Month: April 2022

Environmental & Social Sustainability Grantees in UConn Today

Eat Local: Raising Awareness of Local Food Sourcing in UConn Dining Halls

UConn Today published a story about one of our Environmental and Social Sustainability Small Grants awardees on April 28, 2022.

Grantees Matthew Chen and Hannah Colonies-Kelley are investigating student awareness of UConn’s local food purchasing. From the article:

[The students] “soon discovered UConn Dining Services was already purchasing 36% of its food locally. Other large public universities such as UMass Amherst purchase only 20% of their food locally, on average.”

“I think that especially as such a large university, the example UConn can lead for sustainability is important,” Chen says.

Read the full story on UConn Today.

Forest Bathing Meditation Walks – April 29

Come forest bathing with the Office of Sustainability and NatureRx on April 29th as Regan Stacey leads us through the forests of the HEEP.

Forest bathing is the practice of immersing yourself in nature in a mindful way, using your senses to derive a whole range of benefits for your physical, mental, emotional, and social health. It is also known as Shinrin-yoku in Japan. ‘Shinrin’ means forest and ‘Yoku’ stands for bathing.

There are two sessions available, capped at 20 participants each. Sign up for your desired time:

Friday, April 29

Meet by the Red Trail behind the Innovation Partnership Building. Here’s a google map link:

Apply to the Fall ’22 Internship at OS

The Office of Sustainability is Hiring!

The Office of Sustainability is hiring a new cohort of interns. These paid internships provide excellent work experience, hone leadership skills, and set students up for success in environmental positions after graduating. Please apply to our team of sustainability-minded student interns. Positions are 8-12 hours per week and will begin Fall ’22. Interns deal with all kinds of sustainability topics – from energy use to environmental communications. All majors welcome!

Apply by April 30th

Must be a current first-year or a second-year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree at UConn


Green Careers Panel – Apr 13, 2022

What careers can help the planet?

April 13th from 6-8 PM

Green Careers Panel

The Green Careers Panel is an event sponsored by the Office of Sustainability to provide an opportunity for students to see how their interests align with real-life sustainability and environmental career paths and to gain general career advice. As there is increased momentum of student interest in careers in sustainability and the environment, we believe this year will be extremely helpful in providing students with insight into the many paths they can take to pursue a “green” career!

Wednesday April 13

6-8pm in McHugh Hall, Room 206

Format: 60-minute panel, 15-30 minute Q&A session, and  networking reception with free food to learn more from our panel of interdisciplinary environmental leaders.


  • Harrison Goodale, Co-Founder of Sustain Music & Nature
  • Courtney Lindberg, Deputy Director Public Works for Sustainability and Materials Management, Town of Manchester
  • Lidia Howard, Air Pollution Control Engineer, CT DEEP
  • Jessica Larkin Wells, Farm Manager, Spring Valley Student Farm
Additional panelists will be added soon.


Although students are allowed to attend event without registering, we highly recommend registration for this panel as it will fill up quickly.


Environmental and Social Sustainability Grants Awarded

UConn Office of Sustainability Awards Environmental and Social Sustainability Grants to Student-Led Projects

Five projects will increase environmental and social sustainability at UConn

Solar panels at Spring Valley Student Farm
Solar panels at UConn’s Spring Valley Student Farm. Thanks to a new small grants fund, students will be working with staff and faculty mentors to complete sustainability projects on UConn campuses. Photo by Spring Valley Student Farm.

UConn, consistently one of the top ten most sustainable universities in the United States, will be getting even better at upholding sustainable practices with the help of five student-led projects that are being initiated this spring.

These innovative projects are funded by the Environmental and Social Sustainability Small Grants Program through the Office of Sustainability at the Institute of the Environment. Creative student-faculty teams applied for funding this past winter to support campus programs that enhance environmental and social sustainability while engaging students and community members. Applicants shared ideas spanning education, research, authentic community engagement, and campus operations. Projects include everything from an ADA-accessible mouldering privy at the Spring Valley Student Farm, to studying how UConn sources food from local farms. “We are thrilled to support a diverse set of student-led initiatives spanning four UConn schools and colleges. Each project will contribute in important ways to continuing to improve the sustainability across many facets of our university,” shares Ashley Helton, associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Five projects were awarded funds due to their interdisciplinary nature and ability to advance sustainability and equity.

  • Farm to Institution Local Food Procurement Study: Working to Highlight Sustainable Options for Students
      • Students: Matt Chen ‘22 (CLAS, CAHNR), Hannah Colonies-Kelley ‘22 (CAHNR)
      • Faculty Mentors: Cristina Connolly, Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • Spring Valley Student Farm Privy Project
      • Students: Phoebe Mrozinski ‘22 (CAHNR), Andrew Muller ‘23 (CAHNR), Isaac Betts ‘23 (CAHNR)
      • Staff and Faculty Mentors: Phoebe Godfrey, Associate Professor, Sociology. Jessica Larkin-Wells, Farm Manager, Spring Valley Student Farm
  • UConn Swap Shop
      • Students: Madeline Kizer ‘24 (SOB), Efua Koomson ‘22 (CLAS) and Lyla Andrick ‘24 (CAHNR)
      • Staff Mentors: Megan Baro, Program Assistant for Inclusion & Global Initiatives, Honors Program. Katie Britt, Leadership Programs Coordinator, Werth Institute
  • Solar Photovoltaic Tie-in at Spring Valley Student Farm
      • Students: Rory Monaco ‘23 (CLAS), Zachary Stone ‘22 (SOE)
      • Staff and Faculty Mentors: Ali Bazzi, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering. Jessica Larkin-Wells, Farm Manager, Spring Valley Student Farm
  • Green Practice and Pedagogy: Enhancing UConn Avery Point’s Sustainability Performance and Programming
    • Students: UConn Avery Point EcoHusky Club, Sakshee Patel ‘24 (SOB), Kelsey DiCesare, Richard Krenitsky ‘22 (CLAS), Ian Bradley ‘22 (CLAS)
    • Faculty Mentors: Syma Ebbin, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Resource Economics

“This innovative program supports entrepreneurial activities by students, who co-design projects with mentors, providing authentic, collaborative experiences that will enrich their education and enhance sustainable practices and social responsibility. Students are making a difference!” says Michael Willig, Executive Director of the Institute of the Environment. 

Students will present their project findings and impacts this fall. “We are all very much excited for this opportunity to support UConn’s mission to enhance environmental and social sustainability on campus! This funding will certainly help us uphold UConn’s values and achieve our vision,” shares Efua Koomson ‘22 (CLAS), a team member on the UConn Swap Shop project and actuarial sciences major. Fellow team member Maeline Kizer, ‘24 (SOB) writes, “This can provide students with so many opportunities and resources.”


For more details on the Environmental and Social Sustainability Small Grants Program, please visit: