Letter of Intent
Project Size: 
Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: 
$5,000
Letter of Intent: 

The University of Washington has shown up on many "greenest campus" lists, and, as shown by the very creation of the CSF, is hungry for more. However, when you search "University of Washington” + “green” or "sustainable" or "environment", we see links to specific programs on our campus, the strides that facilities services are making in sustainability, and a splattering of administrative sites that simply make Google's crawler happiest. There is nothing about the most important part of our campus sustainability: the students, and the projects they and the faculty are doing that really push the UW to the top of those green campus lists.

We need a landing place for environmental sustainability on our campus. Using my story telling, management and multimedia skills, I propose creating a robust, yet simple website featuring professional quality photos, videos, and written pieces showcasing our students’, faculty’s and staff's ongoing efforts to create a culture of sustainability, eco-awareness, and environmental progress on our campus. The site would not only act as a resource for people outside of the university to learn about our campus' endless efforts on this front, but also serve as a living, evolving space for students and faculty to update their own projects, and engage with others on campus working in similar fields.

While green.washington.edu is a great database for overall news and information related to the campus, and a launch point for other environmental resources and entities, without being active in the student community and a content generator, it will never gain traction on Google, or for the masses interested in UW’s sustainability.

Environmental Impact:
While this is more of a "meta" project in its scope and environmental impact, I think the value of this project lies in cultivating a community of sustainability on campus that would support the current environmental movement and encourage more projects from students and others who might not know about all that is happening on the campus. No, this project would not have a measurable impact on the categories listed, but its educational impact could be seen through the networks it creates and the number of people who interact with it.

Student Leadership & Involvement:
This would be an entirely student lead, student created and student maintained project. For its planning and creation, it will demand knowledge of our campus sustainability efforts only students highly engaged in the community could provide, and skills that any number of students on campus have. The videos, photos, and written pieces will focus on student led efforts and student created projects, with faculty and UW administrative efforts comprising of less than half of the projects showcased on the site.

I also believe there would be great value in collaborating with the Sustainable UW team, and the communications director in that department. Having a website hosted by the UW has its ups and downs, but ultimately, I think a partnership using an independent site would be most beneficial for the students involved, the timeliness of the project’s completion, and ultimately, the progress of sustainability on campus.

However, if the fund believes an offshoot/improvement of the current green.washington.edu website is more aligned with the goals of CSF, the budget and aim of the project could be altered or consolidated to focus more on content creation and community engagement without the funds/time to create a new website.

Education, Outreach, & Behavior Change:
As I have explained in the previous sections, this project widely demonstrates this aspect of CSF projects. However, the mere existence of this website is not enough to foster the type of community and make the impact necessary to demonstrate its real value. Using social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, etc.) the website would go beyond being a resource for knowledge, and work to create conversation about the projects, themes, and ideas that student's create. 

Feasibility, Accountability, & Sustainability:
As a multimedia and entrepreneurial journalist, I have extensive story telling experience using both written and visual mediums, a network of contacts and colleagues will the skills needed to create the content as well as the foundation of the website, and a deadline-oriented work ethic that keeps me on time and on topic for the projects I work for. As the photo editor for The Daily for the last three quarters, I have lead a team of eight photographers to provide daily visual content for the paper and simultaneously trained half of a dozen new photographers, all while balancing classes and separate employments. I have the support of faculty in the communication department with experience in promotional content creation in the non-profit activism sector that could aid me in tactics, management, and direction for the project as it progresses.

While the project requires start-up funding to create, once a foundation is built for the project, it would require only a part-time student from the community interested in social media/out reach to maintain the site's conversational portion, as the site would be set up to allow individuals working on projects to create, edit, and add to their content on their own. Starting from the point of funding, the goal would be to create the site, and the majority of the content based on a six-month calendar.

As new projects arise, more in-depth content (videos, photos, etc.) could be provided by the communication department with the incentive of portfolio building, class project material, etc.

Budget Estimates

$5,000 - 6+ month projection, 2 Month preparation/building, 4+ month operation, continual updating period.

-$1,000 - Website creation stipend for student/alumnus

-Includes domain registration, hosting costs, etc.

-$800 - Social Media Manager stipend for UW student(s)

-Includes small budget for 'launch party' outreach event, and other marketing ideas.

-$1,500 - Video producer/editor/publisher & photographer stipend for UW student(s)

-Includes small budget for additional equipment/assistance to heighten quality, marketability, etc.

-Includes budget for multiple students (often required for video production)

-$1,200 - Writer/blogger/editor stipend for UW student (s)

-Includes budget for multiple authors.

