Tuesday, May 15, 2012

June 2012: Innovative Approaches to Sustainability at Other Campuses

Here are a few selections of the innovative approaches to sustainability taking place on other college campuses. Each of these examples was chosen because it's something that UCSC could potentially implement in some way, or it's similar to something already being implemented on our campus. If you see something here that you want to make a reality at UCSC, contact the Sustainability Office and we will help you direct your ideas toward fruition!

Central Michigan U Launches 'Bring Your Own Bottle' Campaign
In effort to raise environmental awareness and sustainability through small steps, Central Michigan University’s Student Environmental Alliance has partnered with the Great Lakes Institute for Sustainable Systems to distribute 700 Bring Your Own Bottle (B.Y.O.B.) stickers around campus. Stickers have been placed near water fountains and trash cans to encourage the elimination of plastic water bottle waste. Find out about UCSC's own campaign for eliminating the use of single-use water bottles by checking out Take Back the Tap UCSC!

Unity College Steps Up Access to Clean Drinking Water
In answer to a campus student survey, Unity College has installed new water coolers in residence halls that use water from existing plumbing, and new fixtures on water fountains in public spaces that make filling water bottles easier, similar to the water spigots Take Back the Tap has installed around campus. To see more photos of the ones TBTT has installed at UCSC, click here.
Outside the Student Union Building, on the floor of the lounge.
Photo by Take Back the Tap UCSC.

UCSD student's Geared Up program helps find new homes for old atheletic gear
As a tennis player for the University of California at San Diego, Jacqueline Davis said that any college athlete knows that a ton of athletic gear they get often never gets used. Davis, who interned for the university's sustainability center, decided to tie athletics to the environment. She started the program she calls "Geared Up" which works to donate the athletic gear that might have otherwise been thrown away to public schools. The "Geared Up" program has already donated thousands of dollars' worth of equipment.

U Kansas, Utah Research Reveals that Nature Boosts Creativity
New research conducted by faculty from the University of Kansas and the University of Utah concludes that people from all walks of life show "startling" cognitive improvement — for instance, a 50 percent boost in creativity — after living for a few days steeped in nature. Without distractions of 21st century life including social media, electronics and cell phones, people have resources left over to be creative, imaginative and to problem solve. No wonder UCSC has such creative students, staff, and faculty--we are surrounded by forest everyday! Now, just turn off that cell phone, sign off of your computer, and get out there and enjoy the creative benefits of nature.
Near the Stevenson Knoll, overlooking OPERS and Monterey Bay.
Photo by Melissa Ott.

Santa Clara U Athletics Center Introduces User-Powered Treadmills
The university has added two new treadmills that are "powered by sweat" for a total of 33 fitness machines that are self-generating and require no electricity. In total, the university reports that the 33 machines save enough electricity to power a personal computer for 10 years.

U Louisville Students Install Recycled Solar Panels
Members of the university’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Club are installing a small-scale solar energy project using recycled materials. Students purchased the solar cells from eBay and re-engineered the cell architecture to use a low-cost method. The panels will be used to power two fans that will ventilate a greenhouse.

St. Lawrence U to Launch Sustainability Semester
In spring 2013, student participants will be able to live and take courses together that address themes of human sustainability from a variety of disciplines. Located on a farm, the students will work on-site to grow food and build energy-efficient structures. The semester will also include an urban component where students spend two weeks in either Boston or New York to explore issues such as transportation, housing, food access, pollution and environmental justice.

Syracuse U Students Initiate Food Waste Audits
Two Sustainability Division interns recently gave their fellow students a firsthand look at the food being wasted in the campus dining center each day. Two dinnertime tray waste audits yielded a total of 278 pounds of tray waste, which was displayed for student viewing on a tarp-covered table in three separate piles: untouched food, food scraps and non-edible waste. The visual impact was designed to encourage students to waste less food.

U California Berkeley Debuts New Building Energy Dashboard
The university's new myPower site is connected to 57 campus buildings, allowing the campus community to view how much electricity a building is using in real time on their own computers. In addition to targeting individual behavior and behavioral change by showing how energy saving habits can make a difference, the new dashboard allows the university to spot and fix any energy-related issues. The university plans to get another 45 buildings online this year.

Cal State Monterey Bay Graduates to Wear Recycled Bottle Gowns
Every pound of yarn in the gowns that will be worn by this year's graduates at CSU Monterey Bay saves one-half gallon of gasoline and produces half of the carbon dioxide emissions of the typical polyester manufacturing process. These students really wear their environmental conscience on their sleeves--UCSC graduates should be able to, as well!

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