Sustainability 2.0: Applying new media ideas to green.washington.edu
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.
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.
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.
- Environmental Justice
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.
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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.
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:
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