Yesterday, bundled-up UW students hustled across the Quad, heading to class a little early to seek respite from the brisk January air. Few know that the heat they find inside University buildings is generated by the UW’s own power plant, located just across the street from the Intramural Activities building (IMA).
If saving trees isn't enough to get you to stop using plastic bags, the fact that there is a toxic plastic gathering — twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean — should probably do the trick. This isn't just about saving the environment. This is about saving ourselves.
Students in the residence halls are struggling to eat their food. The chief culprits in this dilemma are the compostable, corn-based cutlery now being used by Housing and Food Services (HFS) as part of a composting and recycling program.
The new cutlery was implemented this year as part of the larger composting program instituted last February. HFS ultimately hopes to achieve a "zero waste target" through this program.
"Last year, we bought over 3,000,000 forks, knives and spoons, and they all went to a landfill," said Michael Meyering, HFS project manager.
The UW Custodial Services is kicking the bucket and replacing it with a new program called Green Cleaning, intended to reduce the UW's impact on the environment.
The UW Custodial Services and environmental groups such as Students Expressing Environmental Dedication (SEED) are working to make the University community a more environmentally friendly place not only in the dorms, but also on campus as a whole.
Filled with 13 young alumni and a fresh tank of bio-diesel, the Udall organization's "Green Coach" arrived on the UW campus this past weekend for a series of environmental events.
The group has toured the nation, stopping in 24 cities to highlight themes such as Native American communities, national parks and alternative energy.
Kayanna Warren, Udall member and UW alumna, helped plan the trip, which arrived in Seattle July 20 to learn about the campus's food sustainability program. This pertains to locally grown and organic foods.
Those participating in the tour will work on individual projects and learn how tribes are maintaining their resources.
"The Udall Foundation bus tour is highlighting solutions across the country to our environmental and Native American issues," said Kayanna Warren, the sustainable universities coordinator and UW graduate. "We've been doing events ranging from bringing kids into national parks to do photography, to habitat restoration, to visiting tribal communities and attending symposia on health care, to putting on a sustainability-themed art show in the Denver Union Station."
Renewable energy sources are a hot topic right now as the finite supply of fossil fuels rapidly dwindles. The scientific community is turning to alternate sources of energy, including wind, solar and now, possibly tidal energy.
The UW has signed an agreement with the Snohomish County Public Utilities District (PUD) to study tidal currents in Puget Sound, investigating sites where underwater turbines might use these currents to generate power.
1. Bloedel Hall, second floor
2. Anderson Hall, main floor
3. Winkenwerder Hall, main floor
4. HUB main hallway
5. University Facilities Building, lower floor
6. Gerberding Hall, basement level
7. CSE - Allen Center main floor
A great deal of food is thrown away everyday and the UW is taking an active stance to improve a global problem starting with the residence halls.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton marked 25 percent as the amount of the U.S. food supply that is wasted daily, reported stopthehunger.com, an informational Web site regarding hunger.
This quarter, SEED has developed the Lander Compost Pilot Project, a new experiment in effect in Lander Hall that hopes to make composting an accessible source of recycling in residence halls.
Going green is trendy right now, but does it really apply to students? After all, most students don't own homes, and many cannot come close to affording a hybrid car.
Seattle has a 22.2-acre footprint per person
U.S. average: 23.8-acre footprint per person
Test your eco-footprint:
Visit www.ecofoot.org or
Bread maker: 600
Coffee maker: 1200