Monthly Archive for April, 2009

Renewable energy expert talks on prospects and problems, May 4

Dr. Krishnan Rajeshwar, Associate Dean, College of Science, UT Arlington will deliver a guest lecture at the next meeting of The Environmental Society. This event will be held at Room 101, College Hall, UT Arlington at 12:00 noon on Monday, 4th May 2009.

Dr. Rajeshwar, a renowned expert in the field of alternative energy science and technology, is also a Distinguished University professor at UT Arlington. During the talk on Monday, he will discuss the problems and prospects of renewable (alternative) energy for the future.

Find out more about Dr. Rajeshwar at the following links:
UTA Features
Research Profile
Recent news

Student groups work together for Sustainability Awareness Campaign

The Environmental Society and The Student Planning Association get together to raise awareness on issues of sustainability at UT Arlington, in the context of sustainable land usage decisions (for parking lots)
Wednesday, April 29th 2009, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., UTA University Center.

Last Friday, April 24th, the Environmental Society hosted an open forum to discuss the parking lots as a campus sustainability issue, particularly about the proposed Parking Lot 54. The forum was part of a growing effort to develop conscientious discussion on the many problems associated with parking lots on campus. It invited ideas and comments from the university community and the general public.

During the event on Friday, it became obvious that there was considerable interest in continuing the conversation about sustainable options to solve parking problems other than laying down more parking lots afresh. However, as it stands, construction on this lot is slated to commence in Fall 2009. In an effort to raise awareness and urge UT Arlington to think about sustainable ideas further, members of the Environmental Society and the Student Planning Association will host an awareness campaign in the University Center this Wednesday, April 29th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

At this event, members of both groups will speak to the campus community about the proposed lot and other sustainable ideas (as alternatives to the lot), and will encourage students, faculty and staff to take action on this issue. Additionally, there will be petitions available at the table for members of the campus community to sign. If you are interested in signing the petition and will be unable to stop by the table on Wednesday, or you would like to help out with the table please contact Brooke Kapur at brooke.silkeykapur@mavs.uta.edu

For more information on the parking lot issue, use following links:

http://blog.uta.edu/sustainability/2009/04/27/lively-discussion-on-campus-parking-and-its-environmental-impacts/

http://blog.uta.edu/sustainability/2009/03/20/grad-student-and-resident-contests-plan-for-new-parking-lot/

http://blog.uta.edu/sustainability/2009/04/04/green-or-gray-2/

Lively discussion on campus parking and its environmental impacts

On Friday (April 24) the Environmental Society sponsored a forum on the environmental context of planned changes in campus parking. The event was prompted by the administration’s recent announcement that it plans to turn a tree-covered parcel on the southeast corner of campus into a small parking lot, designated Lot 54. About 20 people attended.

  •  * Vinodh Valluri, graduate student in Environmental & Earth Science and the organizer of the discussion, displayed photos of the parcel and the surrounding lots and questioned the need for more parking.
  • * John Hall, vice president for administration and campus operations, provided extensive background on plans to build the Special Events Center and two large parking garages on land now occupied by surface parking lots. He noted that the campus master plan calls for converting some lots to greenspace in the long term and that the university currently has excess parking capacity. But he argued that while the garages are under construction, additional surface parking will be necessary and development of Lot 54 is under consideration. He presented plans for preserving some of the parcel’s trees  and using permeable paving to allow rainwater to penetrate the soil.
  • * David Hopman, assistant professor of landscape architecture, discussed other options for greening Lot 54.
  • * John Darling, president of Arlington Conservation Council (also the university’s compost specialist and a resident of the neighborhood near Lot 54), called attention to the parcel’s value as habitat and expressed concern about the university’s continued conversion of undeveloped land to parking lots and buildings.

