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Sustainability

Category Archive: On Campus

Recycle Your RECHARGABLE Batteries and Old Cell Phones

Do you have some no longer recharging rechargable batteries or did you replace a cell phone over the holiday break? If so, you have a simple on-campus option to recycle both of these. Our Environmental Health office has set up a number of recycling stations around campus to drop off these items for proper recycling. Just bring in your items, place them in the provided plastic bag, and deposit in the box. Simple!

Locations to find these specialized recycling boxes are:

  • Cofrin Library, 3rd floor
  • Operations Office (IS 1204)
  • HVAC Shop (IS 1067)
  • Grounds (PP 102)
  • Environmental Health office, CL 823

Starbucks Introduces $1 Reusable Cup to Cut Down on Waste

from CNN.com; posted Jan. 3, 2013

Starting Thursday (Jan. 3), Starbucks customers will have the option to save their planet – and their wallets – a dime at a time. The coffee giant is offering $1 plastic cups, which can be reused for drink purchases at a discount of ten cents.

Jim Hanna, the director of environmental affairs at Starbucks, told USA Today that while the company has sold reusable tumblers for some time and offered the ten cent discount, he expects that the modest price of its new one, available at company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada, will encourage customers to take action more frequently. The new effort comes largely in response to consumer criticism over the volume of paper coffee cup waste – approximately 4 billion cups globally each year – generated by Starbucks.

The responsibility section of Starbucks’ website details the company’s effort to work with vendors and local authorities to get more of its paper cups recycled, and to host recurring “Cup Summits” collaborating on the issue with industry leaders from MIT, Tim Horton’s, Georgia-Pacific and Action Carting Environmental Services. By 2015, Starbucks plans to have front-of-store recycling in all its company-owned locations.

According to a 2011 report issued by Starbucks, that year, customers used personal tumblers more than 34  million times – nearly 2% of all beverages served in global company-owned stroes. While this represented a 55% incrase in personal tumbler use from 2008′s tally, Starbucks admitted to challenges in tracking cup use both in and away from their stores, and reduced the company’s goal of 25% reusable cups by 2015 to 5%.

The reusable cups are made in China, and have fill lines inside denoting “tall,” “grande,” and “venti”-sized drinks. The cups will be rinsed with boiling water by Starbucks employees before they’re refilled, reducing the risk of cross-contamination, but a least one more challenge remains: will customers actually remember to bring them into the store?

Remember…you get a much better deal when you bring a reusable mug to the Common Grounds on campus for a cup of joe – no measly dime, but 25% off the purchase price!

Preparing for New Blooms on the Student Services Plaza

With the completion of construction on the Student Services Roof Plaza, the new planters are ready for planting….except, well, it’s the end of November! Not to be deterred, several student organizations gathered together to provide planting power for flower bulbs purchased by Facilities. On a chilly Thursday, the team from the SGA Environmental Affairs Committee, PEAC and SLO tucked in several hundred tulip and daffodils bulbs for their long winter nap. Come next spring, the triangular area under the small pergola will be the brightest spot on the Plaza.

Additional plants and landscaping will occur in late Spring in all the planters when the soil and air has warmed enough to support their establishment. In addition, SLO will be using several of the planters in the middle of the Plaza for their annual campus organic garden.  Tables and seating will also be added in the Spring helping to make this a new go-to spot for enjoying the nice spring and summer days outside.

Campus Multi-Purpose Use Area and Sustainability

As the Sustainability Coordinator for campus, I wanted to respond to student concerns regarding the tree removal and land grading activities currently underway on the three acre tract of land between the Union and Residential Life. First, thanks for caring and being interested in environmental sustainability – apathy and unwillingness to consider changing lifestyle habits are some of the biggest hurdles we face in becoming a more sustainable culture. So, thanks for voicing your concerns!

Next, info on the multi-purpose use area. Yep, it’s a shock to see the clearing of the area, that’s for sure. But there was much discussion on environmental impact of this project and how to do the project with the least long-term impact on sustainability over the two to three years this project was under consideration. I joined the Multi-purpose Use Committee last Spring which already had four other campus Sustainability Committee members participating, including student representatives, so sustainability was always an important consideration on this project.

