Sustainable Energy Initiative soliciting proposals through end of month

Western Carolina University’s Sustainable Energy Initiative is seeking environmentally friendly proposals from WCU students, faculty and staff to improve the campus’ sustainability while providing educational value for students at the same time.

The SEI is accepting proposals through Friday, March 31. Previous SEI grants have funded the Electron Garden on the Green, believed to be the first combination solar power generating facility and hammock “hanging lounge” on any college campus in the nation; an outdoor art project on the university’s multi-use trail that promotes discussion of sustainability and aesthetics on campus; and distribution of about 2,000 recycling totes to all new students.

The SEI is a committee of students, faculty and staff advisers who are responsible for allocating money toward the implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements, research and internships on campus. The committee’s annual operating budget comes from a student fee of $5 per student per semester. A link to the proposal form is online at the SEI website.

“We want to hear ideas for energy efficient programs, renewable energy projects, recycling ideas, internships, research and more,” said Joseph Guseman, chair of the SEI committee. “We’re open to a wide range of potential projects that would further WCU as a leader in efficiency and waste reduction, sustainability awareness and community participation.”

More information is available by contacting Lauren Bishop, chief sustainability officer in WCU’s Office of Sustainability and Energy Management in Facilities Management, at 828-227-3562 or