Challenge Invites LOU Community to Explore Resources for Green Week

UM, Oxford to host annual sustainability observance April 17-22

A pair of Ole Miss students help Nathan Lazinsky (left) spread pine straw around an oak tree. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Oxford community will celebrate Green Week April 17-22.

The annual series of events focuses on bringing awareness to sustainability topics, resources in the area and the importance of living a resource-conscious lifestyle.

“We all want to make the world a better place, but knowing how to do it specifically can be a challenge,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director of the UM Office of Sustainability, which organizes Green Week.

“Green Week events help bring the field of sustainability to life in tangible, meaningful terms. We intentionally design our programming to represent many dimensions of sustainability to connect with people, no matter what their current knowledge is about the field.”

This year’s Green Week will kick off with guided tours along a portion of the Ole Miss Tree Trail and culminate on Earth Day with a free outdoor yoga session and satellite March for Science occurring on campus as part of the national event.

David George Haskell, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and professor of biology at the University of the South, will deliver the keynote address, “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors,” at 7 p.m. April 20 in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Haskell is author of a new book of the same name as well as the 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature” (Viking, 2012), which explores the diversity in 1 square meter of the forest floor in Shakerag Hollow, atop the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee over a calendar year.

This year, the Office of Sustainability is hosting an interactive Green Week Challenge to encourage participants to learn more about sustainability in the Oxford area.

Participants who complete the challenge, which includes activities such as riding an OUT bus, visiting a farmers market or checking out the Ole Miss Bike Shop, receive a free Green Week T-shirt – manufactured from recycled plastic bottles – and an entry to win a grand prize Yeti cooler. The challenge is open to all, including students, faculty, staff and community members. 

The Office of Sustainability also is hosting a Green Week Challenge for children. 

“The challenge is really meant to highlight the great sustainability resources and organizations in our area,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project manager for the Office of Sustainability. “Our intention is that participants try something new, whether that be riding the OUT bus for the first time or completing a carbon footprint quiz to learn how they can minimize impact in other areas.”

The full Green Week 2017 schedule includes:

Monday, April 17
Tree Trail Walk – 10 a.m., meet at Quad fountain. Hosted by UM Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Tuesday, April 18
Tree Trail Walk – 1 p.m., meet at Quad fountain. Hosted by Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Oxford Community Market and Friends of the Market Social Hour – 3-6:30 p.m., Community Pavilion

Wednesday, April 19
Arbor Day Tree Planting – Noon, Grove. Hosted by Department of Landscape Services and Office of Sustainability

Garden to Pantry Dinner and Cooking Demo – 5 p.m., UM Garden (behind Residential College South). Hosted by UM Garden Club and Ole Miss Food Bank

Green Drinks – 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., the Growler. Hosted by Sustainable Oxford

Thursday, April 20
“UM Master Plan for the Oxford Campus: A Sustainable Vision of Campus Development” Lunch and Learn – 12:15 p.m., Lamar Hall, Room 323. Hosted by Department of Facilities Planning and Office of Sustainability

Earth Day Keynote: “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors” by David George Haskell – 7 p.m., Overby Auditorium. Hosted by the UM environmental studies minor program and Office of Sustainability

Friday, April 21
Woodlawn-Davis Workday – 8-11 a.m., Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center. Hosted by Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center

Small Hall Music Series at Woodlawn-Davis – 6 p.m., Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center. Hosted by Woodlawn-Davis Nature Center

Saturday, April 22
March for Science – 10:30 a.m., Meet in the Circle. Hosted by Department of Physics and Astronomy

Earth Day at Strawberry Plains – 10 a.m.-noon, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs. Hosted by Strawberry Plains Audubon Center

Earth Day Yoga – 4 p.m., South Campus Rail Trail. Hosted by Ole Miss Outdoors

To learn more about Green Week and the Green Week Challenge, visit http://greenweek.olemiss.edu/.

Biologist David George Haskell to Deliver UM Earth Day Keynote

Pulitzer nominee to talk on 'The Songs of Trees' April 20 on campus

David George Haskell

OXFORD, Miss. – David George Haskell, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature,” will bring his attention to detail and unique blending of science and literature to the University of Mississippi for its Earth Day keynote address.