Some of the items we considered/discussed both on the Sustainability Committee and the Multi-Purpose Use Committee included:

  • Species mix on the area  – was there anything unique or rare to be aware of? Members of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity walked through the area to evaluate the ‘quality’ of the area and determined it was a typical mix of what you find when you allow a farm field to go ‘natural’, being colonized by the typical plants – both invasives and naturally occurring. Nothing unique that would be displaced. In fact, this area was the dump field for the soil removed in constructing the University Union. The ‘best’ trees (health and species) in the multi-purpose area were marked and saved. We’re really lucky on our campus to have so much already ‘green’ property with 300+ acres of high quality natural ecosystems in the Cofrin Arboretum, plus other native, non-mowed areas in the remaining 300 acres that makes up the rest of campus & housing. Not to lessen the impact of the 3 acres currently being re-purposed, but it certainly was a consideration in whether we could let this area be used in a different way.
  • What about carbon sequestration?  If we cut down trees, we lose their ability to sequester carbon, how do we account for that loss? We looked at other areas on campus where we could do a ‘land swap’, but there are no other intact 3 acre tracts in one chunk that would be suitable, and the ‘bang for the buck’ of carbon sequestration was low on helping lower our overall campus carbon footprint. There are many more actions each one of us can take on campus to lower that footprint – but they involve behavior change, like using Zimride and carpooling with someone once a week (for example). In addition, new plantings will be going into this space – both native trees and plant species – that will help mitigate the loss and actually potentially increase the biodiversity of the area (depending on the number/types of plants going in).
  • Trying to find the balance point: Student/Res Life saw the importance of reusing this area as an outdoor meeting place for students to gather, have events/programs, participate in various sports/outdoor activities, and generally enjoy being outdoors. As a Sustainability Committee, we do want to do what’s best for the environment but we also have a responsibility to make sure you and all future students have an opportunity to actively engage in community building activities outside the classroom or dorm/apartment, and literally in this case, outside! Given the scrubby and ‘non-special’ nature of this 3 acres, the lack of other suitable areas on campus close to academic and residential buildings for repurposing for student outdoor space, the plan to incorporate new native species plantings including tress, and the other 300+ acres of high quality natural habitat on campus, we agreed to support this project.

 Also, I encourage you to get involved in student organizations like PEAC or SLO or the SGA Environmental Affairs committee – all these orgs are actively involved in environmental and sustainability efforts on campus and certainly welcome new members.

Don’t Forget: Take the Commuting Survey by Nov. 2nd

You’ve got a few more days to provide your input! How we commute to campus appears to be a significant ‘chunk’ of our overall campuswide greenhouse gas emissions, contributing approximately 27% of our total emissions.  For comparison purposes, our greenhouse gas emissions resulting from burning natural gas to heat the entire campus for a year’s period is 19% of our total emissions (FY2012 data). However, our commuting emissions are based on older data and that’s where we need your help!

Please take this short survey to update our data set. In addition, please provide feedback on Zimride, the ridesharing/commuting website that helps you find a ride to share with someone else – commuting or one-way trips (zimride.uwgb.edu).  We are halfway through our contract with Zimride and want to get a sense of participation and usage of the program which targets reducing solo trips in a vehicle, thus reducing emissions.

 Tracking and measuring the impact of “Eco-U” through an annual greenhouse gas inventory helps us better understand our progress and is a requirement of our participation in the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment.

 Thank you for taking the time to help us better understand where we’re at in working to make Eco-U greener.

 UWGB Sustainability Committee

Take Part in ECO-RUSH Days: October 22 – 25

Another on-campus opportunity to learn more about sustainability, food issues, and where some of the electricity feeding the grid you’re using to use or recharge the device you’re reading this on! Events are free and open to everyone!

Monday, Oct. 22:  Come to DIVE! the Movie – learn how you can supplement your diet with dumpster diving … ok, not really, but you will learn a great deal about the vast amounts of food wasted and disposed of in America. Movie will be shown from 5 – 6:3O in the Alumni Rooms, University Union

Tuesday, Oct. 23:  Autumn Fest at the Mauthe Center! Come enjoy a great gathering 7 – 10 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 24: Food Day.  All day at the University Union. Here’s an opportunity to learn more about food issues such as hunger, factory farming, urban agriculture and more about the local foods movement. Come for a locally source meal ($1 suggested donation for students, $2 for faculty/staff) in the Phoenix Rooms, University Union, starting at 4 p.m. and stay for keynote speaker, Will Allen, a MacArthur Genius grant awardee and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. He’ll be talking about his efforts in Milwaukee to introduce local and sustainable food sources.

Thursday, Oct. 25:  Beehive Design Collective at the Mauthe Center, 7 p.m. Come learn about The True Cost of Coal – using graphic design and great storytelling, the members of this collective give an informed presentation on the effects of mountaintop coal extraction.

Eco-Rush is sponsored by these student organizations:  PEAC, SLO, SIFE, UWGB Dietetics Club, as well as the Richard Mauthe Center and UW-Green Bay Sustainability Committee.

Build Your Own Time Capsule!

 

Send a message to future UW – Green Bay faculty, staff and students by leaving a message in a bottle during the week of Sept. 17 -21. In October, the new planters being installed on the Student Services Plaza will be filled with soil. But, some of the planters are deeper than the plants will need to live a healthy and long life. So, as many gardeners do when they have a really big pot,  we’ll be using a ‘filler’ – bottles that have been recycled on campus - to take up some of that unneeded space. This saves money on soil we don’t have to purchase and reuses bottles already present on campus.

