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November
2022
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Happy Texas Arbor Day!

The University of Texas at Austin is a Host Institution for the Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education (GCSHE)! Join us for the final day of this virtual conference November 3. Students, faculty, and staff get FREE registration with code UNITXAUS210722 when you use your official UT email. The theme of this year's conference is "The Urgency of Now," calling for transformative sustainability solutions that meet the speed and scale of pressing challenges we face. The last day to register for the content is Thursday, November 3. Conference recordings are available through December 31. Register today!

It's time to start thinking about your Green Fund projects! The Green Fund is a competitive grant program funded by UT Austin tuition allocation to support sustainability-related projects, initiatives and research proposed by university students, faculty or staff. Each student contributes $5 per semester and $2.50 per summer session to the Green Fund. Funds are awarded each May by a student majority committee through an annual grant program. The grant competition will begin accepting project applications in early December 2022! Contact GreenFund@austin.utexas.edu with questions.
Attend AASHE's Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education! Theme: The Urgency of Now! Streaming Live Oct. 18, Oct. 26, and Nov. 3, 2022.

ACADEMICS

Finance Professor Earns Skandia Award

Dr. Laura T. Parks
Two of sustainable finance’s most coveted global research awards — the Skandia Award and the Moskowitz Prize — have recently gone to Laura Starks, University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business professor of finance and George Kozmetsky Centennial Distinguished University Chair. Starks accepted the 2022 Skandia Research Award on Long-Term Savings during her seminar, “Environmental, Social, and Governance Investing: Opportunities and Challenges,” at the Swedish House of Finance in Stockholm October 13. Bestowed by the Thule Foundation, a division of Swedish life insurance company Skandia, the prize supports research on how long-term savings contribute to a sustainable society. Read more at Texas McCombs News.

Space Environmentalist Awarded Genius Grant

Dr. Moriba Jah
Moriba Jah, an astrodynamicist, space environmentalist and aerospace engineer at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, often referred to as the “genius grant.” The award recognizes Jah’s work to track and monitor the more than 30,000 human-made objects orbiting the earth. Jah is one of 25 individuals selected for the five-year fellowship — a no-strings-attached “investment in a person’s originality, insight and potential.” Recipients are nominated based on proven talent and extraordinary originality and dedication to their creative pursuits. Read more at UT News.

Engagement

2022 TRACS Virtual Student Summit

TRACS Virtual Student Summit on work equity and social justice.

Join students across Texas for the 2nd Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability (TRACS) Virtual Student Summit, which is centered around the topics of Work Equity and Social Justice, on November 14 12-4pm via Zoom. The TRACS Virtual Student Summit is a student-led and student-focused sustainability conference meant to facilitate dialogues across campuses. The conference opens with a keynote by Lewis Maltby, the head of the National Workrights Institute and author of Can They Do That: Retaking our Fundamental Rights in the Workplace. Students are encouraged to apply to present on work equity and/or social justice issues. Applications are due November 7

Office of Sustainability Presentations

Director of Sustainability Jim Walker speaks from behind podium.

The UT Austin Office of Sustainability welcomes invitations to present! The office has much to share regarding updates on the state of campus sustainability and campus emissions planning. To schedule a presentation, please contact Sustainability@austin.utexas.edu.

Transportation Survey is Live

Students wait in line to board a bus.

The Transportation Engineering Team of the Civil Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin is conducting a research study on the modes used to commute to and from the UT Austin Main campus. The purpose of this survey is to better understand travel behaviors and plan for future growth at UT. Additionally, this information will be used for the development of a travel demand model that will support regional transportation planning. Participation in this online survey will take approximately three minutes. Individuals who complete the survey will be entered in a drawing to win one $500 HEB digital gift card or one of ten $40 HEB digital gift cards. Take the survey on Qualtrics.

Sustainability Watch Party

Students gathered in room watch a speaker on a television.

UT Farm Stand is organizing a watch party for the Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education (GCSHE) this Saturday, November 5. The event is hosted in partnership with St. Edward's and will be a great opportunity to gain access to the content, connect with other college students and sustainability leaders, and engage in fun workshops. The watch party is taking place from 10am-2pm at St. Edward's University Mabee Ballrooms. RSVP on Google Docs. For questions, contact UTFarmStand@austin.utexas.edu.

Operations

UT Landscaping Earns Arboretum Status, Celebrates with Texas Arbor Day Tree Planting

Yellow Gingko tree leaves frame a distant UT Tower.
UT Austin has been awarded a Level II Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum, for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. UT Austin is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.

Next Friday, November 4 is Texas Arbor Day. Landscape Services will celebrate UT’s 15th year as a Tree Campus Higher Education at the South Mall with a ceremonial tree planting & tree giveaway. Please join to get your hands dirty and to celebrate our love of trees!

Researchers Study University's Water Distribution System

Meters hooked up to a fire hydrant.
Water pressure and quality on campus are probably things many staff, faculty, and students take for granted and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. But for Dr. Lina Sela, assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, they are on her mind a lot as she and her colleagues collect and analyze data about the university’s water distribution system. Collecting this data is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Cockrell School of Engineering and Utilities and Energy Management’s (UEM) Mechanical Distribution division. The research project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation’s Leading Engineering for America's Prosperity, Health, and Infrastructure (LEAP-HI) program. Read more at FAS Communications.

