The CUNY Sustainable College of Staten Island Student Competition Team knows what it takes to spread awareness in a digital-friendly age. Led by CSI Urban Policy Analyst/GIS Specialist Nora Santiago, the team, consisting of three student interns, Genevieve Buccigrossi, Tim Sweeney, and Amanda Schettini, was granted funding on behalf of Vice Chancellor Christopher Rosa and University Director Tria Case for their proposal on waste and recycling at CSI with the integration of social media. The sustainability competition seeks to encourage individuals and teams of students to advance the sustainability work of The City University of New York, in partnership with faculty mentors.
Applicants are sought from any academic disciplines with skills or interests in Geographic Information Systems, communications, public relations, marketing, community organizing, or related subject areas to propose enhancements to CUNY’s efforts to make both NY and CUNY more sustainable. The competition is open to students pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Selected proposals receive support during the Spring 2017 semester, $2,500 each for students and $1,000 reimbursable research funding for faculty members, while the idea is “incubated” and an implementation plan is developed. Based on demonstrable progress and potential for success, two projects will be deployed in Fall 2017, with ongoing active support from Student Affairs and Sustainable CUNY. Faculty mentors are to be selected by students (or vice versa) and both will be supported during the project’s incubation as well as during the deployment period.
This year’s team submitted nine proposals surrounding the competition’s 2016-2017 Sustainability focus areas. The proposals and projects are expected to enhance CUNY’s sustainability efforts in one of the focus areas including Geographic Information Systems, communications and social media, and waste and recycling—each of which held its own agenda. The team’s final approved proposal, came under the great leadership of Nora Santiago as Amanda Schettini states, “Nora was essential to our success. She was such a great advisor throughout the whole process. We work for her throughout the year and she is the one that told us about the CUNY Sustainability Competition. Without her, we probably never would have even entered. She encouraged us the whole way and helped us with any questions we may have had throughout the process. She helped us brainstorm ideas for the proposals as well as proofread our final work.”
Santiago also holds mutual appreciation for her team as she notes, “As an adjunct faculty it was a great pleasure working with the students and seeing their enthusiasm about the topic. They are looking forward to starting a Sustainability Club on campus and getting other students involved in future sustainability projects.”
While the team’s final proposal was approved, their work is far from over. They plan to continue with the project by implementing two composting competitions on campus, creating a CSI Sustainability committee/club, as well as a Website, and Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for CSI Sustainability to further educate students on the importance of sustainability.