Rocky Teaches Recycling at U of R

Grassroots – As the University of Rochester’s 2012 RecycleMania Competition gets underway, Rocky shares on tips on where to recycle around campus. RecycleMania is a competition among college and university recycling programs in North America and Canada. From February 5th to March 31st, help Rochester win this competition by reducing waste and recycling more on campus!

See Rocky in Action

In the next month, watch out for the Grassroots RecycleMania team, who will be randomly handing out prizes to those they see recycling during the competition. Check out RecycleMania on Facebook!

RecycleMania is sponsored by Grassroots, the University of Rochester’s premier environmental action and awareness group. The organization strives to act on behalf of a sustainable future and to raise awareness of the collective and individual responsibilities as stewards of the Earth and its natural environment.

Like Grassroots on Facebook or visit their page on the Campus Club Connection!

Video and photo are courtesy of Grassroots.

Spend Summer on Campus with Sustainability Research Internships

Philosophy Department – Have an interest in learning about wildlife habitats in the Northeastern U.S.? Looking to put your background in biological sciences to use on a biofuel research project? Think the opportunity to explore the University’s South Campus forest might be cool?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, than you’re in luck! You could be one of the half-dozen students selected participate in one of the sustainability-related internships opportunities during summer 2012.

Sponsored by the College, the internships provide a $1,000 stipend and free campus housing for the months of June and July to selected students. (Please note that the offer of free campus housing cannot be converted into funds for off campus housing.) Interested students may apply by sending a resume and letter of interest indicating the specific internship(s) sought to Prof. Randall Curren via email at randall.curren@rochester.edu.

Applications are due March 7, 2012 and assignments will be announced by March 28. The following opportunities are available:

Biofuel Research

Professor David Wu (Chemical Engineering) will sponsor 1 to 2 interns to participate in his biofuel research. He uses a molecular biology approach to study the microbial enzyme system that breaks down recalcitrant cellulosic materials into fermentable sugars, which are in turn converted to ethanol or other biofuels through a fermentation process.  The molecular biology approach will be used for engineering the microorganism for a more efficient cellulose-ethanol conversion process. The intern would need background and interest in biological science.

Creative Research Project: Animals & the Relationship between Rural & Urban Environments

Professors Leila Nadir (Sustainability) and Cary Peppermint (Art and Art History) are seeking a summer 2012 student intern to assist with a creative research project on animals and the relationship between rural and urban environments. They will be designing an installation that gathers real-time dynamic data of animals in a wilderness feed plot and projects these images into urban galleries. They are looking for assistance in the following areas: (1) knowledge and research skills in wildlife habitat in the Northeastern United States toward the creation of a feed plot on forested land in central Maine and/or (2) computer programming skills in Java, Processing, and free/open-source software for experimenting in visualization techniques. Competitive applicants will have experience in working in a studio art environment.

Sustainability & Study Abroad

Jackie Levine (Study Abroad Office) and Karen Berger (Earth and Environmental Sciences) will jointly supervise an intern who will work to enhance sustainability and study abroad opportunities for UR students. The intern will organize information on overseas sustainability-related courses and programs according to topical areas.  This will then be used to identify those locations that best supplement existing courses offered in Rochester.  The result will be the creation of a resource for students interested both in studying abroad and enhancing their sustainability coursework. Key qualifications are strong organizational skills and the ability to work independently.  An academic interest in sustainability and international study is a plus.

Sustainability Tracking and Assessment and Rating System: Academic & Research

Professor Karen Berger (Earth and Environmental Science; Coordinator, College Sustainability Studies) will sponsor an intern to work primarily on the collection and evaluation of data pertaining to UR sustainability-related teaching and research, to complete the “Academic and Research” component of STARS, the Sustainability Tracking and Assessment and Rating System.  More information about this program can be found at stars.aashe.org.  Other tasks may include researching case studies for incorporation into EES courses, and developing a campus-based database for environmental volunteer opportunities and events. Qualifications for this position include (1) an ability to work independently, and (2) an ability to think creatively when encountering obstacles in data collection.

