Transportation Fair, Bike Share Demo Set for Sept. 12

Event helps Ole Miss community explore alternative ways to travel on campus, in Oxford

Providing safety information to cyclists and motorists is a focus of the 2018 University of Mississippi Transportation Fair as access to bicycles increases through programs like the short-term bike share and the UM Bike Shop’s semester-long rental program. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will highlight modes of transportation, including busing, biking, ride-sharing and car-sharing, Wednesday (Sept. 12) during the 2018 UM Transportation Fair and Ride O’Rama.

The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Galtney Lott Plaza on Business Row.

“As campus continues to grow, so do more sustainable transportation options,” said Lindsey Abernathy, associate director of the Office of Sustainability. “There can be a learning curve when incorporating these modes of transportation into our daily commutes, so this event is meant to be a learning opportunity for students, faculty and staff in a low-pressure, fun setting.”

This year’s fair will include an interactive bike share demonstration, or “Ride O’Rama,” during which students, faculty and staff can try out the Ole Miss Bike Share in a temporary bike lane. Cyclists and Office of Sustainability staff will be on hand with tips for riding safely on the road.

The Bike Share program, which launched in 2017, allows students, faculty and staff the opportunity to ride two hours a day for free.

Fair attendees also can learn how to load their bicycles onto an OUT bus and get more information about Zipcar and Zimride ride-sharing and the UM Bike Shop, among other transportation-related topics.

Mike Harris, UM director of parking and transportation, said he hopes many students, faculty and staff attend the fair to learn more about various options available for getting around campus and Oxford.

“Learning how to navigate bus routes and schedules and experience bike and car share programs helps you to become familiar with these type of transportation options,” Harris said. “(When students graduate), they will most likely be working in a city with these types of mobility options available.”

Participants who complete activities at the fair will be entered to win a “commuter kit,” including a backpack, water bottle and lunch container.

The UM Transportation Fair is hosted by the Department of Parking and Transportation and the Office of Sustainability. To learn more, visit

UM Waste-Reduction Work Leads to ‘Recycler of the Year’ Award

Recycling, compost program and educational outreach cited among university's achievements

UM campus volunteers sort through items collected in the Grove. The university has been named ‘Recycler of the Year’ among educational institutions in the state and recognized at Recycling Day at the state Capitol. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s campuswide work to reduce waste that winds up in landfills has led to the university being named “Recycler of the Year” among educational institutions in the state and recognized at Recycling Day at the State Capitol.

The Mississippi Recycling Coalition honored the university with the award for its 2017 efforts, which included composting, recycling waste collected on Ole Miss football game days, “tree cycling” and mulching, and education programs. Several campus entities, including Facilities Management, Landscape Services and the Office of Sustainability, as well as the city of Oxford Recycling Department, contributed to the work.

“This is truly a collaborative effort among multiple departments on campus, and it’s great to see recognition for their hard work,” said Ian Banner, UM director of sustainability and facilities planning, and university architect. “While we are grateful for the publicity, it is important to know there is a huge amount of work still to do. There is demonstrated commitment of all those involved, and we fully intend to continue our push toward a healthier environment.”

UM’s growing recycling program, compost program and educational outreach such as Green Week were cited among the university’s notable achievements in the area of waste reduction, said Lindsey Abernathy, associate director of the Office of Sustainability. She accepted the award at the Capitol on behalf of the university.

“While we still have much work to do, it’s important to take a moment to recognize that we have taken significant steps forward in recent years, all of which have been achieved through cross-campus collaboration,” Abernathy said. “We thank everyone for their support of these efforts and look forward to future projects.”

The university has taken on several programs that have helped make UM a greener campus.

A campuswide recycling program, which is operated by Facilities Management and through the city of Oxford Recycling Department, allows UM students, faculty and staff to recycle mixed paper, cardboard, plastics No. 1 and No. 2, aluminum and steel in recycling stations in all campus buildings.

The Green Grove Gameday Recycling Program is a popular and well-known program in the Ole Miss student community. More than 650 students have volunteered with the program over the past two years.

