UAF Office of Sustainability Newsletter

Vol 6, March 2011

Recycling at the Blue and Gold

Update from the Student Recycling Team

My name is Brandon Drucker and I work for the Recycling Department within the Office of Sustainability here at UAF.

The recycling effort at the UAF main campus has grown significantly over the past few weeks. We just want to make sure that your department doesn't get left behind.

We are now able to provide a limited number of paper, plastic, and aluminum recycling bins and want to make sure we get as much of those materials recycled and out of the trash. 

I was hoping departments might be able to provide me with the names of a few volunteers who would act as points of contact with me and the Recycling Department to let us know how things are looking, what bins you need, when the bins are full, recycling plans, any questions/ concerns, etc. It is important to make sure we're working together as efficiently as possible. You can contact me at, or check out the website at

Thanks for your help,

-Brandon Drucker

Students assembling bikes for UAF green bike program

Picture of students assembling bikes
Photo by Michael Stanfill.

Emissions from transportation contribute over a third of the total greenhouse gases and currently come almost completely from non-renewable sources. To shift UAF’s energy usage towards renewable sources, the students want to increase bicycle use on and around campus. They will begin doing just this, with the new RISE funded program “The UAF Green Bikes.”

Students jointly employed through the Office of Sustainability and Outdoors Adventures began assembling bikes this week under the direction of local expert Simon Rakower.

A library of bikes will be available to check out for the year, semester or afternoon starting in April. A new student bike shop will be operated through UAF Outdoor Adventures. The basic model is that the program maintains a fleet of bikes that predominately students can check out with their Polar Express cards. Clinics and workshops will be offered on a monthly basis on bike/sustainability topics.

Three UAF students were authors of this project: Michaela Swanson, Ben Abbott and Lorien Nettleton. This is another example of how students are taking the lead for making UAF a more sustainable community.

New Sustainability Course

Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)

Are you interested in gaining some real world experience, learning how to determine how sustainable an organization is, and earning credit? The UAF Office of Sustainability, Honors Program and Geography Department are sponsoring a course for 3-15 students to help conduct the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) project.

STARS is a comprehensive sustainability assessment tool developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

This course will involve research in all aspects of the university from energy, water, and transportation to curriculum, diversity, and administration. The assessment tool will also be a guide for advancing sustainability in all sectors of UAF. For more information about AASHE and STARS, see

It will be a great opportunity to network throughout the campus and to build your resume.

The course can be credited either through an Individual Student Course or Internship GEOG/NRM F300. There will also be an Honors Course Option. For information contact Michele Hebert,

For complete information on the STARS course, click on this heading!

2011 Sustainability Theme Chosen

The Office of Sustainability and UAF Dining Services sponsored a contest to determine the 2011 Sustainability Theme for UAF. The winning theme approved by the Student RISE board is UAF…Ingenuity into Action. The winning entry came from Amy Snider, honor’s program student and past president of UAF Beyond Coal.

Ingenuity, as defined by Wikipedia, refers to the process of applying ideas to solve problems or meet challenges. This word really fits the student RISE board efforts to make UAF a more sustainable campus. Human ingenuity has led to technological developments through applied science, but can also be seen in the development of new social organizations, institutions and relationships. Ingenuity involves the most complex human thought processes, bringing together our thinking and acting both individually and collectively to take advantage of opportunities or to overcome problems. Congratulations Amy!

Students compete to reduce energy at UAF

Picture of Ashleigh Strange at energy meters
Photo by Michele Hebert.

Once a month in the 2010 fall semester, UAF student Ashleigh Strange checked and read the 60 energy meters for Cutler Apartment and awarded prizes to the students saving the most energy.

Ashleigh designed this project to encourage residents to develop wise energy habits.

“This program promotes energy efficiency in a way that the residents can clearly see, their meters are right there on the side of the building and they can mark their own progress which promoting healthy competition among each other” said Ashleigh .  

At the end of the semester, the four students in the apartment with the lowest overall KWH usage got a huge prize. They received certificates to Chena Hot Springs Resort for a swim, overnight stay and the geothermal renewable energy tour.

Power Saving Cords Available

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Office of Sustainability has partnered with UAF’s Community and Technical College to install power-saving cords on campus and employee vehicles.

The new technology reduces the amount of electricity needed to keep vehicles warm when they are plugged in. The cords reduce the cost of heating the engine coolant by using power only when the engine coolant temperature drops below a certain temperature.

Brandon Hoover, student employee of the Office of Sustainability, has already installed over 40 cords in university and privately owned vehicles.

The goal of the program is to install cords in university owned vehicles and employee vehicles routinely plugged in on campus.

The program was developed by the student RISE board, a group of students with the mission of making UAF a sustainable campus.

Appointments can be scheduled through UAF's Office of Sustainability:

Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. Contact Brandon Hoover to set up an appointment,

Green your spring cleaning tips

  • Buy green cleaners at your local natural foods store or via mail order or the Internet.
  • Make your own cleaners. To avoid toxic chemicals, consider making your own cleaners. Household items like baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, and club soda, can be combined to clean everything from carpets to toilet bowls.
  • Use old clothing and sheets for dusting and cleaning rags, rather than paper towels.
  • Install a clothesline in your backyard or basement, and let your clothes dry naturally.
  • Eliminate the need for chemical fabric softeners by adding ¼ cup of vinegar to your washing machine’s rinse cycle.

More tips can be found at:

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