The University of New Orleans has been selected as a recipient of the Healthy Communities Grant by Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the State’s premier anti-litter and community improvement organization.
The $4,100 grant will support UNO’s storm drain project. UNO’s campus is adjacent to Lake Pontchartrain, an estuary that leads into the Gulf of Mexico and serves as a nursery for numerous species of animals. Some species have experienced steep declines in population. Any litter or chemicals near storm drains in New Orleans risk contaminating Lake Pontchartrain and the wildlife that depend on it for survival. Litter and debris in storm drains can also clog catch basins, which exacerbates flooding.
This project will create a storm drain marking program at UNO, in which each drain will be marked with information for the community about storm drains emptying into the lake. An inventory of the drains both on and immediately adjacent to campus will be created and added to the University’s new sustainability website. UNO will also develop an environmental education program regarding storm drain runoff.
“This grant will enable us to protect Lake Pontchartrain, which we are fortunate enough to be located next to,” said Carol Lunn, assistant vice president for research and economic development. “Universities are small cities where students live and learn. By educating our students on environmental sustainability in a positive way, we can prepare the next generation to preserve the natural beauty of Louisiana.”
Members of the campus community will assist in creating the inventory of storm drains, selecting the marker design and determining which environmental education components will have the most significant long-term impacts. The university community includes approximately 10,000 UNO students, tenants and employees. In addition, the campus is the site of Benjamin Franklin High School and it is part of city bus routes while routinely hosting visitors, increasing the potential population with access to the program.
The University of New Orleans is committed to implementing more environmental sustainability initiatives on campus and using the campus as a living lab for its students. UNO became an inaugural university affiliate of Keep Louisiana Beautiful in 2022. For more information, contact Carol Lunn at KeepUNOBeautiful@uno.edu or visit https://www.uno.edu/sustainability.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful is a nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving a cleaner, greener Louisiana through litter reduction and beautification initiatives. To learn about our network of Community and University Affiliates, grant opportunities, educational programs and ways to get involved, visit keeplouisianabeautiful.org. Keep Louisiana Beautiful is an Affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.