Grants Awarded

The President’s Sustainability Council of the Fashion Institute of Technology offers an annual grant-fund of $15,000 to support the College’s commitment to sustainability through creative and innovative initiatives that help to infuse various aspects of sustainability into our college culture, curricula, operations, and physical environment.

May 2024 Grant Recipients 

  Project: Soil to Soil Color: Exploring Circularity in FIT’s Natural Dye Garden

Whitney Crutchfield, Assistant Professor
Textile Development & Marketing
Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology

  Project: Mend Mobile: Creating Circularity in Community

Andrea Diodati, Assistant Professor
School of Art and Design 

Amy Sperber, Assistant Professor
School of Art and Design 

  Project: Waste Reduction through Agricultural Packaging Solutions: Upcycling Corn Husks for W.R.A.P.S.

Julian Silverman, Assistant Professor
Science and Math
School of Liberal Arts and Sciences 

Austin Marshalek, Student 
Fashion Design 
School of Art and Design 

  Project: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Revive: A Merger of Sustainability and Programming

John Rowell, Assistant Director
Residential Life

Richard Mereno, Assistant Director of Residential Education for Kaufman Hall
Residential Life

Julia Romano, Counselor for Orientation & New Student Programs
Residential Life 

  Project: Reducing Digital Pollution: Transforming Awareness into Action 

Griselda Gonzalez
Director, Policy and Compliance
Office of Policy and Compliance

Theresa Rinere
Administrative Associate 
Office of Policy and Compliance

Stephanie Futch
Procedure and Communication Coordinator
Admin, Finance and Planning 

Laura Hatmaker
Internal Communications Specialist 
Communications and External Relations 

May 2023 Grant Recipients

  Urban Woodworking Initiative: Reclaim and Reuse

Steven Ceraso
Instructor and Technologist
Center for Continuing and Professional Studies
Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design

Student Collaborators and co-authors:
Alex Lora and Fean Manthachitra co-presidents FIT FMC, FIT Furniture Making Club

  Design Transforms Conservation: Changing the Way We View Our Ocean Planet

Keith Ellenbogen
Associate Professor, Photography
School of Art and Design

Student Co -Authors:
Claire Jung, Advertising and Digital Design ‘24
Nadia Lutz, Animation, Interactive Media & Game Design ‘23
Julia Nordahl, Fashion Design ‘25

The Fabric Recycling Program: Muslin Recycling 

Brooke Singer
Secretary of Sustainability
Student Government Association

Su Ku, Fashion Department Chairperson
Christie Graziano, Director of Student Life
Rebecca Dillenberger, Textile Development and Marketing (TDM) student, FIT SGA Senator of TDM, Sustainability
Grace Cooper Fashion Design Student, FIT SGA Senator of Health and Wellness, Sustainability Committee

May 2022 Grant Recipients

  • Growing the Rainbow: Fortifying the Urban Natural Dye Garden at FIT by Whitney Crutchfield
  • The Loop for Good –Interdisciplinary Student Learning Lab for Sustainability and Technology of Fashion by Jennifer Lee 
  • Radical Acts of Repair by Amy Sperber and Tom Scott 
  • Sustainability and Theater: Interdisciplinary Lab for Students of FIT by Zaida Godoy Navarro
  • Green Textile Composite: Innovation and Application for Shoe Development by Preeti Arya

May 2021 Grant Recipients

  • An Urban, Edible Garden at FIT by Angela Brown
  • Building a Sustainable Plastic Recycling Factory by Steven Cerassi and Muhammed Shahadat
  • Loop for Good by Jennifer Lee 

May 2020 Grant Recipients

  • Textile, Fiber Mix Science-Based Targets research Related to Global Climate by Md Imranul Islam 
  • The Sustainable “Hivestream” By Richard Hoar & Taryn Rejholec 
  • The Sustainable Fashion Pop-Up Shop by Jennifer Lee 

May 2019 Grant Recipients

  • Student Sustainability Training by Emily Galvelis and Chris Diggs
  • The Sustainable Fashion Pop-Up Shop – An Interdisciplinary Student Learning Lab for Circular
    Fashion by Jennifer Lee and Laticha Brown
  • Farm to Fashion: Flax, Linen and now, Industrial Hemp by Jeffrey Silberman

May 2018 Grant Recipients

  • Farm to Fashion: Flax, Linen and now, Industrial Hemp by Jeffrey Silberman in colloboration with Ajoy Sarkar and Nomi Dale Kleinman
  • New Sustainable Design: How Materials Advance Innovation RoundTable by Sabina Storti in collaboration with Theanne Schiros

