The S.E.E.D. Initiative

Bike Repairs Stations Debut Across UT’s Main Campus

If you were around Main Campus last week you may have noticed some new additions near Rocket Hall, the Student Union and Palmer Hall, and no, we don’t mean the Pikachu you’re stillRepair Station RS2after. Thanks to the work of the UT Student Green Fund, community partner We Are Traffic, the UT Cycling Club, UT Grounds and the UT SEED Initiative, bike repair stations were installed at the three locations listed above. The stations, manufactured by Minneapolis based Dero, provide stands on which cyclists can mount their bicycles as well as cabled tools to make minor adjustments and repairs. In addition, air pumps with gauges are also now available at the Rocket and Palmer Hall Rocket Wheels Bike Share Stations.

Still developing your bike mechanic skills? No problem! Each station includes a QR code that redirects to videos of simple step-by-step bike repairs. These all in one bike stations are intended for use by not only students, faculty and staff but the Toledo Community as well. Similar to those seen across the Toledo Metroparks, the stations work great for not only on-the-trail fixes but as handy repair stands for when you may need to swap pedals or repair a flat.

These repair stations, proposed to the UT Student Green Fund by the UT Cycling Club, represent an effort to expand cycling infrastructure and availability at UT and to complement the Rocket Wheels Bike Share initiative. Below you can see where bike infrastructure can be found across Main Campus.

Bike Infrastructure

For more information contact Tom Garey at thomas.garey@utoledo.edu or Neil Tabor at neil.tabor@utoledo.edu

Happy Riding!

 

UT Cycling Club Hosts First Event

The newly formed UT Cycling Club launched its inaugural event Monday evening, biking from UT to Fifth Third Field and back. With some minor repairs on the way members enjoyed a night at the park and took in sights of the newly developed Hensville. While the event was a blast, the experience prompted two observations on the state of biking in Toledo.

With four native Toledoans and a transplant, it wasn’t too hard to find a viable route to bike to the stadium, but viability doesn’t always mean an easy, or stress free ride. While the one way ride was only about 5 miles, and certain stretches made for open riding, it was also intersected with arterial streets, industrial areas with semi-truck traffic and the typical road surface issues that plague most major cities. While five experienced city riders were able to navigate with relative ease, it’s easy to see why less experienced riders, or those taking their families to the game, would be hesitant. This observation is not a shock to anyone who has driven in Toledo, but makes you consider both the challenges and opportunities of retrofitting a major city like Toledo toward not just being car friendly, but considering the needs of cyclists.

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What surprised more than the trip to the game itself was the lack of bike parking available in the central downtown area. While artistic 1-2 bike capacity racks dot the area around Fifth Third, a single seven-bike capacity rack on the corner of Washington and N St Clair was the only place we found in the area to accommodate even a small group. While we applaud the efforts that have made to put in the current racks that add to the aesthetics of the area, more racks will only encourage more groups to try biking to Fifth Third to support the Mud Hens, making America’s Pastime greener.

Look for more UT Cycling Club events coming soon. Learn more by joining their OrgSync and liking them on Facebook.

UT Staff Team Up to Provide Food and Supplies to Cherry Street Mission from Student Move Out

Rey Guerra Cherry St

EVS Residence Life Manager Rey Guerra Offloads Donations

Over 3,500 pounds of packaged food, toiletries and cleaning supplies were donated to the Cherry Street Mission as part of student move out, smashing the old UT record of just over 2,000 pounds from move out 2015. Residence Life staff coordinated to provide convenient drop locations in the lobbies of all residence halls for students to donate their unused items to be put toward a good cause, and avoid taking up trunk space. This program is a continuation of many years of collaboration around move out item collection between residence life, environmental services and facilities. In addition to the benefits to those in need the environmental impacts of this effort amount to planting over 150 trees or changing over 150 incandescent light bulbs to CFLs.

A special thanks to Rey Guerra, Bob Boyd, Mark Brooks and all other staff who worked hard to see this effort through. Stay tuned for results from other item donations as part of move out.

 

 

Turn your move out Trash into someone else’s Treasure!

As we wind down the semester students are spending long hours trying to ace those last few exams and coordinate with parents before departing to co-op, heading  home, or taking  some well-deserved R and R. With half your attention on Lewis dot structures and the other on summer plans it’s easy to toss the hand me down microwave that valiantly gave up after not being able to take any more ramen. Or the area rug that started as grey and is now a Pollock reproduction.

With all this in mind UT Residence Life and SEED have partnered to give these items a new life and avoid sending them to the landfill. Similar to previous years, all you need to do is drop unwanted items in the green marked containers in the lobby of your residence hall to participate and see your items go to a reputable local cause. Accepted items include small electronics (working or broken), small appliances (working or broken), blankets, linens, pillows, rugs, carpets, lamps, shoes, clothing, books, school supplies, kitchen supplies, dishes and other household goods. Additionally, other marked boxes for non-perishable food and toiletries will be available in the residence hall lobbies. This material will be given to the Cherry Street Mission. We’re hoping to surpass last year’s record of over one ton of food donated from move out.  See the flyer below for more info.

