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Student Projects 2017

The UHD Center for Urban Agriculture and Sustainability provides funding for selected students projects every year aiming to engage undergraduates in a hands-on project focused on urban agriculture and sustainability. Projects are welcome from enrolled students in all colleges of the university and may focus on subjects such as educational campaigns, small business consulting, new technologies or new UHD resources, community development projects etc.

2017 Approved Projects

Many of the students’ projects in 2017 were affected by Harvey. UHD Garden was flooded and the compost and aquaponics projects were destroyed. The pocket prairie project was also affected and so were the garden beds students built in their community. Nevertheless, our students got back on their feet and started the project again.

Reducing Waste on Campus through Compost Production

Students: Samantha Mota, Amy Blick
Major(s): Biology
UHD Faculty Mentor: Rachael Hudspeth
This is a long-term project and its purpose is to use biodegradable wastes and turn them into organic fertilizer for the UHD Garden. The waste that is of interest in this project is green matter obtained from UHD cafeteria, grass clippings, and freshly pulled weeds; and brown matter collected from UHD facilities (cardboard), fallen leaves, wood, dried plants, and paper. By focusing on the collection of green and brown matter from UHD, the project aims to reduce waste on campus. The compost generated from this waste is then used in garden beds in the UHD sustainability garden.

In Houston WE Plant

Students: Alicia Ipiña, Amanda Howard, Juangerardo Parra
Major(s): Education, Biological and Physical Science
UHD Faculty Mentor: Mari L. Nicholson-Preuss
Creating an educational outreach initiative to accompany the AGRICOM garden project, another UHD students’ project, and teach fundamental topics for successful vegetable growing in an urban environment. The project’s goal is to enable Houstonians to use sustainable methods of gardening for food independence. The team provided a comprehensive educational outreach service focused on sustainable gardening practices for Houston residents participating in the AGRICOM garden project. Lessons were taught in topics such as plant propagation, irrigation systems, companion planting, and integrated pest management.

AGRICOM: Improving the health of one Houston community through sustainable practices with small-scale agriculture


Students: Ashley Lopez, Jason Onwenu, Talayeh Nadalizadeh
Major(s): Biology, Post Baccalaureate, Interdisciplinary Studies
UHD Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisa Morano
The goal of this project is to unite individuals who are interested in gardening and would like to reap the benefits of healthy eating. UHD students visited community dwellers door-to-door and informed them about the initiative. Students Ashley, Jason, and Talayeh built 7 small manageable gardens in the Forestwood neighborhood which is in an area where most households do not have access to locally sourced food or cannot afford to purchase organic.

Glass: A never-ending cycle

Students: Janeth Garcia, Nora Fuentes Campuzano
Major(s): Biology
UHD Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mike Tobin
Glass is 100% recyclable and simply by recycling glass we can reduce the amount of trash we generate. UHD students Janeth and Nora partnered with Paper Co. Café to demonstrate how easy and convenient glass recycling is for an individual and a local business. The project provided the café with recycle bins and the students collected, weighed, and transported the glass to a local glass depository. They handed out informative flyers to the locals and conducted surveys to measure the impact of the project.

Community Outreach and Promotion for UHD Pocket Prairie

Students: Amanda Howard, Andrea Hain, Sara Lyons
Major(s): Biological Physical Science, Biology, Interdisciplinary Studies
UHD Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mike Tobin
For over a year, UHD natural science students and community volunteers have been working with the Houston Parks Department to establish a small native grass and wildflower prairie in Johnny Goyen Park. This project is focused on educating the downtown communities on the importance of prairies in the gulf coast region. UHD students are creating a marketing campaign for the pocket prairie by hosting student workshops, distributing brochures, and organizing field trips to other prairies.

Aquaponics at UHD Garden

UHD Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lisa Morano and Dr. Vassilios Tzouanas
Students: Andrea Hain, Sara Lyons, Brayan Calvo, Sarah Graeber, Jonathan Garcia, Sean Glen Wood, Jennifer Herrera, Sergio Diaz, Isaias Gonzalez, Yarmilla Reyes
Major(s): Biology, Interdisciplinary Studies, Control and Instrumentation Engineering, and Technology, Biological Physical Science
UHD students optimized and maintained the aquaponics systems built in the UHD Garden as a part of a summer Experiential Learning program through CUAS. Students conducted research on mass and yield of various plant species in an outdoor Nutrient Film Technique based hydroponics systems vs. traditional growing method. Students also optimized the current system by adding a natural filtering system using a gravel bed and added a pH and a temperature level sensor to monitor toxicity in water.
The project was destroyed by Harvey in 2017 and students had to rebuild the system.

Gamma’s Go Green/Gators Go Green

Students: Koraima Denerville, Corporate Communication, Vanessa Fernandez, Business Management
UHD Staff Mentor: Tremaine Kwasikpui
The main purpose of this environmental initiative is to make recycling a priority on campus. Students are planning an educational seminar explaining what recycling is and why recycling is important to the University. The seminar will go into detail about what materials can be recycled at school and where to find designated recycling areas.