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JU Sustainability students, programs to benefit from $10,000 Siemens grant

JU programs that teach students about sustainable dorm living and provide homeless veterans with gardening skills are getting a boost from a $10,000 grant to the university from Siemens Industry Inc.

The company’s Building Technologies division made the gift through its Sustainability Education Program to enhance Jacksonville University’s comprehensive Sustainability degree program.

From left, Steve Moore of Siemens Industry Inc., JU student Justina Freeman, JU Sustainability Coordinator Marcel Dulay, JU President Tim Cost, and Tracy Raulerson and Marc Craddock of Siemens. Photo by Donald dela Torre/Jacksonville University.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for JU to prioritize sustainability efforts as our students create solutions to the challenges we all face,” said JU President Tim Cost. “It’s also another way we will continue to fulfill our mission to reach out to our local community with as many relevant education programs as possible. We are extremely grateful to Siemens for having the foresight to partner with us in these efforts.”

Half the funds are for the university to use in monitoring and comparing a sustainable versus non-sustainable dorm.

Sustainability degree majors will be selected beginning in fall 2013 to live in the sustainable side of the dorm, and after acceptance must adhere to several standards focused on efficient lighting and HVAC usage, recycling and more. The other side will not have sustainability initiatives in place.

In their second year, the students will write a white paper comparing each of the sides of the dorm upon completion of the study.

From left, Valerie Herrmann of The Food Park Project and JU Sustainability Coordinator Marcel Dulay discuss a permaculture garden project at the Clara White Mission in downtown Jacksonville. Photo by Jacksonville University.

JU Sustainability Coordinator Marcel Dulay said that with changing attitudes and lifestyle behaviors, students in the sustainable dorm will consume less and recycle more by, for example, using reusable bottles for water over bottled water. They will use occupancy sensors for lighting, be conscious of electronics plugged in, and use less air conditioning, he added.

“Then they will enter their results and experiences into journals, conduct surveys, analyze data and perhaps even produce a documentary,” he said.

An additional $5,000 from Siemens will go toward a rooftop garden initiative in which JU students are working with the Clara White Mission in Jacksonville to train homeless veterans how to garden.

The veterans will take classes in gardening and receive certificates of completion from the Clara White Mission; they will then be able to take those skills to work for local restaurants, planting and maintaining rooftop gardens at their establishments. The produce from the gardens will be utilized in the restaurants’ daily food preparation.

A gardener does plantings in the downtown garden at the Clara White Mission in Jacksonville. Jacksonville University's Sustainability degree program received grant money from Siemens Industry Inc. to help JU’s garden initiative in which JU students are working with the Clara White to train homeless veterans how to garden. Photo by Jacksonville University.

“Siemens takes pride in our companywide initiative to hire veterans,” said Tracy Bible Raulerson, a JU Sustainability advisory board member and Energy and Environmental Solutions Account Executive at Siemens Industry Inc. “Supporting partners such as Jacksonville University, and the initiatives that fall within this grant, allows our internal initiatives to move beyond the walls of Siemens Industry, both touching and changing bright minds and futures for years to come.”

Dulay applauded Siemens and said the grant will help move the two programs forward.

“Working with Clara White provides a real-world learning environment for students, as they will learn how social, environmental and economic elements come together in a local project that exemplifies global issues for the future,” he said.