus survey.

Their work will continue with two visits to campus and meetings with students, faculty and staff.

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