02:27 AM

Nebraska Environmental Trust Awards $200,000 Grant to Independent Colleges Foundation to Support Development of Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

The Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation (CINCF) announced today that it has received a $200,000 grant from The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) to help establish a sustainability learning lab at Bellevue University. The grant funding from NET will be matched by Bellevue University and its partners and donors over the next three years.

According to Dr. Dennis Joslin, 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.” Dr. Joslin added that the grant and lab project aligns well with CINCF’s mission to provide support for students attending Nebraska’s private colleges and universities.

Bellevue University President Dr. Mary Hawkins said the grant serves as a prime example of a partnership resulting in a unique educational resource. “We are grateful for The Nebraska Environmental Trust’s support of this project and for the CINC Foundation’s advocacy on behalf of the state’s independent higher educational institutions,” she said. “We are confident that real world, applied learning that will take place in the lab will help preserve Nebraska’s valuable natural resources and strengthen the state’s workforce.”

Dr. Hawkins explained that 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 sustainability learning lab is partially funded through a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The Trust is funded by proceeds from the Nebraska Lottery and has awarded more than $305 million to conservation projects in Nebraska since 1994.

Plans under development for the new lab on the University’s campus in Bellevue, Nebraska. 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. Specifically, the lab will support and facilitate science and environmental sustainability education, research, public awareness and green workforce development. The lab will support Bellevue University courses and degrees, and when completed is expected to engage and educate more than 2,500 students, educators, researchers and campus visitors a year. A project groundbreaking is planned for the fall of 2019.

Dr. Joslin said the NET grant for the Bellevue University sustainability lab is a first-year award and that CINCF will seek second-year funding from NET, as well. The Bellevue University lab project is just one of 117 projects receiving NET funding this year.


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 (