The Office of Sustainability is hiring for the 2023-2024 academic year! Are you a student interested in applied experience in reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus? We are hiring for the next cohort of UT Climate Leaders. Are you interested in sustainability and communications and social media? Our office is hiring for a communications intern and graphic design intern. See all our listings on Handshake.
Join UT Staff Council's Sustainability Committee and the Office of Sustainability at the annual Staff Sustainability Lunch Friday, April 7 from 11:30am-1:30pm! The event will feature a plant-forward, create-your-own burrito bowl lunch. We’ll hear from several experts who are doing research and innovation to help define the future of health and well-being, and discuss the environmental, economic, and equity implications of different possibilities. Please RSVP to join us—whether in-person or virtually. Deadline for registering for lunch is Tuesday, April 4, 2023.
Tree care after ice storm
Landscape Services has been working around the clock to clear fallen and damaged tree limbs since the winter storm February 2. Work is expected to continue for the next few weeks. Branches are being chipped to provide mulch for trees and landscape beds on campus. Spectrum 1 News recently highlighted Landscape Service's work as well as featured Urban Ecologist Allison Bayless who surveyed the damage. Thank you to Landscape Services for all that you do! Watch the news segment at Spectrum 1 News.
Prescribed burn at Little Blue Prairie
On February 18, Landscape Services and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center coordinated a prescribed burn to the Little Blue Prairie. The Little Blue Prairie is a pocket prairie that demonstrates the landscape that covered much of what is now called Texas before colonization. But today, because of urbanization, unsustainable agriculture, and fire suppression, less than 0.01% of the original ecosystem remains. Restoring a prairie means not only selecting plants that are native to the local area, but also maintaining them with the methods the plants are evolutionarily adapted to. Fires are the natural and regenerative way to maintain a healthy prairie. Read more about prescribed burns at the CEC.
Painter Greenhouses receive new life
UT Aquaponics, a project under Engineers for a Sustainable World, are moving back in to the Painter greenhouses after a year of patiently waiting for them to be repaired. The adjacent greenhouses are located near the Turtle Pond and Painter Hall. Last year, the project received a grant of $39,234 from the Green Fund to repair the greenhouse space from years of hail and ice storm damage. The Office of Sustainability and the College of Natural Sciences collaboratively manage the greenhouses for student us. Read more at The Daily Texan.
Will UT ever cut ties with fossil fuels?
UT System’s $42 billion endowment, second only to Harvard University (a title the Ivy League college could lose to UT), owes most of its profits to the System’s deep ties with oil and gas. In recent years, following a worldwide trend for universities to divest from the fossil fuel industry, UT students have urged University administration to be increasingly transparent about their oil and gas revenues. Student climate activists hope the University may eventually stop fracking on University Lands, shift divestments to clean energy and mitigate the environmental harm caused by fossil fuel production. But Texas’ long-standing relationship with oil, plus the state’s conservative government, makes the push for divestment a tough one. Read more at The Daily Texan.
UT Resource Recovery Zero Waste resources
In a 13,000-square-foot facility off Burnet Road in north Austin lie thousands of books, furniture pieces and unusual finds from the University of Texas at Austin. Each week, the UT Surplus REuse Store opens its doors to hundreds of UT students and community members alike, in an effort to breathe new life into repurposed goods. “The main goal is sustainability - to divert as much material from the landfill as possible,” said Mark Engelman, resource recovery manager at UT. Read more at KXAN.
Resource Recovery’s Zero Waste Events team offers free waste reduction consultations and support for UT staff and faculty event planners, from small team lunches to multi-day conferences and more. Check out this new video for some quick tips to help make your next event zero waste! Watch the video on Box.
UT Zero Was is giving away one $50 gift card to the UT Surplus REuse Store! All you have to do to enter is complete 1 level of Zero Waste Hero before April 17, 2023, and follow both @utzerowaste and @utsurplusproperty on Instagram. All participants who enter will also receive a discount code for their next purchase at the UT Surplus REuse Store. The more you complete, the more rewards you get! Any current UT student can register for Zero Waste Hero.
