Nitrogen Footprint Takes Center Stage at Earth Week’s Feature Event

April 18, 2013

People have been concerned with their “carbon footprints” for years. But thanks to research led by environmental sciences professor James Galloway of the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, nitrogen footprints will be much discussed during the University’s Earth Week events next week.

Wednesday’s headline event, the U.Va. Expo on “Cultivating Change,” will include two U.Va. student researchers discussing how individuals and the University as a whole can reduce their output of reactive hydrogen, which Galloway, the founding chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative and a co-winner of the 2008 Tyler Prize for environmental science, has shown can cause cascading, negative effects on the environment.

At noon, Patrick D. Hogan, U.Va.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, will open the formal program in the ballroom – which includes a free lunch and is open to the public – with a discussion of how U.Va.’s institutional practices and pioneering research are advancing knowledge, aiding the environment and prompting institutional and individual change.

Following Hogan, David Neuman, the Architect for the University, will give an overview of operational initiatives related to sustainability. During his overview, graduate student Allison Leach and undergraduate student Ariel Majidi will present their nitrogen footprint research, and examine possible institutional change. Neuman will close out the discussion by describing a possible future regarding the University’s nitrogen footprint. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentations.

“The Earth Week Expo offers another opportunity for the University to engage with area residents and community leaders about an issue that affects us all,” said Ida Lee Wootten, director of U.Va.’s Office of Community Relations. “The information shared will aid attendees in making more sustainable choices, both institutionally and individually.”

Exhibitors will set up shop throughout Newcomb Hall’s third floor from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as part of the expo, explaining how many of the University’s departments and divisions contribute to U.Va.’s overall sustainability. They will include the U.Va. Community Relations Office, the Darden School of Business, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, Dining Services, Facilities Management, John Paul Jones Arena, the Medical Center; the Department of Parking and Transportation, Printing and Copying Services, the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and U.Va. Sustainability Partners.

Earth Day is held each year on April 22, and at U.Va. that day has expanded to a week.

“U.Va. has a strong track-record for environmental responsibility,” said Nina Morris, the sustainability outreach coordinator at Facilities Management. “Earth Week gives us a good opportunity to showcase some of what we do, as an institution, and some of what we teach. By highlighting these initiatives, we can move forward the conversation of stewardship.”

Saturday events

U.Va.’s Earth Week events begin Saturday with a “Farmers Market Progressive” from 9 a.m. to noon. Student volunteers will be at the Aquatic & Fitness Center and Thornton Hall Downtown Trolley stops, providing free items such as reusable shopping bags and pamphlets on buying local, to students going to the Charlottesville City Market. From noon to 1:30 p.m., students and community members are invited to work in the community garden, at the intersection of McCormick and Alderman roads.

Sunday events

From noon to 6 p.m., Main Street Arena on the Downtown Mall will host the free Charlottesville EcoFair.

U.Va.’s Third-Year Council will offer energy drinks and bubble wrap  on the Clemons Library Patio, from 8 to 9 p.m., as a stress reliever for students.

Monday events

U.Va.’s Triathlon Team will host a stationary bicycle training ride session on the Upper Lawn from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The event will be co-hosted by Blue Ridge Cyclery and other community biking groups.  

Student Council will host a planting party at 4:30 p.m. at the community garden at the intersection of McCormick and Alderman roads.

Dining Services’ zero-waste picnic will be outside of Runk Dining Hall from 5 to 8 p.m.

The International Residential College will offer a slow-food cooking lesson using local foods starting at 6 p.m.

Tuesday events

On Earth Day. the Fresh Food Company in Newcomb Dining Hall will offer samples of fair-trade coffee and chocolate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hoos Well and U.Va. Sustainability will sponsor a wellness walk around the University, starting at the Rotunda at noon. Reusable water bottles will be available.

From 2 to 3 p.m., hikers and campers will be instructed in “Leave No Trace,” a widely accepted outdoor ethics program on public land, in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom.

Green Grounds will host a discussion at Darden Court at 6 p.m. among U.Va.’s sustainability organizations to celebrate the progress of University and community groups have made throughout the semester.

The Fine Arts Café at the School of Architecture will host a local food fair from 4 to 6 p.m.

From 6 to 7:30 p.m. there will be another work session at the community garden at the corner of Alderman and McCormick.

Thursday events

U.Va. and the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club will team to clean up the Rivanna Trail near Observatory Hill from 9 a.m. to noon, with U.Va. Dining providing refreshments. Volunteers should meet at The Park, on North Grounds.

The Water Working Group of the U.Va. Environmental Impact Subcommittee has organized a talk for 9 a.m. in Newcomb Hall, room 481, with representatives from the Living Machine, a system that treats raw sewage so it may be used for industrial and agricultural purposes.

A Green Career Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Clark Hall Mural room will include representatives from sustainability-related companies.

Observatory Hill Dining Hall patrons will be offered samples of Ben & Jerry’s fair-trade ice cream from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

A bicycle maintenance workshop will be held at the Observatory Hill bicycle fix-it station from 4 to 6 p.m.

A renewable energy dialogue between students and community members on renewable energy and Charlottesville’s energy future will be will held at held in room 108 at Clark Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Lambeth Resident Life will host a cookout and film screening on Lambeth Field, starting at 7:30 p.m.

April 26 events

From 2 to 5 p.m., U.Va. People eARTh will attempt to create an aerial image out of people on Carr’s Hill Field to be captured by a camera attached to a GIS balloon.

Another work session at the community garden, starting at 5:30 p.m., will precede an Earth Week Potluck Supper. Participants in the potluck are asked to bring a dish to share, yard games and instruments.

April 27-28 events

The community garden will host work sessions from noon to 1:30 p.m. on both Saturday and on Sunday. Interns at the Thomas Jefferson Demonstration Garden at Hereford College will lead a tour from 4 to 6 p.m. and discuss the history and uses of the plants.

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications