Green Living: University of Iowa and Sustainability January 20th, 2011
My College Guide knows that sustainability and “going green” are issues that college bound students care about! Today we’re pointing out the unique sustainability efforts at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. We’re talking conservation, a biomass fuel project, and even green dining! Read all about it in our interview with Amy Myers, the associate director of outreach programs at UIowa.
What are some of the University of Iowa’s sustainability efforts that you are most proud of?
Students at the University of Iowa have played a major role in our sustainability efforts. Composting, fair trade coffee, a student garden, recycling and duplex printing are all every-day practices at the University that were initiated by student projects.
The “greenest” energy available is energy you don’t use, so for The University of Iowa, conservation has been a major focus and accomplishment. We’ve brought online a state-of-the-art Energy Control Center to track our use as well as predict energy demand – it’s quite a system that gathers data from well over 100K data points across campus. And great conservation strides have been made thanks in part to a cross-functional team of UI professionals called the Energy Hawks who identify and resolve energy-related issues in our buildings.
Another point of pride is our biomass fuel project. Since 2003, the University of Iowa has co-fired oat hulls to generate energy – reducing our fossil fuel greenhouse gas emission by over 50K tons of CO2 each year. Our work with biofuels has established a platform for pursuing other biofuel options as we continue to seek alternatives to coal and has led to our ranking as one of the Top 20 On-site Green Power Users by the EPA – we’re the only university to be recognized. UI’s renewable energy portfolio includes solar, wind and will soon include a landfill gas project with the City of Iowa City.
It looks like even your dining hall is in on the act! What’s on the menu? (what have you done to go green in the dining hall)
University of Iowa Residential Dining is proud to support “Buy Fresh Buy Local” which is a commitment to find and choose local products while building relationships between growers, food artisans, farmers’ markets retailers, restaurants and institutions.” We are committed to purchase a minimum of 10% local purchases with hope of increasing to possibly 20% over the next five years. We currently purchase all of our hamburgers from Grass Run Farms in Dorchester Iowa, our “cage free” eggs from Farmers Hen House in Kalona, Iowa & all of our dairy products come from Anderson Erickson which purchases from Iowa farmers. There are also a number of other suppliers that are local that we purchase a large volume of our beef, pork & chicken from that work with local producers.
Did we see something about a sustainability living and learning community? What’s that all about?
The University of Iowa, Sustainability Living-Learning Community (SLLC) students will live together on designated residence hall floors, but the extended learning opportunities offered by the SLLC are available to all campus residents. Learning occurs in the context of interdisciplinary student teams exploring global environmental challenges, global business opportunities and global social change while utilizing the universal tools of reading, applied math, and information gathering.
What are your sustainability goals for the future? Any new projects in the works?
We’re pretty excited about the recently announced Vision 2020, the University of Iowa’s Sustainability Targets. The UI community was on the sustainability path long before it became a buzz word — and putting our targets on paper is a huge statement. We’d like to hear what your readers think of our targets.
What are some campus resources where a college bound student can turn to learn more about the sustainability efforts at the University of Iowa? (social networks, etc.)
Sustainability at Iowa is on Facebook and we have a blog – all just a click away from our homepage. Students can follow us on Twitter, too.
One last thing: do you have a green tip you’d like to share?
Our tip is to get involved. UI students who are involved with student organizations not only fostering leadership skills they are leaving a sustainability legacy for generations to follow by setting examples and taking action.
Anything else that you’d like us to know?
The University of Iowa offers a Certificate in Sustainability that will give our graduates a leg up in the marketplace. The Certificate is set up to place students on a path toward becoming effective leaders and agents of change for sustainability in whatever professional setting they choose, from medicine to law to the arts.
Anything else that you’d like our college bound readers to know?
Sustainability at Iowa is more than being “green”. The academic and research options at UI allow students to study the global challenges of today in preparation for the global careers of the 21st century. International Programs at UI is outstanding and shouldn’t be overlooked – offering remarkable opportunities on campus an abroad that will provide experiential sustainability-related learning.
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