UConn Office of Environmental Policy

Promoting sustainability at UConn


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Cleaning Green

Our intern Katie, just moved into campus apartments instead of a traditional dorm.  Consequently, she’s been researching how to live more greenly, including cleaning.  Here is the result of her research!

Simple Switches

We all want to live a little greener so we try to recycle and save energy, but what about those necessities of life that may include harsh chemicals or other substances that are unfriendly to the environment?  Fear not, there is a solution!  Many people are still unaware that there are a variety of green cleaning and personal hygiene products available in the market today.  All it takes is a few simple switches and knowing which brands to buy.  Some key words to look for are “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly,” and “eco-safe.”  However you must be careful and take a look at the ingredients just to be sure the product is actually what it claims to be because many companies merely use these buzz words as a marketing ploy.  In addition to buying greener products you should also consider replacing old sponges and mops with products made from recycled or post-consumer materials.  Next time you go shopping for a fresh batch of cleaning supplies look for these brands or order them online:

  • The Honest Company
  • Green Works
  • Seventh Generation
  • ECOS
  • Method
  • Simple Green

You can also check this list for several brands of Eco-friendly cosmetics and soap:

http://www.greenlisted.org/personal-care.htm

If home remedies are more your style, check out this link for some great formulas and substitutes:

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm

– Katie


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The Difficult Road to #1

UConn’s recent achievement in reaching the #1 ranking in this year’s Sierra Club “Cool Schools” Survey is, without a doubt, a success to be celebrated by the entire campus community. The sustainable practices implemented by faculty, staff, and students, as well as generous donations to the University’s Campus Sustainability Fund, have  supported green initiatives here at UConn.

However, as one of the newest at the Office of Environmental Policy, it especially excites me to have been a part of such an outstanding accomplishment within my first year as an intern. I can remember the meeting when the previous sustainability coordinator, Jen Clinton, began assigning sections of the Sierra survey for us to review, fact check and update. There was a collective groan that went through the room, and little did I know what I was about to get myself into. The subsequent process of reviewing our designated sections, which took several months, was often stressful. Meeting deadlines while balancing other tasks assigned to us in the office, including planning and running events such as Green Game Day, also proved to be a challenge, and when the survey was finally submitted, all of us could breathe a little sigh of relief.

Still, the long wait for the Sierra club to review our survey and respond to us with our ranking was nerve-wracking. A majority of the other interns had been through the process of submitting the survey before, but although it was my first year, I was able to share their anticipation. We all wanted to see the fruits of our labor pay off, not only because we had devoted hours of hard work, but because we knew UConn deserved nothing but a high ranking. The feeling of excitement that struck us all when we received the great news was indescribable. We were extremely proud of one another, and proud to say that we belong to such a “cool school”! If we were able to achieve this kind of success during my first year at the OEP, I can only imagine the other accomplishments that lie ahead for the University. Congratulations, Huskies!

– Meredith


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Meet Christopher!

Today on our Meet the Interns series we have Christopher Bruno!

Chris will be starting his second year at UConn in the fall, majoring in Resource Economics with a concentration in Environmental Economics and Policy.  He also plans to major in Business Fundamentals and Geographic Information Systems.  He cares a lot about environmental studies and was very excited about this internship when he learned about it from his adviser.

“The objective of what I am doing is to better our economic circumstances given our environment’s limited sources. There is a lot to be accounted for when we exploit our environment and I want to continue to find out just how much our environmental impact is costing us. I hope to learn enough to aid in the process of producing sustainable and economically feasible future plans. I will be learning more about how I can do this through my OEP internship and through my classes.

I recently went on a study abroad program in Costa Rica through the GREEN Program and have learned a lot about sustainability and renewable energy. While in Costa Rica, I visited various renewable energy plants and learned about them as well through an Enerdynamics program. I also helped set up water collection systems on small, local houses, seeing firsthand how simple, cost-effective projects could be implemented in many places without any hassle. I finished the trip off by working with a group of students and experts to produce an economically and sustainably efficient plan to reduce waste-water in a micro-apartment complex in Manhattan. The plan was based off of a new project in the city and could be implemented in retro-fitting buildings and other new projects. This trip validated my passion for what I study and is a big reason I was heavily interested in this internship.”

