|Submission Date||Feb. 15, 2021|
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
PRE-2: Points of Distinction
Interim Director of Sustainability
Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
In 2008, the UCCS SGA President, proposed the Solar Fee, which the UCCS student body passed in April 2008. The goal was to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels with a $5.00 student fee. The Solar Fee funded three solar projects before it was repurposed to fund a broader range of sustainability projects. In Spring 2011, an amendment to the $5.00-per-semester student Solar Fee Referendum passed, expanding the purpose of the solar fee from strictly solar energy projects to include a broader range of sustainability-related projects on the campus. Since 2012, the committee has approved over $850,000 for over 135 projects.
Mission: The aim of the Green Action Fund is to reduce the ecological footprint of UCCS and promote sustainable environment, social and economic values through a variety of student-sponsored projects.
Highlighted Successful Projects:
PV Installation Course (Spring 2019-Energy + Education)
With the installation of a new solar system, UCCS Sustainability Demonstration House, SDH, is one step closer to a goal of being net zero energy, using less energy than the solar produces. For 6 days between August 5-10 of 2019, 15 students participated in a Photovoltaic 101 course on solar design and installation on campus with the final project an installation of a 3.5kW system on the SDH roof. The Green Action Fund awarded money for both the installation as well as 8 scholarships for UCCS students, which reduced their cost from $1800 to just $50. Seven of the students also took the course for credit through either Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering or Geography and Environmental Studies, so UCCS also received tuition dollars. Solar panels were donated by Sunshare, a solar firm that established the first community solar gardens in Colorado Springs, which also hosts some of UCCS’ arrays.
Students were very positive about the deep dive into solar and especially the hands-on piece. In addition to a strong theoretical foundation, students learned to bend conduit, connect solar panels, and attach racks to the roof. On the final day, each of the students got up on the roof to install one of the 15 panels and signed their individual panel. In December of 2019, the final data lines and the PV monitoring system was be installed so that we can better track the energy production of the panels and determine when we can add the remaining panels. All of the approved $14,400 was expended for the 8 scholarship for UCCS students.
Clyde’s Cupboard Fresh Food Program (Fall 2018 - Food + Community)
Clyde's Cupboard is a 100% donation based and non-need based food pantry that provides free food and toiletries for all enrolled UCCS students. Through the support of the Green Action Fund, the Fresh Food Program and the Reusable Tote Bag Program were implemented. The primary goal of the Fresh Food Program is to provide fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables to UCCS students. This will provide a healthier and more sustainable option that students can choose to use when visiting Clyde's Cupboard. The primary goal of the Reusable Tote Bag Program is to provide students a way to carry their food from Clyde's Cupboard without having a stigma of using a food pantry, and opting out of using a plastic bag. The goal of this specific program is to reduce our waste with plastic bags but to also encourage sustainable behavior by encouraging students to use reusable bags.
Hyperloop Research and Design (Spring 2016 + Fall 2016 – Transportation)
The SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition is an international challenge where students and non-student teams compete to design and build a prototype transport vehicle in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the Hyperloop concept. A Hyperloop is a high-speed ground transport system which utilizes magnetic levitation to travel at high speeds inside a low pressure vacuum tube. The Green Action Fund supported the materials to build-out the design and the HyperFalcos’ attendance at the competition.
The HyperFalcos club researches & develops Hyperloop Technology prototypes to showcase the potential for this futuristic mode of transportation. The club serves as a support for the HyperFalcos team. Our team of students participates in SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Competition.
Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate
Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
Sustainability, Wellness & Learning (SWELL) is a campus food initiative to promote wellness through hands-on learning and skill building in sustainability practices to regenerate human health, cultivate a mindful society, and protect planet Earth.
SWELL encompasses a trans-disciplinary approach to food and eating, linking health and sustainability together, thereby leveraging their co-benefits. Thus, SWELL leverages the emerging synergies when health promotion and sustainability (e.g., economic, environmental, social) become integrated. For example, purchasing locally grown food is good for health and a vibrant local food system, while it supports farmers and the land they cultivate.
SWELL was launched when UCCS transitioned to a self-operated food service structure. Several programs fall under SWELL, including Food Next Door, the Flying Carrot Food Literacy Program, and Grain School. SWELL initiatives currently under way include research and outreach on the pathways from Farm to Institution and SWELL latest launch of the Foodshed Forum.
Grain School https://swell.uccs.edu/grain_school_2021
Food Next Door https://swell.uccs.edu/fnd
The Flying Carrot https://swell.uccs.edu/tfc
Food Next Door Farm Subscription Program https://swell.uccs.edu/food-next-door-farm-subscription-box
Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Food & Dining
Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
The Compass Curriculum is the signature undergraduate education program at UCCS for all majors and all colleges. This program endeavors to provide students with the tools for professional and personal success that they need upon graduation. All parts of the program incorporate the skills employers say they want students to have from their education (critical thinking, oral and written communication, ethics, innovation, problem-solving, understanding inclusiveness and sustainability).
"Goal 3) Act and Interact. Students will cultivate self-awareness and understanding of their impact-locally, nationally, and globally. Students will be prepared to participate effectively in a society that encompasses diverse experiences, perspectives, and realities. This area includes [among others]:
Sustainability-understanding the interaction between human development and the natural environment"
In order to achieve the terms of this goal, students will learn about key principles of sustainability including social equity, environmental protection, and economic development, among others. The sustainability GE goal will be achieved by integrating teaching about sustainability within discipline-specific coursework and/or other GE components, or in general elective courses.
Integrated content and/or courses will vary across disciplines and will examine the integrative nature of the sustainability concept to their disciplinary work. Ideally, students will gain knowledge about how to promote sustainability in their place of employment (e.g. support diversity, environmental activities such as recycling, reduction of waste, etc.)
Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
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