• Earth Week comes early

    Earth Day is April 22, during final exams, so UAB Sustainability will host a series of events April 6-10, including the Arbor Day celebration, where you can snag a free tree, and the UAB Earth Month Festival.

    UAB Sustainability will host a weeklong series of events to celebrate Earth Day, which is April 22. Because that date is during final exams, Julie Price, coordinator of sustainability, said they  moved the celebration to April 6-10.

    “The events are held earlier in the month so that students can enjoy the events before the challenging week of school and final exams,” Price said. “Since we use resources every day, it’s really Earth Day every day anyway.”

    Price said the events were well attended last year, and more than 500 trees were given away at the Arbor Day Celebration and about 1,500 people attended the Earth Month Festival.

    “The Earth Week events, in honor of Earth Day, give us all the opportunity to take time and consider the critical resources that provide the foundation for the fulfilling lives we have,” Price said. “These events give UAB faculty, staff and students a variety of forums to learn more about how UAB is working to make a more sustainable future, and how everyone can participate at work and at home.”

    Earth Week events

    The Arbor Day Celebration will be held 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 6 on the Campus Green. The UAB Jazz Ensemble will perform, and free tree saplings, snacks, drinks and door prizes will be available.

    The Southern Exposure Film Serieswill be held 7-10 p.m. April 7 in the Spencer Honors House. Free pizza and drinks will be provided, and a Goal Zero portable solar panel will be raffled.

    The UAB Earth Month Festivalwill be held 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 9 on the Campus Green. The event will feature educational booths, fresh produce, green lifestyle vendors, green tech vendors, electric cars, live music from the UAB Jazz Ensemble, food trucks and giveaways including T-shirts, water bottles, reusable coffee cups and a raffle to win a Goal Zero portable solar panel.

    A household hazardous waste collection and electronic waste collection will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 10 at the UAB Recycling Center. UAB staff and students can bring their paints, solvents, etc., for environmentally friendly disposal. Acceptable electronics include anything that plugs in: computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, cables, printers, copiers, fax machines, telephones, tapes/CDs, battery backups, microwaves, washers, dryers, dishwashers, blenders, coffee pots, vacuum cleaners, stereos, speakers, VCRs, radios, irons, hair dryers, curling irons, lamps, fans, cordless tools and any metal, such as shelving and file cabinets. No televisions will be accepted. Ammunition and medical waste also will not be accepted. 

  • Students leading 8 projects to promote sustainability

    Some $18,000 is being awarded for projects to improve recycling, reduce waste, promote alternative energy and create a bike-repair station on the Campus Green.

    UAB has committed to improving the campus in sustainable ways, including the use of recycled building materials, design features in and around new buildings and reducing use of disposable water bottles. Now students are taking the lead.

    Julie Price, coordinator of Sustainability at UAB, said she’s been impressed by their enthusiasm and the projects they proposed to the Sustainability Investment Fund.

    “It is so important for students to be engaged in their campus as both a facility and a learning environment,” Price said. “The ways we choose to develop our campus and infrastructure — and how we involve students in this process — really make a difference during their time with us.”

    “I've always been an avid supporter of the great outdoors and ways to keep a sustainable world,” said Jeromy Huang, a junior civil engineering student. “So when I saw a post on Facebook about getting green projects funded, I knew that it was something I had to check out.”

    Huang, who had two projects selected for implementation, is one of seven students to receive awards totaling $18,000 through the Sustainability Investment Fund, which is supported by student activity fees. The projects include increased recycling, installation of two electric car-charging stations and a bike-repair station on the Campus Green. The winning proposals and their authors are listed here:

    • Will Rutland, J.D., a student in the joint master of public health and doctor of medicine program, proposed electric car-charging stations; two will be placed in the School of Medicine parking lot by Volker Hall on University Boulevard. The board awarded $1,000 for this project.
    • Sarah Simpson, a graduate student in public health and public administration, proposed a program to facilitate increased recycling and repurposing of items during dorm move-out. The board awarded $300 for this project.
    • Jessica Winek, a doctoral student in cell, developmental and integrative biology, proposed a new water-bottle filling station in the Tinsley Harrison Building. The board awarded $1,400 for this project.
    • Jeromy Huang, a junior in civil engineering, proposed a project for the addition of more functional bike racks on campus. The board awarded $5,000 for this project.
    • Huang also proposed a self-service bike-repair station for the Campus Green. The board awarded $1,300 for this project.
    • The Green Initiative, a student-led group focused on promoting and implementing sustainable practices and solutions at UAB and in Birmingham, and Gabby Brow, a freshman in chemistry and Spanish, individually proposed adding recycling bins to all floors of all residence halls and creating a work-study position in UAB Recycling to service the new bins. The Green Initiative and Brow will work together to implement the project. The board awarded $7,000 for this project.
    • Dana Lackey, a graduate student in civil engineering, proposed adding paper-recycling receptacles in all UAB lobbies where current recycling rolling bins won’t fit. The board awarded $600 for this project.
    • Caroline Durena, M.D., a graduate student in public health, applying on behalf of the Public Health Student Association, proposed a new water-bottle filling station in the Ryals Public Health Building. The board awarded $1,400 for this project.

    "Students are the main people who are affected by what the campus has to offer. By giving students an opportunity to improve their living conditions, an opportunity to solve a problem that no one else has solved before, UAB can increase the overall appeal of UAB."

    Huang said the fund is one way UAB is making students feel more connected to the ever-growing campus, which is important for students.

    “Students are the main people who are affected by what the campus has to offer,” Huang said. “By giving students an opportunity to improve their living conditions, an opportunity to solve a problem that no one else has solved before, UAB can increase the overall appeal of UAB.”

    “As the number one employer in the state and its leading medical and scientific research facility, UAB has an obligation to be at the forefront of sustainable practices and a responsible use of resources,” said Emily Feinstein, director of Student Engagement. “It is critical for our students to be leaders who carry out meaningful projects that result in positive and enduring changes for our UAB community.”

    The students will work with UAB Facilities and UAB Recycling to complete the projects by the fall. Price said the annual awards will enable students to continuously improve the campus and gain experience in all aspects of a project’s implementation.

    “I think there will always be ways that UAB facilities and programs would benefit from fresh ideas from students through this fund,” Price said. “As much as I hope that our future will be sustainable in every way, I know there will always be ways to improve.”

    Other projects were proposed, but not funded, that the board recognized for their effort:

    • Nicholas Hoppmann, M.D., an internal medicine resident, will work with hospital environmental services to help improve recycling collection in Spain Auditorium and other high-traffic hospital and School of Medicine sites.
    • Courtlyn Robinson, a senior in environmental health sciences, and Nirja Gajjar, a sophomore in public health, proposed a bike-sharing program; the Regional Planning Commission has already started working on a citywide program.
  • Get help incorporating sustainability into your classroom

    Apply by March 20 for the new Red Mountain Project. As many as 10 faculty fellows will be selected to receive a stipend of $1,000 for a new or altered course syllabus.

    UAB’s Red Mountain Project is accepting applications for its inaugural workshop April 28-29 to bring together faculty from many disciplines to incorporate sustainability principles into new and existing curricula.

    “Through this program, we hope faculty participants will help UAB students understand how sustainability relates to their respective degree programs and connects to the wider world,” said Julie Price, coordinator of Sustainability at UAB.

    Although no experience in sustainability is required, Price said the project is looking for applicants from all fields with ideas for integrating education about sustainability-related environmental, social or economic issues into a new or existing course. The two-day workshop will explore ways to do that and promote experiential learning through presentations, group exercises and field activities.

    Ten faculty will be selected to receive a grant of $1,000 upon completion and presentation of a new or altered course syllabus.

    “This educational foundation will benefit the students as new members of the workforce and as citizens. Employers are looking for applicants who have broad skill sets and understand how their field relates to the big picture,” Price said. “As citizens, we all want our children and grandchildren to have the same quality of life that we enjoy.”

    The project is modeled after the nationally acclaimed Piedmont Project at Emory University, which has had success incorporating sustainability into the classroom.

    Information on the project requirements and application guidelines can be found at uab.edu/sustainability. The application deadline is March 20.

  • EPA Now Accepting Applications for P3 Grant Program

    Do you know any college students interested in solving an environmental challenge? EPA's P3 - People, Prosperity, and the Planet - Program is a unique college competition that inspires solutions for a sustainable future. P3 offers quality hands-on experience that brings classroom learning to life.

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