In 2017, the program diverted 2.78 tons of recyclables from landfills. This program is made possible through a partnership with Landscape Services, the Office of Sustainability and the city’s recycling department.

The UM Compost Program has diverted more than 45 tons of pre-consumer food waste from landfills since its establishment in 2013 through collecting materials from campus dining locations. The finished compost is used in educational gardens on campus and is available to community members for purchase.

The program also engages about 50 student volunteers each academic year through regular sifting events. While sifting the compost, students learn about the program, the importance of composting and the process through which composting takes place.

Students working with the UM Food Bank, UM Garden Club and UM Compost Program have worked together to provide fresh food to students. They also reduce food waste and support the campus garden’s efforts to employ organic methods, such as the use of compost instead of chemical fertilizer, to grow produce.

The Office of Sustainability employs students in its Green Student Intern Program each year to operate the Green Grove Gameday Recycling Program, UM Compost Program and to support additional waste-reduction initiatives. Students can also participate in the Green Grove Ambassadors Program.

Members of the Green Student Intern Program, staff and volunteers regularly involve K-12 students in waste-reduction education programs. In fall 2017, staff and UM Eco Reps members helped collect food waste for composting at Oxford Elementary School as part of its annual Food Day Celebration. Staff members frequently speak to students about recycling and conduct tours of the compost site.

Several other campus programs are part of the university’s broad efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and reuse as many materials as possible.

Ole Miss has been a very active member of the Mississippi Recycling Coalition for several years, so the committee was familiar with its work, said Jennifer Milner, state recycling coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. But the overall scope of the programs impressed even those committee members.

“Ole Miss has really gone above and beyond to change the culture by getting buy-in from students, faculty, staff, campus visitors and the surrounding community on putting their wastes to work,” Milner said. “It has set itself apart to serve as an example for other educational institutions and communities in the state.”

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

Events scheduled throughout October to educate and get community involved


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

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 and should be submitted via e-mail to 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

UM, Oxford Improve Safety for Cyclists, Pedestrians

Complete Streets pop-up experiment to affect sections of University Avenue in July

OXFORD, Miss. – Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists can take to the streets, all part of an innovative experiment throughout July when a section of University Avenue is temporarily transformed to include two bicycle lanes, mid-block crosswalks and other infrastructure.

Cyclists ride along University Avenue, where a Complete Streets Pop Up will be installed for the month of July. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Cyclists ride along University Avenue, where a Complete Streets pop-up will be installed in July. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The city of Oxford Pathways Commission and the University of Mississippi Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee are collaborating to implement Oxford’s first-ever temporary Complete Streets pop-up,” said Sara Douglass, post baccalaureate fellow in the university’s Office of Sustainability. “Complete Streets is a term referring to a street design that incorporates infrastructure for all users of the road to ensure that everyone gets from point A to point B safely no matter the mode of transportation.”

Communities across the country are using this type of approach to experiment with different types of streetscapes. The pop-up, which will be supported in part by crowd-source funding, will be installed on the section of University Avenue between Fifth Street and Grove Loop.

Donations are being sought to help implement the project. The Oxford Cycling Club and the UM Office of Sustainability will provide a 100 percent match for all donations, up to $2,000. All contributions will support the purchase of supplies and materials, such as temporary marking tape and equipment to install it.

The plan includes reducing four travel lanes to two and adding two to three pedestrian islands/crosswalks near St. John’s Catholic Church and the Music Building. Throughout the month, volunteers, the Office of Sustainability and the Pathways Commission will collect data to assess the project’s effectiveness.

“The goal of the Complete Streets pop-up project is to get a taste of what it would look like and how University Avenue would function if we conveniently accommodated bikes and pedestrians without having to invest in permanent infrastructure,” Douglass said. “We also hope to reduce motor vehicle speeds. The speed on that road is actually 20 miles per hour, but right now the average speed of motor vehicle traffic is at 32 miles per hour. We’d like to see that reduced because there are high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists on that section of University.”