Haskell, who is also a renowned biologist, will discuss “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors” at 7 p.m. April 20 in the Overby Center Auditorium. Part of the university’s Green Week programming, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Haskell’s keynote address draws heavily from research conducted for his new book, also titled “The Songs of the Trees” (Viking), which was published April 4.

“I plan to give specific examples about what I learned about ecology, biological networks and ethics from close observation of 1 square meter of forest and of a dozen trees around the world,” said Haskell, a professor of biology and environmental science at the University of the South. “I’ll use these examples to make the case that repeated bodily and mental engagement with particular places in the world is an essential part of understanding both ourselves and the rest of the community of life.”

Haskell said he hopes that his talk will be of interest to those of scientific, environmental and literary backgrounds, as his work attempts to blend disciplines.

Ann Fisher-Wirth, who directs the Ole Miss environmental studies minor, became acquainted with Haskell through his debut book, “The Forest Unseen” (Viking, 2012), which she has taught in both her Environmental Studies 101 and nature writing courses. The book chronicles Haskell’s commitment to observe a 1-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest for a year, during which he painstakingly observes each component of this small ecosystem down to the microscopic level.

“He is an expert biologist, beloved professor and wonderful writer, and I am delighted that he will be this year’s Earth Day speaker at the University of Mississippi,” Fisher-Wirth said. “His inquisitiveness and patience inspire us to encounter the world with a raised environmental awareness.”

Haskell said he used that same attention to detail in his newest book.

“In ‘The Songs of Trees,’ I bring the same commitment to repeated, close attention to other species that guided ‘The Forest Unseen,'” he said. “Instead of remaining with one area, though, I visit a dozen trees in different parts of the world.

“Each tree is a focus for my observations, research and conversations. By spending time with trees in radically different places – cities, forests of different kinds, even bonsai museums – I experienced that great diversity of trees’ connections to other species.”

Haskell earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oxford and a doctorate from Cornell University. He is a 2014-15 fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, an elective member of the American Ornithologists’ Union and a research associate at Bowdoin College.

The National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the World Wildlife Fund, among others, have sponsored his research on animal ecology, evolution and conservation. He also serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups.

His teaching has been profiled in USA Today and The Tennessean, among others, and the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee in 2009.

The annual Earth Day keynote address is sponsored by the environmental studies minor program and the UM Office of Sustainability. To learn more about the event and see the full schedule of Green Week events, visit http://greenweek.olemiss.edu/.

University Offsets Electricity Use with Renewable Energy Certificates

Purchase allows Ole Miss to support sustainable resources and lower carbon footprint

The University of Mississippi is committed to the use of renewable energy sources, including the installation of more than 400 solar panels on the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communicationsd

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has offset a portion of the electricity it uses through the purchase of renewable energy certificates.

The purchase, which came about as a recommendation of the UM Energy Committee, allows the university to lower its carbon footprint, support the development of renewable energy technologies and practice resource stewardship, a tenet of the UM Creed.

“RECs are a simple and efficient way to immediately integrate renewables into an energy portfolio,” said Larry Sparks, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “This is an important next step for UM that complements our long history of increasing energy efficiencies, lowering energy utilization rates and investing in renewable energy installations on campus.”

One renewable energy certificate, or REC, represents the environmental benefits associated with one megawatt-hour of energy generated from renewable energy resources.

The university purchased 3,835 RECs for $1,800, which is 0.02 percent of the overall electricity bill. This offset 3 percent of institution-wide electricity use from fiscal year 2016.

“(This) is a way to demonstrate that the University of Mississippi supports the production of electricity from clean, renewable resources,” said Ian Banner, chair of the Energy Committee, director of facilities planning and the UM Office of Sustainability, and university architect.

“As well as making a contribution to a cleaner world, we feel this is an educational opportunity to show that there are alternative ways of producing power.”

It is estimated that the university’s RECs have an environmental impact similar to growing 69,848 trees per year for 10 years or not using 6,240 barrels of oil, according to 3Degrees Inc., the company through which Ole Miss purchased the certificates.