Happy Moving!

 

Move Out 2016 

 

Campus Energy Reduction Project: Main Campus Computer Center

computer center pdfThe University of Toledo has pushed sustainability to the forefront of important issues. In 2013, the lighting fixtures in many campus buildings were changed to contain more sustainable bulbs and reduce the overall expenditures on energy. Each week, the SEED blog will feature a different on-campus building and highlight their energy savings.

This week, our focus is on the University Computer Center. The center, located on the University’s Main Campus near the Student Recreation Center, is home to the University’s IT Department. In 2013, the computer center received an update to include more energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Now, the building has reduced energy usage by 17%, saving the University more than $1,300 per year. Additionally, the switch to efficient energy usage saved 22,540 kWh, and over 80 metric tons of CO2 emissions. All this energy saving is equivalent to the energy savings of taking more than three cars off the road, saving over 1,700 gallons of gas, and conserving 13.02 acres of forest per year. The attached diagram provides more information on the energy changes. 

Keep an eye out every week as we begin to feature different on-campus buildings and their energy savings over the past two years! To monitor the energy usage of your residence hall or classroom, log on to the University of Toledo’s Energy Dashboard at https://www.utoledo.edu/sustainability/dashpro/.

 

Campus Energy Reduction Project: McComas Village

Mccomas village corrected lightingThe University of Toledo has pushed sustainability to the forefront of important issues. In 2013, the lighting fixtures in many campus buildings were changed to contain more sustainable bulbs and reduce the overall expenditures on energy. Each week, the SEED blog will feature a different on-campus building and highlight their energy savings.

This week, we will be featuring lighting savings from McComas Village! The Village opened on campus in 1990, and houses various fraternities and sororities. Each house has three floors, and features both single and triple rooms. In 2013, McComas village was one of the campus buildings that updated their lighting to include more energy-efficient bulbs. Now, the building has reduced energy usage by 9%, saving the University over $1,000 per year in this residence hall alone. Additionally, the switch to efficient lighting reduces usage by 19,529 kWh, and saves over 14 metric tons of CO2 per year. These savings translate to taking 2.8 cars off the road, saving over 1500 gallons of gas, and saving 11.2 acres of forest per year. The attached diagram provides more information on the energy changes.

Keep an eye out every week as we begin to feature different on-campus buildings and their energy savings over the past two years! To monitor the energy usage of your residence hall or classroom, log on to the University of Toledo’s Energy Dashboard at https://www.utoledo.edu/sustainability/dashpro/.

 

 

SEED Initiative Hosts Social Media Competitions for the Month of April

Looking to get more involved in sustainability on campus? The SEED Initiative is holding two contests during the month of April to encourage community engagement and spread awareness of the Energy Dashboard. SEED prizes will be offered to students and staff who participate, and more people on campus will have the ability to track their energy usage. By encouraging students to check the energy dashboard, we hope to inspire a sense of consciousness and conservation, and to increase traffic to this important resource.

  • Our first contest is a Twitter contest! Students and staff can log on to https://www.utoledo.edu/sustainability/dashpro/ and complete the Tutorial (located on the top right corner of the screen). Then, take a picture or screenshot of the completed Tutorial and tweet it to the SEED Twitter account, @GreeningUT! Respondents will win a SEED water bottle and will learn about energy usage on campus! This contest is happening now until April 4th
  • Our second contest is a photography contest! For a chance to have work displayed online, students, staff, and community members can submit 200×200 JPEG images of buildings on campus for consideration. Selected photos will be displayed on the energy dashboard as building images. We are looking for creativity and innovative thinking, so feel free to get your student organization, classmates, or friends involved! Send all photos to SEED@utoledo.edu. Winners of this contest will receive SEED T-shirts and will have their work displayed online! This contest will take place April 11th– April 25th.

Please contact SEED@utoledo.edu with any questions. The flyers for both contests are attached below.CORRECT Flyer 2                                                        CORRECT PHOTO FLYER 2

The SEED Initiative Presents the 2015-2016 Scholarship Application

Are you a student who has taken steps to advance sustainability efforts at the University of Toledo? Do you have a passion for living green? If so, the SEED Initiative has an opportunity for you! The 2015-2016 SEED Scholarship application is now available.

The Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Design (or SEED) Initiative was created at the University of Toledo from energy efficiency rebates. SEED’s purpose is to act as a method of conceptualizing and implementing sustainability projects on campus. SEED believes that promoting a culture of “green thinking” at the University will foster the growth of future sustainability projects for years to come. One of the best ways to promote our initiatives is to honor students who put a focus on conservation every day. Individual projects that live out the mission of the SEED Initiative deserve recognition!

This is the first year that the Initiative will be offering this scholarship. Four, $250 scholarships will be offered to continuing undergraduate students at UT who have undertaken a project or made an effort that has contributed to sustainability on campus. Awardees will be recognized for their commitment to creating a greener Toledo, and the hope is that by continuing this scholarship, more students will be encouraged to share their sustainability work.

