Bike Rack Installation with Solar Powered Lighting

In efforts to promote sustainable travel, two new bike racks were installed on River Campus. One is located beside the Computer Studies Building and the other on Library Road alongside the electric charging station for vehicles. These bike racks store bikes vertically which saves space and allows for easier access. The bike shelter on Library Road provides 40 vertical bike slots and 10 ground bike slots. The roof structure protects bicycles from adverse weather conditions. In addition, lighting is powered by the solar energy collected from the panels placed on top.

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Spring Eyeglass Collection

This biannual eyeglasses collection program accepts all types of glasses, including prescription and non-prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, and frames which are then sent to the Lions Club and eventually to those in need of glasses, mostly in developing countries. This year the donations will benefit a mission in Guatemala. A record-breaking 15 departments competed this year, collecting 528 pairs of glasses. The mail-in and drop-off options received 597 pairs of glasses. Additionally, the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore donated 129 pairs of reading glasses, bringing the grand total of 1,254 pairs from this year’s collection.

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Chemistry Department Builds its own Helium Recovery System

The chemistry department at the University developed its own helium recovery system in Fall 2021 thus creating a sustainable, cost effective and reliable supply of liquid helium. The recovered liquid helium is used as superconducting magnets for Professor Michael Neidig’s research at the department. The in-house helium recovery system eliminates the need for the department to purchase helium tanks every week and avoids the inconvenience caused by country-wide shipping delays due to shortages of commercial liquid helium.

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Utilities and Energy Management (UEM) Collaboration with Students on Projects

The UEM Academic Collaboration Guide has helped students and UEM staff members identify and implement several different projects. These projects provide real-world experiences to students and demonstrate how their academic studies can apply directly to the functioning of the campus, using the facilities as a “Living Lab”. Some of the projects UEM collaborated with students on include a solar rooftop study, a chilled water study, an analysis of Covid-19 impacts on building energy and water use, and a UEM video in collaboration with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program and a StoryMap titled “History of University of Rochester’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”

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University Partners with AMP Energy to Reduce Carbon Footprint

The University has joined a new partnership with AMP Energy to reduce Rochester’s carbon footprint. AMP Energy owns dozens of solar farms world-wide. The University of Rochester has subscribed to six solar energy farms owned by AMP Energy. The six sites will supply over 60 million kWh annually to upstate New York or enough electricity to serve 7,500 homes.

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Sustainability Features Map Launched

Two new online resources, the interactive Energy Management Information System (EMIS) and the Sustainability Features Map were launched to help improve the accessibility and transparency of sustainability initiatives across the University. The Energy Management Information System is an interactive dashboard that relays information from a larger tracking system that analyzes building energy. The Sustainability Features Map pinpoints the location of hydration stations, bike racks, rain gardens, and outdoor recycling bins on the River Campus and Medical Center. With a simple click on an icon, viewers can learn more about the location of such resources and specific details.

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Eleventh Annual Shred Fest

In collaboration with Iron Mountain, the annual Shred Fest event provides the University community a way to securely dispose and recycle unwanted personal documents for free. A total of 15,800 pounds (7.9) tons of paper was collected at this year’s event, bringing the combined total to 200,260 pounds (100.13 tons) of paper have been recycled throughout the years.

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Res Life Donations

A total of 2,177 pounds of items were donated to the Open Door Mission from the University, including clothing, school supplies, cans of food, desk organizers, storage bins, lamps, blankets, and throw pillows. These items were abandoned belongings left behind in dorms by students in March 2020, due to the abrupt nationwide closure of college campuses caused by the rise in Coronavirus cases. Some students ultimately decided not to return to collect their belongings and these were classified as abandoned. In September 2021, ResLife coordinated with Facilities Team Green and made arrangements to donate these belongings. Approximately 150 fleece blankets that were used at the University-organized quarantine facilities were also donated to Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services.

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E-Cycle Day 2021 Breaks a Record

During the University’s 14th Annual E-Cycle Day, a record breaking 37,558 pounds (nearly 19 tons) of electronics were collected bringing the total of pounds of electronics collected through E-Cycle Day to 391,386 pounds. This event promotes safely disposing of electronics, and prevents the leakage of toxic chemicals from electronics into the ground and water supplies.

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Rochester Himalayan Project receives environmental history award

Tanya Bakhmetyeva, an associate professor of history and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies and, Stewart Weaver, a professor of history, have been awarded the 2021 Public Outreach Project Award by the American Society for Environmental History for their project “Climate Witness: Voices from Ladakh.” Daniel Rinn, who earned his PhD in history from the University in 2020, is also part of the prize-winning team and the designer of the interactive website that the group used to make their research accessible to the public.

