Sustainability 2.0: Applying new media ideas to green.washington.edu

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.

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Lucas Anderson