“I am looking forward to meeting everyone and working in the Office of Environmental Policy. The experience I will gain in this position will help me in reaching my goal of becoming an Environmental Consultant. I can’t wait to see how our projects have an impact on the campus and areas around it.”

Chris will be working on Central Warehouse Cleanup, Campus Sustainability Day, Football Game Days, the Campus Sustainability Fund, and UConn Foundation and Development activities, so look for his face at events next year!


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Meet Kerrin!

Next in our “Meet the Interns” series: Kerrin Kinnear!

Kerrin is in her second year at UConn and found the OEP through a friend in EcoHusky!  Her experiences with EcoHusky and environmental alternative spring break during her first year encouraged her to declare an Environmental Studies major.

“This past year, I was involved in multiple environmental activities.  In the fall, I became an active member of EcoHusky, where I learned about environmental initiatives on campus, volunteered for food waste studies, and pursued a leadership role in public outreach. My involvement in the club inspired me to take the Environmental Conservation class on campus, where I learned about the evolution of environmental policy over the last couple hundreds of years and the importance of protecting the environment.  In addition, my experience with EcoHusky led me to an internship with Rising Green, an environmental start-up company that works to connect passionate students with green employers in the United States.

“While these were all amazing experiences, the highlight of my freshman year had to be my alternative spring break. In March, I hopped on a bus with 52 other UConn students and headed down to Biloxi, Mississippi to help with environmental tasks in the area.  We restored hurricane-damaged marshlands by transplanting 300 Cypress trees, as well as the endangered Sandhill Crane’s habitat by removing invasive vine and tree species. Seeing such beauty in the wildlife throughout the parks and forests we visited really motivated me to pursue a career in environmental policy and sustainability.

“Next year at the OEP I will be involved in Composting and Food Waste, Sneaker Recycling, Earth Day Spring Fling,  and EcoMadness.

“I am excited to work with and get to know each of you here at the Office of Environmental Policy.  I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity to gain experience in the field of environmental policy, and hope to apply what I learn here to my future career path.  I look forward to becoming more environmentally involved on UConn’s campus!”

We’re excited to have Kerrin as part of our team!  Look for her face at events this year!


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Meet Brianna!

We’re welcoming some new interns here at the OEP!

Brianna Church is a part-time intern at the Office of Environmental Policy. She has already hit the ground running this summer! She is starting her second year at UConn as an Environmental Engineering major in the Honors Program.  She learned about the OEP when she took a freshman honors class with Rich Miller on environmental sustainability.  She was excited to apply for an internship position with the OEP because of her interest in sustainability and the important experience working at the OEP provides.  At the OEP, Brianna will be focusing on outreach events.  She’s not entirely sure which area of environmental engineering will be her focus, but outreach is essential for all programs to promote environmental change.

“I have always wanted to pursue a career that would enable me to help people but for a long time I was unsure of which path would be most rewarding and most fitting for me. It was in the seventh grade that I discovered my dream job. That year my school hosted a presentation given by two members of the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. The younger of the two was an environmental engineering major. After describing the technology that she and her colleagues managed to design, and even implement in another country, I knew exactly what field I wanted to pursue. I had always had a love for animals and the natural environment. In addition, I was strong in math and science and have always tried to understand how things work. It was clear that environmental engineering was, and still is, a perfect fit for me.”

Brianna Church

Brianna Church

“I cannot wait to meet and work alongside of all of you here at the Office of Environmental Policy and am very grateful for this opportunity. Additionally I am very excited to get some hands on experience in my field.”

Welcome aboard, Brianna!  Look for her face at OEP events this fall!