Over the past few years UConn has emerged as a national leader in the collegiate environmental scene. From its cogeneration power plant to its sustainable dining initiatives, the green movement has been gaining momentum in Storrs. Despite significant progress, however, many current and prospective students remain unaware of what UConn has been doing regarding environment sustainability. In order to address this information gap, the Office of Environmental Policy collaborated with Angel House Design over summer 2011 to develop an informative display on campus that would educate people on UConn’s environmentally progressive actions. The result was a wall size mural to be featured in the newly renovated lower levels of McMahon Residence Halls. The display is a collage of pictures and short text paragraphs explaining what UConn has done to reduce its environmental impact. Elements of the piece are three dimensional, increasing visual appeal, and making it possible to edit the material in order to keep up with the latest developments. The display is strategically placed near the McMahon Model Room, where tour groups of new and prospective students pass by many times a day, thus providing relevant information to interested individuals. This unique presentation also features sections dedicated to student involvement, such as a showcase on the EcoHouse learning community. It was installed during the last week of October for UConn to enjoy. We are proud to be involved in both this project and the many other sustainability initiatives currently on campus.
Ever hear the phrase “Every bit counts”? Well whether you believe it or not, small changes can add up to make a big difference. Even if you aren’t involved with any eco-friendly groups on campus you can still make an impact on the environment on your own. Large volunteer events and organizational movements are great, but people don’t always realize how significant their daily routines can be in affecting the environment.
One way that we try to raise awareness of this on campus is by holding an annual EcoMadness competition. During EcoMadness select dorms on campus compete against each other to see who can reduce their consumption of energy and water the most. The winning dorm receives a free ice cream party and an energy or water offset certificate based on which category they win. You don’t need to invent a spectacular eco-friendly machine to do your part. All you need to do is make small changes in your daily lifestyle and the results can be amazing! In just the first two weeks of the competition, Buckley has reduced their water consumption by 15.6%!
So please just flip the switch next time you leave a room, or save 5-10 gallons a minute by shortening your shower. Unplug your cell phone charger when you’re not using it, and only wash your clothes when you have a full load of laundry. Be smart, do your part, and always remember that just a little can go a long way!
Check out this year’s EcoMadness competition at the official EcoMadness webpage and find a few more tips on how to conserve energy and water.
On Friday, September 16th, the Office of Environmental Policy and UConn Athletics co-hosted Green Game Day, an environmental awareness campaign that encourages fans to do their part in reducing the footprint of UConn Athletic events. Thirty volunteers collected recyclables from tailgaters and educated fans about the importance of recycling. As much of the estimated eight tons of garbage produced at each Husky home game is recyclable, this event significantly contributes to reducing UConn’s environmental impact. Additionally, a student-run booth featuring a green initiatives display further enthused fans by providing them with recycling bags of their own.