Students Win $10,000 for Sustainability Ideas

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan (U-M) recently announced the winners of the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge, through which graduate students with the most innovative ideas for addressing the issue of environmental sustainability receive $10,000 (compliments of the Dow Chemical Company).

Both individual students and student groups entered the Dow Challenge, which required entries to be interdisciplinary in nature and to clearly articulate a pioneering concept, such as a new process, service, policy, technology, or product.

A committee of professors from several different schools at U-M (who also serve on the Graham Institute’s Executive Committee) determined the winners based on pre-determined criteria. The award winning ideas—and U-M graduate students who submitted them—are as follows:

  • “New Technology for the Desulfurization of Transportation Fuels” by Chemistry Ph.D. Student Katie Cychosz.
  • “Husk Insulation, Inc” a new business model developed by U-M Business students Ian Dailey, Eric Graham, Siddharth Sinha, and Elizabeth Uhlhorn.
  • “What is a Community-Based, Sustainable Food System? Examples for Application in Detroit, Michigan” submitted by a team of graduate students affiliated with U-M’s Urban Planning and Regional Development School: Rachel Arndt; Rebecca Cheney; Jamie Cohen; Allison Craddock; Stephanie Etkin; Caitlin Greeley; Brendan Moriarty; Nicholas Posavetz; and Christopher Gaines.

“This is a very selective competition—with the University of Michigan being one of only six universities on four continents invited to participate” says Donald Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute. “It really provides a unique opportunity for students to showcase their inventive and collaborative approaches for tackling this critical issue.”

On behalf of U-M, the Graham Institute has agreed to administer the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge annually for a three-year period.

The Graham Institute promotes sustainability-focused research, education, and outreach at U-M, with a primary emphasis on supporting interdisciplinary collaboration among different academic units at the university that are involved in environmental sustainability issues. Partners include the schools of Engineering, Public Policy, Law, Business, Natural Resources and Environment, Public Health, Architecture and Urban Planning, as well as many other departments within Literature, Science, and Arts.

For more information about the Dow Challenge, and to view the winning entries, please visit the Graham Institute website.