Sustainability Committee funds green campus initiatives

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Three professors are hoping to make the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus a little greener with the help of the UA Little Rock Sustainability Committee. 

The Sustainability Committee awarded three $2,500 grants for innovative research and teaching proposals geared toward the development and promotion of the principles of sustainability.

Avinash Thombre, associate professor of applied communications, will develop communication strategies to assist in the Sustainability Committee’s effort to make UA Little Rock a zero-waste university.

The Environmental Protection agency defines zero waste as a diversion rate of 90 percent or greater, meaning that at least 90 percent of all waste produced on campus must be kept out of the landfill.

Thombre will work with the committee to spread the principles of zero waste among campus stakeholders and assess the readiness of the campus community to become a zero waste university.

To achieve this, he will conduct focus groups and create a survey to research attitudes toward sustainability on campus and use the data to create an interactive website.

Serhan Dagtas, professor of information science, was awarded a grant for his project, “Switching to alternative fuels on campus and beyond.”

Dagtas is researching the feasibility of using compressed natural gas and electricity as clean power alternatives for university-owned vehicles.

He also plans to create an online tool that will help universities and state and government agencies evaluate clean energy options in their transportation and procurement decisions.

Noureen Siraji, assistant professor of chemistry, received a grant for her project, “Green Tunable Materials for Sustainable Energy.” She will research a low-cost way to generate electricity through dye sensitized solar cells.

Grant funds can be used for travel, educational materials, equipment purchases, field trips, and guest speakers.

The Sustainability Committee promotes healthy environments, economies, and societies, starting with the UA Little Rock campus.

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