Valluri presentation

Hall presentation

Hall table

Hopman presentation

Campus master plan

Shorthorn story, April 27

Shorthorn story, April 22

Valluri posting on opinion poll,  April 4

Howard posting on controversy, March 20

Summer course — Carbon footprint reduction planning

 Project Planning:

Campus Carbon Footprint Reduction

CIRP 5332 (course no. 51241)

Summer 2009

Wednesdays, 6:00-9:50 p.m., June 3 – August 13

Instructor: Dr. Jeff Howard, School of Urban & Public Affairs, howardj@uta.edu

This graduate course will be devoted to assisting the University of Texas at Arlington with planning reductions in its “carbon footprint” – that is, reductions in its direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. During a parallel course in summer 2008, students and the instructor developed a report on the university’s carbon footprint, which now serves as the starting point for the President’s Sustainability Committee’s effort to plan effective means to reduce the footprint.

In collaboration with the instructor, students will examine preliminary recommendations included in the 2008 report, assess these in light of initial responses from the sustainability committee, and use tools such as the guide produced by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to develop further analysis and recommendations for formal presentation to the committee and the campus community.

Because climate change is increasingly prominent in public policy nationally and internationally, the course will provide students an opportunity to develop a skill set, conceptual base, and practical experience that can be applied in municipalities and institutions across the world. It also provides concrete assistance to a large university devoted to making improvements in its environmental impacts.

The course is expected to be of particular interest to students in Urban & Public Affairs, Environmental & Earth Science, Environmental Engineering, Architecture, and Business but is open to graduate students from across the campus (and conceivably to senior undergrads). Students interested in taking the course are invited to contact the instructor.

Syllabus

University is environmental sponsor for Fort Worth arts festival

The university is serving as the first environmental sponsor of the Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival.

 Full details

Shorthorn story, April 15

Talk on energy-self-sufficient agriculture, April 30

 David L. Johnson, Professor of Environmental Chemistry,

State University of New York-Syracuse

 4:00, Geoscience 100

Flyer with full details

Forum Discussion on Parking Lots and Campus Sustainability, April 24

On Friday, April 24, the Environmental Society will host a forum discussion open to the university community and the general public.

Location: Pedernales Room, Upper Level, E.H. Hereford University Center, U.T. Arlington
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Friday, 24th April 2009

This event is part of a growing effort to develop conscientious discussion on the many problems associated with parking lots on campus. All members of the university community are invited to participate and share their views, opinions and ideas. We hope this discussion will allow the university community to better understand and review the vital decisions being taken by university administration related to parking lots on campus.

Film: “Green Building and Design,” April 14

 The Student Planning Association will be screening the film Green Building and Design, written by Simran Sethi 

Tuesday, April 14

6:00 to 7:00 in University Hall Room 521

All Are Welcome! 

PIZZA WILL BE PROVIDED! 

The green revolution has prompted new forms of building design that welcome in the natural world. This program surveys some of those advances and the architectural pioneers who create and implement them. Celebrated architect William McDonough explains his working methods and outlines designs for major projects–including the Ford Motor Company’s eco-friendly Rouge Center renovation–while Leslie Hoffman, executive director of Earth Pledge, showcases a stunning example of a green urban home. Further commentary comes from EPA Energy Star program director Kathleen Hogan and Time magazine “Hero for the Planet” Dr. John Todd.

SPA is open to all School of Urban & Public Affairs students with an interest in planning and also welcomes students from any UTA program who have an interest in planning issues.  

For more information, contact Brooke Kapur  

SPA Facebook Group

SPA Wiki 

Green or Grey?

The Environmental Society recently held a bake sale and public opinion poll about the Parking Lot 54 proposal. Nearly all the members of the university community who came to our bake sale were not informed about this issue at all. We explained to them both the growing need for parking space on this campus, and that our university has chosen to set a progressive example of a sustainable campus.

At the end of our bake sale, more than 110 members of the campus community asked for green space, while only 1 asked for a parking lot at the place in question. Many students have strongly called for multi-level parking spaces closer to campus than spread out parking lots so far away. They reasoned that the proposed parking lot would not be efficacious for a number of reasons:

1. Convenience:
Having to walk more than 330 meters (1080 feet) to get to that parking lot will be a huge inconvenience. Waiting for a shuttle to take you there is not comfortable, especially in bad weather. The shuttle service has a limited functioning period (not available in the evening and on the weekends).

