UConn Office of Environmental Policy

Promoting sustainability at UConn

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Going Green at Rentschler Field!

This week we’re gearing up for the big Green Game Day against Maryland on Saturday!  To help get ready, let’s look at some of the green features at Rentschler field – home of Husky Football!

Starting with the standard – the Rent has multiple recycling bins throughout concourse!  Recycling bins have been relabeled by Coca-Cola, and messages reminding fans to recycle their bottles and cans will be aired during GGD.

The Rent also recycles all grease used from kitchen and concession stands.  Recycling grease helps keep it out of landfills, as well as preventing it from contaminating pipes and the water supply system.  Recycled grease can be used for many things, including to make biodiesel!

Showing an even greater commitment to reducing waste, the Rent composts food waste from the kitchens!  Composting is an awesome way to turn potential waste into a useful product!

Finally, Rentschler field has a clean up group that comes after events to clean up bottles and cans from the parking lot.  Although at Green Game Day, UConn volunteers will be going through the parking lots to collect bottles and cans and educate fans about recycling, we can’t  come to most events.  This clean up group helps prevent bottles and cans from becoming litter and going into our waterways, as well as making sure they get recycled, and not just thrown out.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Saturday! Go Huskies!  And remember – Go Green, Stay Blue!

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Coordinator’s Corner: Meet Dave!

Hi folks!

I’m Dave, and I am honored to serve as the Assistant Sustainability Coordinator for the UConn Office of Environmental Policy. I hail from New Britain, CT and have worked for the past few years in EH&S roles at an electric utility and a high-technology company. I recently came back to UConn full-time to complete my research on natural hazards research. I hope to combine interests in hydrometeorology with my interest in predictive modeling to create new, useful tools for governments and industry. In addition to my research, I have an interest in all things related to water – wetlands hydrology, flood forecasting and storm surge modeling, contaminant plume modeling, compliance etc.

I’m no stranger to UConn – I completed by Bachelor’s in Environmental Science in 2011 and my Master’s in Environmental Engineering in December 2012.I’m currently a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Engineering working with Dr. Emmanouil Anagnostou and Dr. Brian Hartman. I’m an alumnus of the Zeta Chi Chapter of Beta Theta Pi, and while I was an undergrad, I was an active member of the UConn OCF and played guitar at various coffeehouses and concerts around campus. You can still find me at open mics across the state, playing guitar during the week with my girlfriend Meredith.

I’m excited to work with OEP for many reasons. There are A LOT of cool projects going on at UConn – the reclaimed water facility, the retrofitting of campus buildings, and the new microgrid – we are at the heartbeat of environmental progress here at UConn. And it’s great to work with such committed and environmentally-conscious staff and undergraduate interns.

Here’s to a great year, I’m looking forward to working with everyone here at OEP!


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Reflections on Green Game Days Gone Past

It’s that time of year when school spirit is at a high as students to prepare to cheer on the UConn football team.  There is no shortage of Husky pride here at the Office of Environmental Policy, but we have more to celebrate than just football. On September 14th the OEP and UConn Athletics will carry out the fifth annual football Green Game Day.

The annual football Green Game Day event is dedicated to educating the fans about recycling.  Individual volunteers, as well as volunteers from EcoHusky, EcoHouse, and from a freshman sustainability course (taught by Rich Miller, Director of the OEP), gather together to collect recyclables from fans tailgating at the game.  The volunteers also promote awareness about recycling and educate the fans about proper disposal of recyclables within the stadium.

I had the privilege of volunteering at the Green Game Day last year through my freshman sustainability course.  The experience I had at my first Green Game Day is one that I will never forget.  By volunteering, I helped to reduce the amount of solid waste produced at the game.  I also got to reach out to students and fans about the importance of recycling.  This experience was incredibly rewarding and led me to participate in other sustainability events on campus thereafter.

Before the football game started, I walked around the parking areas with about half of the other volunteers armed with a green bag sporting the EcoHusky logo, as we collected all manner of recyclables from the tailgaters.  The fans were all very responsive to our efforts and began putting their recyclables in bags or in a central location so that we could access them more easily.  Many tailgaters commended us on our dedication to the environment and some even mentioned their hopes for a more permanent recycling program at the field.

I also got to work at the information tent at FanFest, located just outside the stadium.  While there we informed fans and students alike about the Office of Environmental Policy, about our Green Game Day initiatives throughout the year, and about the end-products of recycling.  We also set up sustainability-oriented games that people could play and gave away prizes if we saw anyone recycling on their own.  While spending time at the tent, the OEP was able to reach out to a lot of people and help them realize just how essential recycling is.

Finally, just before kickoff, the volunteers went in waves into the stadium to man the garbage cans for the first half of the game.  Once stationed, our goal was to educate the fans about proper disposal of recyclables.  Many people do not have a clear idea of what is or is not recyclable.  As a result, they either throw everything away or end up contaminating the recycling stream with non-recyclables. Through the Green Game Day, we were able to encourage recycling and to make people more aware of what can and cannot be recycled.

At the end of the day we were able to completely fill three dumpsters with recyclable goods that would otherwise have been thrown away.  The greater accomplishment, though, was to make people more aware of correct recycling procedures as well as the importance of recycling.  I cannot wait to participate in Green Game Day again this year so that I can again make a positive impact on the fans that are there and so that I can cheer on my team!  Go Huskies!


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Texas Turbines

Over the summer, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to take a three-week road trip with my parents and two of my siblings through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.  Having grown up in the Northeast, it was shocking to see states with such different terrain and landscapes.  Much of the time, the land and skies seemed endless, mainly due to the lack of trees compared to places like Connecticut (go UConn!)

Wind Turbines

While it was a little bizarre driving through such flat, open land, it’s because of this terrain that I had one of the most inspiring experiences of my trip.  My family and I were driving along I40 through the northern stub of Texas when we came across an amazing scene: massive, white wind turbines lined the interstate, side-by-side for miles.

I gazed at the turbines in complete awe.  I’ve always been fascinated by alternative energy sources, and was excited to see machines harnessing wind power up-close and personal.  This experience prompted me to research more about wind turbines and farms.

To put the size of these turbines in perspective, the blades can be up to 150 feet long, giving them a rotor diameter the length of a football field!  These giant structures are relatively cheap to build, quick to construct, and produce renewable energy through capturing kinetic energy in the wind and turning it into mechanical power.  Because harnessing wind energy does not produce CO2, wind turbines also have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 In addition, there are two types of wind turbines.  Horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) are the most common and rotate horizontally, whereas vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) rotate vertically.

 I was excited to learn that UConn has explored plans for small HAWTs at three sites on campus.  Although right now, it looks like the installation of wind turbines is not cost effective for UConn (due to our highly efficient Co-Gen plant), it’s good to know it could be an option in the future!

– Kerrin