12:22 PM

Nebraska Environmental Trust Awards $130,000 2nd-Year Grant Funding to Independent Colleges Foundation to Help Complete Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

OMAHA, Nebraska – The Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation (CINCF) announced today that it has received a $130,000 grant from The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) to provide second-year funding in support of a new sustainability learning lab at Bellevue University.

Construction on the Sustainability Learning Lab began in the spring of 2019 and is expected to be completed later in the fall of 2020. The completed project will include a 7,000-square foot outdoor-indoor facility supporting a greenhouse, solar and wind generation stations, a biofuel algae pond and an outdoor classroom.

The lab will support science and environmental sustainability education, research, public awareness and green workforce development. When completed, it is expected to engage and educate more than 2,500 students, educators, researchers and campus visitors a year.

According to Treva Haugaard, Executive Director of CINCF, “The Sustainability Learning Lab has tremendous potential to benefit the State of Nebraska by raising awareness and educating future generations of students and citizens about how to conserve, enhance and restore natural environments.” She added that the lab project exemplifies the active and engaged learning approaches used at private, independent colleges and universities across Nebraska.

Bellevue University President Dr. Mary Hawkins said the university is grateful for the continued support of the Sustainability Learning Lab. “We appreciate the partnership between CINCF, the Nebraska Environmental Trust and Bellevue University in bringing this project to life,” she said. “The continued support of Nebraska Environmental Trust and CINCF will help ensure that students learn the skills needed to help preserve Nebraska’s valuable natural resources and, at the same time, strengthen the state’s workforce.”

The grant funding will be matched by Bellevue University and its partners and donors over the next three years and serves as a prime example of a partnership resulting in a unique educational resource.

The sustainability lab is part of a broader multi-million dollar innovation investment made by Bellevue University and the University’s donors into STEM education facilities, programs and student support resources. The Nebraska Environmental Trust is funded by proceeds from the Nebraska Lottery and has awarded more than $305 million to conservation projects in Nebraska since 1994.

About CINC Foundation

The Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation (CINCF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to making excellent higher education opportunities accessible to students from diverse backgrounds and communities who attend Nebraska’s independent higher education institutions of excellence. CINCF supports the missions of its 13 member institutions and promotes the high quality and affordability of member colleges to prospective students and their families. CINCF members include: Bellevue University, Bryan College of Health Sciences, Clarkson College, College of Saint Mary, Concordia University, Creighton University, Doane University, Hastings College, Midland University, Nebraska Methodist College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Union College and York College.

About The Nebraska Environmental Trust The Nebraska Legislature created The Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $305 million in grants to over 2,200 projects across the state. Anyone—citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses—can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore natural resources for future generations.


About Bellevue University

Founded in 1966, Bellevue University is a non-profit university with more than 60,000 graduates worldwide. The University is a recognized national leader in preparing students for lifelong success with career-relevant knowledge and skills, while making college affordable. Routinely ranked among the nation’s top military and accessible institutions, the University serves residential students at its main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska, and everywhere online with more than 80 degree programs uniquely designed for working adults. The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (