Spring comes up green as SMU competes in RecycleMania 2011

SMU RecycleMania imageEveryone’s trash – in the form of paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cardboard – will be SMU’s treasure during RecycleMania 2011, now running through April 2.

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities in their campus communities.

SMU will collect and track recycling materials throughout the 10-week competition involving hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the nation. That data will then be ranked according to the largest amount of recyclables per capita, largest amount of total recyclables and highest recycling rate.

How can those on the SMU campus help the University rise in the RecycleMania ranks? It’s simple: Sort things out.

“It’s especially important that we place anything that can be recycled [other than corrugated cardboard] either in blue bins or trash cans lined with clear bags,” says Eric English, SMU’s environmental manager. The University’s ranking in the competition goes higher the more the bins are used.

“Corrugated cardboard is an exception: It should be collected by each building’s custodians, who will help get it compacted or baled. Traditional garbage should go in a trash bin’s black bag,” English added.

Last year, SMU collected 77.59 tons of recycled material and placed 5th out of 21 competing Texas universities in the Per Capita Classic division (ahead of Rice, Baylor, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas and Texas A&M). Overall, SMU finished 107 out of 346 schools in the Per Capita Classic Single-Stream (paper, cans and bottles) division and 151 out of 231 in the Targeted Materials (corrugated cardboard) division.

“SMU is known for its commitment to excellence,” English says. “This is one way to prove what we can do on the sustainability front.”

To learn more about or volunteer for SMU recycle programs, sustainability initiatives and how RecycleMania works, contact English at 214-768-2163 or by e-mail.

> Find more information at the RecycleMania site
> Visit the SMU Sustainability Committee online
> Learn more about SMU’s recycling programs

2011 transit passes now available from Park ‘N Pony

DART logoSMU’s 2011 Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) passes are available beginning Dec. 1. They’re free to current faculty and staff members and distributed by the Park ‘N Pony office on the 1st floor of Expressway Tower, 6116 N. Central Expressway, in SMU’s East Campus.

Visit Park ‘N Pony any weekday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to pick up the new pass, good through December 2011. Show your current SMU transit pass and SMU ID to receive your free renewal, or get a new transit pass with your SMU ID.

New passes and replacements for lost ones carry a one-time $5 set-up fee. Current passes will expire on Friday, Dec. 31, 2010.

The SMU/DART transit pass allows unlimited free rides on DART buses and trains, as well as on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) between Dallas and Fort Worth and on The T, operated by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

For more information, call Park ‘N Pony at 214-768-7275 (214-768-PARK) or visit the Park ‘N Pony website.

Making the green grade: SMU scores highest among DFW colleges

SMU has earned a “B” for its campus sustainability efforts, the highest score among DFW-area colleges and universities and a significant improvement over previous SMU scores.

The ranking was assigned by the College Sustainability Report Card, a comparative evaluation of campus and endowment sustainability activities at 332 colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the United States and in Canada.

> Watch Erin Hedrick’s winning 2010 Green Minute Video by clicking the YouTube screen or opening this link video

“We are really very pleased with this score,” said Michael Paul, SMU’s executive director of Facilities Management and Sustainability. “I think it reflects a serious and growing commitment here at every level to preserving the environment and our resources.”

Data collection for the College Sustainability Report Card 2011 took place from June through August 2010. The profiles of the schools were created using information gathered through independent research as well as through voluntary responses from school administrators and students. In total, 290 of the 300 schools (more than 96 percent) responded to at least one survey out of four that gathered information about sustainability in campus operations, dining services, endowment investment practices and student activities.

SMU’s “B” grade for 2011 is a significant increase from the “C+” score earned on its 2010 report card. Increasing the campus commitment to sustainability and raising awareness of green practices on the Hilltop is the mandate for the SMU Sustainability Committee, a group composed of faculty, staff and student members.

> Learn more about the College Sustainability Report Card

The University has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than 6 percent since 2005. Energy efficiency technologies, including economizers and high-efficiency motors, have been installed in many campus buildings. A demonstration photovoltaic array generates renewable energy, and SMU purchases some electricity from renewable sources.

