The Sidney E. Frank Foundation has made a gift of $200,000 to support environmental initiatives underway at Brown University. The gift, combined with an allocation of $150,000 from the Office of the President, will be used for a proactive community outreach and awareness program that was recommended by the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee (EEAC).

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Sidney E. Frank Foundation has made a gift of $200,000 to support new, comprehensive environmental initiatives at Brown University. The gift, combined with an allocation of $150,000 from the Office of the President, will be used for innovative projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, raise awareness, change behavior, and educate the community.

The goals of the program include supporting faculty, student and employee projects focused on interventions in the local community, while providing educational and research opportunities for Brown students, faculty and employees. A committee will be created to develop criteria and evaluate proposals for funding.

“We are grateful to the Sidney E. Frank Foundation for providing funds to help the University achieve a valuable objective: improving the environment,” said Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons. “This program will also enable the Brown community to demonstrate the value of this approach for other institutions.”

The following are examples of what the program might accomplish:

  • Distribute fluorescent lamps (CFLs) to the local community, combined with information about how their use will make a difference.
  • Contribute to the efforts of students, faculty and academic units to create education initiatives throughout the community (K-12) to educate students about climate change, its impact and solutions. This could include the development of a curriculum for local schools.
  • Collaborate with a Rhode Island public or noprofit entity to design a program to increase the energy efficiency of low-income housing.
  • Develop a project through Brown’s Center for Environmental Studies and involve students to increase the number of trees along Rhode Island’s roadways, which would increase carbon sequestration and reduce fossil fuel consumption to mow these same areas. This could be accompanied by an awareness campaign.
  • Support UTRAs (Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards) or UTRA-like projects that would encourage students or groups of students to work with faculty to conduct research pertaining to environmental issues, develop community projects aimed at reducing energy consumption and encourage awareness and sustainability

“Our hope is to stimulate creative and innovative individual initiatives as the University seeks to address global warming,” said Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for finance and administration. “The idea is to support faculty, students and staff projects focused on changing behavior at Brown and in the local community.”

Brown has taken a number of steps in recent years to develop an appropriate and relevant course of action to effect positive change. Through conservation measures already underway, Brown has avoided 37,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 90 million kilowatt hours, which, at today’s electric rates, is equivalent to $10.8 million.

Other aspects of the University’s measures to curb energy use include:

  • establishing an energy and environmental task force to assess the University’s baseline situation and impact, and provide recommendations;
  • creating a new position: director of sustainable energy and environmental initiatives;
  • establishing the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee (EEAC) to oversee various studies, advise Facilities Management on goals and priorities, and monitor progress;
  • switching to cleaner and less carbon-intensive fossil fuels during October, November, April and May, resulting result in a 30-percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the central heating plant by June 2008;
  • committing at least $5 million to capital projects in fiscal year 2008 and 2009 to increase the energy efficiency of existing buildings on campus;
  • enabling all faculty, students and staff to use RIPTA for free at anytime and to any place served by RIPTA.