Congratulations to our 2015 Sustainability Innovation in Research and Education (SIRE) award winners! New grants are being awarded in the Educational Innovation and Research Initiation programs.
SIRE-Educational Innovation grants
- Solutions for Food Waste Reduction: Integrating Teaching with Research on Sustainability
- Advancing the Assessment of Sustainability Learning Outcomes at UW–Madison
SIRE-Research Initiation grants
Solutions for Food Waste Reduction: Integrating Teaching with Research on Sustainability
We will develop a module on food waste for a large–lecture undergraduate class and subsequently create a new, interdisciplinary undergraduate course on Local to Global Solutions to Reduce Food Waste. Our proposal builds on two prior awards from the Office of Sustainability that had highly successful outcomes. We will continue our partnership with Carl Korz, Dining Director of the Wisconsin Unions, and hope to forge additional campus collaborations over the next year to ensure our work has long lasting contributions for campus sustainability efforts. We will also continue to informally collaborate with Professors Adrian Treves and Catherine Middlecamp by giving guest lectures in their classrooms and discussing teaching approaches.
Advancing the Assessment of Sustainability Learning Outcomes at UW–Madison
How can we ensure that sustainability education at UW–Madison does not shy from its most important goals, even when they are complex? How can faculty and program administrators find out whether and how students understand sustainability in meaningful ways that are relevant to their professional and personal lives? This project is intended to improve the impact and coherence of curricular and co-curricular sustainability education at UW–Madison. Through literature review, interviews, and an iterative series of stakeholder meetings, I propose to (1) map how UW–Madison’s in-practice and aspirational goals for sustainability education fit within the broader picture of research and practice on sustainability education and (2) identify tools and practices for measuring progress toward those goals. Project deliverables will include a white paper on assessing meanings of sustainability, an annotated bibliography, a collection of assessment tools, and a capacity-building workshop.
Energy-Efficient Recycling of Packaging Waste
This research project aims to produce recycled plastic materials from UW campus packaging and container waste without sorting—and preferably without cleaning—while at the same time maintaining or improving upon their properties. We also hope to improve the collection, sorting, and distribution system of packaging on the UW campus by using the Wisconsin School of Business (Grainger Hall) as a prototype. This new approach to recycling will lead to a reduction of the plastic waste going to landfills, decrease carbon dioxide emissions, conserve non–renewable fossil fuels, and may have potential use in the production of 3D printing parts.