The UW Green Blog

A New Home for my Blog!
November 20, 2007, 10:29 pm
Filed under: HFS

This will be the last post on my WordPress blog, as I’ve found a new home for my blog.

You can read my new blog, Green Gal: Environmentally Conscious Lifestyle, on the Seattle P-I Web site.

See you there!


Spotted: Sustainability on Campus
November 10, 2007, 12:43 am
Filed under: HFS

One afternoon, I grabbed my camera and walked around campus in search of ways the UW has made it easier for students to reduce, reuse and recycle. I found that the most environmentally-friendly resources were available in high-traffic areas like the HUB and the McMahon 8 dining hall.

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An “e-media” recycling container in the HUB allows students to recycle old cell phones, batteries, printer cartridges and more. Photo by Devon Mills.

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Students are encouraged to take a free newspaper from the lobby of McMahon Hall and recycle it when they’re finished. Photo by Devon Mills.

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Thanks to this sign, patrons of the McMahon 8 dining hall can’t miss a chance to recycle. Photo by Devon Mills.

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3-D posters help students learn which items to compost and which items to toss in McMahon 8. Photo by Devon Mills.

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This flyer informs students about the utensil options available in McMahon 8. Photo by Devon Mills.

As I explored McMahon 8, I remembered the problems students were having with the heat-sensitive corn-based cutlery. The offending utensils are still widely available in the dining hall, but I only noticed a few of the experimental white birch utensils available. I headed upstairs to the McMahon Hall staff offices to see if Resident Director Darcy Hume could update me on the utensil situation.

Hume told me that all of the white birch utensils are in the process of being pulled from the dining hall. She said there are several problems with them:

* The tines on the forks are too short
* Production of the forks leaves splintered wood between the tines, creating safety issues
* The spoons are very shallow and essentially useless

According to Hume, the cornware will still be available in the dining hall while HFS explores other sustainable utensil options.

As for the complaints students had about the melting corn utensils, I noticed new labels next to the cornware warning students that the utensils are heat-sensitive.

HFS has already experimented with utensils made from corn and renewable white birch. Some people are getting frustrated with their efforts. What will they think of next?

The STAND Campaign Comes to UW
November 9, 2007, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Events

KEEN Footwear held an event at the HUB Thursday to promote their STAND campaign, which encourages students to think about ways to effect positive environmental change. The campaign also includes three contests in which students can submit creative projects or statements to express their commitment to sustainability, positive environmental change and raising environmental awareness.

Two students greeted me at the door to the event with free bags of Pirate’s Booty and Bear Naked granola to snack on. I was grateful – and hungry.

About 80 students attended the event – one of the better turnouts on the nationwide, 46-campus tour, according to KEEN’s Chris Enlow. Enlow, who coordinates corporate responsibility for KEEN, Inc., showed several videos and a documentary that illustrates the unique ways people promote sustainability.

The documentary put the spotlight on several people, but I was most interested in Matt Cartwright, an artist and sculptor who crafts sculptures using new and recycled materials. He creates everything from large public sculptures to quirky gates using things he rescues from dumpsters, according to the documentary. Check out some examples of his amazing work here.

To conclude the event, Enlow and KEEN’s UW ambassador, sophomore Karen Harris, raffled off KEEN hats and bags made of recycled materials to lucky students.

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A bag made of recycled rice paper bags. Photo by Devon Mills.

Attendees also voted for a campus organization to receive $1,000 from KEEN, and were encouraged to enter any of the campaign’s three contests for a chance to win a portion of $150,000.

“I really encourage groups or individuals who are looking for funding to be an agent of change,” said Enlow. “Our hope is to get people to push their ideas out there.”

Contest winners will be honored at STAND’s Sustainability Festival on Jun. 22, 2008 in Portland, Oregon. According to Enlow, a 40-piece painting of the STAND logo will be the backdrop for the awards stage. He brought one piece of the painting to the UW for students to sign in silver Sharpie. I may not win any of STAND’s $150,000 prize, but at least my name will be on the awards stage!

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Students sign a piece of the STAND painting that will be displayed at the Sustainability Festival. Photo by Devon Mills.

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UW sophomores Tina Shoemake (left) and Karen Harris show off the signatures. Photo by Devon Mills.