Green Fund Grants Awarded to Graduate Students & Center for Sustainable Development

June 8, 2018
Grants support an exhibition on the Battle of Waller Creek and an inventory of food vendor practices on campus
Student occupies the remnants of a tree on Waller Creek, 1969

The University of Texas at Austin Office of Sustainability’s Green Fund is a competitive grant program funded by tuition fees to support sustainability-related projects and initiatives proposed by students, faculty, and staff. Since the launch of the program in 2011, over 160 grants totaling more than $3 million have been distributed. For the 2018-19 academic year, a committee of three faculty-staff and six students elected to fund seventeen projects for a total of just over $300,000.

Among these initiatives an exhibition about environmental activism during the Battle of Waller Creek on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, organized by the School of Architecture’s Center for Sustainable Development. The exhibition will share the story of a group of idealistic and brave students (the majority of whom were students at UTSOA) who physically stood between bulldozers and the live oak trees on the banks of the creek to protest the removal of the trees and the paving of the creek’s banks to make way for the expansion of the football stadium. Visitors will be able to experience the Waller Creek Battle through the eyes of the activists, based on research conducted by the CSD which will also result in a video that recounts the 1969 event in the participants’ own words. Funds from the grant will allow the school to produce educational outreach materials to increase awareness about the effects of the built environment on the natural environment and promote environmental activism at a time when the City of Austin is developing a new comprehensive framework plan for Waller Creek.

Community and Regional Planning graduate students Clare Zutz and Elisabeth Altazan will use grant funds to conduct an inventory of current food vendor practices on campus. This initiative will result in a baseline report about the campus food system with the goal of increasing sustainable practices.

“Over six years, Green Fund has jump-started major, sustainable change on campus,” Jill Parrish, Green Fund Coordinator, stated in a recent announcement. “It is truly a pleasure to see a new slate of fantastic ideas each year, ideas that come from so many people committed to making UT Austin green.”