When electricity is produced from a renewable generator, such as a wind turbine, two products are created: the energy, which is delivered to the grid and mixes with other forms of energy, and the REC. Because renewable energy delivered to the grid cannot be distinguished from electrons of nonrenewable resources, the REC is a way to track the renewable electricity – it acts like a receipt for owning the environmental benefits associated with the generation of renewable energy.

“It is not practical to set up a wind or solar farm, just as we wouldn’t build a traditional power station to provide the university’s electricity,” Banner said. “Rather, we purchase electricity from the producer, usually the local power supplier.

“By purchasing RECs, we are able to certify and verify that a percentage of our electricity is tracked back to its source. In our case, the source is a provider that produces electricity using wind turbines that do not create greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2.”

RECs allow individuals and businesses to support renewable energy development and help to make renewable energy projects financially viable while lowering carbon footprints.

Besides the REC purchase, the Ole Miss campus is home to renewable energy installations that include more than 400 solar panels on the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence and geothermal heating and cooling at Insight Park.

UM Food Day Celebration Features Day of Service, Pop-Up Market, More

Events scheduled throughout October to educate and get community involved

fooddaygrpahic1

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Food Day, a nationwide celebration that focuses on the importance of improving American diets and food policies, throughout October.

Food Day events commence with a composting workshop hosted by Sustainable Oxford at 6 p.m. Monday (Oct. 3) at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.

Campus events kick off on Thursday (Oct. 6) with the Office of Sustainability’s sixth annual Food Day Festival on the Union Plaza, highlighting food-related resources in Oxford. Set for noon-3:30 p.m., the festival features a farmers market, food samples, educational displays and other activities.

“Through Food Day, the Office of Sustainability aims to engage more people in a topic that involves us all: how we are fed,” said Kendall McDonald, sustainability fellow in the Office of Sustainability. “By empowering university members to be local food heroes through education and service learning, we believe a just, inclusive and resilient food system is possible.”

This year, Food Day will incorporate a service component through the Food Day of Service, a half-day event on Oct. 22. During Food Day of Service, volunteers will complete projects affiliated with local school and community gardens and the UM Compost Program.

Food Day of Service volunteer sites include gardens at the Boys and Girls Club, Oxford School District and Lafayette County Schools, plus the Oxford Community Garden and the UM Compost Program site. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. in the Ole Miss Student Union ballroom for a kickoff ceremony before traveling to the sites. Register to join Food Day of Service here.

On Oct. 25, the Office of Sustainability will host a screening of the film “Food Chains,” followed by a guided discussion led by Catarina Passidomo, UM assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology. The screening is set for 7 p.m. at Shelter on Van Buren.

The film examines the human cost of America’s food system through the lens of tomato pickers in southern Florida, who work from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., earning just $40 a day – a price dictated by large supermarkets.

“Many of us don’t have a good understanding of labor abuses in the food system or an appreciation for the people whose labor remains relatively invisible,” Passidomo said. “I hope that people will come away from the film with a better and deeper understanding of the politics and processes that underlie our contemporary food system.”

On Oct. 26, a pop-up farmers market in the parking lot of the Oxford Intermediate School will wrap up Food Day activities. The market runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

This year’s Food Day celebration also incorporates educational events for community children, including an activity Oct. 15 at the UM Museum’s Family Activity Day and a scavenger hunt activity for children affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club that will take place during the pop-up farmers market.

“Studies show that introducing children to the process of healthy foods will increase their consumption of these foods,” said Denae Bradley, AmeriCorps VISTA in the Office of Sustainability. “During the pop-up market, children at the Boys and Girls Club will participate in a scavenger hunt, where they will engage with local vendors by asking them questions about their product, as well as try new foods that they may have never tasted before.”

The Food Day activities are organized by the UM Office of Sustainability in partnership with Sustainable Oxford. To learn more about sustainability at UM, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/.

Ole Miss Market Days Start This Week

Green Fund project brings fresh produce, local foods to campus

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown's Farm helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day Festival sponsored by the Office of sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Leonard Brown, owner of Brown’s Farm, helps Ole Miss student Katie Flannigan select a cactus plant at the Food Day festival sponsored by the Office of Sustainability. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Fresh produce and other local goods will be available for purchase during Ole Miss Market Days, a series of events scheduled throughout the fall semester at the University of Mississippi.

