The University's Sustainability Engagement and Enrichment Development (S.E.E.D.) Fund, provides funding for projects that promote environmental sustainability, and positively impact and enhance the student experience at UMass Lowell. The Fund supports the sustainability goals outlined in UMass Lowell’s 2020 Strategic Plan. The Fund is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee. Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Massachusetts Lowell community can apply for grants through the (S.E.E.D.) Fund up to $10,000.
Through the (S.E.E.D.) Fund, faculty or staff can apply for funding course load reductions to allow for a fellow faculty member to receive a course reduction, provided the Department Chair and Dean approves it for the receiving faculty member. This course release would have to be specifically-focused on a project that supports building new modules for sustainability within existing curricula or academic programs.
This methodology was endorsed by our University's 2020 Strategic Plan Committee for Sustainability in Academics.
In 2017, Juliette Rooney-Varga, Director of the Climate Change Initiative and a Professor in the Earth, Environmental, & Atmospheric Sciences Department was selected for a $10,000 project entitled "Building Cross-Disciplinary Academic Minors in Sustainability"
The funds were used to free up time for a faculty member to focus on academic programming for the university's sustainability minors “Environment and Society” and “Climate Change and Sustainability”. Through the course release, the chosen faculty member will identify and develop new courses, establish internships, and service learning possibilities, and update online resources for the minors as a result of the course reduction.
In 2018, the project "Climate Change in the High School Classroom", led by Lori Weeden, a lecturer in Earth, Environmental, & Atmospheric Sciences, received a $6,000 grant to host a 10-hour professional development workshop on climate change education for area high school teachers this summer. The project will develop a series of modules that science and non-science teachers can replicate in the high school classroom. The workshop will look at climate change through the disciplines of science, engineering, political science, economics, public health and sociology.