2. Safety:
Walking to a parking lot that is so far away from campus increases the probability for crime (attacks). Students also expressed concern over the safety of their car and their belongings in the vehicle. Ensuring security at all times on these faraway parking lots will be a necessity, and thus an added expense for the university.

3. Weather:
Weather was a major concern expressed by some students.The extremes of weather (hail, freezing rain, strong winds, tornadoes) are not under the control of any human. To park a car so far from campus is a chance no student would want to take, unless left with no other option.

Seeing this list of important concerns voiced out by the university community when informed about this proposal, we ask for you to please consider beginning a fair discussion on this issue within the Presidents Sustainability Committee.
Vinodh Valluri
The Environmental Society
_____________________________

University hosts environmental education events in downtown FW, April 17-19

I received the following from PSC Co-chair Don Lange.

Jeff

 The Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival is held in downtown Fort Worth April 16-19. UT Arlington is the Environmental Sponsor for this year’s event.  The PSC along with the Festival Organizers have implemented items to make the event more sustainable, including the Off Main Street program where the UT Arlington Fort Worth Center is offering educational sessions.  The schedule for Off Main Street at the Fort Worth Center is listed below and has a strong sustainability theme.  Come support the Arts Festival as well as Off Main Street!  

2009 MAIN St. Fort Worth Arts Festival
OFF MAIN at the UT Arlington/Fort Worth Center

FRIDAY, APRIL 17
6:00 p.m.
“It’s Underway in DC: Global Warming Law and Regulation”
Richard Greene,
UT Arlington School of Urban and Public Affairs adjunct professor, former Mayor of Arlington (1987-1997), former Regional Administrator of the US EPA (2003-2009)
What is being done to develop the legal and regulatory framework to control greenhouse gas emissions to deal with global warming? Former EPA Administrator Greene will discuss the new structure that President Obama has created for the nation’s energy/environmental cabinet-level programs, and the initiatives in Congress to address the problems of global warming. He will explain the recent EPA endangerment finding that is the initial step toward the development of rules and regulations under existing law to control the releases of greenhouse gas emissions, and how these initiatives are moving forward (or not) in DC.
**Reception preceding lecture at UT Arlington’s Fort Worth Center Gallery76102 beginning at 5:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, APRIL 18
1:00 p.m.
“Creating Treasure from Trash: An Artist’s Perspective”
Julia Schloss,
Resurrection Art
Fun, artful, creative, money-making recycling tips, ideas and information from a lifelong salvage artist.

3:00 p.m.
“The Effects of Sustainable Technology on Students”
Kurt Ortley,
AIA, LEED AP, UT Arlington School of Architecture adjunct professor and architect
The global environmental benefits of sustainability initiatives are widely known and discussed, but what real life effects can they have on the world’s smallest citizens? Besides future impacts, how can learning in a healthier, more sustainable environment change the educational abilities and physical development of our children today? Mr. Ortley will discuss the definitive information that has been released from the American Neurological Society, the Children’s Health Coalition, and the Environmental Protection Agency concerning effects ranging from physical growth to brain size to test scores – and even some less likely impacts like dental health.

5:00 p.m.
“UT Arlington’s Extensive Green Roof: First Year Results”
David Hopman,
UT Arlington School of Architecture assistant professor and landscape architect
In April 2008, UT Arlington volunteers transformed 1,000 square feet stop the existing Life Science Building into the North Texas region’s first experimental green roof. The on campus installation included roofing systems, irrigation, plants and about 30,000 pounds of soil. One year later, David Hopman, supervisor of this groundbreaking project, discusses his findings.


SUNDAY, APRIL 19
2:00 p.m.
“Planet Performance & Small Business: Can going Green get you into the Black?
Kimberley Jardine,
UT Arlington Small Business Development Center for Enterprise Excellence
There is a widespread misconception that going green in business means taking expensive and intrusive measures that have no financial return. Ms. Jardine will discuss Sustainable Business Strategies with a emphasis on Planet Performance by outlining simple behavioral changes that small businesses can make to green their business and save money in the process.