Sustainability Tracking and Assessment and Rating System: Operations and Planning, Administration, and Engagement

Pat Beaumont (Director Support Operations) will sponsor a sustainability research intern to assist in gathering and organizing data for the Operations and Planning, Administration, and Engagement components of STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ program. STARS® is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS® was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community.  The intern will be part of the STARS working group of the University Council on Sustainability.  The intern will need strong verbal and written communication skills, knowledge of sustainability initiatives and programs, ability to research sustainability measurements, strong organizational skills, and an ability to work independently and in teams.

Forest Preservation

Justin and Tara Ramsey (Biology) will sponsor an intern in forest preservation. With help from summer interns in 2010 and 2011, the Ramsey field crew has worked to improve access of the South Campus forest to U of R undergraduate courses, the university community, and the public. As part of the Ramsey field crew, the 2012 intern will: (1) Work with U of R facilities to place platform structures on seasonally-wet areas throughout the south campus trail system; (2) Repair trail linings damaged over the past year; (3)  Develop a new section of trail (~100 m) in the “north woods”  parcel behind the Alumni & Development Center; (4)  Eradicate garlic mustard and other invasive species in the forest and forest edge; (5)  Organize photographs, species lists, and trail maps into an online “interpretive package.” The intern should be comfortable and experienced in working outdoors, be able to work independently and in small groups, and have a basic knowledge of the flora/fauna. Further information about South Campus preservation efforts can be found at the Ramsey lab website, at the following links:

http://web.mac.com/justin_ramsey/Ramsey_lab/Rochester_Forests.html

http://web.mac.com/justin_ramsey/Ramsey_lab/History_%28URW%29.html

http://web.mac.com/justin_ramsey/Ramsey_lab/Trails_%28URW%29.html

http://web.mac.com/justin_ramsey/Ramsey_lab/Plant_communities_%28URW%29.html

http://web.mac.com/justin_ramsey/Ramsey_lab/Wildlife_%28URW%29.html

http://web.mac.com/justin_ramsey/Ramsey_lab/Invasive_organisms_%28URW%29.html

Article compliments of Randall Curren, professor and chair of philosophy and professor of education. Photo courtesy of University Communications.

U of R Grad Gowns ‘GO Green’

University Introduces Cap and Gown Made of Recycled Plastic Bottles

Univ. Communications – University of Rochester students graduating this May will be dressed in plastic bottles, but you probably won’t notice. The caps and gowns that bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates will be wearing are made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

The fabric used to make these gowns is spun from molten plastic pellets. It takes an average of 23 bottles to make each gown. That means that with more than 1,500 gowns sold at the University’s bookstores each graduation season, 34,500 bottles will be repurposed to create the regalia.

This shift to the environmentally friendly regalia was a joint decision made by the conference and events office and the bookstores.

“We feel these gowns fit in with the University’s ‘green’ mission,” said Erica Strawbridge, conference coordinator for conference and events. “We think the students will appreciate this change.”

“We consistently hear from students that they prefer eco-friendly products. We’re very excited to be introducing these gowns,” said Maria Ferrante, general manager of the bookstores. “Not only are they better for the environment, but the fabric actually feels softer and more comfortable than what we’ve used for previous commencement ceremonies.”

Other features of the regalia include:

• Size labels stamped with soy ink.

• The plastic bags used to store the caps and gowns are made from recycled plastic.

• The shipping cartons are produced from recycled cardboard.

• If students don’t want to keep their gowns after commencement, they can drop them off at the bookstore to be recycled into new fabric.

• They are softer to the touch and more breathable than traditional polyester fabric.

The gowns are made by Oak Hall Cap & Gown and are virtually indistinguishable in color and fit from the traditional polyester material. They will be available for purchase at the campus bookstores from March 25th through commencement.