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UT Martin launches new Center for Sustainability

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin has launched a new Center for Sustainability initiative to promote campus-wide sustainability practices and serve as a campus forum for those with new ideas to improve sustainability-related programs and activities.

The center, managed by an oversight committee, focuses on finding new ways to help UT Martin and the surrounding community become economically, ecologically and socially self-sustaining.

“Sustainability involves lots of ideas. It can be anything from a project involving the recycling center to food composting to using landscaping with native drought-resistant vegetation to conserve water,” said Dr. Eric Pelren, professor of wildlife biology and center coordinator. “Any change that results in long-term cost savings increases our economic sustainability, and any that increases equity, inclusivity and social justice increases our social sustainability.”

The center was created in August and is funded by a student-initiated campus green fee of $5 per semester per student. One primary function of the center is to award an annual grant to a student organization with a sustainability-related project. Grant funds come from the student green fee and could award up to $5,000 to a winning project.

Grant applications must be submitted by March 1 and should focus on a project proposal for the 2019-20 academic year. Any organization run by or including students is eligible to apply. Winners will be selected by the center’s oversight committee. Additional information on the grant program is available at utm.edu/sustainability.

For more information on the Center for Sustainability or how to participate in campus sustainability efforts, contact Pelren at epelren@utm.edu or visit utm.edu/sustainability.

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