The monthlong improvement recently received unanimous support from the Oxford Board of Alderman.

“I am a supporter of alternative means of transportation, other than motor vehicles, in our community,” said Jay Hughes, an Oxford alderman. “The pop-up project is a positive way to increase the percentage of bicycle users, which makes things safer for everyone. It’s rare that we get to test something such as this for its effectiveness before making a final decision about it.”

To make a donation or learn more, visit .

McCauley, Bombelli Win 2015 Frist Student Service Awards

Honorees lauded at Commencement for dedication to helping students

McCauley accepts the Frist Student Service Award on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Photo by Kevin Bain.

Anne McCauley accepts the Frist Student Service Award. Photo by Kevin Bain.

OXFORD, Miss. – All University of Mississippi employees contribute in some way to the overall student experience, but some faculty and staff go beyond the call of duty in their commitment to helping students. The annual Frist Student Service Awards honors those dedicated individuals.

During the university’s Commencement ceremonies Saturday (May 9), Anne McCauley, UM assistant director of sustainability, and Luca Bombelli, associate professor of physics and astronomy, were introduced as the 2015 Frist winners.

Service is a key commitment that is asked of everyone at the university, Chancellor Dan Jones said. For this reason, the Frist award is a special and important honor.

“The Frist award recognizing service to our students is a special honor,” Jones said. “Both of this year’s recipients support the mission of the university in many ways. But the attention to the success of our students and opportunities for student engagement has been noted by many. I congratulate and thank Ms. McCauley and Dr. Bombelli for their remarkable service to students.”

The award was established 20 years ago with a financial gift from Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr., a 1930 UM graduate from Nashville. Frist is the founder of Hospital Corporation of America.

Since 1995, the Frist Student Service Awards have honored one faculty member and one staff member. The two recipients receive $1,000 and a plaque.

Both of this year’s recipients said they were humbled by the recognition.

Bombelli, who joined the faculty in 1999, said he was surprised to win the award.

“I never saw this coming,” Bombelli said. “I am extremely pleased and honored to be receiving the Frist award. I am also surprised because I know that I am just one of many members of this university whose top priority is making sure that we provide students with the best education and support we can as they prepare for their careers in an open and inclusive environment.”

One international student in the doctoral program said that when he first arrived, Bombelli went to great lengths to help him get connected with another student who became his roommate. He also sent someone to pick up new students at the airport and helped them get hotel rooms once they arrived. He is also very valuable as a mentor. 

“He always has an open office door, as well as an open mind for conversation,” the student wrote in his nomination letter. “He befriends all of the students and is aware of our concerns and passions. He genuinely cares about us as individuals and serves as a life mentor as well as an academic mentor. Students recognize this and go to him in droves for help, guidance and a friendly ear.”

Dr. Brandi Hephner LaBanc presents Dr. Luca Bombelli with the Frist Student Service Award. Photo by Kevin Bain.

Brandi Hephner LaBanc presents Luca Bombelli with the Frist Student Service Award. Photo by Kevin Bain.

Bombelli also listens to students’ opinions. He organized luncheons for students to get to know job candidates for two faculty positions and passed their input on those selections to the department chair.

McCauley, who joined the UM staff in 2008, said the students make her job rewarding.

“I am so honored to receive this award because working with students is the most rewarding part of my job,” McCauley said. “They challenge me and make me want to be my best self. I think I gain from them as much if not more than I give.”

Sustainability efforts on campus require lots of dirty jobs, which include sorting through mountains of recyclable materials after home football games. McCauley often works right beside her student workers to help the university meet its sustainability goals. She also has been a champion of the university’s goal to become more bicycle-friendly. Away from campus, she prepares dinners for graduating student interns.

One student intern sang McCauley’s praises in his Frist nomination letter. He said he wasn’t treated like an intern; rather, he was treated as an important part of the team. This allowed him to learn a lot about the workings of an institution of higher learning, which will serve him well in his career.

