UAF Office of Sustainability Newsletter

Vol 7, April 2011

April 22 is Earth Day!

Green Fire Film and Sustainability Panel April 23

This Earth Day weekend, watch a new documentary film and listen as local leaders discuss why being green is good for Fairbanks and how we can be even greener.


Enjoy a freescreening of a new film called Green Fire, the first full-length, high definition documentary film ever made about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold. The film explores Aldo Leopold’s life in the early part of the twentieth century and the many ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied all over the world today. After the film, local leaders will share their thoughts on why being green is good for Fairbanks and the steps residents, businesses and governments can take to become even greener.

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time is a production of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the US Forest Service, and the Center for Humans and Nature. The film shares highlights from Leopold’s life and extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation in the twentieth century and still inspires people today. Although probably best known as the author of the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac, Leopold is also renowned for his work as an educator, philosopher, forester, ecologist, and wilderness advocate.

Meet Office of Sustainability's Newest Student

Michelle Sutton is excited to be a part of the new Green Bike Sustainability program at UAF.

During her first year at the University, she has been pushed towards the field of Natural Resource Management.

With an interest in her impact on the environment and a need to share her knowledge with her fellow students, she felt at home in the sustainability program at UAF. Getting bikes out to students and on the road is a thrilling prospect and Michelle is honored to be able to play a part.

New Sustainable Gardening Publications

The Cooperative Extension Service has NEW gardening publications available for free download. Publications by Jeff Smeenk, CES Horticulture Specialist, and Tony Nakazawa, Extension Economist can be found by following the links below:

> “Hoop Houses in Rural Alaska: Twenty Questions and Answers to Get You Started” addresses common questions and gives information on the sizes and shapes of hoop houses, the cost of building and/or shipping, ease of construction, sunlight and heat requirements, advice on what kind of production to expect, and much more.

> “Composting in Alaska” explains the difference between hot and cold composting, how to build and manage a compost pile, and how to properly use feedstocks and bulking agents. It contains a variety of compost recipes, ideas for composting structures, a list of useful tools and FAQs.

> "Community Gardens in Alaska" highlights the many benefits of community gardens in both urban and rural settings and offers basic information on how to plan and manage a community garden project including a list of supplemental resources.

Going Green Month in UAF Dorms

The Department of Residence Life is having a Lights Out Electricity Competition during the month of April. The winner will be determined by comparing each hall's electricity use during the first two weeks of April to its electricity use the last two weeks of April. The hall that decreases its electricity use the most from April 15–29 will win. The winning residence hall will receive an ice cream social as well as prizes.

We are hosting other events to celebrate and bring awareness to sustainability on campus including a  Recyclable Craft Night April 19, Recyclable Art Show May 1, and providing van rides for residents to local consignment and thrift stores. We are also having an Office of Sustainability Informational Table in MBS on April 20. The purpose of these activities are to encourage residents to take an active role in sustainability efforts on campus by educating them through fun and unique programming. For information contact Megan Connaghan, Resident Director of Lathrop Hall, at

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,

Forum on UAF Coal Plant April 8

Beyond Coal forum on the Current and Future Situation with the UAF coal plant.

Time: 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. in Wood Center. Panel presenters include Michele Hebert, Mike Ruckhaus, Charles Ward, and Jessie Peterson. The forum is being organized by the student organization Beyond Coal and the Northern Alaska Environmental Center

Sustainability student represents UAF at Energy Policy Working Group

Garrett Evridge, Office of Sustainability student attended the Energy Policy Work Group in Anchorage last month along with Sustainability Director Michele Hebert. He traveled with John Davies and Nate Moat, both policy researchers at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.

The purpose of the meeting was to develop energy policy information to share with legislators. All of the ideas raised at this meeting will be compiled with help of the consultant group Information Insights and presented to the legislature next month.

Discussions included the current weatherization and rebate program and the need for a statewide energy code that would require Alaskans to build to a certain standard, as well as public education to help reduce energy consumption.

"It was good for me to see how policy actually gets started in the whole process," said Evridge. "It was interesting to realize that policy comes from a person having an idea. It seemed like there are many talented people that are all concerned with the future of energy policy in Alaska."

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