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Welcome to Sustainability eNews!
October has been full of exciting events and opportunities. Check them out!

Staff and students attended the AASHE conference in Baltimore, MD

Three students presented at the Student Summit during AASHE. Jennifer Taylor and Ellen Green presented on their experience in mobilizing campus through a student organization, while student Rachel Hart presented on the pollinator gardens mentioned below. Find out more about AASHE on their website.

Applications for Sustainability Challenge Grants were received

Nineteen teams submitted proposals requesting nearly $700,000 in funding. These teams represented 28 academic departments from 10 colleges and 9 centers and institutes. Recipients will be announced at the Sustainability Forum hosted by the Tracy Farmer Institute in December. Check out more info on the SCG program here.
Adopt-a-Spot is allowing student organizations to keep campus clean
Adopt-a-Spot is a hands-on project in which student groups "adopt a spot" of campus for the month of October by committing to complete a litter sweep of their zone each week. We are now in our final week with 14 student groups helping to keep campus litter-free. Learn more about Adopt-a-Spot and its parent program Pick It Up here.

UK Pushes Forward with Locally Sourced Foods

Originally printed in UKNow September 29, 2016

The University of Kentucky will be changing definitions in 2016-2017 for what items are included in measuring progress in purchases from local food sources and Kentucky food businesses and processors.

UK created the definitions for local and Kentucky food and business purchases when partnering with Aramark in 2014. Those definitions were based on how the university defined those categories when it operated its own dining operation. The intent of the university was to create a fair benchmark for measuring local and state food purchases over time.

Reflecting recommendations from The Food Connection to improve the methodology and transparency for examining and measuring local purchases, UK Dining will not include Coke, Pepsi and ice in its calculations for the 2016-2017 year.

Over the next several weeks, specific language will be incorporated into the dining contract between UK and Aramark that takes Kentucky-based distributors without Kentucky farm impact — businesses such as Coke, Pepsi and ice — out of what will be counted in the measurement of local and Kentucky food business purchases.

That redefining of locally sourced food for the contract is the result of continued work by UK’s Food Connection to better define and measure the university’s dining purchases and their impact on the state and local food economies.

Read more about the updated contract here.


Student Pollinator Project has Tangible Impact

Students from a variety of disciplines including Agricultural Economics and Sustainable Agriculture responded to a call from the Obama Administration last year to build habitat for pollinators. They planted milkweed and other crops to attract migrating Monarch butterflies and provide a place for reproduction. They involved the campus body by soliciting the help of student groups to plant the seeds  There are butterfly gardens across campus and on a number of UK facilities including South Farm.

These students were also able to present at the Student Summit during AASHE, the conference for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. We hope that their methods can be replicated at campuses across the country.

You can learn more about the project and find locations for the gardens here.

Pick Up Litter and Recycle at the Same Time

By picking up litter, or stopping littering all together, we can each take an active role in keeping our campus beautiful and clean.  But there are also other benefits to reducing littering, it reduces stormwater pollution, reduces chances of injury and harm to plants and wildlife, reduces use of resources and staff time needed to clean up, and increases pride on our campus and feeling of positive well-being.

Of littered items, plastics bottles and aluminum cans are among the top 10 items littered.  These items are recyclable through the University of Kentucky’s All-in-One recycling program.  We encourage you to place your plastic bottles and aluminum cans in any recycling container.  In the outdoor areas of campus, the recycling container are the ones with the blue domes.

All the material that is collected in these containers are sent to the Lexington Recycling Center, where they are sorted, separated, baled and sent to manufacturing companies that use the material to make new products.  Most of the plastic bottles end up at Signode, in Florence KY, who uses the plastic of the bottle to make strong plastic strapping.  The aluminum cans go to Novelis, in Berea KY, to the world’s largest aluminum recycling plant, who will smelt them and make aluminum ingots, that are then sent to manufacturers that need aluminum.

Please do your part to keep our campus clean and recycle at the same time.
Check It Out:
  • The Student Sustainability Council is accepting applications for Midterm Elections. Applications due October 31st. Check out more info on their facebook or website.
  • The UFI Seminar Series continues on November 2nd hosting Dr. Charles Nilon. You can find more info here.
  • Wildcat Clean Up: Help clean up Lexington neighborhoods on Sundays after home football games. Email for info.
Copyright © 2016 University of Kentucky Office of Sustainability, All rights reserved.

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