Implementing an Office of Sustainability

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Why does UD need an Office of Sustainability and how do we get one?

Last Wednesday, October 29th, we learned just that when we held our first Green Liaisons Luncheon of the semester. Our guest speakers were Becky Bronstein, a senior and member of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, Student Government Association, and the Sustainability Task Force, and Cesar Caro, a grad student and member of the Grad Student Government. Both Becky and Cesar have been involved with numerous other environmental activities on campus, but one of their biggest passion projects together, as we learned at the Luncheon, is that of the creation of an Office of Sustainability on campus.

A Bit of History

In the summer of 2013, shocked by the fact that UD did not yet have an Office of Sustainability, a small team of students that included Becky and Cesar set out to change that. A student named Grace Relf drafted a 27-page proposal for the Office, which led to a series of meetings held between this group of concerned students and UD’s Provost and Executive VP.

Taking into account the University’s feedback, Becky, Cesar, and Grace began conducting a comprehensive assessment of student and faculty support for the Office: they met with Facilities, Housing, DENIN, and professors, and then held a student poll, which showed 91% of those asked in support.

Knowing then that their efforts were worthwhile in the eyes of the UD community, this student team pressed on and proceeded to develop a plan for both funding and structure for the Office.

The Basics

Funding would be done by phased implementation, which would mean having one employee (the Director of Office) for a period of time. This employee, however, would immediately have one Graduate Fellow and a few undergrad interns. Eventually, the people employed would expand to include a variety of more specialized project managers under the Director. The money would come from a combo of grants and business partnerships.

The structure of the Office would be the following: within the Office itself would be one Director who oversees the Sustainability Task Force, student-led Green Senate, and various Project Managers. Outside of the Office–but still related–would be a Sustainability Planning Committee, comprised of various important players throughout the University, such as the VP for Facilities, VP of Student Life, and Energy Manager, who would all work to advise and monitor those within the actual Office.

On the Agenda

Becky and Cesar now are looking to write a two-pager in continuation of their work on planning the Office, and then meet again with the Provost and Executive VP. Otherwise, however, they welcome any help or ideas from students and faculty who are interested. This initiative is so significant because an Office could be the kind of body that could prevent another deal like the Power Plant from even being discussed.

Questions or want to get involved? Talk to Becky at rbronst@udel.edu or Cesar at ccaro@udel.edu!

And watch them present at the Lunch here.

First Green Liaisons Luncheon of the Semester

This Wednesday, October 29th, from 12-1pm in the Perkins Ewing Room, we will hold our first Green Liaisons Luncheon of the semester.

We are very excited to be hosting senior Becky Bronstein, an environmental science major who has participated in a variety of environmental activities during her time at UD– from conducting research on sustainability as a Plastino Scholar to leading a sustainability-based service trip to Puerto Rico through the Blue Hen Leadership Program.

Becky has also spent the past few years actively pursuing the establishment of an Office of Sustainability on campus. For this month’s Green Liaisons lunch, we will hear her thoughts on why UD needs an Office and how we can support the mission to create one.

Her talk is called, “Implementing an Office of Sustainability at UD.”

All are welcome!

Photo Courtesy: denin.udel.edu

Newark Backyard Habitat Tour

Join fellow Newark residents tomorrow, September 13th, as they explore the fifteen “certified backyard habitats” of Newark that were newly recognized as such by the National Wildlife Federation.

Each of these local backyards has been specifically designed to provide food, water, shelter, and protection for a variety of birds and animals. Owners have worked for years to attain this status, and they will now open their yards for tours. The tour tomorrow will be self-guided, last from 10am to 2pm, and begin at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark on 420 Willa Road.

A $20 donation is suggested, which will go toward improving habitats in city parks around Newark.

More info can be found here: http://www.newarkpostonline.com/news/article_18dfcb24-0439-535e-bee2-93834af4a1ca.html.

Photo credit: ourhabitatgarden.org.

Dumpster Detour

428533_10152810917800494_1690122514_nAre you getting ready to move out of your dorm or apartment? Do you have unwanted household items that you don’t want to lug home? No need to throw those items out during move-out week. Donate them to Dumpster Detour!

Dumpster Detour will be providing moving trucks and drop-off tables stationed throughout campus to collect items that you no longer want and will donate the collection to UDon’t Need It, who provides the items to people in need. What a great way to keep reusable items out of our landfills and help others!

Look out for orange and black signs around campus. Collections are from May 21-24.

Contact Nick Kaufman if you have any questions, nkaufman@udel.edu.

ISE Lab Luncheon Tour

On Friday, May 9, Gerry Galgon, the Senior Project Manager of the ISE Lab and Jason Carroll, ISE Lab Technical Team Leader for Maintenance & Operations, gave the Green Liaisons a guided tour of the ISE Lab highlighting the building’s sustainability features.