The markets, set for Aug. 25, Sept. 8 and Oct. 6, will take place from noon to 3:30 p.m. on the Student Union plaza.

Funded by the UM Green Fund, the project was proposed by senior civil engineering student Sarah O’Brien.

“Farmers’ markets are such a great way for people to buy locally grown food,” O’Brien said. “There are so many benefits from eating local. It’s a chance for the Ole Miss community to get a unique personal interaction with the farmers that grow their food.”

Ole Miss Market Days will feature local farmers selling a variety of produce, as well as vendors offering local honey, fresh bread and Gulf seafood. The October market coincides with the university’s annual Food Day festival.

The UM Green Fund committee selected the project because of its positive potential contribution to campus sustainability.

“As a member of the Green Fund committee, I’ve been asked several times about a campus farmers’ market by my peers who have trouble making it to the community markets,” said Grace Sullivan, a senior social work major from Madison who served on the Green Fund last year as the Associated Student Body sustainability representative.

“Since we have started following up with this proposal, it has been exciting to answer my peers with an enthusiastic, ‘Yes, it’s in the works!'”

In O’Brien’s Green Fund proposal, she noted an environmental, health and economic case for supporting farmers’ markets. The distribution and transportation of conventionally grown food is responsible for five to 17 times more carbon dioxide emissions than local or regionally produced food, according to the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems.

Farmers’ markets have been proven to contribute positively to the economy, O’Brien said, citing a 2009 survey conducted by the Mississippi State University Department of Agricultural Economics and the National Agricultural Marketing Association. The national survey indicated that communities that hosted farmers’ markets saw a 70 percent increase in sales, a 66 percent increase in employment and a 29 percent increase in wages.

Ole Miss Market Days are open to all members of the Oxford and UM community. For more information, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/olemissmarketdays/.

UM Observes Bike Month Throughout May

Events promote cycling through group rides, maintenance workshops and National Bike Challenge

May is National Bike Month. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

May is National Bike Month. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has joined communities across the nation to celebrate National Bike Month and encourage people to get out and pedal throughout the month of May.

The month’s activities include group bike rides for all-level cyclists as well as educational workshops focused on bicycle maintenance and safety. As part of Bike Month, the university will also be competing in the National Bike Challenge, which encourages individuals to set cycling goals, log their miles biked and compete for new bicycles and other prizes.

“An event like Bike Month is so important for communities like ours where the biking community is growing,” said Grace Sullivan, a junior social work major from Madison, and a member of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee. “It will not only be educational for nonbikers who are interested in getting into it, but it will help bring together cyclists in the community who might need a network to share tips, go on rides and the like.”

National Bike Month began in 1956, when the League of American Bicyclists created the event to promote cycling as a healthy and sustainable alternative for travel. The events planned for this month’s celebration will focus on bicycle education and promotion. The events are for individuals of all skill levels, from newbies to experts.

“May is the perfect time to try out riding around town by bike because the weather is nice and the car traffic eases,” said Anne McCauley, assistant director in the UM Office of Sustainability. “One purpose of Bike Month is to encourage community members to try it out.

“If you have ever had a complaint about driving, parking or traffic, then you must give riding a bike a chance. It’s fun, it’s inexpensive and good for you.”

The Ole Miss Bike Shop will host Maintenance Mondays from 4 to 5 p.m. each Monday in May at the bike shop. During the sessions, a professional bicycle mechanic will teach bike repair and maintenance. Participants may bring their bicycles to the workshops.

Additionally, Pedal and Picnic group rides will take place on Tuesday (May 17). Groups will meet in front of the Lyceum at noon and ride to a free picnic at Lamar Park.

Similarly, May 24 and 31 will be Bike to Lunch days. Groups will meet at noon in front of the Lyceum to travel to a lunch destination. Discounts at select restaurants may be offered to cyclists.

Students, faculty and staff are also encouraged to register for the National Bike Challenge to log their rides throughout May. Participants can sign up online to record biked miles, contribute to the university’s total miles and compete for individual prizes.

Participants must add “University of Mississippi” to their “groups” tab on the website after registering to ensure that rides will be counted.