To make the whole process more fun, everyone on campus has the opportunity to build their own time capsule to be used in the planters. With plastic bottles lasting an estimated 450 years in a landfill (that’s why it’s important to recycle them!!), take a few minutes to send your message to a future generation of students and employees. Here’s how you can participate:

Do-it-Yourself

  • Save a rigid plastic soda or water bottle and save the cap!
  • Wash and dry the bottle – set the rinsed bottle in a sunny place for a day or so to evaporate the leftover water inside
  • Write your message – is it a wish, hope, dream, thought, comment, drawing? Include a little demographic info such as your name, age, etc. so future UWGB historians will know something about you
  • Place it inside the bottle and put on the cap
  • Bring your bottle to campus the week of Sept. 17 – 21 and deposit it in one of the specially marked containers located at-
    • MAC Hall – top of the hallway ramp, next to the recycling/trash collection station
    • Cofrin Library – collection station closest to the Garden Cafe
    • Rose Hall – to the right of the collection station closest to Wood Hall
    • Theater Hall – next to the collection station
    • Instructional Services – next to the GAC Lab, to the left of the collection station
    • Environmental Sciences – just outside of ES114 lecture hall, next to the collection station

 Less Do-it-Yourself

  • Come to the Message-in-a-Bottle booth staffed by SGA, PEAC and SLO members. Booths and times are:
    • Monday, Sept. 17, MAC Hall, top of stairs by the Biodiversity Center; 11:30-1:00
    • Tuesday, Sept. 18, Union, across from the bookstore; 11:30 – 1:00
    • Friday, Sept. 21, Cofrin Library, across from Garden Cafe; 11:30 – 1:00
  • Pick up a bottle (limited quantity available, first-come/first-serve), paper and pen.
  • Contemplate and write your message.
  • Deposit it in the time capsule bin.

Who knows how valuable your signature or message will be in 40 – 50 years when the roof again needs replacement!

 

New Bike Shelter on Campus!

 A new covered bike shelter sprouted in the last few days on the triangle-shaped patch of ground between MAC Hall, the Library and ES. The first fully funded project from the student-approved Sustainability fee assessed to students each semester, the covered shelter was determined by the SGA environmental affairs committee to be both a visible and practical first project. With a covered shelter, in a central location, the hope is that it will encourage students, staff and faculty to forgo driving to campus (even on a day where there might be predicted rain) and take a bike instead. Not only is choosing a bike ride over a car ride better for the environment, it’s also better for personal health and wellness. The campus Sustainability Committee also helped with the project cost by providing funding for the concrete pad.

UW – Green Bay Listed by Sierra Magazine as a “Cool School”

UW-Green Bay rated a first-ever appearance on Sierra Magazine’s 6th annual “Cool Schools” ranking. Coming in at #65 out of a total of 96 schools that were ranked, UWGB was one of only two University of Wisconsin System schools appearing in the list. The other, UW – Oshkosh (#14), shows that higher education institutions in northeast Wisconsin are working hard to improve the sustainability of our campuses.

The ranking is a nice recognition of the consistent effort made by many people over many years on our campus to keep improving energy efficiency, innovating, participating in and providing education on environmental issues, policy and sustainability.  

Open to all four-year colleges and universities in the United States, campuses could participate in the review process by completing an in-depth survey about their school’s sustainability practices. The survey developed was a result of collaboration between Sierra, Princeton Review, Sustainable Endowments Institute and Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  Its questions focus on measurable environmental goals and achievements, with priority given to achievements.

To view the Cool Schools issue and see UWGB’s ranking in the 11 categories included in the survey, CLICK HERE.

 

Graduation Gowns Go Green

For the first time this year, the 900 graduates at UWGB will be marching across the stage to accept their diplomas in gowns that exemplify the environmental tradition of the university. The GreenWeaver fabric used to make the gowns comes from 100% post-consumer plastic. It takes an average of 23 bottles to make one gown.

Other environmental tidbits about the gowns:

Reduce – CO2 gas emissions are reduced by over 54% in the process of manufacturing fabric from recycled plastic versus virgin polyester.

Reuse – In addition to reclaiming and reusing the plastic bottles, thermal recycled energy is used instead of petroleum to produce the fabric, which saves energy use by over 52%.

Recycle- any student not wanting to hold on to their gown as a keepsake will have the ability to place them in collection boxes after commencement and those gowns will be recycled into new product.

Also, look for green ribbons on graduates’ gowns. If you see one, you know that these students have taken part in the “Green Pledge” national movement. The pledge states that the graduates will consider environmental and social justice aspects in their lives and future jobs. This is the fourth year that the UWGB campus has participated in the Green Pledge.

Congratulations to the Class of 2012!