The ISE Lab achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver certification. There are four levels of certification, defined by the number of points a building or project earns. The different levels range from Certified (40-49 points) to Platinum (more than 80 points); the ISE Lab received between 50 to 59 points.

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One of the green elements that contribute to this certification is “daylight harvesting” – a lighting control system that maximizes use of daylight, by raising and lowering blinds and dimming lights in response to changes in sunlight. Also, each air handler in the ISE Lab is equipped with a heat recovery system, which increases the energy efficiency on campus. There are three green roofs on the ISE Lab, the largest on the second floor of the west wing of the building that mitigates water runoff by trapping and filtering rainwater, reduce the urban heat island effect, and capture CO2. The beautifully landscaped courtyard utilizes native plants and an onsite drainage system, also eliminating stormwater runoff.

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The Green Liaisons were also able to learn about the interdisciplinary, environmental research that is taking place within the building’s many labs. One cool technology the university is researching is a type of fiber that charges an electronic when you bend it- imagine having the fiber on the bottom of your shoe and the simple act of walking to class allows you to charge your cell phone! The ISE Lab is certainly a great addition to UD’s campus.

Rethinking Laird Campus

Want to learn about how UD is making landscapes more sustainable? Interested in improving the landscape in your own backyard?

Check out the informative talk on “Rethinking Laird Campus” by Dr. Susan Barton.

laird4 The second GL Luncheon of the spring semester was held last Friday, April 25 in Perkins Alumni Lounge at noon.

We had a wonderful luncheon presentation by Dr. Susan Barton about incorporating sustainable landscape practices into UD’s campus.

laird1Dr. Barton discussed what has been implemented on Laird campus, including a masters student project that surveyed residents of Independence Hall about landscaping. The presentation extended the concepts of sustainable landscaping to residential and corporate examples.
If you were not able to join us, you can watch the presentation here.

Our last luncheon of the semester will be held on Friday, May 9. Gerry Galgon, the project manager of the ISE Lab will present a brief talk about the sustainability features of the ISE Lab before embarking on a guided and informative tour of one of UD’s newest buildings.

We hope to see you then!

Earth Week 2014

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Earth Week 2014 kicked off last week with a wonderful performance from Climbing PoeTree. The Earth Week committee has many more great events planned for the university community. Inspired by the original Earth Day in 1970, UD is putting environmental concerns front and center through teach-ins, discussions, and other educational opportunities and events.

To learn more about the events scheduled from April 21 through April 27, please visit:  http://www.udel.edu/earthweek/.

Green Liaisons will have a presence at the Green Expo on Thursday, April 24 and we will be having our monthly luncheon on April 25 at noon in the Perkins Alumni Lounge. More details to come!

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Happy Earth Day

Climbing PoeTree

CPT by Pablo Aguilar

DENIN’s Student Programs Committee will be kicking off the UD’s Earth Week festivities on Wednesday, April 16, by hosting a performance of the Brooklyn-based duo Climbing PoeTree.

Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman, the women of Climbing PoeTree, interweave spoken word, hip hop, and award-winning multimedia theatre to tell powerful stories of liberation, state and personal violence, social, environmental, racial and sexual justice, women’s empowerment, love and human transcendence.

Climbing PoeTree will be performing segments from their acclaimed multimedia production Hurricane Season: The Hidden Messages in Water, which uses poetry, shadow art, dance, film and animation to examine the unnatural disasters facing humanity on a daily basis through the lens of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

The FREE event will start at 7:00pm in Perkins Student Center’s West Lounge.

Newark Residents Against the Power Plant

The first GL Luncheon of the spring semester was on Friday, March 21 in Perkins Alumni Lounge at noon.

We had a great luncheon presentation led by Amy Roe on the proposed data center and power plant. Amy Roe received her Ph.D. in energy and environmental policy from the University of Delaware in 2012.  She is involved in environmental advocacy in Delaware, is a founding member of Newark Residents Against the Power Plant and is conservation chair of the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club.
If you were not able to join us, you can watch the presentation here.
And you can follow along with the attached presentation, 2014-03-21-UD-green-liasions.

Our next luncheon will be held during Earth Week on Friday, April 25, 2014. Dr. Susan Barton will present on “Rethinking Laird Landscape”.

We hope to see you then!

Newark Bike Project visits Green Liaisons Lunch

Roy Murray from Newark Bike Project joined Green Liaisons on November 11 to share the programming efforts of the organization.  Did you know that every Tuesday from 6-9pm and now Wednesdays from 5-7 you can visit the Newark Bike Project to have your bike tuned up or repaired for a small suggested donation?  Check out their website at http://newarkbikeproject.org/

For the full video please click  http://tinyurl.com/kk2ebej.