Receive Funding for a Sustainability Project on Campus

Find out how you can support environmental sustainability at Ole Miss

Sydney Crimmins sells a water bottle to Forrest Gamble during Green Week.

Students sell water bottles as part of the UM Green Fund’s first project.

From submitting a project proposal to getting involved in existing projects as part of a class, there are multiple ways to support the Green Fund.

What is the UM Green Fund?

The University of Mississippi Green Fund is a pool of university funds combined with donations from the campus community. These funds are allocated to projects proposed by students, faculty, and staff, which are reviewed and selected each semester by the UM Green Fund Committee. The mission of the UM Green Fund is to raise awareness about the importance of environmental sustainability and to lower the environmental impact of the University of Mississippi. After a successful first year, the Green Fund is entering year two of funding sustainability projects on campus. The committee has approved three projects for the fall of 2014 and has appointed four new committee members for the 2014-2015 academic year.

How to Donate

Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to donate to the UM Green Fund. The Green Fund operates on an annual budget of $15,000 received from the university, and the committee seeks additional donations so that it may award more funding to projects. UM provides a 50 percent match for every dollar donated to the Green Fund by students. To donate with a credit or debit card, visit my.olemiss.edu and click on the “Donate to UM Green Fund” tab located on the left side of the home screen. From there, you will be directed to enter your payment information and choose your donation amount.

Submitting Project Proposals

Any student, faculty or staff member can submit a project proposal to the UM Green Fund Committee. In the past, project proposals have been submitted by individuals, as well as by classes and departments. Once a project receives funding, student committee members will act as liaisons to help the project proposers with the project’s implementation. If you or your department is interested in submitting a project proposal, please email green@olemiss.edu to receive further information or visit green.olemiss.edu. Project proposals for fall 2014 are due October 17.

Become a Member of the UM Green Fund Committee

The UM Green Fund Committee is comprised of six student committee members, two faculty committee members and two staff committee members. Students serve two-year commitments on the committee. If you are a student, faculty, or staff member and are interested in serving on the UM Green Fund Committee, visit green.olemiss.edu or email green@olemiss.edu to stay up to date on available committee positions.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Besides proposing projects with their classes, faculty members are encouraged to involve their classes with current projects including the Library E-Film projectcomposting project, or Flip-the-Switch project. Conducting an environmental impact analysis, a cost-benefit analysis or creating a communications campaign are just a few examples of ways instructors can engage their students through the UM Green Fund.

Green Fund Implements New Projects for Fall 2014

Projects include compost program expansion, energy-reduction initiatives

Compost-PosterThis semester, the UM Green Fund has provided funding to three campus projects including the expansion of the pilot composting program, which is projected to divert 36,000 pounds of pre-consumer food waste from the landfill during fall semester, and its first-ever initiatives targeting energy reduction.

Composting Project Expansion

The pilot composting program began in the fall 2013 and has expanded for the fall 2014. The UM composting team now picks up pre-consumer food waste from Rebel Market, in addition to the Marketplace at the Residential Colleges. This food waste is then brought to the Medicinal Plant Garden to be composted.

The project is headed by Victoria Burgos, a junior Parks and Recreation Management major from Olive Branch, Mississippi, who originally proposed the project in the spring 2013. Burgos oversees the composting project with the help of two Green Student interns in the Office of Sustainability. In its first year, her project composted nearly 6,000 pounds of pre-consumer food waste from the RC Marketplace, creating 19 cubic yards of compost. That compost is now being used by the RC Garden Club to plant their new on-campus garden. The composting team is projected to compost up to 36,000 pounds of food waste this year.

To evaluate the project, Green Fund Committee faculty member Dr. Cristiane Surbeck’s civil engineering class (CE 471) completed an Environmental Impact Analysis. The class concluded that over one year the project reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the RC Marketplace’s food waste by 1.25 equivalent kg of CO2 per pound of food waste composted. The net total of GHG emissions reduced was more than eight tons. The collaboration between the UM Green Fund and Dr. Surbeck’s class was a great opportunity to raise student awareness of environmental sustainability.

