This week marks the start of Earth Month celebrations. Now in its sixth year on campus, Earth Month promotes environmental awareness, conservation, and sustainable practices to the campus community. UT is giving this greenest of months an orange twist with some fun and interactive campus events that everyone can enjoy.
Lights will be turned off for an hour tomorrow night in two buildings on campus to celebrate Earth Hour and to conserve energy. Earth Hour is a global celebration, hosted annually on the last Saturday in March by the World Wildlife Fund. The event, now in its sixth year, raises awareness of the need for sustainable practices to help save the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources.
Students, faculty, and staff who eat at the campus’s Southern Kitchen are taking advantage of “Green Takeout”—a sustainable program with Volunteer Dining. For a one-time fee of $5, patrons can receive a reusable food container every time they eat at Southern Kitchen, located on the ground floor of Volunteer Hall.
The RecycleMania competition is entering its eighth and final week and the campus is celebrating the milestone by focusing on compostable food waste. At three zero-waste events this week, employees and volunteers from UT Recycling and Volunteer Dining will work together to compost 100 percent of leftover food.
In February 2011, Chancellor Cheek challenged the campus community to work together to reduce our energy consumption. The Chancellor’s Challenge is now over, and the results are in. The campus has reduced electricity use by one-kilowatt hour per square foot over this past year. We have also saved more than $900,000 in electricity costs.
This is the final week to nominate a university faculty or staff member or student for a 2012 Environmental Leadership Award. If you know of someone who goes the extra mile to promote environmental leadership on campus, complete the online nomination form by the end of Friday, March 23.
Today is the first day of RecycleMania. What have you recycled today? RecycleMania is a friendly eight-week competition between universities across the country to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.
Last October, the campus competed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Game Day Recycling Challenge, a friendly nationwide contest to determine which university can reduce the most waste during a football game day. In total, seventy-five universities competed in five categories: recycling, trash diversion, greenhouse gas reduction, organics reduction, and waste minimization.
Students and employees across campus are now taking advantage of a new progressive sustainability campaign: the Mug Project. Members of the campus community can bring their own mug of twenty-four ounces or less and receive ninety-nine-cent drip coffee and fountain beverages.
UT Knoxville is celebrating Make Orange Green with a kickoff event at Presidential Court on Thursday, September 22 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. The event will offer students, faculty, and staff a look at what the campus and local organizations are doing to save energy, reduce waste, and promote environmental leadership.