Monthly Archive for May, 2009

Summer Love

Yes, it is official. Summer is here now, and we better love it! Taking it a step ahead, why don’t we choose to take advantage of the summer…

The Environmental Society at UT Arlington is recruiting volunteers to form a group that will manufacture solar cookers using reused/recycled materials and display them at the Central Library Mall area from June 1st through June 27th, 2009.

Students, faculty, staff and the general public are invited to participate in this month long ’solar’ love affair between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon everyday! Also get ready to share ‘eco’-nomic ideas for a smart summer survival while sipping refreshing summer drinks. Join informal discussions on a variety of topics such as solar energy, energy conservation, and keeping cool in the summer.

While some basic designs for the solar cookers will be used [available at this link]; we also aim to actually design and fabricate a new, Maverick Solar Cooker. The solar cookers will be auctioned off on June 21st, the Summer Solistice. All your ideas, questions, comments and criticism are welcome!

History professor calls for creating a Bicycle Commuters Association

John Garrigus, Associate Professor of History, is urging the university to create a Bicycle Commuters Association that would develop programs to promote students, faculty, and staff biking to campus.

Details

With interest in bike programs mounting, the Transportation Work Group has requested considerable funding in next year’s PSC budget for bike-related projects.

New maniacs on campus

Recyclemania is once again over for this year and some new Maniacs have been crowned.  This year we included the whole campus in the competition but we still did a contest between the residence halls and the apartments to find out who really is a “Maniac” recycler.  Our overall standing out of 293 schools participating in the Per Capita category, we ranked 224.   To break it down by Texas schools there were 17 Texas schools participating in the Per Capita category. We tied 7th and 8th with the University of Houston.  Other UT schools that participated and their ranking were #1 UTMB in Galveston, #2 UT Dallas, and #14 UT San Antonio.  We have a whole year to practice so we can move up in the rankings.

For the “local” competition, the residence halls and apartments were tasked with promoting Recyclemania within their hall or apartment during the 10-week period and document it.  At the end of the competition they turned in notebooks documenting the various ways they promoted Recyclemania. I must say they were very creative.  I even showed up in a couple of the notebooks as I was asked to come speak at two halls during this time.  Various apartment and residence life employees, Don Lange, and I reviewed the books and voted on a winner.  Brazos House turned out to be the most creative and received the award for “2009 Maniac Recyclers.”  Photos of Brazos House Recyclemania Fashion show can been seen on the Mavericks Go Green Facebook page.

Congratulations to this year’s winner and remember we have a year to practice for next year’s competition.

University hires Sustainability Director

The university’s sustainability program has reached an important milestone. The following is based on a press release issued today:

The university has named environmental lawyer Kathryn C. “K.C.” Poulos, a commissioner for the Environmental and Energy Advisory Commission in Oak Park, Ill., as its first sustainability director. The new position was authorized by President James Spaniolo as part of the sustainability agenda approved in 2008.

K.C. Poulos

Poulos will begin her new post on August 1. She earned her law degree along with a certificate in environmental law from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1993. She said UT Arlington is the ideal place to foster the idea of a sustainable community with its research capabilities, active student body, and committed faculty.

“As an environmental attorney, I have worked on matters that involved remediation of Superfund sites, changes in state regulations and monitoring air emission permits.  All of this work emphasized the importance of changing our perspective from a reactionary position to a proactive position, and that is exactly what UT-Arlington is trying to accomplish,” Poulos said.

“Its forward-thinking policies will help position the University as a place that is decreasing its impact on the environment while simultaneously introducing innovative ways to enhance the community around it. And I’m excited to be a part of this process.”

Star-Telegram article, May 21

Shorthorn article, June 1

Update on carbon footprint reduction planning

At the December 2008 meeting, the PSC voted to develop a carbon footprint reduction plan by the end of June 2009.  Early in the spring semester, as the first step of this process,  several of the PSC work groups (along with Environmental Health & Safety) formally responded to the 2008 carbon footprint report.

Building & Development

Energy & Water

Environmental Health & Safety

Landscaping & Habitat (6/22/09)

Transportation (6/23/09)

Waste Reduction

As I noted at the May 12 meeting, however, the planning process is behind schedule because hiring of the Sustainability Director has taken longer than expected. The work group responses will be assessed during the upcoming carbon footprint reduction planning course that begins June 3. Recommendations developed during the course will be made available to the PSC and Sustainability Director in August, with the expectation that a revised timeline for the reduction planning process can be presented at the PSC’s August 11 meeting.

Comments on the work group statements are welcome and will be taken into account during the summer analysis.

What’s your story?

Amy Schultz, Associate V.P. of Communications, is seeking personal stories about university students, faculty, staff, and alumni involved in efforts to promote sustainability. Tell her yours.

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