UAF Office of Sustainability Newsletter

Vol 10, July 2011

Students working hard on UAF’s first STARS report

This summer at team of 10 students has been working hard to gather data to complete UAF’s first STARS® report. The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS®) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS® was developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)  with broad participation from the higher education community.

This tool provides a centralized reporting mechanism for looking at sustainability efforts from all facets of UAF’s institutions – curriculum and research, campus operations, planning and institutional capacity with the goal of aiding strategic planning, fostering cross sector dialogue about sustainability on campus and stimulating conversations and learning between institutions. For more information check out

Wanted: UAF Recycling and Zero Waste Committee Members

The Office of Sustainability is looking for recycling enthusiasts to serve on the UAF Recycling and Zero Waste Committee. Last week UAF recycled a total of 32 tons. That is commendable, but we can do more! We are looking for motivated individuals to help UAF reduce and ultimately eliminate waste on campus with the ultimate goal of a net zero waste campus. Our long-term environmental sustainability vision includes using purchasing renewable and recycled materials.

“What would it take for UAF to be a Zero Waste campus? We would have to analyze our waste stream -- trash, used equipment and vehicles, coal ash, etc. -- and then determine what to do with each component. Institution-wide would be challenging, but we could start with the Fairbanks campus. Wouldn't this be an exciting project?” --Chancellor Rogers

The recycling committee will meet weekly for the first month to get things up and running. The committee will be initially charge the following three items:

  • Examining the University Waste Stream
  • Decide What Type of Collection Process Will Work Best
  • Design a program to get broad participation and program longevity

These items may be addressed as a group or through subcommittees. The first meeting was Friday, July 15, 2011 (12-1 p.m.) in room 502 of the Rasmuson Library. Contact Michele Hebert at the Office of Sustainability if you are interested in future meetings.

Green Bike Program Expands

Since the UAF Green Bikes Program start as a proposal submitted by Michaela Swanson, Ben Abbot and Lorien Nettleton, the program has been growing fast. The main goal of the program is to shift UAF's energy usage towards renewable resources by making bicycles available to check out to students throughout the year. This summer a second proposal was funded to expand the program's outreach and goals. By the end of spring there were 26 bikes in the fleet, all available to check out to students.

The Green Bikes program has been so popular that demand has far outpaced supply. During the second checkout event, on the 27th of May, all 26 bikes were handed out in just over an hour with over 20 people on the wait-list. An additional $21,850 was approved to purchase more bikes, create a storage space for them, winterize a portion of the fleet, purchase permanent outdoor work stands, buy a rack to place outside the Lola Tilly Commons and purchase helmets, kickstands, luggage racks and locks.

As fuel prices increase, more and more students will be interested in cycling to campus and work. Meeting these growing demands will give these new commuters a practicable option to bike throughout the entire year.

Six Sustainability Student Projects approved by Chancellor

Every semester the Student RISE Board and Office of Sustainability accept proposals to support UAF’s sustainability initiatives. Preference is given to projects that invest in energy efficiency programs and renewable energy projects. RISE is an associated student board. The goal of the grant program is to endorse promising student ideas for a more sustainable future.  

This summer, 6 student-led projects were chosen to be funded, totaling $117,286 in allocated funding. The RISE Board evaluated the project proposals and forwarded their recommendations to the Chancellor for funding. A list of the funded projects can be found at the link below. 

Proposals for the next round are due in October. For information on the proposal process or to view project proposals in more detail, go to

Water Bottle filling station installed at UAF

One of the projects enthusiastically approved by the RISE board for funding in the fall of 2010 was Water Bottle Testing Stations. During the summer semester, the first water bottle filling station was set up in Wood Center. There is a monitor checking for usage to see how much water is used and how many plastic bottles “saved.” Student Sambit Misra worked with plumbers from Facilities Services to design the systems, which have activated charcoal filtration to insure that the water tastes good and is free of pollutants.

The largest benefit to UAF is a lower amount of plastic bottles being used. “If the program with two filling stations is success, students hope to eventually have stations spread across campus and clean drinking water everywhere,” says submitter Sambit Misra.

UAF transportation survey

Over 1300 UAF students, faculty, staff participated in the UAF Office of Sustainability transportation survey. The transportation survey took around 5 minutes to complete and included an opportunity to enter a drawing for an iPad. Participants included 687 students, 74 faculty, 469 staff, 28 administrators and 38 other campus workers. The results will soon be posted on the Office of Sustainability website. Of the respondents, 7.3 percent carpool, 5.8 percent use public transportation, 11.2 percent bike, 4.1 percent walk and 1.4 percent use a motorcycle during the summer.

This data will be used for the UAF Carbon Footprint and the UAF Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) report. Congratulations to Walker Wheeler, Library IT Manager, who is the winner of the iPad. The plan is to run the survey again in the fall semester.

Reminder: Give Food and Supplies to the Fairbanks Foodbank

The Fairbanks Community Foodbank welcomes almost any type of food donation to help feed the hungry in the Tanana Valley. Non-perishable and canned goods are especially appreciated, along with other packaged food.

They also welcome meat donations from sportsmen and sportswomen. Here is a list of donation drop off points.

Companies and individuals that donate food items are protected from liability by the Good Samaritan Act. 

In addition to food donations, we also ask for items needed to pack food boxes such as:

  • Plastic bags (grocery sack and produce sack size)
  • Clean boxes
  • Egg cartons
  • Paper sacks!/

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