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Pollinator Garden Installed at Witmer House

A pollinator garden was installed at Witmer house by a group of students alongside members of the Horticulture and Grounds team. Witmer House serves as the residence of President Sarah Mangelsdorf, Prof. Karl Rosengren and their daughter. Pollinator gardens provide a habitat that is valuable for preserving pollinator species such as bees and butterflies. The 9 species of pollinator-friendly plants that were planted at the Witmer House can support 113 individual species of pollinator insects.

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Grant received to develop a next-generation Solar Concentrator

Duncan Moore, the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor of Optical Engineering has received $3.4 million in grant funding from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy to develop a planar light guide using micro-optics to capture, orient, and concentrate direct sunlight onto a single photovoltaic (PV) cell. This grant will be used to produce the next generation solar concentrator which uses a translucent planar light guide so it will be letting light through at the same time as helping produce electricity from solar energy.

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Researchers discover eddy killing’s impact on Earth’s oceans

In a paper in Science Advances, researchers from the University of Rochester and Los Alamos National Laboratory document for the first time how the wind, which propels larger currents, has the opposite effect on eddies less than 260 kilometers in size—resulting in a phenomenon called “eddy killing.” This tool provides information about factors that may influence eddy killing, and about the importance of eddies in other aspects of the ocean’s currents, heat flow, salt concentrations, and upwelling of nutrients and marine organisms.

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Study on how better models of hydroxyl radical can help predict climate change

In a new paper published in the journal PNAS, Lee Murray, an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester, outlines why computer models used to predict future levels of hydroxyl radical (OH), which plays dominant role in removing pollutants from the environment, have traditionally produced widely varying forecasts. The study is the latest in Murray’s efforts to develop models of the dynamics and composition of Earth’s atmosphere and has important implications in advancing policies to combat climate change.

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Computational Model developed to assess how Electric Vehicles can strengthen the Grid

University of Rochester researchers show how so-called V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technology can achieve grid stability and renewable energy storage—and save vehicle owners potentially $120 to $150 a year—in a paper published in ACS Sustainable Chemical & Engineering. To help gauge the feasibility of V2G systems, Heta Gandhi, a PhD student in the lab of Andrew White, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Rochester’s Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has developed a computational model that takes into account factors not previously considered. The work helps researchers and engineers know how design decisions affect people using their own vehicles in V2G, an important consideration to achieve higher levels of renewable energy.

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Researchers Develop Environmentally Friendly Material from Algae

Researchers at the University of Rochester and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands used 3D printers and a novel bioprinting technique to print algae into living, photosynthetic materials that are tough and resilient. The material has a variety of applications in the energy, medical, and fashion sectors. Besides offering sustainable energy and medical treatments, the materials could also change fashion. Bio-garments made from algae would address some of the negative environmental effects of the current textile industry.

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Laser Lab Scientist Honored for Fusion and Plasma Research

Dustin Froula, a senior scientist at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics, has been honored by the US Department of Energy for his groundbreaking research on inertial confinement fusion and plasma sciences. The Lawrence Award recognizes mid-career US scientists and engineers for exceptional scientific, technical, and engineering achievements related to the broad missions of the US DOE and its programs to further science, energy, and national security.

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University hosts Innovation Challenge III: Sustainable Futures

The 2021 Innovation Challenge tasked 20 Rochester student teams with creating sustainable, empowering solutions for the problems that local businesses and organizations currently face. Each team was assigned one of six community partners. This challenge was inspired by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The Innovation Challenge is a collaboration between the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, Barbara J. Burger iZone, Center for Community Engagement, Grand Challenges Scholars Program, Greene Center for Career Education and Connections, and Studio X.

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Fusion Progress Validates work at Laser Lab

University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics has closely collaborated on laser-driven implosion techniques with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Lawrence Livermore announced that it had ignited a burst of more than 10 quadrillion watts of fusion power. Research on the University’s OMEGA Laser Facility played a critical role in developing the physics and diagnostics that enabled this achievement. The announcement might pave the way for an abundant supply of clean energy.

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University Arboretum Recognized with Level II Arbnet Accreditation

The University’s arboretum received Arbnet Accreditation at Level II in October 2021. There are a total of 511 accredited arboreta worldwide of which 151 are ranked at Level II. In the summer of 2019, the group performed a Tree Inventory to maintain a record of the trees. With more than 1,000 trees on the River Campus, this inventory played an important role in achieving the Level II Arbnet accreditation.

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URMC Researcher Co-Authors Paper on Using Wastewater Surveillance to Detect COVID

Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D., professor and director of the Community Engagement Core of the Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center co-led a study in 2021 that synthesized initial wastewater surveillance efforts at 25 colleges and universities from across the country. The aim was to use small-scale wastewater surveillance systems at colleges as a model to offer insight into how to address the associated challenges at larger scales. The results of the study were published in a paper in the International Journal of Environmental Public Health in September 2021. Korfmacher also convened a Monroe County Wastewater Surveillance Working Group that meets weekly and engages over 30 members from county and state government agencies, local colleges and private sector.

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