Not Easy Being Green: UT Dallas’ Efforts Honored

The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges cover

The Princeton Review's report on the 322 greenest colleges surveyed 806 institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

UT Dallas has again been named as one of the greenest universities in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition.

The free, downloadable guide profiles 322 institutions of higher education that demonstrate strong commitments to sustainability initiatives.

UT Dallas was recognized for engaging students, faculty and staff in developing sustainable practices. Of particular note were the University’s recycling and composting practices, as well as a commitment to green-friendly construction projects, such as the LEED Platinum-certified Student Services Building.

“This recognition for the second year in a row is a tribute to the continued commitment to sustainability from our students, faculty and staff,” said Rick Dempsey, the associate vice president for Facilities Management. “It’s very gratifying to be honored as among the top green universities in the country.”

The Princeton Review chose the 322 schools based on a 2012 survey of 806 institutions across the U.S. and in Canada to tally its annual “Green Rating” scores, which are included in profiles in its college guidebooks and the website.

UT Dallas’ Student Services Building showcases innovative features such as extensive daylighting, solar thermal hot water heating, and the use of graywater in low-flow water fixtures. The building’s LEED Platinum status, the highest certification level a building can achieve, was awarded by the United States Green Building Council.  

Student Services Building, UT Dallas

The Student Services Building has been praised for energy-saving features such as daylighting, solar thermal water heating and use of graywater.

“I’m so pleased that the University has been recognized for our continued sustainability efforts.  Facilities Management has been supporting environmental improvements in new construction projects and making energy efficiency upgrades to already established buildings across campus,” said UT Dallas Energy Conservation and Sustainability Manager Thea Junt.

The Green Schools list also looked at the University’s recycling initiatives and improvements, such as on-campus composting, food waste collection, as well as recycling of paper, plastic, cans and cardboard.  The University recycles more than 1.5 million pounds of paper each year.

The University’s dining hall collects food scraps, which the landscaping and grounds crews use to support UT Dallas’ growing composting program. The Facilities Management team uses only green-certified cleaning products.

UT Dallas also provides opportunities for students to pursue environmental awareness projects and offers a minor in environmental studies. Students can join the Students for Environmental Awareness, which works with major environmental organizations in Dallas.  

The Princeton Review recognition came during UT Dallas’ Earth Week festivities, held April 15 to 20. Events included an earth fair and a “Pedal for the Planet” bike ride across campus.

Students involved in several campus organizations participated in planting 20 donated trees.

Students Helped Plant New Trees

More than 50 UT Dallas students and staff pitched in to help plant 20 donated trees next to Residence Hall North, adding some greenery to the new parking lot area off Synergy Parkway and Rutford Avenue.

TXU Energy provided the crepe myrtle shrubs and the red bud, bur oak and bald cypress trees with the help of the Texas Trees Foundation.  

Tyler Wright, urban and community forester for the foundation, showed students how to aerate the soil and tree roots, and where to place mulch over the newly planted tree areas.

Among the groups represented by students were Fraternity and Sorority Life, Living Learning Communities, Residential Life, New Student Programs, Transfer Student Services, Veteran Services Center, Terry Scholars and Road Warriors.

“We’ve been talking a lot about campus beautification,” said Cassandra Thompson, an accounting senior. “It’s awesome to be able to give back to the campus, and doubly so by helping to make it more sustainable.”

Thea Junt, UT Dallas sustainability manager, said students enjoy being a part of the visible changes on campus.

“They may come back in 20 years to our established urban forest and tell their kids, ‘I planted that!’”

TXU Energy provides trees to neighborhood associations, schools, nonprofit organizations and municipalities “to improve the quality of life today and make a sustainable difference for tomorrow,” said community relations manager Shawn Parker. The energy firm has donated 180,000 trees across Texas, he said.

Janette Monear, executive director of the Texas Trees Foundation, said the organization’s vision is to see a community with shaded trails, tree-lined streets and other outdoor amenities.

“Our organization, like the trees we plant, continues to expand the roots of its support and spread benefits to neighborhoods and communities,” Monear said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].