“I was most inspired by Anne’s resilience when situations didn’t go as planned,” he wrote. “She never wavered from working hard to achieve her project goals. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to serve as one of Anne’s interns. It taught me countless skills and provided me with real-world experience that I believe would otherwise be rarely encountered by a college undergraduate. I know she will always be there for me with advice as I move forward with my future endeavors.”

University to Celebrate Green Week April 21-24

Events include lectures, a film and annual Sustainability Fair

2014's Green Week included a "trash cube" located on campus to bring awareness of recycling.

2014’s Green Week included a ‘trash cube’ on campus to spark awareness of recycling.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will observe Green Week April 21-24 with the goal of raising awareness on campus and in the community about the importance of environmental sustainability.

“For me, Green Week is a high point in the academic year, since it offers a wonderful opportunity for students to learn about our environment in a number of different ways, while celebrating the beautiful spring weather,” said Ann Fisher-Wirth, professor of English and director of the UM environmental studies minor. “One of its main events is our Earth Day speaker, highly acclaimed anthropologist Paige West.”

West, a professor of anthropology at Columbia University’s Barnard College, will deliver the Earth Day keynote address at 7 p.m. Wednesday (April 22) in the Overby Center. She plans to discuss the impact of current and future climate changes on the people of New Guinea and the Pacific islands.

Green Week events kick off at 10 a.m. Tuesday (April 21) with a 30-minute walk along a portion of the Ole Miss Tree Trail guided by Nathan Lazinsky, a certified arborist from Landscape Services. At 7 p.m., the Honors College Student Union will host a screening of the film “GMO! OMG!” as part of its Progressive Film Series.

The annual Sustainability Fair takes place on the Student Union Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday (April 22). It features interactive displays from campus and community groups, an on-campus farmers market and more. Participants will receive tickets, which can be redeemed for prizes, for visiting each table.

“The Sustainability Fair helps illustrate all of the resources that our campus and community has to offer,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project coordinator in the Office of Sustainability. “This year, we’ll have a display where students, faculty and staff can calculate and learn more about their carbon footprints. We’ll also have signage throughout the fair communicating the ways in which each of the different groups at the fair can help reduce that footprint. The focus is on solutions.”

Other Green Week activities include Pedal and Picnic, a group bike ride followed by a free lunch courtesy of Freshii and Ole Miss Dining, and the EcoGala Art Show, a sophisticated and sustainable showing of student artwork. Registration is required for Pedal and Picnic. Email to reserve a spot.

Green Week will conclude on Arbor Day (April 24) with a tree planting celebration in the Circle led by Jeff McManus, UM landscape services director. Attendees will receive free Ole Miss seedlings that were transplanted from the Circle earlier this year, while supplies last.

All Green Week events are free and open to the public. For more information about Green Week, visit or email


2015 Green Week Schedule of Events

Tuesday, April 21

10-10:30 a.m. – Tree Trail Walk, meet at the flagpole in the Circle

7 p.m. – “GMO, OMG!” film screening, Barnard Observatory


Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day)

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

7 p.m. – Earth Day keynote address by Paige West, Overby Center Auditorium

9 p.m. – Jammin’ for the Planet (Green Fund Benefit Concert), Proud Larry’s


Thursday April 23

11 a.m.-noon – Pedal and Picnic, group bike ride and free lunch from Freshii. Registration required. Email to reserve your spot.

7 p.m. – EcoGala Student Art Show, Bryant Hall


Friday, April 24 (Arbor Day)

11 a.m. – Arbor Day tree planting and celebration, Carrier Hall

12:30-1:30 p.m. – Environmental Law Lecture by Steve McKinney, Khayat Law Center, Room 2094

Columbia University Anthropologist is UM Earth Day Lecturer

Paige West will discuss Papua New Guinean research April 22 at Overby Center

OXFORD, Miss. – Renowned Columbia University anthropologist Paige West is the featured speaker for Earth Day at the University of Mississippi.

Paige West will discuss “Imagining Pacific Futures: Climate Change, Local Livelihoods and International Environmentalist Rhetorics.” The free program is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday (April 22) in the Overby Center Auditorium.

