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Sustainability Grants

For Immediate Release
September 6, 2013

UMass Amherst Libraries Award Sustainability Curriculum Initiative Grants to Faculty

AMHERST, Massachusetts – Students are flocking in record numbers to sustainability courses and majors on the UMass Amherst campus, recently named to the “Green Honor Roll” by The Princeton Review. To support sustainability teaching and learning, the Library awarded 11 Sustainability Curriculum Initiative mini grants of $1,000 per course. Faculty recipients will collaborate with Liaison Librarians to create assignments, develop online guides, and integrate licensed library databases into the curriculum. Grant recipients and librarians will meet regularly to discuss student learning outcomes specific to sustainability topics.

“To support the mushrooming demand for sustainability knowledge and skills we purchased new resources, including journal article databases such as GreenR, a global reference on the environment, energy, and natural resources, and Sustainability Watch, a curated set of articles on best practices in the areas of pollution, corporate citizenship, and sustainable business practices,” says UMass Amherst Sustainability Studies Librarian Madeleine Charney. “The grants encourage faculty to better understand these library resources and then expose students to the reliable information they provide. Librarians will guide students in refining their search strategies and evaluating sources. ”

UMass Amherst is a sustainability leader in higher education and was awarded a prestigious gold status from the Association for the Advancement of Higher Education (AASHE) in 2010 for successful reporting within the Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS). Many sustainability courses directly address aspects of the STARS process as well the campus Climate Action Plan; the Sustainability Curriculum Initiative will help advance the campus toward platinum STARS status.

“The grants span a breadth of the university’s offerings, including the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University Without Walls, Isenberg School of Management and College of Natural Sciences,” says Director of Libraries Jay Schafer. “They illustrate the essential role the Libraries play in providing excellent educational resources and innovative approaches to curriculum support for students and faculty.”

The grants were designed to forge ongoing partnerships between the Academic Liaison Program, faculty across disciplines, and the Campus Sustainability Initiative,” says Charney. She developed the program with Ezra Small from the Campus Sustainability Initiative, Craig Nicolson, Sustainability Science Program Director, and Mei-Yau Shih, Center for Teaching and Faculty Development.

Funding for the mini grants and sustainability-related library resources comes from the Libraries’ Sustainability Fund which won the 2013 Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award. Thousands of philanthropic UMass Amherst alumni have made gifts to the fund of nearly $180,000 to support sustainable resources and activities across campus.

Grant awardees are Lara Al-Hariri, Chemistry; Scott Auerbach, Chemistry/iCons; Cynthia Barstow, Isenberg School of Management; Marissa Carrere, University Without Walls/English; Leda Cooks, Communication; D. Dina Friedman, Isenberg School of Management; Deb McCutchen, College of Natural Sciences; Bombie Salvador, Hospitality and Tourism Management; Ceren Soylu, Economics; DV Venkataraman, Chemistry/iCons; Paige Warren, Environmental Conservation; Robert Ryan, LARP.

Contact: Madeleine Charney, Sustainability Studies Librarian (; (413) 577-0784). For more information, visit:





Last Edited: 5 September 2013