SMU’s high marks also are attributed to such things as its commitment to LEED green building practices, aggressive recycling programs and waste reduction in campus dining services.

> Visit SMU’s Sustainability hub

Students have Oct. 8 deadline (and 60 seconds) for green challenge

Student with video cameraSMU students are urged to “Do One Thing” for green living on campus: create the best one-minute video promoting sustainability on the Hilltop. The University’s 2nd annual Green-Minute Video Contest, sponsored by the Campus Sustainability Committee, has a deadline of noon Oct. 8, 2010, for all entries.

The contest is an offshoot of the national “Do One Thing” campaign, created by advertising gurus Saatchi & Saatchi. The campaign encourages individuals to “live green” in one small way every day, such as biking to class or carrying reusable water bottles. Contest entries should be designed to kick off a “DOT” campaign at SMU and demonstrate how one person can make a difference, say the organizers.

“The contest seeks humor, quirkiness and imagination in a passion for fostering sustainability,” according to the Sustainability@SMU website. Only SMU students are eligible to enter, whether as individuals or teams. All videos must be G-rated and 60 seconds or shorter in length.

Winners of the 2010 contest will be premiered at the TEDxSMU event Oct. 16, as well as posted on the SMU homepage.

The Green-Minute Video Contest “is a good way to reinforce how easy and important it is to keep the campus green,” said Michael Paul, chair of the Campus Sustainability Committee and executive director of SMU Facilities Management and Sustainability. “We think students will be a lot more creative with this than we ever could, and we’ll use their videos to spread the message.”

> Find complete rules at the Sustainability@SMU website
> Watch the 2009 winners:

Green light: SMU-in-Taos housing receives LEED certification

Casita Clements, SMU-in-TaosCasita Clements, a recently constructed student residence at SMU-in-Taos, is the first commercial or institutional building in the Taos area to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council‘s LEED certification for sustainable, environmentally responsible construction.

The 3,457-square-foot adobe structure has been awarded the elite “gold” certification.

Six other student casitas on the Taos campus were recently renovated to meet green building standards and are currently being reviewed by the council for LEED certification. In addition, SMU-in-Taos broke ground July 23 for a faculty casita that will be renovated and expanded to meet LEED standards.

> More on the LEED rating systems

Casita Clements is one of only four university buildings statewide to achieve LEED certification. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed an executive order in 2006 requiring that future state-funded projects larger than 15,000 feet be built to meet LEED “silver” standards, mandating green construction for future projects at state universities.

As a private university, SMU is not bound by that order but undertook the commitment voluntarily.

“I think that is a great distinction to make,” said Julie Walleisa, an Albuquerque architect who chairs the New Mexico chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. “In my mind, it counts more that SMU wasn’t required to do this. And getting gold certification puts you above that requirement for state buildings.”

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program offers four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum. Candidates are judged on a point system that measures energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. The LEED program includes in the same category new construction for commercial and institutional projects ranging from retail buildings to campus residential projects and laboratories.

> Read more from SMU News

Go green for St. Patrick’s Day to support SMU Recyclemania

Recycled shamrockOn March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day 2010 – the SMU Sustainability Committee is sponsoring a “spring cleaning” to support the University’s participation in the international 2010 Recyclemania competition.

It’s a great opportunity to clean out old files, get rid of unwanted papers, and support SMU in the process.

Think green and act green by putting unwanted paper into one of the blue plastic recycling bins located throughout campus. The more you put into the blue bins, the higher SMU’s ranking in the competition will be.

For more information on Recyclemania and to see SMU’s current standing in the international competition, visit www.recyclemania.org. Find complete information about the greening of SMU at smu.edu/sustainability.

Tune In: Green Minute winner highlights the sense in recycling

SMU Green Minute winner Aleksandra GaworAleksandra Gawor (right), a sophomore majoring in business and anthropology and a member of the Student Technology Assistant in Residence (STARs) team, is the winner of SMU’s Green Minute Video contest. The student contest was sponsored by the SMU Sustainability Committee to increase green awareness on campus.