The Bike Month celebration is part of an ongoing effort to foster a bicycle-friendly environment on campus and in Oxford. Last November, UM received a nod from the League of American Bicyclists for its efforts, when campus was designated as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University.

The month’s activities are supported by several groups across campus, including the Office of Sustainability, the Ole Miss Bike Shop, Active Transportation Advisory Committee and the Ole Miss Cycling Club.

To keep up with the Bike Month schedule and event updates, follow the Ole Miss Green Initiative and the Ole Miss Cycling Club on Facebook. To learn more, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/.

UM’s Eighth Annual Green Week Begins April 16

Campus, community organizations collaborate for weeklong series of sustainability-focused events

Green Week 1

The University of Mississippi’s eighth annual Green Week celebration, coordinated by the Office of Sustainability, is set for April 16-24.

Established in 2009, Green Week features a variety of interactive events that allow UM students, faculty, staff and Oxford residents to explore ways to live a more sustainable life and the importance of doing so.

“Green Week is a collaborative effort among university and community organizations to raise awareness about the importance of living in a sustainable way with a focus on humans’ relationships to the natural world,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project manager in the Office of Sustainability. “The schedule is designed to include a variety of topics, ranging from a panel discussion on the lead water crisis in Flint, Michigan – which will tie in social sustainability – to events like the Tree Trail Walk and the Earth Day Yoga Hikes, which combine wellness with environmental sustainability.”

A cornerstone of the Green Week schedule is the Earth Day keynote address, delivered this year by Linda Hogan, a Native American poet and author with a focus on environmental issues, indigenous culture and tribal history. Hogan will speak at 7 p.m. April 21 in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Events throughout the week are hosted by groups including the environmental studies minor, Department of Campus Recreation, UM Garden Club, Landscape Services and Sustainable Oxford. The event schedule includes:

Saturday, April 16
2:30-3:30 p.m. – Mississippi River Water Dance, Mud Island River Walk, Memphis

Monday, April 18 and Tuesday, April 19
10 a.m. April 18 and 1 p.m. April 19 – Tree Appreciation Walk, meet at Quad fountain

Tuesday, April 19
6 p.m. – “End of Suburbia” film screening, also featuring the short film “Food for Thought, Food for Life,” Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network and Sustainable Oxford office, 68 Highway 334

Wednesday, April 20
10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Sustainability Fair, Ole Miss Student Union Plaza

4 p.m. – “Something in Our Water: Perspectives on Flint, Jackson and Environmental Racism in America” panel discussion, Overby Center Auditorium

Thursday, April 21
11 a.m. – Brunch and Bloom free lunch, UM Campus Garden (behind Residential College South)

7 p.m. – Earth Day Keynote Speech: Linda Hogan, Overby Center Auditorium

Friday, April 22
7:30-9 a.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. – Guided Earth Day nature and yoga hikes, South Campus Rail Trail

Noon – Arbor Day Tree Planting, Lyceum Circle across from Brevard Hall. Take home an Ole Miss champion tree seedling while supplies last.

Sunday, April 24
6-8 p.m. – Sustainable Oxford Forum and Potluck, Powerhouse. Bring your best chili, gazpacho, soup, puree or juice blend to share.

Each event is designed to be informative and interactive. The Mississippi River Water Dance at Mud Island expands the scope of Green Week beyond the Lafayette-Oxford-University community. Presented by the UM Department of Theatre Arts with support from the UM Green Fund, the performance features student dancers using their art form to bring awareness to important water issues such as clean drinking water and rising sea levels. A shuttle from campus to Memphis is available.

The Tree Trail Walks, led by UM arborist Nathan Lazinsky, allow students, faculty and staff to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of trees on the Ole Miss campus. During this year’s Arbor Day Celebration, seedlings from the giant catalpa tree near the Ole Miss Student Union, a Mississippi Champion Tree, will be given away, allowing participants to take home a piece of the campus’ natural legacy.

The annual Sustainability Fair will feature local vendors and organizations such as farmers, campus and community groups, and local food vendors. Participants will have opportunities to earn prizes as they learn about resources for sustainable living.

