UConn Office of Environmental Policy

Promoting sustainability at UConn


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Sustainability Roundup: Reporting on Sustainability

Today’s sustainability roundup is focusing on UConn’s own Kelsey Sullivan, a reporter for the Daily Campus.  Her reporting, and her column, entitled “The New Green” is read and enjoyed by many people in our office, and around campus.  Here are links to a couple of her recent columns.

This column  discusses how individuals in a community can offer input into development – and why it’s so important to have community input.

This column from last semester discusses a really interesting possible turn for community development – sustainability focused cohousing.  Green Haven cohousing community is the example mentioned in the column.

Finally, this column from last semester examines how we talk about development and growth, and how to integrate sustainability into those terms.

We applaud your hard work, Kelsey, and hopefully the New Green simply becomes a way of life!


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Sustainability Roundup: Sustainability and the Arts

Frequently, when we think about environmental sustainability, our minds immediately turn to science.  However, there are many parts of environmentalism that are not scientific (in the traditional sense).  This blog post will give you a small background on some of those other elements that come into play.

Clara Fang’s “The Art of Submission” stresses the importance of an aspect of environmentalism that is sometimes overlooked: the arts.  In her essay, she explains the frequency with which people rely solely on science and technology to solve environmental issues, while the source of the problems, “our minds,” is overlooked.  She calls attention to how we focus on altering the world around us to meet our needs, which oppresses the environment and other less fortunate people in the process, rather than changing ourselves to solve our problems.

Fang shows how the arts, namely poetry, have the power to evoke emotions within ourselves that help us sympathize, realize the intrinsic value of all things beautiful, like nature, and motivate us to change our perspectives and take action towards solving our environmental problems.

Read parts one and two of her thought-provoking essay on her blog.

Aside from poetry, another form of the arts that has been used as a tool towards environmental action is photography.  In the 1900s, one famous photographer, Ansel Adams, made a huge impact on the public’s opinion of the environment in the United States through capturing the natural beauty of untamed wilderness in his photographs and publicizing them through venues like the Sierra Club.  Awe-struck Americans were motivated to protect the environment and advocate for national parks simply because of the sheer beauty of nature.

This fall, UConn has a *new* interdisciplinary major between the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) called “Environmental Studies”  that emphasizes the importance of looking at sustainability from many lenses, not strictly focusing on the scientific or engineering fields. Arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering – every field can offer an important perspective on sustainability.

– Kerrin


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Sustainability Roundup: Green Sports

In honor of our preparation for Football Green Game day in the upcoming weeks (Add it to your Calendar – 7:30PM September 14thn at Rentschler Field), here is some information about how to “green” sports.

The NRDC has put together a report about ways that College Sports are becoming more sustainable, including highlighting UConn’s Burton Family Football Complex and Shenkman Training Center, which was the first LEED Silver football training facilities in the US, the first LEED certified facility in the NCAA, and the first LEED Silver building at UConn, which led to our LEED Silver policy for all new construction on campus.

The NRDC also has a report about how professional sports can be sustainability leaders that you can check out!

Right now, as you read, the Green Sports Alliance Summit is going on in NYC, with stakeholders meeting with sustainability leaders to collaborate on how to make sports greener.

Just because you’re at a sporting event, doesn’t mean you get to ignore the environment.

Go Green! Stay Blue!


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Sustainability Roundup: Coming to Campus

We’re about to have thousands of students move in to UConn’s Storrs campus at the end of this week, because classes start on Monday.  This week’s sustainability roundup is looking at some of the ways to stay green during move-in.

George Washington University provides some great tips to start off green in the dorms.

Once you’re on campus, you will probably be walking or biking a lot (which is super green!), so check out the safety guidelines from UConn Police.

The Guardian presented an interesting article this week about how much energy wireless computing and keeping everything in “the cloud” uses.  Although getting rid of excess paper usage through cloud computing is great, it’s not an unmitigated good – it still uses energy.

Don’t forget UConn’s recycling guidelines as you’re unpacking all your stuff!  Remember, with single stream, ALL your recycling can go in ANY recycling container, even if it’s labeled otherwise.


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Sustainability Roundup: Preparing for Climate Change

As people all over the world can share, our weather is changing as a result of global climate change.  Connecticut has experienced two hurricanes in the past three years, as well as several very bad blizzards that have left much of the state without power for days or even weeks.  Here are a few links to programs that are being put into place to cope with more frequent extreme weather events. 

UConn is installing a MicroGrid on the Depot campus to protect important facilities from power outages in future weather events. 

Several states, including Connecticut, are passing legislation to deal with the effects of climate change

The city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat in India has developed a Heat Action Plan to protect people from dangerous and more frequent heat waves.  Full Plan available here.

The City of Groton, CT has developed a very detailed process for dealing with climate change at a community level. See here for the full plan. 

Please feel free to share any other plans and programs that have been developed to address the effects of climate change that you know of.