Energy Reduction Projects

The Green Fund has implemented its first-ever projects targeting energy reduction this fall. The projects, called the library window film project and the Flip-the-Switch project, will help to improve campus building efficiency, as well as engage students in energy conservation. The library window film project was proposed by J.D. Williams Library staff, and the Flip-the-Switch project was proposed by rising sophomore and UMGF Committee Member Joe Bell.

Library Window Film Project

Over the summer,  low-e film was installed on the south-facing windows on the second and third floors of the J.D. Williams Library. The film will block up to 57 percent of solar energy, reducing the need for air conditioning to cool the room, which results in annual electricity cost savings between 5 and 15 percent.

The film also helps better protect the library’s archives and special collections in the Faulkner Room from UV light. UV rays can damage sensitive materials including historical books and letters like those found in the Faulkner Room. Pre-energy data and UV light measurements have been recorded and will be compared to data recorded after film installation to determine electricity and cost savings. Since the installation of the low-e film, the staff members on the second floor are now able to keep their blinds open and take advantage of the office view while still remaining comfortable.

Flip-the-Switch Project

The Residential Colleges house the Flip-the-Switch project, which is geared toward lowering energy use in the residence halls. The Flip-the-Switch project is an awareness campaign targeting behavior changes. For this project, stickers have been placed above the light switches in residence hall rooms at the RCs to remind students to turn out their lights when they leave.

The stickers are unique to each floor in RC South, so no two floors have the same sticker. The fourth floor of RC South has no sticker, and serves as the control floor. The energy data collected will reflect the effectiveness of different messages and styles of the stickers. The Luckyday Residential College has the same sticker on all floors. The Flip-the-Switch project could help cut back on energy costs as well as serve as a model for future behavior change projects.

Past Green Fund Projects

Hydration Stations

During the 2013-2014 academic year, the UM Green Fund funded the installation of three hydration stations on campus. These stations provide access to cool, filtered water and encourage the reuse of  water bottles. To date, more than 84,967 water bottles have been refilled at the stations. They are located in Brevard, Faser and Holman. This project was proposed by Tristen Jackson, a graduate of the pharmacy school.

H2otty Toddy Water Bottles

The first project funded by the UM Green Fund was the H2otty Toddy water bottle project proposed by writing professor Milly West and her LIBA 102 writing class. The class wrote a proposal and received funding to sell reusable H2otty Toddy Water Bottles at the 2013 Sustainability Fair as a part of Green Week. The water bottles were sold to raise awareness of the waste created by non-reusable water bottles and to encourage the use of reusable water bottles. Water bottle sales totaled more than $2,000. The proceeds were put back into the Green Fund.

To learn more about the Green Fund, visit olemiss.edu/greenfund.

Faculty and Staff engage students through UM Green Fund

green fund logo useThe UM Green Fund collaborates with faculty and staff to engage  students and utilize the campus as a living laboratory. This collaboration allows students to apply academic knowledge, stimulate interests, and sharpen critical thinking skills. In the past, the UM Green Fund has worked with:

Civil Engineering 471 – Instructor: Dr. Cristiane Surbeck

Dr. Surbeck’s CE 471 class conducted an environmental impact analysis for the first year of the pilot composting program. The composting program is a Green Fund project run by student interns and overseen by the Office of Sustainability.

Integrated Marketing Communications 555 – Instructor: Chris Sparks

Sparks collaborated with the Office of Sustainability to create a capstone project for her IMC 555 class. Students competed in teams to create an integrated communication campaign utilizing multiple forms of media and creative communications to reduce campus energy consumption by 10 percent.

LIBA 102, First Year Seminar – Instructor: Milly West

West’s LIBA 102 class drafted a Green Fund proposal to purchase “H20tty Toddy” water bottles and encourage the use of reusable bottles on campus. The students successfully presented their proposal at a public forum and their project received funding.

To learn more about engaging classes through UM Green Fund projects e-mail green@olemiss.edu.

Office of Sustainability Goes Big with Guerrilla Marketing

The University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability resorted to a little bit of guerrilla marketing to help draw attention to Green Week this year.  Students walking to class Monday morning were surprised to find a giant, 8′ cube of trash sitting next to the Lyceum.

UM Announces Commitment to ‘Climate Neutrality’

Chancellor signs American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, renewing campus focus on environmental issues

Climate

Chancellor Dan Jones signs the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones announced a major campuswide commitment Tuesday (April 22) to the goal of making Ole Miss “climate neutral,” saying the university community is focused on making sure its operations will benefit the environment as much as they take away from it.

