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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teaming up for Sustainability

Last semester over 30 Green Team captains representing departments ranging from the College of Dentistry to the UF Police Department came together to discuss sustainability initiatives that they are implementing in their departments. One of the themes of the meeting was building communication and collaboration with other Green Teams and the Office of Sustainability. This meeting was the largest gathering to date of the nascent Green Team network and demonstrated the growing enthusiasm that UF’s staff and faculty have for transforming their university into a sustainable campus. The meeting was also an opportunity for Jason Fults, the newly-hired Green Team Project Manager, to meet the captains face-to-face and to learn more about the challenges and successes that their respective teams have experienced.

This semester there are some exciting plans afoot for the Green Team network, including a “Sustainable Solutions Awards Program” and a pilot energy conservation campaign in Tigert Hall that will enlist Green Teams in deploying best practices in energy conservation behaviors. If successful, this project could serve as a model for other administrative buildings on campus.

There are currently more than sixty Green Teams working across campus to reduce waste and resource consumption. These groups are at the forefront of developing sustainable solutions for UF through the implementation of sustainable best practices in their departments and throughout the campus community. To learn more about the Green Team network, visit our Google Group. If you’d like to get involved, contact Jason Fults at or 392-7578, ext. 34.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Faculty Workshop for Sustainability in Academics at UF

Call for Faculty Participation – February 2009

February 23 and 24, 2009
Reitz Union 235, 11:45 a.m.—2:45 p.m.

Faculty members across the University of Florida regularly teach, and do research, focused or related to some aspect of sustainability. In November 2008 President Machen announced a strategic initiative in sustainability, with the goal of encouraging faculty to consider developing a nationally recognized inter-disciplinary academic program balanced between teaching, research, and academic service, utilizing UF’s already deep resources in this area. He appointed Professor Kim Tanzer to work through his office, in collaboration with Provost’s Fellow and Professor Tom Ankersen, to develop the initiative with the help of UF faculty, by May 2009.

In order to assure wide-spread faculty participation across the university, Tanzer and Ankersen will hold faculty workshops to which all members of the faculty, including academic administrators, are invited. The workshops will also be used to help implement the Vision for Sustainable UF, developed through the Office of Sustainability last academic year.

Two workshops will be held, in mid-February. One will focus on curriculum, including teaching and learning, university-wide programs, and service learning. The second will focus on potential for collaborative research. Faculty members are encouraged to attend portions or all of the workshops, either or both days, as their schedules permit.

For more information on the workshops, and other ways for faculty to get involved with the academic sustainability efforts at UF, visit the Office of Sustainability’s Faculty Involvement page.

Faculty members who have questions and/or would like to attend one or both days’ sessions should contact Kim Tanzer, by February 16, 2009. Reservations for box lunches (free of charge) are essential.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gator Dining's Green Takeout

UF Customers taking their food to go now have a greener option. Gator Dining Services is now offering reusable to-go containers at three locations on campus – Gator Corner, Fresh Food Company, and Home Zone in the Reitz Union.

These containers are dishwasher-safe and made to be reused over and over again, helping cut down on the waste produced from their traditional disposable counterparts.

“Between our two dining halls, 158,000 disposable to-go containers were used last year”, said Susanne Lewis, Sustainability Coordinator for Gator Dining. “This program will serve as another great way to minimize waste on our campus.”

The process allows customers take their food to go as usual, bring the reusable container back at their earliest convenience at which time it gets washed by Gator Dining, and the cycle continues. Up to two reusable containers can be checked out per Gator 1 card.

The first 100 people to sign up for the program will also receive a free reusable cup which can be used campus-wide to receive 50 cent discounts on fountain beverages. There will also be other prizes distributed throughout the semester to reward customers who are taking an active part in waste minimization.

Customers can sign up for the program with their Gator 1 card at the register of any of the three locations. A $7.00 refundable deposit will be taken from a Declining Balance or Flex Bucks account – this deposit is refunded in full at the end of the year as long as all containers are returned.

For more information, visit Gator Dining.