In the 2013 calendar year, the University recycled 8,321 tons of material. This resulted in a waste diversion rate of 37.9%. Individually, the River Campus waste diversion rate was 46.3% and the Medical Center waste diversion rate was 23.6%. Additionally, 5,310 tons of construction material was recycled which increased the diversion rate by 11.6%, from 26.3% to 37.9%. These numbers are a significant increase from 2012, in which we recycled 3,722 tons of material with a waste diversion rate of 30.1%. Additionally, the University installed 10 new Clean River Bins, won 10 large bottle shaped recycling receptacles from a Keep America Beautiful and Coca Cola Foundation grant, and installed a package reuse station at the campus post office in Todd Union. These three unique additions further facilitate recycling throughout the University.
RecycleMania is an exciting competition between Universities nationwide to see which institution can collect the most recycling throughout an eight-week competition period. Collectively, the participants recovered 90.3 pounds of recyclables and organic materials. The University ranked in the top 10% for five award categories and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1,190 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Different groups across campus came together to raise awareness and host events throughout RecycleMania, helping to make the event a resounding success.
University Facilities and Services 5th annual Move-out Cleanout helped students donate their old clothing, food, furniture, electronics, and school supplies at the end of the academic year. A record 12,651 pounds of clothing were donated to Planet Aid, 1,656 pounds of food were given to Open Door Mission, and 2,100 pounds of electronics were collected by Sunnking electronics recycling. Other miscellaneous items such as furniture and school supplies were collected by Grassroots' annual fundraiser Dump and Run. Overall, the event sustainably repurposed thousands of items.
The 3rd annual Shred Fest was hosted by University Facilities and Services on July 26th. Throughout the day, University employees brought confidential documents to be shredded by IronMountain on site and then recycled. Approximately 23,950 pounds of paper were recycled, which is the equivalent of saving 33.6 cubic yards of landfill space!
University Facilities and Service's 6th annual E-Cycle Day recycled 25,000 pounds of electronics. University faculty and staff dropped off computers, televisions, cell phones, and other unwanted devices throughout the day which Sunnking, a local electronics recycling company, collected and recycled. The event decreased material waste and reduced the threat of toxic chemicals leaking out of landfills and into the environment.
The University participated in the Recycling Game Day Challenge this year, to encourage recycling at a home football game and collect as much recycling as possible from the event. 943 pounds of recycling and compostable material were collected, resulting in a waste diversion rate of 67.7% and saving an estimated 1.67 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
Raymond F. LeChase Hall, the new home of Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, was constructed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED is a green building certification program, recognizing buildings that are constructed according to sustainable principles and strategies. Some of the many ways in which the building is environmentally friendly include obtaining construction materials regionally and from recycled material, having low flow faucets, lights that operate on occupancy sensors, and landscaping that conserves water. Of the four LEED rankings - certified, silver, gold, and platinum - LeChase Hall was awarded the silver level for its sustainable design.
The University's Earth and Environmental Sciences Department has expanded to include more courses regarding energy, climate change, and oceanography for students interested in studying sustainability. A sustainability minor, an environmental engineering minor, and four different sustainability clusters are also now available. The Center For Study Abroad is offering Social & Environmental Change Program in San Jose, Costa Rica, which is an experiential and hands on program for sustainability. The Center For Interdepartmental Programs facilitates the opportunity to create a unique major based on a student's particular area of interest regarding sustainability. These academic offerings were in part created through the Genesee Workshop, in which faculty across many disciplines collaborated to enhance sustainability-focused academic programming.Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Earth Day was celebrated with a series of events from April 18th to April 20th. Events included an energy free acoustic jam night, flower painting, and an all day celebration with green booths, vendors, and tie-dying. The University launched a new program for Earth Day this year called Dash for Trash, which encourages the University Community to pick up litter along their running routes. The Georgen Athletic Center began offering compostable bags and latex gloves at the front desk in order to facilitate this productive and energizing morning routine.
A new bus route, Bus 52-Park Ave to URMC, was established in the fall of 2013 by the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RTS) in collaboration with the University. The route originates at the East Ave Wegmans, concludes at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and offers staff eco-friendly commute to work.
The University's EcoReps Program selects incoming freshmen to take a biweekly sustainability course and then share their knowledge regarding sustainability to peers in their freshmen dormitories. This year, two student coordinators, Ulrik Soderstrom '16 and Tyler Trine '16 enhanced the program by incorporating committees and monthly debates into the EcoReps Program to supplement and strengthen the existing curriculum.