At the ceremony, Jones signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, to which some 600 of his counterparts across the country also gave their signatures. Jones said UM, which is already perennially ranked as one of the most beautiful campuses in America, will continue to focus on being “good stewards of our Earth.”

“A lot of good things happen on this campus and our university every day,” Jones said. “Students’ lives are changed. We make an impact on our state, but as we are doing that in a modern society; consequently, we have negative effects on the environment, on the Earth. This is simply a commitment to joining with lots of other universities in saying we want to be the best stewards we can be.”

The announcement of UM’s renewed commitment to the environment came on Earth Day. Green Week also kicked off on campus Tuesday, bringing a weeklong focus on environmental issues and sustainability. Green Week culminates with an Arbor Day tree planting celebration among the many oaks in the Grove at 11:30 a.m. Friday (April 25).

The chancellor also expressed his appreciation of the local landscape’s natural beauty and said he was grateful for the wisdom of state leaders in choosing the then-rural site for the campus, which opened in 1848. The picturesque surroundings inspire UM employees and students to strive for the goal of climate neutrality, he said.

“I say thank you to those founders of this community who had the vision to think that this beautiful place in the woods would be a good place for this university,” Jones said. “I’m grateful not to be in an urban environment here. I’m grateful to be surrounded by beautiful trees, by rolling hills that we can see and appreciate. I’m grateful to be in a place where it’s inspiring to be better stewards of the environment and also a little bit easier.”

In April 2008, then-Chancellor Robert Khayat signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and two months later, the university established its Office of Sustainability.

“Sustainability is about efficiency in all things; it’s a smart way to live,” said Ian Banner, university architect and director of sustainability. “Do as much as you can with as little as necessary. Try not to waste, pollute or destroy. Respect what is around you and preserve it for coming generations.”

The Office of Sustainability is working on “green” building construction principles across campus to promote energy and water efficiency and environmentally conscious uses of building materials. Last fall, it also launched a compost pilot program, supported by the UM Green Fund, which has diverted one ton of food waste from the local landfill and produced beneficial soil enhancements for the campus garden at Residential College South. The office also runs an intern program that provides valuable experience for students.

The office also supports the establishment of the broad campus council for sustainability that is to be formed this summer. There’s an ongoing effort to fully understand how the university is affecting the environment, as well as an effort to determine other initiatives to be undertaken as UM pursues climate neutrality. Students, faculty and staff will be involved in all these efforts as the university continues to learn and make positive changes.

Jones thanked sustainability staff members who have kept the issue in the forefront at UM, including Banner and Anne McCauley, the office’s assistant director. Banner and McCauley thanked those who have been involved in the fight for sustainability.

“The Office of Sustainability is here to support and move these efforts forward, but it’s by no means something we do alone,” McCauley said. “We work with people all across campus.”

The chancellor also thanked poet and UM English professor Ann Fisher-Wirth, who directs the environmental studies minor and has been active in environmental issues. Fisher-Wirth said she sees the student body becoming more engaged in those issues.

“I’m especially grateful for the leadership from the university and also for the students who are just increasingly active and outspoken and so mindful,” Fisher-Wirth said.

The chancellor said the students have been one of the main driving forces behind UM’s commitment to climate neutrality.

“My highest thanks goes to our students, who are always our best inspiration for making this a stronger and better university on almost every topic,” Jones said. “Students, thank you for encouraging, cajoling, pressuring us to be a stronger and healthier university in lots of ways, including protecting our environment.”

Award-winning Writer, Environmentalist to Present Earth Day Lecture

Rob Nixon to discuss 'slow violence' and its long-term impact on the earth and human beings

Rob Nixon

Rob Nixon

OXFORD, Miss. – Rob Nixon, the Rachel Carson and Elizabeth Ritzmann Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, will discuss the slow, yet violent, impact created by events ranging from toxic drift to climate change for the University of Mississippi’s Earth Day keynote lecture.

The lecture, which is part of the university’s 2014 Green Week celebration, is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday (April 22) in the Overby Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Ann Fisher-Wirth, UM professor of English, heard Nixon speak last year and knew he was a good fit for Earth Day events.

