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SIUE earns grant to support the East St. Louis Zero Waste Challenge

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has been awarded $37,500 from Constellation, an Exelon company, through its E2 Energy to Educate grant program, to support the Southern Illinois University East St. Louis Zero Waste Challenge.

E2 Energy to Educate grants fund student projects focusing on energy science, technology and education. This year’s winning projects were submitted from schools and community organizations in 10 states.

The Southern Illinois University East St. Louis Zero Waste Challenge is designed for the more than 300 middle and high school students in SIUE’s Upward Bound Program. Project goals include increasing critical thinking skills, building interest in energy careers, and teaching teamwork and the thrill of cooperative competition.

“We are thrilled that Constellation, an Exelon company, sees the promise of East St. Louis Center programs and has selected our students to be a part of this national initiative,” said Jesse Dixon, executive director of the SIUE East St. Louis Center. “This project will benefit from strong partnerships and involvement with the SIUE STEM Center, the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center and SunCoke.”

The SIUE STEM Center has developed engaging, evidence-based renewable energy curriculum for the students. It will be further enhanced by guest speakers and workplace learning opportunities with the ethanol center.

“Participants will conduct hands-on experiments with different forms of alternative energy, such as solar, hydrogen and wind,” explained Sharon Locke, PhD, director of the SIUE STEM Center. “For example, they will be able to try different designs for wind turbines and compare real-time measurements of the energy output.”

Southern Illinois University East St. Louis Zero Waste Challenge strives to narrow the achievement gap and provide enhanced opportunities in STEM for minority students.

“This funding allows us to deeply engage East St. Louis Center students in the science of energy production, while allowing them to apply that learning in real energy production facilities” Dixon added. “This is part of a broader East St. Louis Center focus to connect hands-on learning
experiences with regional employers to expose our students to possible career opportunities.”

Since its inception in 2010, Constellation’s Energy to Educate grants program has provided over $2.6 million in funding for 85 student projects that have enhanced the understanding of energy-related science and technology issues. To learn more about the program, visit the community section of

— From the Illinois Business Journal

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