350Pittsburgh Supports Students Tackling the Climate Crisis
Young people are playing a crucial role in the fight to halt the climate crisis. 350 Pittsburgh has been a strong supporter of student climate activist efforts. In 2019 we increased our support by launching our student award program. In the Spring, Summer, and Fall terms we are offering up to $500 awards for student led projects related to mitigating the climate crisis.
A very big thanks to our donors.
It is through their generosity that we are able to do this.
- Spring 2020 award applications now closed. (award announcement).
- If you’re affiliated with a local school and can help with getting the word out to students about this opportunity, please email [email protected], we would love to send you more information.
- If you’re interested to volunteer to help organize this program, please email [email protected], we can use your help !
Spring 2020 Awardees
We are pleased to announce two awards for Spring 2020. In order to promote safety in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, and understanding the unusual stresses our students and community are facing, we have offered our students up to Dec. 31, 2020 to complete their projects. Also, we understand the projects may need to be adapted as the timing and context changes.
- We are very happy to support the newly formed CCAC Environmental Group in carrying out their first outreach event. They plan to have a screening of “Before the Flood,” supported by National Geographic and accompanied by an invited speaker. A representative from Green Mountain Energy has agreed to set up a table outside of the screening to educate attendees on alternative/sustainable energy options. In addition, a clothing swap table, refreshments, and a fundraising gift basket are planned in collaboration with other CCAC groups. We are proud to assist this new initiative on the CCAC campus !
- We are also very happy to support WaterWalks: Creative Action for Community Justice. WaterWalks is a socially engaged art project organized by CMU students, Pittsburgh-based artists, and community activists. Using the framework of environmental justice, WaterWalks responds to the climate crisis by organizing artist-led experiences that center marginalized perspectives in Pittsburgh’s ongoing water crisis. They are planning to use the award to organize an additional workshop event in late April that will bring together many of the artists, activists, community leaders, and researchers they have worked with. During that workshop, they will collaboratively assemble an artists’ book that documents the project thus far and speculates what the future of WaterWalks might hold.
Fall 2019 Awardees
350Pittsburgh is splitting its Fall 2019 award between two excellent projects !
- The graduate students of the Duquesne MBA Sustainable Business Practice program, under the direction of Dr. Robert Sroufe, are working on a class project with the Pittsburgh chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby to investigate PA state level impacts of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA). Late in the semester when the project is complete students will travel to Washington D.C. to present their results. The 350Pittsburgh award will support their travel costs.” Update: DC trip was scheduled in Jan 2020 !
- Anais Peterson, fourth year organizer with Fossil Free Pitt Coalition, will work to make sure that FFPC campaigns are successful this Spring and have a smooth transition to continue their work after seniors graduate in April. Her proposal states: “I strongly believe in building movements of leaders and throughout this project I want to continue to build a culture within our coalition where everyone feels they belong in the movement and they understand movement theory so they feel comfortable taking on more and more responsibility. I’ll be facilitating a number of trainings throughout this year as Fossil Free Pitt Coalition continues to escalate towards our demand for a vote on Fossil Fuel divestment on 2/28/2020. These trainings will include base building trainings which include skills such as canvassing to trainings around anti-oppression and group culture. In addition to this internal work I will also be doing a lot of work around campus to build awareness of FFPC ranging from undergraduates to administration. My goals for this project are to continue building a strong culture of student organizers in our movement and continue to raise awareness of Fossil Free Pitt on campus so we can win full divestment by April 2020.
This Fall Anais participated in FFPC’s 10th sit, in organized a teach-in during our sit-in for our organizers and other students, organized the history night event for Thanksgiving with alumni and current organizers which had roughly 25 people in attendance including one of the founding members of the campaign! She continues to work in preparation for the Spring semester’s escalation mainly reaching out to alumni and department allies to increase community support on campus. Congratulations Anais !
Summer 2019 Awardee
350Pittsburgh was pleased to select Max Forsyth’s bioplastics project for our Summer award. Max is a senior in the architecture program at Carnegie Mellon University and design chair of the CMU Sustainable Earth group.
With this award, I hope to continue my research on bioplastics, materials made with organic ingredients that can decompose in compost but are resistant to water and are durable, like synthetic plastics. Agar (seaweed extract) and certain starches add durability while additives can influence the shape, texture, and durability. I am specifically interested in clay as an additive to create “clay bioplastic”. Clay bioplastic has specific shape-shifting behavior as it dries. I want to continue to study this behavior through material experimentation and speculate on the functional application of these shape behaviors (e.g. as a building material). The stove-top-cooking process of clay bioplastic uses a fraction of the energy needed to fire clay to make it durable bisqueware. By not firing it, this clay compound material more easily decomposes under applied composting conditions.
Pictured here are Max’s experiments with agar and clay compounds (left) and tapioca and clay (right).
Spring 2019 Awardee
350 Pittsburgh awarded a team of graduate students from The Falk School of Sustainability & Environment at Chatham University with our Spring 2019 Student Award. Congratulations to Hannah Blinn, Morgan Block, Camilla Cook, Jessy Swisher, Sara Walker, and Amelia Eggan. The students coordinated a family-friendly interactive Earth Month Celebration as part of a masters level Project Management course taught by David Laird. This was the first such event organized at Chatham.
Collaboratively, they organized multiple activities, workshops, music sessions, research presentations, and information tables of local campus and city organizations, including 350 PIttsburgh. The activities were interactive and allowed participants to take home creations of their own, which included do-it-yourself sustainable tie-dyed bandanas, painted flowerpots, wildflower seed bombs, clothing swaps, and more. People were able to enjoy research presentations from first-year graduate students, and music from local bands and later local craft beer. Attendees were also able to learn more about the campus itself including its sustainable, ecological, and agricultural programs and resources. An estimated 80 people joined throughout the day, both from the Chatham internal community, and the public of all ages. Students plan to continue this event for next year. It was a beautiful day to come together!
Zero Hour March 2018
In July 2018 Zero Hour organized a march In Washington D.C.; youth marched on the National Mall to advocate for their own rights to a safe and livable future and highlighted the voices and stories of youth on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
350Pittsburgh supported University of Pittsburgh student Anais Peterson, who organized a sister Zero Hour march in Pittsburgh. Anais did a terrific job, the march down Grant St. was very powerful as protestors called on local officials to enact effective and strong climate policy on all levels.
Photo credit Dianne Peterson