Applications are due to Plant Operations 1170 by March 7th. Any questions or concerns can be directed to SEED@utoledo.edu. The application can be found by following this link: http://www.utoledo.edu/financialaid/ans/uploadedApplications/2016/SustainabilityEnergyEfficiencyandDesign(SEED)InitiativeScholarship_30909M.pdf. We look forward to reviewing your applications!

SEED Initiative Highligthed in 2015 Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report

Each year, the Efficiency Advisory Committee (composed of members from each public institution of higher education in Ohio) compiles an annual report, highlighting the progress made in efficiency and revenue-saving throughout the year. This report is available to the public and puts a particular emphasis on areas where there is a cost saving or cost avoidance to students. This year, the University of Toledo was recognized in a variety of categories involving efforts to make our campus a more efficient environment. SEED was directly mentioned in the Energy Efficiency category. The energy efficiency elements highlighted in the report are defined as “seeking and refining sustainable energy methods utilized by institutions to procure and use energy in the most cost-effective manner.” In 2015 alone, public universities in Ohio reported that more energy efficient changes saved them almost $80 million dollars. This huge monetary amount is a telling indicator of exactly how much impact a focus on sustainability can mean for the modern institution of higher education.

SEED’s efforts to improve energy efficiency have played a large part in reducing operating costs for the University. The Efficiency Advisory Committee’s recognition further solidifies the impact that offices like these have on making their respective universities relevant and up-to-date in terms of sustainability. SEED was specifically recognized for its “efforts to improve energy performance,” which has led to “far lower energy use per square feet than comparable universities in terms of climate and student population.” It went on to recognize that the reductions “amounted to $2.8 million dollars in cost savings per year in utilities for the University.”Ohio Efficiency Report

Although the stated “efforts to improve energy performance” is vague, the University is actually making sweeping changes to attempt to operate on a greener scale. Initiatives involving renewable energy, increased cognizance in building and design, and sustainability-based purchasing all play a significant part in this cost and carbon footprint reduction at UT. Engaging students in these projects and in the idea of sustainability and pushing them to evaluate the “green-ness” of their choices can encourage them to lead a more environmentally-conscious life, even after their time at the University has ended.

Additionally, the University was also recognized for excellence in Fleet Management and Operations Efficiencies (for downsizing the number of vehicles it utilizes), as well as for excellence in Public Works Efficiencies for its internal recycling program’s partnership with Toledo Public Schools, another SEED project. The recycling program, which is staffed by students, has expanded its reach to the community- saving TPS an estimated $40,000 per year. As a university located within the heart of an urban community, this mutually beneficial relationship further strengthens the partnership between UT and the surrounding areas.

Congratulations to each group and initiative recognized in the 2015 Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report. By contributing to the efficiency and sustainability of the University of Toledo, these projects are creating a culture of learning and progress for students, staff, and future generations. To view the entire Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report click here.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email SEED@utoledo.edu or give us a call at (419) 530-1042.

 

Contrary to the blurb below, this post is produced by SEED PR & Communications Intern Jessica Mysyk

UT to Host Community Electronics Recycling Drive Saturday, February 6th from 10am-1pm

It is no surprise that many houses have more than a few electronics that are no longer in use. Whether it is an out-of-date laptop, an obsolete VCR, or your college speaker system (good at house parties, but little practical application in the real world), electronics around the house can start to pile up. Today, technology develops so rapidly that it can be difficult to properly dispose of electronics before purchasing the newest model. Luckily, the University of Toledo and AIMecycling are here to help.

SEED will host a community electronics recycling drive on Saturday, February 6th from 10am-1pm. Located in Parking Area 25 near Rocket Hall, this event will collect personal electronic items such as printers, VCRs, and speakers- all for free! Additionally, this event kicks off our eight-week Recyclemania initiative, where campuses across the nation will work to increase the amount of materials diverted from the landfill.

Electronic Recycling Drive

So I know what you’re probably thinking- why waste time recycling my old electronics, when I could just throw them away? There are many reasons to consider this method of disposal during your spring cleaning:

  1. Electronic waste contains a variety of valuable resources, such as aluminum, copper, or gold. Instead of producing all new equipment from brand new resources, utilizing these recoverable parts can save significant amounts of money, energy, and resources.
  2. Electronic waste also contains toxic materials, such as lead and chemical flame retardants. If these materials sit in a landfill, they have the potential to seep into our soil and water supply.
  3. We save energy, lower pollution, and reduce emissions by reusing resources instead of mining new ones.
  4. By recycling electronics, you are helping others. The community benefits by the transfer of these materials to those in need- “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
  5. Finally, e-cycling preserves landfill space, and increases the area for items that actually need to be there.

Overall, there is a very low risk and a very high reward for taking the time to recycle your unused electronics. Help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint by joining us on February 6th!

Contrary to the blurb below, this post is produced by SEED PR & Communications Intern Jessica Mysyk

About SEED

The University of Toledo’s SEED Initiative, housed within but not limited to Facilities & Construction, focuses on Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Design to ensure the University is operating in a manner that betters our neighbors, economy, and planet. Through environmental sustainability projects, energy conservation measures, innovative building renovation and design, and a comprehensive educational campaign, SEED commits itself to leaving behind a better planet than when we started.

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