“One of the most fun events is the Sustainability Fair that takes over the Union Plaza,” said Kelli Coleman, a junior biology major from Texas and 2016 Green Week Coordinator. “It’s a great way to learn about what is going on at Ole Miss and in Oxford and how you can get involved.”

For more information about Green Week and the Office of Sustainability, visit http://greenweek.olemiss.edu/ or email green@olemiss.edu.

UM Green Fund Accepts New Proposals for Spring

Applications due March 23

Last year, more than 26,000 pounds of refuse from the Rebel Market have been recycled, thanks to the university's composting program. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Last year, more than 26,000 pounds of refuse from the Rebel Market have been recycled, thanks to the university’s composting program. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Green Fund is accepting project proposals through March 23 for the spring funding cycle.

The Green Fund provides financial support for the implementation of innovative, sustainable projects on campus. All Ole Miss students, faculty and staff are eligible to submit proposals. (View project proposal guidelines here.)

Since its creation in 2013, the Green Fund has awarded funding to more than 15 projects on campus, ranging from the installation of several campus hydration stations to the establishment of the UM Compost Program, which has diverted more than 50,000 pounds of campus food waste from the landfill in three years.

“I never saw myself as an activist or anything,” said Grace Herrington, a sophomore engineering major who proposed a recycling program in Residential College South to the Green Fund during the fall 2015 funding cycle.

“There were just no easy options for recycling, so (my friends and I) started collecting on our own. We realized that others were doing the same and saw willingness to recycle if the tools were provided. The Green Fund was the best chance to make that happen.”

Herrington’s proposal, which will be implemented this spring, will provide all residence hall rooms in RC South with recycling bins, which students will then empty into larger recycling bins in the building’s trash rooms. The project also includes educational signage.

In addition to the RC South recycling pilot, projects funded last fall include the installation of a bike repair station at RC South, proposed by junior international studies major Madeleine Achgill, and “Dumpster Donations,” a project proposed by the Student Marketing Association that aims to donate items students might otherwise throw away during Move Out.

Another approved project was the Mississippi River Dance, which will take place in April as part of the National Water Dance event, a collection of dance artists and educators who use the medium of dance to call attention to pressing water issues. It will feature student dancers from Mississippi: The Dance Company.

“(The Mississippi River Dance) is a nontraditional project in that it is temporal and focuses on the use of the arts to call attention to sustainability issues,” said Jennifer Mizenko, UM professor of theatre arts and proposer of the project. “It advances the university’s commitment to sustainability issues by supporting the arts as a means to communicate the importance of clean water.”

The UM Green Fund Committee evaluates proposals on impact, visibility and feasibility. After proposals are reviewed, the committee will invite select proposers to present their ideas during a public presentation at 4 p.m. April 15. Projects that receive funding will be announced in early May.

“The proposal process was easy and great to do,” Herrington said. “The public speaking aspect can seem daunting, but the Green Fund really gives you a sense that we’re all in this together for a greener campus.”

Past projects funded include the purchase and sales of H20tty Toddy water bottles, which aimed to promote the use of reusable bottles; the upcoming installation of native plants on a portion of campus; the installation of low-emissivity film to some windows in the J.D. Williams Library, the expansion of the UM Compost Program; and the purchase of a campus Rhoades Car, which will be used as an active transportation alternative to golf cart.

In addition to funding allocated by the university, the UM Green Fund is supported by donations. The university will match all student donations by 50 percent. Learn more about the UM Green Fund at http://green.olemiss.edu/.

Ole Miss Named Bronze-Level Bicycle Friendly University

League of American Bicyclists recognizes UM efforts to advance cycling on campus

Students return to campus for the first day of the 2015 Spring Semester. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

Students return to campus for the first day of the 2015 Spring Semester. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s continued efforts to improve bicycle infrastructure and advocacy on campus have been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists with a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University award.

The award comes after a year of implementing recommendations from the league, which were passed along after Ole Miss received an honorable mention BFU award in 2014. UM is the only university in the state to receive such a designation.

“We are very excited to reach this level,” said Mike Harris, UM director of parking and transportation. “This award reflects the work of many individuals, departments and groups on campus. We still have work to do, but we have made great strides to support a stronger bike community and more complete network of routes and amenities. The designation helps reinforce our commitment to continue to move forward with these important initiatives.”

