Zero Impact Band


Year: 2012, 2014

Grant Amount: $2,500 (2012)

The Longhorn Band uses many products that are recyclable, and is currently making a conscious effort to educate members on recycling and composting the everyday materials members use. They seek to become a “Zero Impact Band,” meaning that 90% of materials used can either be recycled, composted, or reduced all together.

The Longhorn Band used Green Fee funding to order reusable cups and water bottles for their members in order to encourage reuse and recycling. They also worked with Pok-E-Jo’s, a local barbeque company that provides meals for the band on game day, to use compostable dishes and silverware. Future projects include ordering iPads for directors and section leaders to use in order to reduce paper. Renewed funding will take this project into the 2014-2015 academic year.


Resource Consumption Visualization Project

Year: 2012

Grant Amount: $36,100

The Resource Consumption Visualization Project explored the potential for creating a web-accessible visualization of campus energy and water consumption. This visualization would enable the campus community to become aware of the trends and peaks (highs, lows, averages, deltas), which is the first step in developing sustainable conservation practices and participation across campus. The project provided research opportunities for graduate students and undergraduates, and forged first-time partnerships between campus departments.

Information about campus energy and water usage is currently invisible to campus members. Making this information visible to the campus community is a foundational piece in beginning both awareness and conscientious usage of natural resources.

Orange Bike Project

Orange Bike Project

Year: 2012, 2013

Grant Amount: $14,500 (2012), $28,000 (2013)

The Orange Bike Project rents bikes to those who need them. The expansion of this project involves the acquisition of over 90 bikes as well as more equipment for the community bike shop. Shop location and hours can be found on the main Orange Bike Project website. Community members and students can use this bike shop to work on their bikes and learn bike maintenance basics from the OBP staff.

Bike rental programs include short-term rentals, semester-long rentals, and weekend rentals, all at very reasonable and competitive prices. The commuter-style bikes are maintained by the OBP staff who also provide instruction on how to care for your rental bike.

Benefit-Cost Analysis of Reduced Ventilation in Lab Bldg

Year: 2012

Grant amount: $50,000

Air quality is not only important for our health, but it impacts our environment as well. Facilities Maintenance partnered with six labs in Welch to utilize air quality sensors. Via these sensors, labs are able to regulate how much and how often the vents need to be open. The sensors automatically adjust ventilation rates for optimal safety and energy efficiency. Ventilation needs are lower when the air is clean, and higher when the air contains particulate matter, regardless if people are working in there or not.

With the addition of air quality sensors to six labs, Welch saved over $14,000 dollars in one year, with an ROI of 3.05 years.

UT MicroFarm


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!

Styrofoam Recycling


Year: 2012

Grant Amount: $7,200

Polystyrene in landfills does not break down, and is harmful to produce and dispose of. The Green Fee funded a Styrofoam recycling project with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry that collects Styrofoam once a month outside of Welch, which will help us understand the amount of Styrofoam we use as a university.

Grant funds supported three students over 2012-2014 to oversee the recycling collection and reach out to labs, and fuel and transportation costs to get the material to a recycler. UT typically recycles over 235 lbs of Styrofoam per month.

At the end of the 2012-2013 year, the unused project funds rolled over to the Office of Sustainability, which continued the program in 2013-2014. The Styrofoam collection was institutionalized by Facilities Services and continues to date.

UT Tree Nursery


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.