May 2017 Grant Recipients

  • Farm to Fashion: Flax and Linen by Jeffrey Silberman

May 2016 Grant Recipients

  • Fibers and Sustainability Tool Kit Pilot by Nomi Dale Kleinman
  • Communicating Climate Change: Collaboration in the Arts and Sciences by Amy Lemmon in collaboration with Arthur Kopelman
  • Green Roofs Extension for Education and Sustainability Research by Alexandra Wright in collaboration with Karen Pearson and Theanne Schiros

May 2015 Grant Recipients

  • A Comprehensive Plan to Research and Develop a Textile Compost Waste Stream at the Fashion Institute of Technology by Lydia Baird and Willa Margot Tsokanis, with faculty advisor Ajoy K. Sarkar
    The Fashion Institute of Technology is a hub for sustainable initiatives, and as such, it should be at the forefront of fabric waste management. Often we look to government and waste management companies to determine how to dispose of our goods, but recycling cannot begin at the end. It needs to start with the designer or business owner choosing the right materials and considering the entire life cycle of the product. By introducing our community to compost and cotton biodegradability, we can educate the next generation of industry on how to make renewable products within the Earth’s energy cycle.
  • Tote Bags From Recycled Screen Print Drop Cloth by Susanne Goetz
    The Textile/Surface Design department’s screen print workshop houses five long print tables covered with sturdy cotton cloth, altogether an area of 36 yards by 50 inches. The cloth protects the table from ink spills and accidental overprints and needs to be exchanged once substantial build-up of ink has occurred, approximately every 12-18 months. Used fabric, which often solicits positive comments as to how visually interesting it is, is discarded. This grant proposal aims to create a second life for the drop cloth and to establish a production chain that self-funds after the pilot phase.
  • Project Piaba—New York to Brazil by Keith Ellenbogen, Sandra Krasovec, and Lisa Donofrio
    Building on Project Piaba and the festival, we are proposing developing a multi-disciplinary faculty/student collaboration and environmental think-tank that connects faculty and students from Fashion Design, Photography, and Packaging Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology. Our proposed “real-world” project is aimed at creatively engaging small teams of students at FIT, to think of how the visual arts (in Fashion Design, Photography, Packaging Design majors) can foster an environmental stewardship and international awareness of the ornamental fish trade. The challenge will be to raise awareness through design and visual communication about conservation programs in Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest in the Rio Negro basin and areas of New York. 

May 2014 Grant Recipients

  • Paperless Tenure & Promotion: A Mentoring and Evaluation Platform for Faculty of the Future by C. J. Yeh, with collaborators Suzanne Anoushian and Christie Shin
    Building on the foundational concept of data visualization, Paperless Tenure & Promotion will address a new way of processing tenure and promotion data into information graphics which will give the qualified voters in the department a more objective view of the data representing a candidate’s performance. This will not alter or change the formal T&P process in anyway; it is just to provide a much-needed objective analysis of the candidate’s performance. Besides the obvious reduction of paper waste, the primary sustainable aspect of the Paperless T&P is the strategic and sustainable human resources management including the expected social benefits such as improved faculty perception of the evaluation process and better-informed departmental decisions and recommendations. Being able to effectively evaluate and develop new faculty will greatly improve and streamline the tenure and promotion process and procedures at the department level. 

  • Syllabus Connect @ FIT by Elaine Maldonado and Jeffrey Riman
    Faculty continue to seek resources that will help them develop courses of study, organize department and school-level curriculum materials and most frequently, create a syllabus. New adjunct faculty are especially interested in tools to help them prepare what is often their very first syllabus. Unfortunately, most all of these documents are printed on paper to be distributed to students, departments, curriculum committees, and administrative offices. FIT has significantly reduced paper usage, and the college tracks these ongoing efforts, but further reduction is needed. A pilot to test a universal, online template system to meet student, as well as faculty, needs is proposed. Students will be able to easily browse all course content in greater detail before registering, and with the system’s accessibility, it will be easier for students to locate course objectives, faculty expectations, course learning outcomes, assessment criteria and course policies in general. If the system were to be fully implemented, it would provide a cross curriculum college map and help faculty, students, administration and accrediting agencies understand how the institution’s courses interlock and effectively build on each other by design. The new system will also contribute to the campus-wide, digital information infrastructure and in the longer term, at the system-level, contribute to efforts toward SUNY-wide course articulation.
  • Sustainability Works by Lawrence Langham, with collaborators Shannon M. Leddy and Michael Wickersheimer
    Sustainability Works is proposed as a video series profiling an array of working professionals that have made sustainability part of their practice and working process. The videos will be shot at workplaces, job sites, and other appropriate locations. FIT students and alumni from the Sustainable Interior Environments graduate program, along with students from other programs college-wide will be engaged in the site visits and will become active participants in the professionally produced videos. This proposal springs from the professional site visits that are part of the Sustainable Interior Environments MA program at FIT. As members of the inaugural class of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Sustainable Interior Environments graduate program, the collaborators for this proposal were privileged to learn from an array of such visits. At present these visits are not documented in video format. It is the intention of the proposed pilot program to use these videos as a way to share such experiences with others in the campus-wide community and beyond, to encourage similar interactions and learning experiences in other programs and departments of FIT, and to demonstrate that there are viable career options that apply sustainability as an area of expertise.