CEC 20th Anniversary Fundraiser
The Campus Environmental Center (CEC) is celebrating it’s 20th Anniversary! The CEC is UT Austin’s oldest and largest environmental student organization and is supported by the Office of Sustainability. Please join for an in-person fundraiser April 6th, 7pm-9pm at the Alumni Center with food and drinks from Rosemary’s Catering. It will be a great time to catch up with previous and current CEC leaders. At the event, the CEC will be promoting its 40 Hours for the Forty Acres fundraising page with the goal of raising $30,000 to support ongoing and future work. It is their hope that the celebration of the CEC’s 20th Anniversary will ignite the start of a UT Austin Sustainability Alumni Network through the Texas Exes. If you are interested in learning more about the alumni network please email JessiDrummond@austin.utexas.edu. RSVP for the CEC's 20th Anniversary Fundraiser.
Prescription for a healthier future: climate justice
More than 80% of our health is impacted by social determinants— where we live, work, eat and play. And the “live” part is crucial: Everything from air quality, access to healthy food and health care, and economic stability have an outsize impact on a person’s ability to get and stay well. But what happens when climate change begins to threaten those things? It’s the focus of a team led by Carmen Valdez, Ph.D., associate professor and chief of the Division of Community Engagement and Health Equity in Dell Med’s Department of Population Health, and Miriam Solis, Ph.D., assistant professor in UT’s School of Architecture. The team is collecting the stories of young people of color in both Austin and the Rio Grande Valley to understand how the consequences of climate change — from adverse weather events like floods to degradation of buildings and other built environments — impact their communities’ health.Read more at Dell Mission Critical.
Texas A&M Board of Regents approves Center for Greenhouse Gas Management
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has approved the establishment of the Texas A&M Center for Greenhouse Gas Management in Agriculture and Forestry – a joint organization of Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M University. The center will bring together expertise across Texas A&M to advance the abilities of agriculture and forestry systems to meet a new paradigm of safe, affordable food and fiber production that also strives toward a minimal carbon footprint, with a goal of net-zero emissions. Formation of the center is a response to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which in 2019 constituted the second highest percentage in the world at 15%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Agriculture contributed less than 10% of that amount. Read more at AgriLife Today.
TRACS Annual Summit
The Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability (TRACS) is a network of faculty members, students and sustainability professionals supporting higher education in Texas by implementing climate change and sustainability solutions across campus operations, academic curriculum and off-campus fields of influence. TRACS facilitates collaboration between higher education institutions through a variety of means such as the Annual TRACS Summit. The 2023 TRACS Annual Summit will take place at Texas A&M University April 3-4. Students are encouraged to submit an abstract to present. The deadline to submit an abstract for the student poster session is March10. Learn more about the annual summit at TRACS.
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3/21 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm - Compost Training for Event Planners. Info 3/29 - 4:30pm - 5:00pm - Zero Waste Workplace Breakroom Compost Training. Info 3/28-3/31 - UT Energy Week. Info 4/4 - 6:15pm - 9:00pm - 2023 Eric Williams Memorial Lecture with Angela Davis. Info 4/5 - 10:30am - 11:00am - Zero Waste Workplace Info Session. Info 4/6 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm - CEC 20th Anniversary Fundraiser. Info 4/7 - 11:30am - 1:30pm - Sustainability Staff Lunch. Info 4/10 - 10:00am - 10:30am - Zero Waste Workplace Info Session. Info 4/11 - 1:30pm - 2:00pm - Zero Waste Workplace Breakroom Compost Training. Info 4/11 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm - Compost Training for Event Planners. Info 4/12 - 8:00am - 2:00pm - Battery Recycling Collection. Info
The Office of Sustainability at The University of Texas at Austin collaborates to advance
ideas and programs that transform the physical, social and educational environments
of campus for the enduring benefit of society and the planet.