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Monday, July 27, 2009

Keeping Campus Waters Clean

Getting to know UF’s Clean Water Campaign

In 2003, a collection of faculty, students, and staff started the UF Clean Water Campaign to educate the campus community and raise awareness about stormwater and water quality issues at UF.

Since that time, the campaign has monitored 20 sites across campus for 12 key physical and chemical water quality parameters. Data from the monitoring program indicates that Lake Alice has higher nitrogen and phosphorus levels than comparable local water bodies such as Bivens Arm.

In addition, two creeks on campus have nitrate concentrations that are potentially toxic to some freshwater fish and invertebrates and may contribute to algal blooms in Lake Alice. Efforts are now underway to more clearly identify the source(s) of elevated nutrients and implement actions to reduce inputs.

The UF Clean Water Campaign has sponsored education and outreach events such as labeling of storm drains with markers reading, “Keep it Clean – Drains to Lake Alice”, and hosting campus creek clean-ups.

Clean-ups, monitoring, and other activities are slated for Fall ’09. If you would like to volunteer to help with the UF Clean Water Campaign, please contact John Linhoss or visit the campus water quality website.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Personal Appliances Circumvent Energy Efficiency

Help colleagues pitch in today

While Physical Plant Division and Facilities Planning and Construction have gone to great lengths to minimize energy consumption in primary facility systems (HVAC, lighting, kitchen appliances, and so on), personal appliances brought into buildings by employees can lessen these efficiency efforts.

How much does it cost to operate personal appliances per year? Let's use a mini-fridge as an example.

Assuming an electricity rate of $0.10/kWh and a total annual energy consumption of 1,360 kWh, it would cost $136 per room or cubicle. If every staff member at UF chose to have their own fridge it would cost UF $1,669,672 each year!

* Article adapted for Office of Sustainability. Permission to use this article has been granted by Tech Resources, Inc. and Progress Energy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Local Foods Cookoff

Iron Chef celebration on Earth Day

The last day of spring classes in April was marked by competition as Fresh Food Company's chefs battled Iron Chef-style using local, sustainable ingredients. Almost all proteins and produce were sourced from Florida and nearby in Georgia. Broward Dining's customers tasted, tested, then chose the selections of the winning chef!

A number of campus and community groups tabled with activities and information on their sustainability efforts, including Sweetwater Organic Coffee, Artie's Tempeh, Greeks Going Green, Indigo Green Store and Produce Distribution Center. Prizes and giveaways included providing the customer with the highest participation rate in Gator Dining's Reusable To-Go Program a free bicycle and gifting the winner of April's Sustainability Scavenger Hunt a free 50-Block Commuter Dining Plan for Fall 2010, worth $661.00.

The past few years' competitions have been exciting. Interested in videos from past events? View the videos section at Gator Dining Services' Gator Dining Sustainability Site.

Monday, July 6, 2009

NWEI Reading Group

Explore the issues further

This summer, some UF Green Team members are participating in a reading group based around Northwest Earth Institute's Choices for Sustainable Living. From early June through mid-July, participants are gathering weekly over lunch to discuss a wide diversity of readings that challenge them to explore what sustainability means and how their personal choices impact the planet. As the opening quote of the book states, "The character of a society is the cumulative result of the countless small actions, day in and day out, of millions of people."

Thus far, readings and discussion have varied widely-from the onset of cannibalism in the Easter Islands resulting from ecological and social deterioration-to campus anti-smoking policy, the society-wide implications of peak oil production, and our personal sense of optimism that our culture will make a successful transition to a sustainable one.

Group participants also bring diverse life experience to the table, from a 20-something Sustainability Coordinator from Gator Dining Services to a grandmotherly House Director from Kappa Delta Sorority, a Reitz Union shift director, campus faculty and more. Yet all share enthusiasm for learning and for our planet. Our shared reading and discussions will surely impact all of us.

Interested in participating in a future sustainability reading group? Would you like help starting a group in your own department or club? Please contact the Office of Sustainability’s Green Team Coordinator, Jason Fults.