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A Bright, ‘Green’ Future for the University of Cincinnati


Several new sustainability-influenced initiatives are set to join the many eco-friendly programs already under way on campus.

Date: 4/18/2013 12:50:00 PM
By: Tom Robinette
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photos By: Donna Hamilton

UC ingot   With the numerous sustainability initiatives already in place or on their way to the University of Cincinnati campus, you’d almost expect to see shades of green making their way into the university’s traditional red and black color scheme – almost.

That might push the eco-influence a bit too far, but you will see evidence of the continued “greening” of UC nearly everywhere you look.

UC’s Sustainability Office features eight categories of campus sustainability initiatives, including such efforts as a commitment to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building projects, multiple transportation programs (Bearcat Bike Share, Zipcar service and more) and a comprehensive stormwater management master plan. And with several new initiatives on the horizon, it’s clear that there’s a lot yet to be seen when it comes to “green.”
The renovation of Morgens Hall is part of UC's commitment to sustainability.



WHAT’S ON THE WAY

The Sustainability Office’s Claire Sweigart runs down a list of UC’s upcoming eco-friendly efforts:

Environmental Literacy Certificate:
The Sustainability Office began a non-credit Environmental Literacy Certificate of Achievement program this academic year with members of the housekeeping staff. The program – intended to provide better understanding of the relationship between humans and our environment – earned UC an honorable mention at the 2013 Business Courier Green Business Awards. In fall semester, a new group of staff members will participate in the program, and a parallel program targeting students will begin. Participants will attend 20 events, including lectures, film discussions and sustainability supper discussions.

Bottle-Filling Stations: The university is evaluating the renovation of campus water fountains to include bottle-filling stations.

Morgens Hall Renovation: Morgens Hall, set to reopen in fall semester, touts a number of sustainable features. Reuse of the existing building eliminates the need to send scrap to a landfill. On-campus living reduces the use of personal transportation. The building’s specially designed glass exterior reduces energy consumption needed for lighting, heating and cooling. Building designers anticipate LEED certification once the project is complete.

Composting: A pilot project to collect and compost food waste from MarketPointe dining hall will begin in fall semester.

FOCUS ON FOOD

John Hautz, director of Food Services, offers a look at several initiatives geared toward sustainability in place this academic year:

Recycled Napkins: The napkins in all three dining centers – Center Court, MarketPointe and Stadium View Cafe – are made from 100 percent recyclable materials.

No-Tray Dining: Students choose menu items and carry them without the use of trays to reduce potential food waste.

Sample Tastes: Sample sizes of any menu item are offered to reduce potential food waste.

On-Campus Herb Garden: Chefs at Mick & Mack's Contemporary Cafe planted an herb garden to provide fresh ingredients for the kitchen, reducing the need to purchase additional items and have them delivered.

Sustainable Seafood: All seafood offered in residential dining is sourced sustainable in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.

Local Food: Products are purchased from the Cincinnati, Dayton, Indiana and Kentucky areas.

Coordinated Deliveries:
Purchases are made in bulk to decrease packaging. This also helps limit the number of deliveries required to three a week, cutting down on fuel usage.

Cooking Oil: A cooking oil filtration system is used, and spent oil is recycled from all three dining centers.

Green Cleaning: Green cleaning products are used when available.

Composting Coffee Grounds: The Starbucks and cafe locations on campus have partnered with the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to collect and compost coffee grounds at the zoo.

More UC news related to Earth Day:

- UC Gets a ‘Green’ Thumbs-Up from Princeton Review.

- What on Earth Day is going on around campus? Find out here.

- UC’s Utilities Services is working to kick coal with pellet power.

- Recycling at UC is growing tons at a time.