Student-led group funds environmental projects

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Charlotte Green Initiative, a student-led organization, recently approved funding for two sustainable projects: the installment of bird boxes and the Statement Making Fashion Show.

The Biological Sciences Department’s proposal to build and install 25 bird boxes on campus was approved. These boxes will provide nesting areas for Eastern bluebirds, Carolina wrens, red-breasted nuthatches, Carolina chickadees and other cavity-nesting birds and will be placed in a specific trail across campus, which will include the greenway, Davis Pond and Hechenbleikner Lake.

Student volunteers will build and install the bird boxes. Additionally, they will monitor the boxes to determine which bird species are nesting on campus and report their findings to Nest Watch.

The need for this project stems from the disappearance of nesting areas available to these types of birds due to urban development. In nature, these birds nest in dying trees or other vacant cavities that humans often remove when developing. Placing boxes on campus will increase biodiversity and give students a chance to learn from birds' migratory patterns.

The College of Arts + Architecture received approval for the third annual Statement Making Fashion Show. Students and community members will attend a series of workshops that will introduce them to new design techniques. This year’s workshops are focused on four topics.

The first topic is open source circular fashion, which will teach participants how to laser cut fabric and reassemble it in various ways. Participants will learn bio-dying using natural colors, such as turmeric, hibiscus and even bacteria. Thirdly, participants will learn a technique for creating fabric using kombucha, produced by fermenting tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that when dried becomes a leather-like textile. Finally, participants will learn how to find sustainably sourced fabrics and show techniques for repurposing clothing.

Fashion show participants will then design garments using these newly learned elements. The garments will be shown in the Statement Making Fashion Show (date to be announced later this semester).

The need for this project comes as an educational platform to reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills. It also will raise awareness of the harmful chemicals that are created in the manufacturing process of clothing and show participants how to reduce that toxic waste. The overall goal is to have people create instead of consume.

The Charlotte Green Initiative collects one dollar per semester green fee from each full-time UNC Charlotte student. These funds are allocated to projects that will enable UNC Charlotte to grow and operate in an environmentally sustainable manner. CGI is accepting grant proposals.