U.Va to Celebrate Nationwide Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday

October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009 — The University of Virginia will participate in the seventh annual Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday in an effort to spread awareness about the initiative.

The focal point of the nationwide event is a streamed webcast, "Sustainability Strategies for Vibrant Campus Communities," hosted by New York Times science reporter Andy Revkin. Sponsored on Grounds by U.Va.'s Office of Community Relations and the Office of the Architect, the webcast will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Newcomb Hall's South Meeting room. An informal reception and discussion will follow.

"Those interested in promoting sustainability are welcome and encouraged to attend," said Andrew Greene, U.Va.'s sustainability planner.

Also on Wednesday, U.Va. Dining will start offering incentives to coffee drinkers who provide their own mugs. Reusable mug users will be given a free refill for each eight they purchase. Purchases will be recorded on a punch card.

U.Va. Dining will host a Green Plate Special Theme Meal at Observatory Hill Dining Hall during dinner that evening, featuring ingredients that were grown locally or organically, or are purchased through fair trade. The menu will include beef tacos, with the meat from Wolf Creek Farms in Wolftown, Va., potato hash with tubers from Valley Farming in Dayton, Va., green beans from the Local Food Hub, which provides local farmers production, transportation, storage and marketing services, and fair-trade Bananas Foster for dessert.

"We wanted to show the students that they could have a sustainable meal that was comprised of recognizable foods," Bryan Kelly, executive chef of U.Va. Dining, said. "Beef and potatoes aren't normally thought of when you design a sustainable menu – and we wanted to illustrate how living sustainable is easily accessible."

Dining has launched a program this year with reusable take-away containers for students, faculty and staff. Program participants pay a deposit on the container when they join the program, then return the old container and receive a new one.

The University has been a leader in the state for its sustainability efforts through an aggressive recycling program, extensive initiatives to reduce electrical and water use on Grounds, use of biofuels, a pilot composting project, adopting green building standards and promoting local food.

"Sustainability at the University of Virginia spans disciplines and schools with the common goal of uniting the U.Va. community in a genuine and lasting effort to mitigate its environmental impact," Kendall Singleton, sustainability coordinator for U.Va. Dining, said. "This will continue to be the product of education and innovative collaboration by the many creative thinkers on Grounds."

For information about sustainability at U.Va., click here.

— By Matt Kelly