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WNY GOING GREEN: UB GREEN

Wednesday, 02.03.2010 / 9:38 AM / Blue & Gold Make Green
By Jackie Lewandowski  - Graduate Assistant (2009)
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WNY GOING GREEN: UB GREEN
The Buffalo Sabres Blue & Gold Make Green initiative has worked to improve sustainability and recycling within the organization over the last year. Now, the Sabres are asking the fans to reduce their environmental footprint.

Throughout the year, sabres.com will feature a local cause dedicated to making Western New York a “greener” place, and showing fans in the area how to incorporate conservation in their daily lives.

Take a look at this week’s profile on UB Green.


University at Buffalo (Google Images)
With all the term papers, exams, and reading assignments, can colleges be green?

According to the University at Buffalo, they certainly can.  

Founded by Walter Simpson 25 years ago, UB Green has developed into much more than your standard environmental operation. Still focusing on energy conservation, UB Green is turning its attentions towards environmental sustainability across the entire University at Buffalo campus.

Focusing first on the campus policies, UB created an Environmental Task Force in 1990.  Its goal was to develop campus policies and to encourage administrators, faculty, students, and staff to support and implement those policies throughout their day.

“We are not a policing agency,” Associate Environmental Educator Jim Simon said.  “We serve as a resource for people who have questions about policies, and work to help promote the environmental issues.”

By 1999, the university had taken their initiative to new heights by developing a more inclusive sustainability office on the campus and increasing student involvement.

“We have become the umbrella organization that works to help everyone out by giving them the tools they need to implement our policies,” said Simon. “It’s now more than just UB Green, it is student organizations and government that are promoting these ideals on campus.”

The first order on the task force’s agenda was to stabilize the energy consumption and recycling of materials across campus. Offices and classroom temperatures became regulated for when they were in-use and when they were not.  This was especially important during the summer months when classes are typically not in session and the air conditioning is running.
 
“It all starts with energy conservation,” Simon said.  “By just turning off the lights in a room when you are done, or by turning off your other electronics when you aren’t using them; it makes a big difference.”

The campus also buys clean power sources as defined by the emissions profile - like CO2.  In addition, the university holds that dirty coal should be rejected in favor of efficiently produced, natural gas-fired electricity for power sources.

Beyond energy conservation, UB Green also encourages people to use alternative forms of transportation, and most importantly to recycle.

The most recent evidence of this is in the university’s participation in ‘RecycleMania’.  This nationwide contest focuses on recycling materials such as paper, books, and plastics across college campuses.  Running now through March 27, the goal is to recycle the most for “bragging rights” and an award made of recycled glass.

University at Buffalo (Google Images)
In addition, UB Green also designed a program called UB Swap to decrease the amount of materials being sent to the landfill.  UB Swap is a website that can be accessed by faculty and staff to redistribute equipment and supplies throughout the campus.

“Anything besides harmful things can be swapped by faculty and staff,” said Simon.  “Say I have a desk that I don’t want, but is in good condition.  I would surplus it through the swap program and someone could get that item. It’s like a Craigs List of UB in sorts.”

Beyond implementation, UB Green works to encourage eco-literacy among the students on campus, as well as the public through WNY’s first Green Library. The library features over 2,000 titles and 100 videos and DVDs which are environmentally focused.
 
Open to the public, the library also features the UB Green Reading Series. Featuring green minded authors and poets within the library, the series is regularly held and includes roundtable and panel discussions between students and the public.

Upcoming topics for this spring’s discussions include: waste reduction in WNY, community agriculture gardens, and creating a sustainable transportation network. The discussions begin as early as February 23 and are held at the Allen Hall on the UB South Campus.

For those interested in upcoming events for UB Green or for more information on the Green Library, visit the organization’s website at www.ubgreen.buffalo.edu.  

For healthy and easy tips for going green at home, or to become a Green Team member, click here.

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