From water bottle refill stations to undergraduate research projects, the Student Sustainability Council has helped provide wide-ranging opportunities for UK students, staff, and faculty to engage with sustainability on UK’s campus. The Student Sustainability Council—or SSC for short—is a student fee organization responsible for the distribution of the Environmental Stewardship Fee, an annual $4.00 per student fee used to fund sustainability projects at UK. Since its formation in 2010, the SSC has funded over one million dollars’ worth of sustainability projects. These projects have ranged from yearly partnerships with the Office of Sustainability to stand-alone research projects or sustainability campaigns.
Project applications are considered on a biweekly basis, wherein the Council votes on each application based on its relevance to the three pillars of sustainability (environment, society, and economy), its potential impact for campus, and its commitment to student engagement with the project. Since the SSC stewards a student fee, the Council values the responsible distribution of student money toward sustainability. From its composition to its decision-making practices, the SSC promotes student voices and representation. The Council is composed of up to 29 student members, including representatives from the Student Government Association, Engineers Without Borders, and WRFL. Members learn vital skills that will help them become sustainability professionals in their respective fields, and grant recipients are able to develop amazing projects to promote sustainability within the UK community.
Recently funded projects include an undergraduate research project entitled “Quantifying Microplastic Concentration in Campus Soils,” which looked at microplastic accumulation on UK’s campus, “Help UK POP (Pass on Plastic),” a pass on single use plastics campaign, and the Summer Sustainability Research Fellows program, which provides opportunities for undergraduate students to engage with paid summer research in sustainability. These projects advanced sustainability efforts on campus, as well as created numerous opportunities for student involvement. Students, faculty, and staff can all apply for grants from the SSC, so if you are looking for funding opportunities for a sustainability-related project, check out the SSC’s website for ways to apply!
Additionally, if you are looking for ways to get involved with sustainability at UK, consider applying for a seat on the Council. Undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines are welcome. You can also apply for your student organization to gain a seat on the SSC if it does not have one already. Applications for SSC membership for the 2021-2022 school year will open up in March and will be available on the SSC’s website.
The SSC also promotes sustainability efforts through its WRFL radio show “GreenTalks.” Tune in on Thursday from if you are interested in learning more about all things sustainability at UK!