EcoRise and The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability will host the 5th Annual Central Texas Student Innovation Showcase at Austin City Hall on Friday, May 3, 2019 from 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Held to celebrate data-driven, STEM-based student sustainability projects, this year’s showcase will feature EcoRise Eco-Audit Grant recipients from Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD, as well as several charter and private schools.
EcoRise’s Eco-Audit Grant Program helps K–12 students “green” their schools with funding provided in part by the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability. More than $16,000 in microgrants will have been awarded to 17 schools in the Austin area this school year. To receive grant funds, students must complete a campus environmental audit in one or more areas of sustainability (e.g. water, waste, energy, food) and design a project to address an issue identified during the audit. The student-designed projects must either reduce the campus environmental footprint or create public awareness around environmental issues. This year, the partnership between EcoRise and the City of Austin funded an energy reduction campaign, math and literacy gardens, and an erosion control plan, to name a few.
“The enthusiasm, ingenuity, and commitment of our students is awe-inspiring,” says Jon Stott, Executive Director of EcoRise. “Showcasing provides students an opportunity to share their work with the community, demonstrating how they are having a lasting environmental impact.”
Since 2014, EcoRise has partnered with the Office of Sustainability to fund the Eco-Audit Grant Program in Austin. “Our city’s students and teachers continue to inspire me with their passion for sustainability and commitment to making their schools greener,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens. “We are proud to support their efforts with this seed money to help realize their vision.”
Replicating the successful model of the Austin program, EcoRise is currently present in 8 regions across the U.S. and is working to expand to serve 4,000 teachers and impact 200,000 students by the 2020–2021 school year. This year, EcoRise is also hosting Student Innovation Showcases in Houston, TX, San Antonio, TX and Washington, D.C. this spring, and will award an estimated $50,000 of Eco-Audit Grant funding for projects. “It’s been exciting to work with local community partners to expand our Showcase offerings to several new cities across the country,” says Gina LaMotte, Founder and President of EcoRise. “This is an essential part of our program model and we look forward to growing it further in collaboration with our partners,” added LaMotte.
EcoRise develops the next generation of creative problem solvers by enlivening conventional classrooms with academically aligned K–12 curriculum that introduces students to environmental literacy, social innovation, and hands-on design skills. This year, EcoRise is supporting 2,000 teachers in helping over 100,000 students solve real-world sustainability challenges concerning energy, water, waste, transportation, air quality, food, and public spaces each year. The program focuses on enhancing STEM education, promoting sustainability, introducing students to green careers, and helping students develop 21st-century skills. To learn more about EcoRise, visit www.ecorise.org.
About the Office of Sustainability:
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability works to ensure a thriving, equitable, and ecologically resilient community by providing leadership, influencing positive action through engagement, and creating measurable benefits for Austin. In 2012 the Office launched the Bright Green Future Grants program, designed to recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards. To date, more than 300 projects at local K–12 schools have been funded with Bright Green Future Grants; these projects have saved 1.2 million gallons of water, produced 40,000 pounds of vegetables, and avoided 16.2 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions through miles traveled by bike instead of by car. More than 70,000 students have participated in implementing Bright Green Future Grant projects. To learn more about the Office of Sustainability and the Bright Green Future Grants program, visit: www.austintexas.gov/sustainability