UNH Manchester Receives EPA Sub-Grant for Environmental Research

UNH Manchester Receives EPA Sub-Grant for Environmental Research

Monday, August 26, 2013

UNH Manchester was among 18 New England college campuses recently selected for an EPA sub-grant. 

Northern New England Campus Compact, a coalition of nearly 60 college and university presidents across New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, has awarded the grants to develop academic programs that will address some of the region’s most pressing environmental issues. 

Through this two-year initiative, campuses will partner with community organizations to embed sustainable environmental projects into a range of academic courses. Students will learn about environmental stewardship while providing immediate services such as water quality monitoring as well as studying ways to mitigate climate change. 

“Preserving our natural resources has become a local as well as a global imperative,” says Debby Scire, executive director of Campus Compact for New Hampshire, one of the three state organizations spearheading this effort. “Equally important is ensuring that students develop the critical thinking skills necessary for both public problem-solving and employment in a competitive market. Higher education plays a vital role at this intersection, with the ability to prepare students for environmental stewardship and employment.” 

Funded by a $150,000 Environmental Education grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the sub-grants will provide training and resources for faculty members across a wide variety of disciplines in creating courses that embed environmental projects into the curriculum. Each campus will develop a minimum of four courses. Five New Hampshire colleges and universities were selected for the program, including UNH Manchester. 

Students from UNH Manchester’s biological science program, in partnership with the Manchester Water Department, will learn to assess and monitor the water quality of Lake Massabesic, Manchester’s primary water source. Computer science students will develop mobile apps and data management systems for collecting and analyzing environmental data. Students in communication arts will assist the water department in educating the public about water quality issues.

“Students participating in these projects are providing an immediate benefit to their communities,” says Scire, “but the true beauty of this work is that it focuses on longterm solutions, in terms of establishing ongoing environmental evaluation processes as well as developing students’ knowledge and skills.”