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Monday, September 29, 2008

Erase the Waste

The University of Florida has set an ambitious goal – to be zero waste by the year 2015. Reaching this goal will undoubtedly require an effort from all fronts.

Gator Dining Services, as part of its “Erase the Waste” campaign, is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to sign a pledge to reduce their individual contribution to food waste generation on campus. The pledge, running during the months of October and November, gives some helpful tips on waste reduction and signatories will be eligible for prizes at the end of the campaign.

As part of the campaign, Gator Dining is also working closely with employees on training and education aimed at ensuring efficient use of food during meal preparation. A series of internal competitions between the two dining halls will encourage employees to cut down on the amount of waste generated during preparation.

To sign the pledge, visit Erase The Waste. Prize winners will be notified by e-mail at the end of the campaign.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Light Bulb Battle

Gainesville residents have a chance to offset the pollution from Saturday’s University of Florida football game, help their mayor win a bet with Tallahassee’s mayor and save money, too. All they need is an old incandescent bulb and $1.

Now through Tuesday, residents can stop at one of several area businesses to purchase up to 30 money-saving, energy-efficient, carbon-reducing light bulbs known as compact florescent lights or CFLs. The lights last about 10,000 hours, saving $50 and half a ton of greenhouse gas emissions per bulb.

The effort, called the “Gator vs. Seminole Light Bulb Battle,” is part of an ongoing effort by the Neutral Gator initiative to offset the carbon footprint from UF’s home football games. The initiative has united Gainesville Regional Utilities, the UF Office of Sustainability, the nonprofit Earth Givers and seven local businesses to distribute 50,000 lights before Wednesday.

A diverse range of businesses have agreed to help the cause by providing exchange stations: Indigo Green Store; Lighting Gallery; Zell’s Ace Hardware; Volta Coffee, Tea and Chocolate; Satchel’s Lightnin’ Salvage; Ward’s Supermarket; Rides Auto Sales; and Stubbie Shirt Pub. Gainesville Publix locations will also sell the bulbs from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday. The bulbs also will be on sale at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during the football game. Only cash will be accepted. For more information, visit Neutral Gator.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Giving Gators

UF has a new online resource for the community. Here you'll find outreach programs – local, national and international – sponsored by each of the 16 colleges.

Reaching out to the community is a tradition at the University of Florida, which is a land-grant institution. Serving our neighbors is central to our goal of being an excellent university.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If These Planks Could Talk

The 2006 Gators Championship Basketball floor is gone. After selling a little over a third to an avid Gator fan in the Jacksonville area, the UAA was looking to get rid of the rest of the old planks to free up the storage space they occupied. With the help of the Office of Sustainability, the UAA found Bearded Brothers – Demolition and Salvage Services. With their help, 100% of the floor will be re-used - some as flooring, some as souvenirs, and some will be used by local carpenters here in the Gainesville community. Overall, approximately 27 tons of wood were diverted from the landfill. The memories of those historic national championship seasons will live on.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

RTS Survey for UF Employee Bus Pass Program

RTS conducting survey on UF Employee Bus Pass Program
The RTS UF Employee Bus Pass Program is a benefit available to all students, faculty, staff, and spouses that provides pre-paid unlimited access to all RTS Fixed-Route Services. No fee is required; a valid Gator 1 ID card is all that is necessary.

Funding for the RTS UF Employee Bus Pass Program is provided by UF and the Florida Department of Transportation. Student funding is provided by the UF Student Transportation Access Fee. The City of Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) is conducting a research project on UF’s Employee Bus Pass Program. RTS would like UF employees to fill out a short survey to find out who uses the service, why they use it, and what RTS can do to improve its transit system. RTS strives to provide the community with a safe, courteous and reliable transportation alternative. Survey responses will provide the data necessary to ensure future service development funding and, in turn, provide the transit service the community needs and deserves.

Please take the time to fill out the short survey before September 30, 2008. For more information and to access the RTS Employee Bus Pass Survey, visit RTS's web site, or go directly to the survey. If you have questions or concerns, please contact RTS at (352) 334-3676. Thank you for helping RTS with this important research project.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Visionary Goal

The Office of Sustainability is committed to encouraging and facilitating the collaborative efforts of faculty, students, and staff to generate knowledge, acquire skills, develop values, and initiate practices that contribute to a sustainable, high quality of life on campus, in the state of Florida, and across the globe.

In keeping with this commitment, the UF Office of Sustainability brought together representatives from diverse stakeholder groups across our campus to develop a collaborative vision for campus sustainability. Between September and December 2006, over 100 members of the campus community gathered during fourteen sessions. Each group of representatives focused on a different topic area that corresponded with UF’s existing guiding principles for sustainability. A report on this effort is available online.

Throughout all the sessions covered by this report, recurring themes related the need for a culture shift and the creation of common/collective norms that support sustainability. Every group revisited the need for sustainability to become part of everyday life and operations on the UF campus – the need for the campus to be a living laboratory for sustainable practices. Participants expressed that evolving a culture of sustainability at UF would require committed leadership at all levels and a shared governance structure that empowered all members of the campus community to feel shared responsibility for our collective actions. In the coming months, the office will facilitate the development of strategic implementation plans that will enable us to realize these visions.