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Sustainability Day features workshops, sustainable lunch

Sustainability Day features workshops, sustainable lunch

The University of Delaware marked National Sustainability Day on Wednesday, Oct. 21, with a series of workshops and a challenge by Provost Tom Apple to members of the campus community to help the University achieve its environmental initiatives.

Apple made his remarks to about 150 members of the UD community during a sustainable lunch held in the Trabant University Center.

The program also showcased stories of successful sustainability efforts by University individuals, departments and organizations that reflect the motto of “think globally, act locally,” Apple said.

A presentation of sustainability success stories involving members of the UD community included:

  • Sustainable Apparel Initiative: Creating a more environmentally sustainable apparel business;
  • UD Rain Garden: A Sustainable Watershed;
  • Independence Hall Complex: First to Recycle (hall government began the Residence Hall Recycling Initiative);
  • Change without Buying: Adaptable Apparel Design;
  • Gilbert Dormitory: Demolished and Recycled (Facilities Planning and Construction reports that 90 percent of debris will be recycled);
  • UD Carbon Footprint and Climate Action Plan;
  • Facilities, Residence Life and First Year Experience (FYE) energy savings;
  • Students for the Environment (S4E): Growing a Sustainable UD;
  • UD Dining Services: “Veg-Out” Farmer's Market; and
  • Residence Life Environmental Sustainability Committee.

“Last spring, the University published its Climate Action Plan, which called for transforming the campus toward a goal of carbon neutrality,” Apple said. “As members of the UD community, we must all contribute to this effort. That is why the University of Delaware Sustainability Fund (UDSF) was created. Faculty, staff, students and alumni are currently submitting proposals to this fund, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of these projects.”

Established by UD faculty and staff, the sustainability fund is a response to UD President Patrick Harker's announcement in April 2009 that the University plans to cut campus-wide emissions by 20 percent by year 2020.

Apple congratulated members in the audience for volunteering as “green liaisons,” who share information about environmental sustainability initiatives and opportunities while identifying improvements in their units in support of the UD Climate Action Plan.

“I commend your for your commitment,” Apple said. “This is a real grassroots initiative, and you can have a powerful influence on the day-to-day implementation of the Climate Action Plan.”

Apple also noted the importance of the Sustainability Day workshops and invited members of the audience to participate in additional events leading up to the launching of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) on Friday, Oct. 23.

“Today's program offers a number of inspiring and helpful workshops, and tomorrow (Oct. 22), we will have the opportunity to see the graduate research poster presentations and undergraduate videos,” Apple said. “It's wonderful to see our students' enthusiasm and engagement in these activities.”

Apple also invited guests to the inauguration of the Delaware Environmental Institute, which features presentations by prominent scientific speakers Francois Morel, from Princeton University, and William Schlesinger, the president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

“At the University of Delaware, we strive for excellence in everything we do. Therefore, it is fitting that our Climate Action Plan is among the most aggressive commitments by any university or college in the world,” Apple said. “We can be rightfully proud of our leadership in this global initiative. I congratulate you for your accomplishments so far, I thank you for your involvement, and challenge you all to become activists in the University's Initiative for the Planet.”

The event was sponsored by UD Dining Services, the Office of Residence Life, and the Office of the Executive Vice President.

Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Evan Krape