With the resources of our University and community at their fingertips, UTC students are reaching impressive goals. The fall semester marked the first

Lisa Darger's Class at RockTenn Recycling

Lisa Darger’s Class at RockTenn Recycling

installment of new offerings from our Honors College. This new addition, Innovation in Honors (IIH), is an opportunity for transfer or current students who are at the Sophomore or Junior level to take advantage of what UTC’s Honors Program has to offer.

The innovations lab course, a two-semester lab sequence, is part of this IIH curriculum.

This fall introduced three options for the lab sequence. The different courses include opportunities for designing biological field stations, encouraging alternate forms of transportation in Chattanooga, and implementing standards for UTC and other campuses to align with for sustainable certification.

Lisa Darger, Sustainability Coordinator for UTC, is currently teaching Innovation Lab Project Green|Light. The students in this lab are partnering with local nonprofit green|spaces to achieve official green|light certification, something they’ve already accomplished in their first semester, making our University the first educational institution to receive this award.

Darger explained that this lab has been student driven from the start. While she assumed the role of facilitator, the students took charge of their project’s outcome:

“I took the approach of, basically, I was their boss. And, I’ve been tasked with exploring the potential of this program to see if it is even compatible, suitable, for the University and maybe even for Chattanooga.” Darger continued, “They had to come up with their own team roles, their own project design, their own vision statement.”

This project benefited immensely from the diversity of students in the classroom. Students in the program come from a variety of backgrounds and offer a diverse pool of knowledge with their varying areas of study.

Darger said that next semester is really when “the fun starts.” Their next steps include marketing this sustainable endeavor to the University and Chattanooga businesses and nonprofits. The goal is to convince area organizations of the long-term benefits that come with seeking certification and making their institutions follow more sustainable and efficient policies. Darger added that the City of Chattanooga is already considering the potential of green|light certification.

The IIH Lab Course offerings will change from year-to-year, but one thing will stay the same: they will continue to provide students with alternative classes imparting applicable, real-world skills that will advance participants in their professional careers.

Applications for the Innovations in Honors program are open, and will be accepted until February 15, 2016. If you missed your first opportunity to join the program as a Brock Scholar, or have decided that this is a program you’re interested in, don’t hesitate to apply. For access to the online application and more information on program requirements, visit their website here.


Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.

Sarah is a staff writer in UTC's Office of Communications and Marketing.