Emissions

Renewables Saved Texas Customers More than $7 Billion in 2022

Wind turbines on a dusty red horizon.
Solar and wind energy saved Texans nearly $1 billion per month this year in electricity costs, according to a recent clean energy study from energy system analysis group IdeaSmiths LLC. In the first eight months of 2022, renewables on the grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas lowered wholesale electricity market costs by about $7.4 billion, the report shows, or about $925 million per month. Renewables are on track to save Texans $11 billion total this year. Read more at the Dallas Morning News.

UT Energy Symposium Debate Addresses Fossil Fuel Divestment by Universities

Debate participants presented on Zoom in different corners of the computer screen.
At the UT Energy Symposium on Tuesday, four experts from around the U.S. debated whether university endowments across the country should divest from fossil fuel companies. The online session was part of the Energy Institute’s UT Energy Symposium. Two debaters were on each side. Speaking for anti-divest was Bradford Cornell and Brent Bennett, while Dan Cohn and Cutler Cleveland being pro-divest. The two sides were asked to consider the question, “Given the educational and research missions of universities, should university endowments divest investments from companies that extract, transport, refine, sell or otherwise serve in the supply chain of fossil fuels?” Read more at the Daily Texan. Watch the debate on YouTube.

Equity

FAS Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Learning Program

Lightbulb logo
The new FAS EDI Learning Program aims to provide educational opportunities that are accessible, approachable, and inclusive for our diverse employee population. FAS strives to cultivate an inclusive work environment by learning, practicing, and forming habits that will make the most positive change for everyone. When inclusion is truly practiced, the portfolio can leverage diversity, facilitate positive interactions despite disagreement, foster respect and humility, and reduce the biases and discrimination that invade workplaces. This all contributes to recruiting and retaining exceptional talent. Visit the FAS website to learn about upcoming workshops, guest speakers, and more.

All About Waste

Follow our social media to learn about waste, composting, recycling, and resource recovery resources at UT!

Check it out here.

Senior Vice President & CFO Darrell Bazzell addresses an audience.

Mitchell Sustainability Symposium Recap
Thanks for joining us for the 9th Annual Mitchell Sustainability Symposium! Relive the experience by reviewing photos of the event in our Flickr album.

UT Outpost Donation Drives
It's the giving season! Here are some opportunities to donate food and necessities to fellow Longhorns through the UT Outpost.
UT Libraries (PCL/UWC): Feed your Friends 10/31-11/11
The Harry Ransom Center: UT Food Pantry Donation Drive 11/7-11/18
Healthyhorns (CMHC/UHS): Feed 'Em Horns 11/7-11/11

 

Student smile in front of bags of trash in the street.

A Cleaner Waller Creek
On October 21, the Medical District Landscape crew teamed up with 20 students to clean up Waller Creek between the 17th and 18th Street bridges. In one hour, they picked up more than 300lbs of trash! Thank you, students!

A compost bin is overflowing with food waste.

Multifamily Composting Resident Engagement
Austin Resource Recovery invites you to join a conversation discussing composting at multifamily properties in Austin. They will have a stakeholder meeting focusing on multifamily residents on November 2 at 6pm. Please come and share your input! For questions, contact Elizabeth.Nelson@austintexas.gov.

 

NOVEMBER EVENTS

10/31-11/11 - Feed Your Friends Food Drive. PCL/UWC.
11/2 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm - Multifamily Composting Resident Engagement. Info
11/3 - Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education. Info
11/4 - 10:00am - 12:00pm - UT Austin Texas Arbor Day Tree Planting & Tree Giveaway. Info
11/5 - 10:00am - 2:00pm - Sustainability Watch Party. Info
11/7 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm - Health Humanities Research Seminar with Bridget Goosby on “The Immune System and the Brain: What Can They Tell Us about Racism and Chronic Disease Risk?” Info
11/7-11/11 - Feed 'Em Horns Food Drive. CMHC/UHS.
11/7-11/18 - UT Food Pantry Donation Drive. The Harry Ransom Center.
11/9 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm - Planet Texas 2050 Resilience Roundtable: Making Art as a Community. Info
11/9 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm - Oxford-Style Debate: Cryptocurrency Mining in Texas. Info
11/10 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm - Tough Talks: Conversations Worth Having - FAS EDI Learning Workshop. Info
11/11 - 11:00am - 12:30pm - Tough Talks: Conversations Worth Having - FAS EDI Learning Workshop. Info
11/11 - 8:45am - 10:00am - Waller Creek Staff Clean-Up. Info
11/11 -  9:00am - 1:00pm - Community Service Recruiting Event. Info
11/14 - 12:00pm - 4:00pm - 2022 TRACS Virtual Student Summit. Info
11/15 - 3:30pm - 4:15pm - Compost Training for Event Planners. Info
11/16 - Zero Waste Workplace Breakroom Compost Champion Training. Info
12/1 - 2:00pm - 3:30pm - Tough Talks: Conversations Worth Having - FAS EDI Learning Workshop. Info
12/2 - 11:00am - 12:30pm - Tough Talks: Conversations Worth Having - FAS EDI Learning Workshop. Info
12/2 - 8:30am - 9:30am - Resource Recovery Student Internship Presentations. Info
12/7 - Planet Texas 2050 Resilience Roundtable. Info
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