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Monday, April 27, 2009

Green Gators Take the Pledge

An important commitment

The Green Graduation Pledge reads: “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and ecological consequences of my decisions. Furthermore, I pledge to use the knowledge I gain at UF to improve the sustainability of the communities in which I live, learn, and work."

Sign on for this important commitment Tuesday through Friday, April 29 through May 1, 10 AM to 2 PM, at the University Bookstore (next to cap and gown pick-up). You may also pledge online at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Inaugural Sustainable Solutions Awards Announced

The UF Office of Sustainability is proud to announce the Sustainable Solutions Awards. These awards, announced April 22, 2009 at our Earth Day Celebration, recognized those individuals, departments and organizations that have made significant contributions toward advancing sustainability at UF.

Students, staff, and departments received awards in the following areas (links reveal winner details):

Water Conservation

Waste Reduction

Waste Reduction, Student Award

Energy Conservation

Energy Conservation, Student Award

The "Bright Idea" Award (Given for the best new idea advancing sustainability on

The "Bright Idea" Student Award

Most Active Green Team

Most Active Student Group

Sincere thanks go to the award recipients, nominees and honorable mentions in each category, and to the nominators who sent in notice recognizing acheivements for sustainability on campus.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Disposables Displaced

UF Foundation recently enhanced their sustainability efforts by making a good thing even better.

For several years, the Foundation supplied disposable coffee cups at each of their eight coffee stations (located in five campus buildings). They have eliminated using disposable cups and plastic coffee stirrers. The initial idea was to move from low-cost polypropylene (Styrofoam) cups to a more biodegradable cup, since Styrofoam never degrades in landfills.

After reviewing costs, however, staff decided to rid disposable cups altogether. For staff and faculty who work in the same location daily there was little justification for disposables. They informed everyone that disposable cups would not be replaced once current inventory was depleted and invited coffee and tea drinkers to bring mugs for their personal use.

There was some opposition to the change but after initial grumbling, momentum shifted and the Foundation has been disposable cup free for over six months! What about visiting guests? For guest use, smaller quantities of biodegradable cups are supplied to administrative assistants within each department.

Small plastic coffee stirrers were also switched for wooden stirrers. Cost difference is small as wood is biodegradable and also doesn’t stick in sink drains like small plastic stirrers, a change that has pleased PPD also. This effort is a good example of one department taking initiative and saving another time and money.

The simple act of shifting a habit removed waste and added sustainability awareness for every beverage drinker at the Foundation. Consider making the same changes in your department today.

Friday, April 3, 2009

UF Green Build Team Wins Sustainability Competition

Six students on the Green Build Team joined their faculty advisor, Dr. James Sullivan of the Rinker School of Building Construction, in Reno, NV last month and their Building Information Modeling team won second place recognition in their division and a special award for Best Presentation at the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) LEED Competition.

The competition, held February 12 and 13, challenged teams to provide solutions for a problem statement from a hypothetical retail construction in California. Six rounds of questions highlighted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and rating systems.

The student team was challenged to explore sustainable options for the proposed construction including a new form of structure temperature flow known as “Night Sky Cooling,” which allows for downsizing conventional air cooling units by cooling water through radiative and evaporative means.

The students were given building plans and had just 14 hours to research and propose a 20-page response. The following day, the report was submitted as a 25-minute presentation including an expert panel testing the students in a question-and-answer symposium.

The UF team labored diligently in their efforts and showed great teamwork in their proposal. Their efforts paid off with recognition for Best Presentation. UF’s Green Build Team was one of 17 schools participating, and one of only two schools competing from east of the Mississippi.

One of the winning students, Kristin Gray, said, “We had been quite busy as students leading up to the competition and then had lots of make-up work to complete upon our return, but we feel great about our contributions to the competition.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

myUF Market Saves Paper, Time, Money

Online Purchasing Portal Opens In April

UF is launching an innovative purchasing process to save money while benefiting the environment. UF’s myUF Market is a tool that will allow staff to streamline the purchase of products through an online marketplace similar to others simple-to-use buying interfaces, like
myUFMarket features include price comparisons between vendors, search boxes, and the ability in many cases to speed vendor orders and create purchase orders on the fly, making shopping a simple, enjoyable experience.

The finished version will be rolled out to departments in April, in conjunction with training sessions for a pilot group covering myUFMarket basics. In the meantime, a new website highlights the system and provides more information.

As a supplement, the Purchasing Department has created a Core Items List of office-related products that are also “best values,” many of which are marked as “green” for demonstrating sustainability in their design and/or composition.

The Core Items List and the new myUF Market illustrate our university’s commitment to both convenience and sustainability.