A Dining Services initiative to increase the University's coffee selection and offer more local vendors is now in full swing. The University researched many local brands and then incorporated their products into dining locations. Buying locally reduces the environmental cost of transporting goods over long distances. Certain local products that the University now features, such as EcoVerde coffee, are exceptionally environmentally friendly. EcoVerde utilizes compostable packaging, fuel-efficient vans, and is only produced from plantations that meet the Sustainable Agriculture Network standards.
The Good Food Collective, a program that delivers local foods to the community, again distributed organic fruits and vegetables to the University between June and September. Members pay in advance and get a weekly share of the food harvested, which is a great way to eat local and healthy foods throughout the summer.
A large sign was posted in Starbucks to denote the proper way to recycle Starbucks products. Since patrons might not know which products can be recycled, this sign clearly illustrates that cold cups should be recycled while hot cups should be thrown away. This sign joins the other recycling signage already posted in campus dining locations.
A collaborative effort by the Irish Friendship Garden and the University of Rochester Horticulture and Grounds department has created an intercultural friendship garden, called the Ayame Garden. The city of Rochester is sister cities with Hamamatsu, Japan. The design of the garden reflects the two cultures, the partnership between them, and the diverse student body at the University of Rochester. The park is located in the Bausch and Lomb Riverside Park, and is a calm and beautiful space to enjoy nature.
The University continually strives to increase its energy efficiency, so the institution readily accepted an offer from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to participate in an energy study. Select dormitories on River Campus and RIT's campus were targeted with materials that encouraged students to reduce their energy consumption, unplug electronic devices, and turn off the lights. Energy use was then compared between these buildings and dormitories that did not receive the promotional materials. While the results were not statistically significant on the River Campus, they did reduce energy consumption at RIT. Despite the mixed results, the project was beneficial in that it continued energy reduction research and raised awareness about energy conservation.
Energy efficient lighting was installed in the atrium above Wilson Commons, replacing 40 atrium lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These light bulbs are sustainable by letting off much less heat than incandescent bulbs and thereby using energy more efficiently. As a result, LEDs last significantly longer and will allow the University to save $600,000 over the next 20 years. To maximize energy efficiency, a new control system was installed that operates according to building occupancy. This is one of many projects to upgrade the University to have more energy efficient lighting.
Central Utilities provides the University with steam, hot water, chilled water, gas, and electricity. To provide chilled water in particular, machines called chillers are used to keep water between 41-45 degrees Farenheit and pump it to necessary locations. Three chillers have been replaced with electric chillers that use significantly less energy than the previous steam chillers. Electric variable speed drives were also installed, which regulate the chiller's motor speed based on how much water is needed at the time.
The University was the recipient of numerous awards this year. The first is the Greater Valley Forge (GVF) Sustainable Award for implementing sustainable transportation options. The University achieved the Platinum level, which is the highest level of recognition, due to innovations such as operating alternative fuel vehicles, providing lockers and showers for bicycle riders, and subsidizing shuttle operations.
The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) awarded the University the Green Star Award for utilizing sustainable grounds management practices. The grounds management team strives to decrease pesticide use by keeping plants as healthy as possible. The team immediately rakes away dead leaves to prevent plant infection and hand weeds garden beds. These efforts help maintain a healthy and pesticide free environment.Grounds of the Provost House
The River Campus and School of Medicine and Dentistry won the 2013 Green Cleaning Award from American School & University in conjunction with the Green Cleaning Network and the Healthy Schools Campaign. This award recognized the University for Green cleaning practices such as using supplies certified by environmentally friendly organizations, using durable floor scrubbers rather than disposable ones, and employing Orbio Units, which electrically convert water to cleaning solution. These initiatives, among others, helped the University to win the Grand Award, the highest level of achievement.
The Arbor Day Foundation named the University a "Tree Campus USA" for the third year in a row. Tree Campus USA is a national program to honor educational institutions that "engage their student body as well as their broader community to establish and sustain healthy community forests for the benefit of current and future residents." To this end, the University engages in practices such as maintaining a tree-care plan, devoting funds towards trees, and observing Arbor Day.
Professor of Sustainability Studies Leila Nadir and Professor of Art Cary Peppermint launched an iPhone and Android application, "Indeterminate Hikes +," that aims to enhance participants' experience of nature in urban areas. Google Maps help participants pioneer a hike in a nearby area, and encourages them to use technology to capture and share their experience. This app presents an exciting way for users to experience the local environment.