September 26, 2017
The foliage outside our classroom windows isn’t the only green aspect of UCCS.
Several departments have recently proved how important sustainability efforts, including green energy, should be to the context of our campus and student body.
But what is sustainability?
Sustainability meets the present generation’s needs without hindering the future generation to meet theirs, according to the Office of Sustainability’s website. This concept also improves one’s quality of life without living outside of an ecosystem’s support and seeks to respect nature and human rights.
The Office of Sustainability, the Green Action Fund and Dining and Hospitality Services, just to name a few, have tackled sustainability by implementing policies, committees and projects that seek to set UCCS apart as a “green” campus.
On Aug. 24, crews installed a $300,000 solar power system atop the University Center and the Gallogly Events Center. The system will eventually make the events center a net zero power user and generate a net zero electricity bill.
Dining and Hospitality Services have also implemented sustainability practices in Sanitorium Grounds, Café 65 and through the food provided in the dining halls, which is locally sourced. At Café 65, students can purchase OZZI boxes for $5.50 and reuse them for meals they purchase at UCCS.
The Green Action Fund, which also seeks to reduce UCCS’ ecological footprint. GAF has helped to renovate our trails, implement hydration stations and an aquaponics system, among many other projects.
Students can also make a considerate impact through GAF in improving sustainability efforts on campus through applying for large and small grants and research seeds for sustainable projects on campus.
These efforts span across our campus and should be met with praise from students, faculty and staff alike.
The fact that UCCS has made sustainability efforts such a large priority for the advancement of our campus is significant. Not only will these efforts improve our way of life on campus, but they will provide an example of how we can contribute to protecting our planet once we leave this campus.
The fact is that green energy helps a college campus, and its students, succeed.
In 2016, UCCS was below the emissions reduction target, a level of greenhouse gas emissions that states intend to achieve by a certain time, due to on-site polar photovoltaics and renewable energy credits, according to the Office of Sustainability Website.
In fact, our campus is on track to reduce these emissions 20 percent from last year’s levels.
How does this help us succeed? Providing a healthier learning environment attracts more students to our already growing campus; we reached a total of 12,422 enrolled students this semester, according to Communique.
But for those of us who are already here, it gives us more resources to improve our learning. For example, constructing sustainable buildings or even adding sustainable aspects to those that already exist can be an indicator of a student’s performance at university, according to a 2011 University Business article.
Things like sustainable ventilation systems, which are less costly and more sustainable, provide cleaner air and are quieter, which help students focus more in class.
This is a small benefit, but for some students, it makes a world of difference.
While current students might not see the impact of early sustainable efforts right now, future generations will, and that’s how we’ll know we’ve made progress.