“I heard Professor Nixon speak at last year’s conference for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, a 1000-member organization with nine international affiliates,” Fisher-Wirth said. “His talk was so brilliant and far-reaching that I knew I would like to bring him to the University of Mississippi for our Earth Day Speaker’s Series.

“I hope that attendees will learn about the persistence of what he calls ‘slow violence,’ environmental violence that is inflicted on both the earth and human beings constantly, but that, since it is not sudden and catastrophic, is all too easy to ignore.”

Nixon asserts that because the destruction from these events is delayed destruction, it is typically not viewed as violence at all. Focusing on environmental activists from the global South, Nixon plans to link the emergencies of the long-term to creative efforts to infuse such emergencies with urgency.

“I hope that attendees will be inspired to further research, create awareness and take action,” Fisher-Wirth added.

Nixon is the author of four books, most recently “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” (Harvard University Press 2011), which has been awarded an American Book Award and three other prizes. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and his writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Village Voice and The Guardian.

He has been a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a MacArthur Foundation Peace and Security Award.

The lecture is sponsored by UM environmental studies minor, the College of Liberal Arts, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Croft Institute for International Studies, the Southern Documentary Project at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and the English and history departments.

Nixon is the third annual Earth Day speaker. Sandra Steingraber, an environmental toxicologist, delivered the inaugural lecture, which featured the work and legacy of Rachel Carson, and addressed issues concerning fracking. Last year, Janisse Ray, environmental activist and poet, gave a talk about seed preservation, sustainability and biodiversity in agriculture.

UM Hosts Annual Green Week Celebration April 22-25

Author Rob Nixon to deliver Earth Day keynote lecture

UM Green Week

UM Green Week features an eco-fashion show and gala.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s sixth annual Green Week celebration kicks off on Earth Day (April 22) with the goal of opening a campuswide dialogue about sustainability.

Rob Nixon, author of “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” (Harvard University Press, 2011), will deliver the Earth Day keynote lecture at 7 p.m. that day at the Overby Center. His session focuses on complex global issues related to sustainability, including “slow violence,” the slowly unfolding environmental effects that are often underpublicized or unnoticed.

“As we educate and support the development of the next generation for responsible citizenship, we consider these global issues to be of critical importance to their preparation,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the UM Office of Sustainability. “Changing behaviors and habits are important, but equally important is understanding the larger context behind why we advocate for these changes. We hope Green Week brings to light both actions for individual responsibility as well as awareness of social, environmental and economic challenges that need to be addressed.

The week’s events include Business in the Green, during which representatives from International Paper, Project Green Fork and Toyota will share sustainable strategies and operational practices in the workplace. The event is set for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Oxford Conference Center.

Other events include the annual eco-fashion show and gala, which features outfits made from uncommon materials, and the annual Green Week Sustainability Fair. The fair will feature plastic bag knitting, an on-campus farmers market and displays from several university groups.

An Arbor Day tree planting and celebration in the Grove conclude the week’s activities on Friday.

“It is a week where we, as a community, can build our environmental conscience and strengthen our commitment to lowering our global impact,” said Kendall McDonald, a junior public policy major from Bay St. Louis who serves as the Office of Sustainability’s Green Week intern. “Green Week also plays an invaluable educational role by engaging those who have not previously been exposed to environmental issues.”

All events are free and open to the public. Green Week events are sponsored by the UM Office of Sustainability, Environmental Studies Minor, Students for a Green Campus, Landscape Services, the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation, Jim Keras Subaru, the College of Liberal ArtsSouthern Documentary ProjectCroft Institute for International StudiesSally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, the UM departments of English and history, and the city of Oxford.

2014 Green Week Schedule of Events

Tuesday, April 22

Business in the Green – 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Oxford Conference Center

Earth Day keynote address – 7 p.m., Overby Center, speaker, Rob Nixon, “Slow Violence, Environmental Activism and the Arts”

Wednesday, April 23

Green Week Sustainability Fair – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Union Plaza

Udall Scholarship Workshop – 4 p.m., Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Room 311

Eco Fashion Show and Gala – 7 p.m., Bryant Hall

Friday, April 23

Arbor Day Tree Planting and Celebration – 11:30 a.m., Grove

For more information, contact Ann McCauley at green@olemiss.edu.

