As a new year begins, many people reflect on the successes of the year before. In the case of the University of Rochester’s environmental achievements, there was plenty to recall. In its most successful year yet, the University won three separate awards for excellence in the area of sustainability.
In celebration for the University’s efforts in the local community, The Center for Environmental Initiatives presented the University with the Hugh E. Cumming Environmental Quality Award this past October. The honor was awarded to the University for its “significant contribution to environmental protection, improvement or education in the Rochester-Genesee-Finger Lakes region,” highlighting the two annual recycling collection events overseen by UF&S Recycling Coordinator, Amy Kadrie.
The University’s educational and outreach efforts were also recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program through their Gold Achievement Award, an annual honor given to organizations for outstanding outreach in a specific area. The “Green Dandelion” blog and “Go Green” articles were among the educational efforts being recognized, as well as outreach efforts and events such as the Move-out Cleanout and the annual E-Cycle Day.
The University is especially proud to announce the winning of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Environmental Excellence Award for 2011! The DEC’s award program “honors eligible applicants who are meeting environmental challenges by using uniquely innovative and environmentally sustainable practices and creative partnerships,” and it is for efforts such as these that UR is being awarded. The Environmental Excellence Award was granted to the University for its entire “Go Green” effort, on campus and in the community.
Going Green at the University has been a growing initiative over the past few years. To begin, the 2008 creation of the University Council on Sustainability was a large leap forward in administrative involvement in the “green” movement, and sent a message in regards to University’s commitment to progress in sustainability. As far as those changes that were actually made, in 2011 two University dorms, Anderson and Wilder towers were each awarded Energy Star rankings. Major changes in Dining
Services, such as increasing locally grown, processed, and produced foods and composting were also a notable change. Unique student-based projects such as UR Biodiesel and the EcoReps’ program are also among the reasons the University was a standout for this award.
While University’s broad effort was recognized, there was University a particular emphasis on its communication efforts. The Go Green Articles (such as this one!) help to spread the word about new initiatives throughout the University, as well as their results. The Green Dandelion blog raises awareness on current issues. In addition, the UR Sustainable Facebook page is yet another venue to increase involvement, keep the community updated on the most recent exciting changes in sustainability in Rochester!