By: Elizabeth Nickerson/Staff Writer
The University’s blue and gold is now turning earth-friendly green.
Students for Environmental Action organized an environmental forum where seven University representatives, including Parking and Transportation and Dining Services, spoke about new green initiatives around University Park and Biscayne Bay Campus.
The State of the University forum, which took place Nov. 18, highlighted Parking and Transportation’s plans to run all University vehicles on at least 20 percent bio-diesel.
“Transportation is probably the biggest emission of greenhouse gasses at FIU,” said Director of Parking and Transportation Bill Foster.
In the future, all University vehicles will be earth-friendly; the blend will be 80 percent petroleum (fossil fuel) and 20 percent soy-based bio-diesel.
According to Foster, there are currently two buses running on 100 percent bio-diesel between UP and the Engineering Campus.
The rest of the buses will be on 20 percent bio-diesel by the end of the semester.
“Not only is it environmentally sound, but it gives us better gas mileage,” Foster said.
Foster also reminded students that Parking and Transportation started a new program this academic year known as Greenride.
The carpooling program matches students who travel the same route to the University and share similar schedules to open parking spaces on-campus and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Other attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions included shortening work schedules during the summer.
“[The University] had four-day workweeks to conserve energy and reduce emissions,” said Alexandra Dutton, intern for the President’s Climate Commitment Task Force.
During the seven-week period, the shortened workweek schedule reduced emissions by more than half.
Throughout the University, water heaters – excluding the residential housing areas – will be removed, as well as heated hand-dryers in Graham Center restrooms to reduce electricity usage.
Hand-dryers will be replaced by Dyson Air Blade ones which do not require a heating system, explained Carlos Carrasco from Graham Center Operations.
Housing will soon have an earth-friendly makeover, too.
According to Dutton, dorms will have energy star-rated appliances, which will use less energy, save money and help protect the environment.
Dining Services has removed their plastic trays to reduce food waste from 25 to 30 percent, according to Michael Oestreich, a representative from Dining Services. Not having trays will save energy, water and reduce chemical usage.
According to Oestreich, Panther Dining will no longer use styrofoam containers for to-go foods, but a reusable plastic container for next semester.
Nancy Maidique, public health graduate student and President Modesto A. Maidique’s wife, explained how multiple healthy selections on campus are important.
According to Maidique, Organic Farmers Market will be selling organic foods and fresh produce every Wednesday starting Dec. 3.
Joost “Joe” Nuninga, assistant director of Custodial Services, said recycling will be streamlined to make it an easier process for students.
Recycling bins will be placed in housing and classrooms to make them more available.
Paper is the most recycled product on campus, with 40 tons recycled a month, Nuninga explained.
As the University slowly goes green, Panthers Go Green, a housing-based student club, wants to make their contribution in a less practical way.
The club will have an art show at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum with “prominent FIU figures” giving pro-green presentations, explained Go Green representative Nicole Zauner.
To help FIU implement a greener university go to http://wordpress.fiu.edu/gogreen