Six student/alumni initiatives latest Crowdfund UNC Charlotte ventures

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Producing full recreational prosthetic arms for children, helping teachers create innovative curricula and a servant leadership award are among the six initiatives seeking financial support through Crowdfund UNC Charlotte, an online platform that assists members of Niner Nation fund unique experiences.

“Crowdfunding is an opportunity for students to reach out through a platform hosted by the University, to try to gain support for the initiatives they see important while they’re here,” said Shayna Long, assistant director of annual giving. “Niner Nation is a strong network of friends who love UNC Charlotte, and digital fundraising campaigns enable us to tap into those friendships.”

Crowdfund UNC Charlotte initiatives for fall 2017 are “The Helping Hand Project,” “Charlotte Teachers Institute,” “2017 NASA Student launch Competition,” “Derrick Griffith Servant Leader Award,” “Green Energy Train” and “Native and Underused Fruits.”

The Helping Hand Project - $5,000

Helping Hand, a student organization at the University, is seeking $5,000 to purchase 3-D printers and materials to produce full recreational prosthetic arms for children with limb differences. Part of a larger global effort, Helping Hand provides low-cost prosthetic devices to children in need, as well as family support and STEM education promotion. These new printers and materials will improve production time, enabling a prosthetic arm to be fabricated in two to three days versus two to three months. The 3-D printed arms, which will be given to families for free, will have the ability to grab objects, thus making a difference in a child’s life. (Read more about the Helping Hand Project in the fall/winter 2017 UNC Charlotte magazine.)

Charlotte Teachers Institute Teacher-Created Curricula - $5.000

Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) provides content-rich professional-development seminars for pre-K through 12th-grade teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Led by UNC Charlotte and Davidson College professors, the seminars help about 100 teachers per year to write new curricula by December and then to teach students with them the following spring.

This project will provide support for teachers to implement their CTI-generated curricula. A big obstacle to getting these new ideas to students is limited resources. This project will fund materials for teachers to implement their innovative ideas in the classroom, providing support for energy kits to teach science, books to teach literacy, supplies to teach art, technology to teach math and other projects.

NASA Student Launch Initiative - $10,000

The 49er Rocketry and Projectile Society brings together a multidisciplinary team of students with various skills to compete in a national rocket-launching competition against several top-ranked universities. The society collaborates with departments on campus to explore and gain real-world experience in the design, manufacturing and testing of complex engineering systems under the guidance of professional and experienced mentors. The 2017-18 team seeks to enter the national NASA Student Launch Competition in spring 2018 and build upon the success of this year’s club, which placed fifth.

The Derrick Griffith Servant Leader Award - $15,000

The UNC Charlotte Black Alumni Chapter is launching a campaign to honor Griffith (’93), an alumnus who was an outstanding student leader in the early 1990s. Student body president in 1991-92 and 1992-93, Griffith was one of seven people killed in a train derailment in Philadelphia in 2015. The Derrick Griffith Servant Leader Award was established in 2015 in memory of Griffith. Thus far, two students who embody Griffith’s leadership and dedication to the University have received financial awards from this fund.

UNC Charlotte Green Energy ‘Baby’ Train - $10,000
Imagine a train that does not produce harmful emissions – that is achieved with a train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrail, as this type of train is known, emits only water. Last year, Germany made history with the first commercial hydrogen-powered passenger train. Other nations, including England, China, Japan, Spain and Korea, are developing similar technology. UNC Charlotte researchers and students seek funding to construct a scaled-down “baby train” complete with its own hydrogen fuel cell. This UNC Charlotte green train will assist with the research of this technology and educate rail engineers for this developing field.

Native and Underused Fruits Garden - $10,000

The UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens is raising money to transform a corner within the gardens into an orchard for native and underused fruits. Jeff Gillman, director of the gardens, and Ed Davis, horticultural supervisor and landscape architect, have set a fundraising goal to cover the cost of materials to build the site, including stones, trees, mulch and labor for hardscaping the area. Admission to the gardens, including its greenhouse, is free to the public. There are three garden sites with 16 collections that serve as a living classroom for students and a botanical resource for the University and greater communities.