-$500 - Administrative costs, "bank" for future managers of the site.

Contact Information
Primary Contact First & Last Name: 
Lucas Anderson
E-mail: 
mandlbrt@uw.edu
Full Proposal

This will display after the CSF committee has reviewed and approved your LOI, and after you have received the link to edit your application.

Executive Summary: 

The University of Washington is well recognized as a leader in sustainability among public college campuses, with our students leading the way in innovating new ways to better this image. However, you wouldn’t know it by looking around the UW’s various sustainability websites. We need a landing place that showcases, in an engaging, marketable way, the projects and efforts of our campus community to make our campus a greener place.

Working with the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability office’s new Snapshots project, I would like to fill this hole. Using my storytelling, management, and multimedia skills, my project would create professional quality photos, videos, podcasts and written pieces showcasing our students’, faculty’s and staff's ongoing efforts to cultivate the culture of sustainability, eco-awareness, and environmental progress on our campus. I am asking for a small grant of $5,000 dollars in exchange for the time and effort of myself and others to create this content and construct a new brand for UW’s sustainability.

Total amount requested from the CSF: 
$5 000
This funding request is a: 
Grant
Budget: 
ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Project Completion Total: 
$5 000
Sustainability Impact: 
Environmental Justice
Sustainability Challenge: 

The problem is awareness. I firmly believe that we have the tools and technologies available right now to curb many of the environmental challenges that face us today, but they require belief in, and support by the average person. On our campus, the challenges may be smaller but our individual impact remains the same. Due to the work of students and faculty, we have built a strong foundation of sustainability, but one that remains somewhat behind the scenes. Many of the projects that have contributed to this often remain within the environmental community, or go unnoticed by The Daily and other campus news outlets. I believe that in order to reach beyond their own spheres of influence to truly create a culture of sustainability on campus, the first step is effective communication. In our current media culture, I believe that photos, videos, podcasts and written content pushed out through social media is the most effective way to communicate a message, and that is what I hope to do with this project. 

Explain how the impacts will be measured: 

While overall behavior change is something that can’t be measured over the 6-month period I have slated for this project, there are indicators that I hope to measure the success of the project off of.

  1. Page views, video views, etc. – Using analytics software and the built-in views system of YouTube, Flickr, iTunesU and other sites that while likely house some of this content, I will able to see exactly how many people are being reached by the content I create, and often, where and how they came to it in order to more effectively market to them.
  2. Facebook likes, twitter followers, etc. – As our main outlet for pushing out this content, increasing our reach on Facebook, twitter, and other social media sites will become a priority for the project, and even outside of the content will contribute to the project’s goal. Currently, ESS has 534 followers on twitter and 325 likes on Facebook. And I hope to increase both of those numbers by at least 75%.
  3. SEO/Page Rank – Currently, searching for “Green University of Washington”, or “University of Washington sustainability” yields green.washington.edu fourth or lower in Google search results. Part of my project aims to increase this page rank in order to increase publicity of UW’s sustainability to insiders and outsiders to the campus alike. 
Education & Outreach: 

As I have hopefully made clear through this application, the main goal of my project is to promote education and outreach of overall sustainability of the campus. In this sense, my education and outreach goals mirror my impact goals as stated above. In order to accomplish these goals, I plan to dedicate a large portion of my time to social media and building connections with students and other organizations interested in sustainability on campus. All of my impacts are related: The more social connections we create, the more people will see and share the media that is featured on the Snapshots, and as a result, the higher page rank we will receive due to traffic and others linking back or using the site as a reference. All are important and unique, but all are intertwined, and will work to strengthen sustainability’s presence in students’ lives.

Student Involvement: 

While this project will be funding only one or two students directly, its value will be felt by all of the students who have created the projects we will be documenting and promoting. Any project showcased in the Snapshots, including those funded under the CSF, can use the media for their own promotion and activism. As mentioned in my LOI, showcasing student projects is the top priority for this project.

Similarly, by creating and populating the Snapshots with content, we are creating a template by which current projects and future ones can update or maintain themselves. While not directly employing students, the project will be a vessel for engagement for any number of students who feel empowered to do so.

Also, in order to continue the project, I will document my duties to create an internship position through the ESS and market it to both the Environmental Studies Capstone experience as well as the Communication department. By the end of the project, a new person to fill the position will be hired to continue where the project left off. Again, this one involves one student at a time, but ideally this will continue on for quarters to come, and continue to impact the many and ongoing student sustainability projects.

Timeline: 
TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Year: 
Amount Awarded: 
$5,000
Project status: 
Completed