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Colby’s leadership in environmental initiatives, both in the classroom and in campus practices, will be bolstered by several grants recently made to the College.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Colby $300,000 for a package of curricular innovations in environmental studies that will build on a 1999 Mellon grant. The Hollis Foundation made a challenge grant of $100,000 to endow student research fellowships in environmental science. And the Oak Foundation has contributed $250,000 toward a geothermal heating and cooling system in the new Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center and another $250,000 toward construction of a state-of-the-art GIS (Geographic Information Systems) laboratory in the Diamond Building, to be built beginning this year. The Kendall Foundation awarded $25,000 for students to plan and host a Green Campus Summit at Colby.

Funding from the Mellon Foundation will enable Colby to expand its highly regarded Environmental Studies program with new initiatives. Specifically, program enhancements will include:

* Developing and enhancing GIS across the curriculum,
* Infusing environmental justice into the curriculum,
* Expanding environmental studies offerings by adding one course per year,
* Developing environmental methods and tools across the curriculum,
* Enhancing the program concentration in environmental policy,
* Expanding research assistantships for students,
* Expanding off-campus research partnerships through internships, and
* Implementing a visiting lecture series on environmental issues.

The Hollis Foundation grant will result in three new endowed student research fellowships in environmental science or environmental studies. The fellowships permit students to work closely with faculty members, which provides an incomparable learning experience and invaluable insights as students assess careers and graduate education.

The Oak Foundation grant will help provide permanent space for the use of GIS in the new Diamond Building for social sciences and interdisciplinary studies. Colby will break ground for the building this spring. The Oak Foundation grant also contributed toward a climate-control system in the new alumni center that uses 1,500-foot wells to capture geothermal energy to heat and cool the building. Both the alumni center and the Diamond Building will be certified as environmentally responsible through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.

The Henry P. Kendall Foundation. $25,000 for Colby students to organize and host a Green Campus Summit in April, bringing colleges and universities from Maine and Atlantic Canada together to share strategies for combating climate change and for adopting sustainable practices on campus.