Over the past year, the university has made several efforts to promote cycling on campus. The UM Bike Shop rented its entire fleet of rental bicycles to students, faculty and staff through the Rebel Pedals Bike Share program for the semester, and it has begun offering bicycle maintenance workshops.

In June, the new Active Transportation Advisory Committee spearheaded the installation of a Complete Streets Pop Up project on University Avenue, to experience a new street configuration designed for all users of the road, including cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. The committee, made up of faculty, staff and students, advises the university on issues related to active transportation modes and coordinates with relevant departments, including Facilities Planning and the Department of Parking and Transportation.

“The overall goal is to make biking a more accessible mode of transportation for students, faculty and staff,” said Rebecca Vorisek, a junior international studies major from New Orleans who is working as a sustainable transportation intern for the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Parking and Transportation. “One of the big areas that we are focusing on now is safety, both for cyclists and motorists. I’d personally like to make it so that people feel more comfortable biking on campus, especially incoming freshman and people who are considering biking for the first time.”

With the designation, UM joins more than 127 BFUs in 42 states and the District of Columbia working to foster a more bike-friendly culture on campus. The league evaluates universities on bicycle-related engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. Institutions that receive a BFU designation are eligible to receive honorable mention, bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels.

“In its fourth year, we’ve seen the Bicycle Friendly University program reach an exciting level of growth and momentum, as more and more campuses support bicycling in new and innovative ways,” said Amelia Neptune, the group’s Bicycle Friendly University program manager. “From bike storage inside dorm rooms to bicycle-powered music festivals, we applaud this round of BFUs for raising the standard of what a bicycle-friendly campus looks like.”

Moving forward, the university will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the league to continue working to become more bicycle-friendly. To learn more about biking at UM, visit http://bike.olemiss.edu/. To learn more about the Bicycle Friendly University program, visit http://www.bikeleague.org/university.

UM Green Fund Seeks New Proposals

Applications for campus sustainability projects accepted through Oct. 19

Green FundOXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Green Fund is accepting project proposals from faculty, staff, and students through Monday (Oct. 19).

Green Fund projects vary in scale, ranging from the installation of several campus hydration stations to providing refills for reusable containers to the launch of a composting program that has diverted more than 36,000 pounds of campus food waste from the landfill since 2013.

“The Green Fund is extremely important to the university’s commitment to sustainability,” said Ty Allushuski, assistant director of admissions and UM Green Fund Committee member. “As a campus, we have made tremendous strides in recent years related to sustainability, and the Green Fund helps encourage sustainable practices and brings much-needed attention to the efforts.”

Students, faculty and staff can submit proposals as individuals, groups or departments.

Proposals should meet the guidelines found at http://green.olemiss.edu/ and should be submitted via e-mail to green@olemiss.edu by Oct. 19.

The Green Fund Committee will review proposals and make selections using the project’s impact, visibility and feasibility as criteria. All proposers selected in the first round will be invited to speak at a public forum the week of Nov. 8. Proposal awards will be announced in late November.

“I like the two-step evaluation process in which the award committee was able to hear from the applicants in person and ask them questions,” said Jason Hoeksema, an associate professor of biology who received funding last fall to install native plants on a portion of campus. “Most grant proposal review processes don’t allow for this back-and-forth process, which is really valuable.”

The experience is beneficial for students in multiple areas, said Allushuski, who incorporates the proposal-writing process into his EDHE 305 course.

“The entire process of brainstorming an idea, researching the potential environmental impact, making contacts with different offices on campus and working as a group provides valuable skills and lessons for the students,” Allushuski said. “In addition, several of my students have had projects funded in the past, and this gives them a vested interest in sustainability and their own campus.”

Created in 2013 to fund sustainability projects on campus, the Green Fund is supported by the university as well as public donations. Since its establishment, the fund has supported more than 10 projects.

“My hope is that the Green Fund will continue to grow in size and in its impact on the Oxford-university community,” said Alex Borst, a senior international studies major from Madison and a student member of the Green Fund Committee. “The funds are there; we just need more innovative people to utilize them more often.”

To get involved with the UM Green Fund or to make a donation, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/.