May 2013 Grant Recipients

  • Where Does Our Trash Go? by Jonathan Vatner
    Most people in the FIT community want to limit the amount of waste they produce. But once the paper, plastic, or trash goes into the appropriate bin, we have little insight to where it ends up. FIT is making a great effort to reuse and recycle its waste, but that information isn’t communicated clearly. And no matter how much the college works to reduce waste, the fact is, we produce a lot of it, and much of that has to be trucked hundreds of miles to disposal sites, then treated, incinerated, or buried. This is an education campaign to communicate FIT’s waste disposal efforts to our community. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people are curious about what happens to their trash after they throw it away. More importantly, when people see how complicated our college’s (and our country’s) wastemanagement system has become, they will become more invested in reducing the amount of waste they produce.

  • Blue Plate Special by Julia Jacquette, with collaborators Linda Peer and Sue Willis
    The objective of “Blue Plate Special”, is both educational and a creative. In it, FIT students, guided by FIT faculty, would
    • Make art out of recycled materials
    • Learn how to organize exhibitions and sales of those art objects
    • Raise funds for student club activities
    Although a valuable artistic technique will be taught, the most important lessons of Blue Plate Special will be that of using discarded or used materials, transforming them into art, doing that as a collective endeavor, and learning how to organize exhibitions and sales with those objects, raising funds that can be put back into the FIT community.

May 2011 Grant Recipients

  • Ban the Bottle and Take Back the Tap by Michael Cokkinos
    This project will oversee the installation and maintenance of water-bottle refilling stations on campus in order to reduce waste from plastic water bottles, decrease energy usage, preserve our environment, and enable our community to drink filtered water! The installation of water bottle refill stations on the FIT campus helps to reduce greenhouse gasses expended during the transport of bottled water, and the refrigeration of bottled water,  helps to preserve the environment, helps students to save money that would normally be spent on bottled water, and enables everyone to drink healthy, filtered water.

  • BookScan Station by Richard Grauer Jr. and Cheryl Pugh
    This project will oversee the installation and maintenance of the iVina BookScan station.  This will reduce the ecological and economic footprint of the FIT Library by providing a means of duplicating research materials without the use of toner and paper. It is also a cost containing initiative that reduces expenditures for non-eco friendly office supplies (toner and paper) and saves energy.  Savings can be reallocated to develop the book collections or other library services offered to the FIT community.

May 2010 Recipients

  • Teaching Sustainability: A Cross Disciplinary Outreach by Karen Pearson and Elaine Maldonado
    This project will expand and maximize the benefits of FIT's National Science Foundational Award and better the greater FIT community by
    1) providing professional development for faculty seeking to infuse sustainability into the curriculum,
    2) expanding the campus conversation on sustainability and
    3) serving as a model for future activities at FIT, as well as at other institutions.
  • Green Studio Initiative by Laura Pineda, Brian Weissman and Sarah Abramson
    This project will lead to a smaller environmental footprint in the Jewelry Design studios at FIT. This grant will be used to implement changes in the studio that will reduce waste, recycle materials, limit the amount of chemicals used in the studio, and invite subject matter experts to educate the students and faculty on sustainable studio practices. These changes will educate our students in ethical practices that can be put to use in their personal studios in the future.
  • Building a Sustainable Design Resource: Partnering on the Next Generation of FIT Library Research Guides by MaryAnn Sorensen Allacci
    This project will build on the 2009 Sustainable Design Resource Guide collaboration with the FIT Library. This grant will be used to
    1) identify existing sustainability initiatives and personnel in FIT departments as contacts for the LibGuides resource site;
    2) identify additional or new proprietary and free access resources pertaining to specific programs in design needing information on relevant sustainability issues;
    3) create social networking and other active links to the LibGuides site to broaden and increase access to materials and types of media links available to the site, and
    4) promote the availability of the research guide.