DEARBORN (WWJ) — The Ford Motor Co. Fund has handed out $225,000 in grants to nine colleges — four of them in Michigan — in support of the growing trend of service learning on college campuses.

The Ford College Community Challenge is a national challenge grant competition that recognizes colleges and universities that utilize a school’s resources to address an urgent community need related to the grant’s theme, “Building Sustainable Communities.” Ford C3 also requires colleges to create proposals that have significant student input, involvement and leadership from beginning to end.

A $25,000 Ford C3 grant to Wayne State University will support SEED Wayne projects that expand urban farming, nutrition education and fresh produce sales to underserved populations.

SEED Wayne is dedicated to building sustainable food systems on the Wayne State campus and in Detroit neighborhoods through teaching, research, community engagement and campus operations. Developing student leadership is a core objective of the program. Students initiate and implement projects in collaboration with campus and community partners.

SEED Wayne projects supported by the Ford C3 grant include a community garden in Hazel Park, nutrition education in underserved neighborhoods, a campus demonstration garden and a subsidized student produce share at the Wayne State University Farmers Market. Student groups partnering in these projects include Wayne State Student Urban Planners, Student Leaders of Urban Gardening and Sustainability, and Public Health Student Organization.

To learn more about SEED Wayne, visit

Other Ford C3 grant recipients in Michigan were:

* The College for Creative Studies in Detroit, to support student design and pilots of creative and easily replicable solutions for common challenges associated with urban farming in Detroit.
* Michigan State University for students in the College of Engineering to develop and test a teaching module, software libraries and cloud support to enable high school students in the Lansing area to create Java programs that gather information about local energy usage.
* The University of Michigan for designing and installing a net-zero water consumption system for the nation’s oldest net-zero house, a demonstration project in Ann Arbor.

“The Ford College Community Challenge is designed to leverage the talents and creativity of students to drive meaningful change in their communities,” said Mike Schmidt, director of education programs at the Ford Motor Company Fund. “We applaud these universities and colleges that are making student-led, community engagement a priority.”

For more information, visit .


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