Students are involved at every step of this project; from design & construction of the food cart, to promoting and maintaining steady biogas production within the digesters, to widespread public outreach. Our project, with the support of the Campus Sustainability Fund, will not only enrich student experiences and the culture that permeates the University, but will also act as a bridge for big ideas starting at the University to impact the wider world. Furthermore, the widespread engagement this project creates between students & student organizations with organizations in the local & global sustainability communities reinforces the commitment to sustainability that the University of Washington represents.
Project sponsorship will be provided by Ms. Toren Elste, Events and Outreach Specialist with UW Sustainability. Ms. Elste will be the primary point of contact for organizing participation of the food cart at events and keeping the operations team up-to-date on upcoming events that are a good fit for the sustainability theme of the project. Ms. Elste will donate her time as project sponsor.
Project vision and management will be provided by Kevin Cussen, an MBA student at the Foster School of Business. Kevin has experience leading complex projects through his career in the global health and environmental sectors and has a particular passion for alternative energy. Kevin Cussen is the co-founder and CEO of the biogas start-up SafeFlame, and will leverage his knowledge, network, and expertise in this area to drive the project towards success. Both he and SafeFlame co-founder David Crawford, a practicing civil engineer, will make in-kind donations of their time as advisors to the design, construction, and operations teams. In addition, Mr. Cussen will be responsible for keeping grant deliverables on track, following UW policies and procedures, interfacing with grant administrators, performing project update memos, buying / reimbursing purchases, scheduling volunteers, scheduling input gathering, coordinating transportation, and other project related tasks. Once the food cart is operational, Mr. Cussen & student volunteers will proactively work with Ms. Elste and other community stakeholders to look for opportunities to showcase the technology at various UW events.
Scientific and administrative support will be provided by Dr. Mari Winkler, an Assistant Professor specializing in biodigestion and waste water treatment with the UW College of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Dr. Winkler and graduate research assistant Aparna Garg will ensure students have a good understanding of the digestion process and will support students in the design, construction, and operation of the food cart. Additionally, Dr. Winkler has provided access to safety coursework to ensure student workers are prepared and informed on how to work in a workshop and lab safely. Dr. Winkler and Ms. Garg will be donating their time to the project.
The design and construction team will consist of a group of 9 students from Winter quarter of ENVIR 480 (Sustainability Studio), a group of interested students from the UW chapter of Engineers without Borders - including projects team lead Maeve Harris, as well as other interested students from the UW community. The design and construction team will be responsible for drafting and iterating on designs for the food cart, building the cart, testing the efficacy of the digesters, and troubleshooting any problems. In coordination with Mr. Cussen, UW Sustainability, UW Housing and Food Services, and UW Dining, the team will also be responsible for operating the food cart at events. Throughout the winter quarter, students from ENVIR 480 will donate their time in exchange for class credit. However, we ask for appropriate budget to pay two part-time students workers throughout the spring and summer quarters in order to keep the food truck operating and to vend food and knowledge at UW events.
Lastly, several UW departments have given approval for this project and shown a commitment to ensuring it’s success. These include UW Housing and Food Services and UW Dining who have agreed to provide scheduling and permitting assistance to ensure this project obeys all rules and regulations dictation the operations of such vehicles. This assistance will be rendered voluntarily.