In her 35-second spot, Gawor uses dry humor and driving music to deliver a common-sense message about recycling. Watch the winning video by clicking the YouTube screen below:

It’s easy being green: 2009 Campus Sustainability Day is Oct. 21

Sustainable SMUSMU students, faculty and staff will gather at the Flagpole at mid-day Oct. 21 for games, giveaways and green tips as the Hilltop celebrate the 7th annual national Campus Sustainability Day.

Members of the University’s Campus Sustainability Committee will moderate a game of Environmental Jeopardy, encourage students to sign a green pledge, and introduce the residence halls’ new team of E-representatives from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Winners of the SMU Green Minute video competition will be announced at noon.

“SMU has a long list of sustainable practices on an institutional level that people just don’t know about,” says Campus Sustainability Chair Michael Paul. “We’d love for people to check out our website at smu.edu/sustainability to find out what we’re doing. And it’s also a good place to find tips for easy things that our community can do to keep SMU green.”

Campus Sustainability Day was founded in 2002 as part of the Society for College and University Planning‘s early efforts to support campus planning for sustainability. Several organizations now join with SCUP to support the event, including the Higher Education Associations’ Sustainability Consortium.

Read about the history of Campus Sustainability Day and see a list of organizations that have participated since 2003 at the Campus Sustainability Day website.

Visit the Sustainability @ SMU website

Tune In: SMU’s green team

The 33 News’ Bob Goosmann visited the Hilltop Sept. 18 for a story on how SMU is making sustainability a way of campus life. “The school has made it very much a hot topic,” said Tony Tomlinson. He and fellow student Jessie Hart spoke with Goosmann for the broadcast.

Meanwhile, SMU students have been invited to enter their videos promoting sustainability to the Green-Minute Video Contest sponsored by the University’s Campus Sustainability Committee. The videos should be G-rated and one minute or less in length and can be shot with any available equipment, including cell phones. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive prizes donated by Green Living Earth Friendly Goods For the Home, Fleetwood’s Kit Kat Cruiser Bike Boutique, Whole Earth Provision Company and Green Spot Market & Fuels.

The deadline for contest submissions is noon Oct. 16, 2009. Winners will be announced on Campus Sustainability Day, Oct. 21.

Click the screen (right) to watch the 33 News video.

Read more on the Green-Minute Video Contest
Visit the Sustainability @ SMU website

Calendar Highlights: Sept. 9, 2009

'Darwin's Evolving Legacy' logoThe joy of science: SMU professors from multiple schools and disciplines will participate in a faculty symposium on “The Year of Darwin” 9:30 a.m.-noon Sept. 12 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. Participants include David Meltzer and Ronald Wetherington, Anthropology, Dedman College; Larry Ruben and John Wise, Biological Sciences, Dedman College; Louis Jacobs, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College; and Rhonda Blair, Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts. Presented by the Office of the Provost, Dedman College, Meadows School of the Arts, and Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. For more information, contact Pia Vogel, 214-768-1790, or visit the “Darwin’s Evolving Legacy” homepage.

Adobe churchInterdisciplinary Dialogue: The interplay between basic social science research and action research will be at the center of “Research on Latino Religious Topics: A Challenge to Scholars,” moderated by Harold Recinos, professor of church and society, Perkins School of Theology; and Hector Rivera, assistant professor, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The event begins Sept. 16 in the Prothro Hall Refectory (Room 104) with a light dinner at 6:30 p.m. and discussion 7-8:30 p.m.

Going green: The City of Dallas and more than 20 vendors will present sustainable products and other green solutions as part of SMU’s first Sustainability Fair for students, faculty and staff. The event takes place 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Hors d’oeuvres will be served along with tea and lemonade. Presented by SMU Purchasing.

Recycling logoGodbey Lecture Series: Associate Professor of Hispanic American Literature Francisco Morán of Dedman College will discuss “Why Poetry Matters: Playing ‘Ajedrez’ (Chess) with Language” Sept. 17 at Maggiano’s NorthPark Center. The lecture begins at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. The cost is $45 for Godbey members, $65 for non-members. Register online or call 214-768-2532.