On Location: Sustainability Goes High Fashion

IMG_2353

UM photography director Robert Jordan photographs English major Kyla Clark at the Oxford Recycling Center to promote the upcoming Eco Fashion Gala, which happens April 23 as part of Green Week 2014. Theatre major Jeffery Peavy designed the dress, which is made out of plastic bags and other uncommon materials.

Recently, a few of us had the chance to get out of the office for the afternoon and head over to the Oxford Recycling Center, which is kind of a photography goldmine, I think—tons of old electronics, crushed cans and a truck full of wet newspapers. What more could you ask for? The weather was also great for the shoot: overcast and a little windy.  We were there to take photos to promote the University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability’s Eco Fashion Gala, which is taking place during Green Week 2014 in late April. Two students modeled clothes made out of plastic bags and other uncommon materials. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product and attending the fashion show!

Growing Field of Study

Many sustainability-related courses are being offered next semester

RKJ_0889-EA few weeks ago, I was assigned the task of looking through the entire course catalog and finding every single class related to sustainability. When I say sustainability, I am referring to three different yet interdependent aspects of it — environmental, economic and social — and I was really surprised by the variety of classes that I discovered.

In the art department, courses include Art 373: Book Arts during which students learn how to bind their own books, and Art 315: Craft of Old Master Drawing/Painting during which students learn how to create various antique mediums such as natural chalks and handmade paper.

The biology department offers a wide array of classes related to environmental sustainability. The first step to obtaining environmental sustainability is understanding how the environment works, and that’s why classes such as Bisc 322: General Ecology are great to take. This class allows students to gain a deeper understanding of ecosystems in order to fix some of the environmental problems that humans have caused.

I looked not only for classes such as ecology but also ones that conveyed a deeper understanding of the world, that allow students to get an inside view of some of the critical topics of sustainability outside the realm of environmental issues. These classes may spark ideas about changing the world to become a more sustainable place both economically and socially. Classes such as Econ 406: Natural Resource Economics; Engl 358: Power, Knowledge and Gender; PPL 360: Global Perspective, Issues and Policies; Anth 331: American Indians and the Natural World; and Soc 355: Sociology of Human Rights are on my list, just to name a few. The areas offering courses vary from political science, journalism, public policy, English, Southern studies, international studies and philosophy. To view the entire list we are working on, visit the Office of Sustainability’s website.

For anyone interested in deepening your understanding of sustainability and environmental issues, consider the environmental studies minor. The minor, directed by English professor Ann Fisher-Wirth, is designed to introduce students to an interdisciplinary approach to environmental concerns including viewpoints from the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. The program has been growing in popularity as more students discover this meaningful course of study. Visit environmentalstudies.olemiss.edu to learn more.

I am so excited about scheduling my classes for next semester, and I am happy to announce that next semester’s course catalog on My Favorites is now open for viewing. I highly recommend checking out our list of sustainability courses or even just taking a deeper look at all of the courses available on the course catalog. I think students will be surprised by what they find.

Native Plants: An Essential Component in Healthy Ecosystems

Visiting speaker Doug Tallamy to host roundtable discussion on April 14

Gulf Fritillary, c.hart

Photo by Curt Hart

Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, will speak on the importance of native plants in healthy ecosystems during a public lecture on Monday, April 14 at 4 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Tallamy has found in his own research, and in the research of others, that native plants provide essential food for native insects, which in turn are food for other animals. Thus, native plants provide the foundation for a healthy, diverse ecosystem, which has many benefits for humans.

“Gardening with natives is no longer just a peripheral option …,” Tallamy writes in his book. “It is an important part of a paradigm shift in our shaky relationship with the planet that sustains us — one that mainstream gardeners can no longer afford to ignore.”

Tallamy travels the country in a lecture series explaining this idea, providing both information and inspiration.  Prior to the public lecture, Tallamy will help facilitate roundtable discussions of concrete ways that native plants can be incorporated into the landscapes of the community. Ole Miss students, faculty, staff and others in the Oxford community who would like to participate in these discussions (for which space is limited) are encouraged to contact Anne McCauley in the Ole Miss Office of Sustainability.

For more information about Tallamy, his book and native plants, click here.