Posted October 18, 2011 by Elizabeth Stringer 

Seeing Green

Sustainability is a hot button issue around the world. ACUI currently offers two Sustainability Smarts resource guides, and each issue of The Bulletin features a sustainability tip. Additionally, educational sessions presented at annual conferences touch on sustainability TrashCompactorfrom all angles.

On the ACUI Campus Tour: Welcome Week 2011, we were able to see a variety of eco-friendly features. Whether offering recycling stations or doing an overhaul of the heating and air conditioning system, every sustainable effort on campus counts. 

Clayton State University was the only place where we encountered a solar-powered trash compactor. This unordinary trashcan in the Student Activities Center allows its contents to be compacted immediately, meaning more trash can be placed in one bag and it will take up less space in the landfill. And of course, the compactor is right next to a recycling station.

LEEDThe expansion of the Tate Student Center at the University of Georgia is LEED Gold certified; it was the first at the university to receive this honor. Sustainable features of the building include a green roof, a heat recovery system, and rainwater collection. Nearly half of the materials used in the addition were from local sources.

The University of North Carolina–Charlotte offers many online resources for campus sustainability. A variety of green features are found at the Student Union. Water bottle refill stations eliminate the need to sell bottled water as students are encouraged have reusable water bottles. A food pulper system is employed to reduce waste from dining, and waterless urinals throughout the building save around 22,000 gallons of water each per year. 

Similarly, the University of Kentucky is focused on water bottle refill stations. The “See Blue, Go Green” campaign offered free reusable bottles to students for a limited time to promote the new refill stations in the Student Center. It is estimated that more than 100,000 plastic water bottles were kept from being used in the past year. WaterBottleRefill 

The Renewable Energy Initiative at Appalachian State University is dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of the university by “replacing the university’s existing sources of energy with cleaner forms of renewable energy technology.” The committee, composed of seven students as well as faculty and staff advisors, has completed several projects. While we were on campus, the most noticeable was the wind turbine. Dubbed North Carolina’s largest, it produces roughly 147,000 kilowatts of energy per year and offsets 200 metric tons of carbon dioxide. At the Plemmons Student Union, we were able to see a solar thermal system. The system is set to provide all the hot water needs of the union, including auxiliaries. 

These are just a few of the many initiatives we witnessed and heard about on the ACUI Campus Tour. What eco-friendly developments are happening on your campus?

This post is part of a series, sharing the information learned on the ACUI Campus Tour: Welcome Week 2011.


Elizabeth Stringer

Elizabeth Stringer is the Senior Manager of Marketing & Communication at ACUI.


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