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   from the issue of April 24, 2008

Report outlines UNL's earth-friendly activities


A new report on sustainability at UNL outlines 70 earth-sustaining projects and practices in the areas of transportation, facilities management, recycling and waste reduction, natural resources conservation and management, energy and utility operations, and research areas and publications.

"Given the national interest in sustainability, interest from the media in UNL's activities, and interest from our students, faculty and staff in increasing our focus on sustainability and earth-friendly practices, we put together the list of sustainability initiatives that are happening right now at UNL," said Christine Jackson, vice chancellor for Business and Finance. "We hoped to get as broad a view as possible within the Division of Business and Finance, Housing and Dining Services. Additionally the Office of Research provided a list of some research initiatives, programs and events, and publications that focus on sustainability as well."

Jackson said the summary, which will be updated annually, will be helpful to outline areas of strength and weakness and to provide some focus moving forward.

Ted Weidner, assistant vice chancellor for Facilities, Management and Planning, said the report is a broad list and focuses on activities universitywide: everything from composting ag research manure and using mulching mowers to providing discounts on bus and commuter passes to using new earth-friendly T8 lamps and fan walls, energy-efficient windows and HVAC systems, and encouraging serving locally grown foods.

"Hopefully what this summary can do is help get more people interested in sustainability and especially ways that we can be more earth-friendly in ways that are cost-effective as well," he said.

Larger areas of emphasis have been in recycling, cutting back on energy use, construction designs that meet and exceed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) measures, managing water and chemicals and making good decisions that protect the earth for the long term.

"What we try to encourage faculty, staff and students to think about is what they're using and not taking more than what they're going to use and throwing away the rest," Weidner said. "Recycling and sustainability is everyone's responsibility."

Weidner said the sustainability report also will serve as a reminder to the campus community and visitors to campus to "let us know how we're doing."

"Look at the list, find out what we're doing, and see where you can help," Weidner said. "And let us know whether we're succeeding."

The report is available at Click on the "Sustainability Initiatives" link.



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