Working toward a sustainable UW-EC

news, updates, events and announcements from throughout the campus community

Monday, August 23, 2010

Greetings From Iowa! (Update from former Sustainability Intern, Robyn Fennig)

Greetings UW-Eau Claire! I am writing from the University of Iowa, where I am currently a graduate student in the Urban and Regional Planning Master's Degree Program. Working at a Big 10 school certainly differs quite a bit from UW-Eau Claire.

The Office of Sustainability is housed directly within the University Service Building, to aide in cooperation between the Office and Facilities Planning and Management. The picture on the right is a snapshot of the UIowa Energy Control Center. In this room, the energy usage of any building on the UIowa campus can be pulled up and dissected from a variety of levels. The first screen on the left is a mini-map of campus buildings. The middle two screens are examining the usage in the Pharmacy School building (on Thursday August19 at 10:05 am), while the third compares energy use in several buildings on campus. One of the largest ongoing projects at UIowa is to reduce energy usage across campus. 

The Office of Sustainability employs several student interns who all work independently on projects of their interest. This semester I look forward to finishing up the 2009-2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report and working on an ongoing project with environmental/sustainability indicators on campus. The first project differs a bit from my work at UWEC, as UIowa has not become an official signatory of the President's Climate Commitment. The second project is working on a project modeled after a project at the University of Michigan, called "Environmental Metrics." (To read more about the project at Michigan, click HERE)

I just returned from the Freshman Convocation, where the Office of Sustainability sponsored the event as a "zero-waste" event. All organic wastes and corn-plastics were deposited in compost bins, while all the remaining materials were 100% recyclable, in theory generating zero waste going to landfills. Maybe some of these practices can be implemented at UW-Eau Claire in the future. (Picture to the right, I am sorting through compost with Devin, another sustainability student).