$250,000 C3 grants boost sustainability, student innovation

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  • Brian Fountaine
    Brian Fountaine
  • Dearborn, Mich. — Twelve years ago Brian Fountaine was a tank commander on patrol in Iraq when two bombs exploded under his high-mobility vehicle, taking both of his legs and nearly killing him. Today, Brian is a design student at Northeastern University using 3D printing technology to develop high-quality, less-expensive prosthetic limbs for veterans and other amputees.

    The work of Brian and his team is one of 10 student-led sustainability projects awarded a 2015 Ford College Community Challenge grant from Ford Motor Company Fund. Ford C3 recognizes colleges and universities for utilizing school resources and student participation to address an urgent community need under the theme: Building Sustainable Communities.

    Ford C3 winners are required to present proposals for sustainable projects with significant student input, involvement and leadership. Water conservation, renewable energy, urban gardening, recycling and mobility are among the proposals submitted by these creative teams of students. Each of the winning projects will receive a $25,000 grant to support their project.

    “Innovation and sustainability are two essential elements that will help strengthen communities and improve the quality of life for the people who call them home,” said Mike Schmidt, director of Education and Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Education is how we open the door to a better world and inspire a new generation of engineers and entrepreneurs to lead us into a successful future.”

    The Ford C3 grants are part of more than $1.7 million in new and ongoing global educational investments by Ford Fund, which contributes more than $8 million annually in scholarships, grants and other initiatives. Ford Fund is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

    Ford Fund this year also worked with the American Indian College Fund to run a C3 program with Tribal Colleges and Universities in the U.S. for the first time, while also continuing the Ford Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Challenge. Ford C3 last year launched in Brazil and China, and expanded this year to include Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.

    Campus Compact, a national higher education association dedicated to campus-based civic engagement, again partnered with Ford Fund in the U.S. to inform some 600 schools about this year’s grant program.

    2015 Winning U.S.-Based Projects

    Rocky Mountain College—Billings, Montana: Broken Glass to Working Class
    Students will combat homelessness by teaching homeless citizens to recycle and repurpose glass waste, while also learning marketable job skills and keeping glass waste out of landfills.

    Northeastern University—Boston: Designing for Mobility of Veteran Amputees
    This project utilizes 3D printing technology to develop prosthetic limbs for veterans and others.

    Wayne State University—Detroit: Ford Warrior STEAM Saturday Challenge
    Detroit K-12 students and their families will participate in the Warrior STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math—Challenge. Participants will use STEAM skills to solve community-based problems or create a finished product to better the community.

    University of Georgia—Athens, Georgia: Hands and Hooves for a More Sustainable Community
    Building on their 2014 Ford C3 award-winning project, the Chew Crew will complete a mobile shelter/outdoor classroom and restore two landscapes using goats to eat invasive plant species.

    Morehouse College—Atlanta: Mentoring Youth Entrepreneurship Club Innovation Lab
    This project will create a maker space, Innovation Lab to provide students with the tools and resources to take creative ideas through the engineering and design processes.

    Michigan Technological University—Houghton, Michigan: Plastic Recycling to 3D Printer Filament
    Team will work with the local community to incorporate a wider variety of plastics into recycled filament, and upgrade machinery to use this recycled product to produce the filament.

    Michigan State University—East Lansing, Michigan: Rainwater Catchment for Primary School in Buyuni, Tanzania
    In Tanzania a rainwater water collection system is necessary to obtain precious water. This project focuses on capturing rainwater at a primary school in Buyuni, Tanzania, filtering the water, and then storing it for use by the wider community.

    University of Wisconsin—Madison: Slow Food South Madison Partnerships for Sustainability
    This proposal seeks to increase the distribution of affordable, healthy food in an underserved area, making the existing Growing Power Market Basket Program more accessible in Madison.

    University of Michigan—Ann Arbor: Fostering Environmental and Community Ownership in Vila Santa Marta, Brazil
    Project is to counter the results of trash dumping in public places in Vila Santa Marta, Brazil by deterring dumping, increasing communication, building community pride and improving security.

    Wayne State University—Detroit: From Volunteering to Career Paths—Student Leadership in Community Food Systems
    This project will engage students in hands‐on internships with community-based partners, to enhance skills and expand knowledge and thereby help further their careers in community food systems.