UT Dallas Recognized for Green Campus Efforts
Apr. 26, 2012
UT Dallas has been named one of the greenest universities in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition. The Guide profiles 322 institutions of higher education that demonstrate commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.
UT Dallas was added to the list of green campuses in part because of the new Student Services Building, which incorporated many green-friendly construction features.
The new structure was built to capture natural light to reduce energy usage. Tajwar Rana found a bright spot to work.
“To be named as a top green university is indicative that UT Dallas is taking the lead in sustainability. We are continuing to be recognized for the initiatives that have set us on an upward trajectory,” said Rick Dempsey, the associate vice president for Facilities Management.
The Princeton Review chose the 322 schools based on a 2011 survey of 768 institutions across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual “Green Rating” scores (scaled from 60 to 99) of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The 322 schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment.
UT Dallas made its first appearance on the list, according to the Princeton Review, partly because of the new Student Services Building (SSB). The Student Services Building showcases innovative features such as extensive daylighting, solar thermal hot water heating, and the use of greywater in low-flow water fixtures. Last year, the building was awarded LEED Platinum status by the United States Green Building Council. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a designation that recognizes environmentally conservative or “green” design and construction features. The Platinum designation is the highest LEED certification level a building can achieve.
Volunteers helped plant 20 Caddo maple trees donated by Turner Construction and the Texas Trees Foundation during Earth Week festivities.
“The University has really celebrated sustainability initiatives this past year. We have increased visibility of our recycling efforts, improved our alternative transportation options, and continued to consider energy and the environment in our construction activities,” said UT Dallas Energy Conservation and Sustainability Manager Thea Junt.
The Green Schools list also considered the University’s recycling initiatives and improvements such as on-campus composting, food waste collection, as well as the traditional recycling of paper, plastic, cans and cardboard. The University recycles more than 1.5 million pounds of paper each year. “Facilities Management has been a leader in campus recycling for over 20 years,” Junt added.“We also have a wonderful Office of Student Volunteerism that has brought numerous green initiatives to campus, like Earth Week.”
UT Dallas’ Earth Week festivities were held from April 16 to 22. Events included an earth fair and the grand opening of a new community garden.
The highlight of the week was the planting of 20 donated Caddo maple trees near the University’s new Visitor Center. Groups from Student Government, the full-time MBA program, and Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) helped plant the trees. The trees were donated by Turner Construction and the Texas Trees Foundation.
“This project is particularly exciting because it combines two of our main ideals: green practices and commitment to the community,” said Matt Papenfus, senior vice president at Turner Construction Company.
Texas Trees Foundation officials said that planting more trees is important, as the state has lost more than 500 million trees to the heat and drought of 2011.
“This project is about more than putting trees in the ground. Tree planting is an investment that will pay dividends in the improvement of the air, water and quality of life in our communities,” said Texas Trees Foundation President & CEO Janette Monear. “We’re proud to partner with Turner and UT Dallas to plant these trees for all of the UT Dallas community to enjoy.”
UT Dallas Fares Well in RecycleMania
To launch RecycleMania, custodial services displayed a day's worth of the University's refuse on Chess Plaza to promote awareness of green efforts.
UT Dallas was among the top Texas universities that recently competed in the RecycleMania Tournament.
The tournament is an eight-week competition that rallies students, faculty and staff to increase on-campus recycling rates.
The competition included eight categories. UT Dallas finished in first place in the “gorilla” and bottle and cans categories, as well as second in the paper, organics and cardboard categories. The University finished second overall in Texas, when recycling per capita was calculated.
To launch the University's participtation in the competition, custodial services displayed a day's worth of the University's refuse on Chess Plaza to promote awareness of the competition and the campus' on-going green efforts.
As a measure of the success of this year’s competition, UT Dallas was selected to receive 15 new Coca Cola recycling bins. The bins come as part of a grant from Coca-Cola and Keep America Beautiful.