PCL Recycling Bins

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Year: 2011

Grant Amount: $3000

In 2009, the PCL Green Team started collecting aluminum and plastics in high-traffic areas of the library. Once the PCL Green Team received funding from the Green Fee, they were able to install 60 new blue recycling bins around the library, each with a sign that educates students on what materials can be recycled versus what needs to be thrown away. The PCL Green Team monitors the recycling bins, noting that they collected over 600 bags of recyclable materials during the first semester of this initiative.

For more information on the PCL Green Team, check out this link:  http://blogs.lib.utexas.edu/green/2010/11/10/pcl-green-team-history/

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UT MicroFarm

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Grant Amount: $15,000 (2011), $19,862 (2012), $15,000 (2013), $15,000 (2014)

Years: 2011, 2012,  2013

UT expanded its gardening footprint by transforming a UT-owned vacant lot on Leona Street behind Disch Falk Field into a small-scale organic farm. The UT MicroFarm hosts weekly workdays, where people can learn to garden and work the earth in ways previously unavailable on campus. MicroFarmers also learn about sustainable agriculture through practicing it themselves.

The MicroFarm provides a space and community for students to learn sustainable food production methods. Many food production methods harm the environment due to fertilizers, pesticides, and other production methods–the MicroFarm raises awareness of these methods and provides hands on experience growing organic food. They’re also a really nice bunch of people!

The MicroFarm is part of the Campus Environmental Center, a sponsored student organization in Campus Planning & Facilities Management.

Check out the MicroFarm blog and follow them on Facebook!

Safe Cycling Campaign

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Year: 2011

Grant Amount: $49,788

The College of Fine Arts collaborated with the School of Architecture to put on a number of educational and research initiatives to promote safe cycling on campus. These initiatives included a Night Light dance performance, a survey of conflict areas for bikes on campus, signs educating bikers how to double-lock their bikes, and “Balloon Bike,” an art project that shows the amount of space (three feet of clearance on all sides) needed for safe cycling conditions. The photo above features the Night Light show, a one-time dance performance illustrating the importance of nighttime illumination on bicycles. After the show, the audience selected their own bike lights provided by the Campaign and Bike Texas. The Safe Cycling Campaign has also hosted community feedback sessions on multi-modal safety on campus, and collaborated with Parking & Transportation and UTPD on future planning.

This project not only promoted safe cycling, but bicycling in general, which reduces carbon emissions and keeps our plant clean.

Watch the videos:

Check out the article in the Daily Texan

Solar Charging Stations

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Year: 2011, 2013

Grant Amount: $54,800 (2011) and $51,000 (2013)

Sol Design Lab collaborated with students and staff to design and install two solar charging and study stations for UT students on campus. The stations increase awareness about solar energy mainly through their extreme visibility, but also through signage on the station explaining how the stations work, and the benefits of solar energy. The 2011 grant funded a workshop on solar power, which engaged students in learning more in-depth concepts on how to maintain and build solar units. The charging stations make solar power available to all students and have received publicity from the Alcalde, the online blog Inhabitat, and SXSW.

The combined grants given to a team of individual students (2011) and SURGe (2013) meant that two stations were installed simultaneously in June 2014 in front of the Perry-Casteneda Library and at the corner of 23rd and San Jacinto, near the Art Building and across from Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium. Each station includes power outlets for charging devices such as laptops and phones, and has wheelchair accessible seating available.

UT Tree Nursery

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Year: 2011, 2013

Grant Amount: $54,198 (2011), $21,780 (Renewal of funding for 2013-2016)

The Tree Nursery is located at the LBJ Wildflower Center. Originally proposed as a way to grow large trees for beautification and landscape improvement, the importance of the UT Tree Nursery skyrocketed when Bastrop, TX was devastated by wildfires in September 2011. The Tree Nursery immediately began growing Loblolly pines to donate to Bastrop and other communities that need reforestation.  The Nursery also provides service opportunities for students to plant trees in areas that experienced devastation from the fires.

A 30 foot by 96 foot shaded house was built to shade the seedlings while they grow. The Tree Nursery has been a point of contact for outside environmentalists as well as an opportunity for students to get hands on experience planting trees and serving the Bastrop community. Future objectives for the Tree Nursery are to grow trees for use in UT landscaping, and possibly launch a ‘heritage’ program for seeds collected on campus. The Tree Nursery is also open to collaboration with research initiatives as well as more community engagement, merging science and the public.

Solar Panels at The Facilities Complex

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Year: 2011

Grant Amount: $75,000

UT was awarded $1.1 million from the TX State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) to install 200+ kW of solar PV arrays:  30 kW at the Manor Parking Garage and 175 kW at the Facilities complex on Manor Road. These installations serve together as a showpiece, a teaching tool in the classroom, and a research test bed that help establish UT as a leader in renewable energy and help us train energy leaders.  In addition, this project provides charging stations for electric vehicles, generates 267,000 kWh of clean energy each year, and avoids 62.5 tons of carbon emissions.  Green Fee contributed $75,000 to complete the installation, and help fund an undergraduate research assistant, who built a web-based interface to be used as a teaching tool. The solar panels were installed on top of the Manor Garage, and on top of the FC3 building. These panels bring in an annual offset of $38,268 in energy savings, and 512,000 lbs of CO2 less per year.

This video shows a time lapse of the installation:

More Bike Racks on Campus

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Year: 2011

Grant Amount: $12,500

In 2011, the Green Fee funded more bike racks on campus. Nine Cora racks and 21 U-Racks were placed around campus, adding a total of 130 new sports for bikes. You’ll find them near the six pack on the South Mall, all along 24th near Welch, and scattered around other places on campus.

With more spots to park your bike on campus, this initiative is aimed at promoting riding your bike to campus, whether you’re a student, faculty or staff member. Riding your bike decreases carbon emission and keeps our air and our bodies healthy. Many of the bike racks even have air pumps on them in case you need to pump up your tires!