“Dr. West’s work has broad scholarly interest,” said Robbie Etheridge, UM professor of anthropology and co-organizer of the event. “West has written about the linkages between environmental conservation and international development. Since the mid-1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea to understand their traditions, especially as they relate to biodiversity, and to help them figure out how to conserve their cultures, languages and environments.”

A graduate of Rutgers University, she joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, where she is a professor of anthropology.

West has published two books and is the editor of three more. Her work focuses on indigenous adaptation to climate change across the Pacific.

Honors and awards West has received include the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology and Environment Junior Scholar award, the American Association of University Women Junior Faculty Fellowship and the American Council of Learned Societies Faculty Fellowship. She also held a Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Fellowship in 2007 and in was named a fellow by the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania.

In 2008, West founded the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research, published by Berghahn Books. She serves as editor for the publication.

In 2012, West became chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia. She also has served as the chair of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association.

Two years ago, West delivered the Leonard Hastings Schoff Memorial Lectures at Columbia University. She is the co-founder of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small nongovernmental organization dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea, and the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in the island nation dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and Western scientific knowledge.

For more about UM’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, visit

UM Campus Leaders Work to Achieve Climate Neutrality

University establishes Broad Council for Sustainability, works on environmental education and research

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi leaders gathered recently to discuss an action plan to advance sustainable initiatives on campus, with the long-term goal of achieving climate neutrality.

The Feb. 24 gathering took place as part of the university’s first-ever meeting of the Broad Council for Sustainability, a group that will advise, adopt and begin implementing a climate action plan designed specifically for Ole Miss.

“Higher education institutions have a significant role here,” said Ian Banner, university architect and director of sustainability and facilities planning. “There are a lot of unknowns on the road to climate neutrality – it may even be our graduates who develop solutions to help us reach our goal. In the meantime, it’s our responsibility to begin this necessary journey. What we do here matters.”

The creation of the council is a result of the university’s participation in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, or ACUPCC, which Chancellor Dan Jones signed in April 2014. UM is among 686 universities nationwide to make this commitment to climate neutrality.

During the meeting, Provost Morris Stocks acknowledged the university’s unique position when addressing climatic issues, not only because of the large-scale operations taking place on campus but also from a research and educational standpoint.

“As our chancellor says, our responsibility of transforming lives extends to helping our students be good stewards of our resources,” said Stocks, who welcomed the council on behalf of Jones. “When we integrate sustainability into our educational experience, we are achieving our mission of supporting students’ development of critical and creative-thinking abilities, their sense of global responsibility and promotion of lifelong learning.”

To achieve climate neutrality, the university must reach a point at which it has net zero greenhouse gas emissions. This goal is attainable by eliminating or reducing these emissions as much as possible and mitigating the remaining emissions, according to the APCUCC.

The university will begin its journey toward climate neutrality by gathering data through a greenhouse gas inventory and by assessing UM through the Association of Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System. UM groups will then move forward to develop and begin implementing the plan.

“Human influence and greenhouse gases are the dominant causes of the increase in global average temperature of the Earth,” said Mustafa Altinakar, director and research professor of the UM National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering, who spoke at the meeting. “The impacts are observed in rising sea levels, precipitation patterns, hydrologic regimes, floods and droughts, and environmental processes. We must reduce our carbon footprint and take the necessary steps to reduce our vulnerability to future climate change impacts.”

New Residential Learning Community Focuses on Sustainability

Apply now to the Red, Blue, & Green Freshman Interest Group

The new Red, Blue, & Green freshman interest group will be housed in the Residential College South.

The new Red, Blue, & Green Freshman Interest Group will be housed in the Residential College South.

The University of Mississippi will be home to a new residential learning experience focused on environmental sustainability beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year. The Red, Blue, & Green Freshman Interest Group (FIG) is now accepting applications for its inaugural community.

A freshman interest group (FIG) is a specific community for first-year students with shared interests in which they live, learn, and grow together. The Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the Department of Student Housing, the Residential College South and the College of Liberal Arts, will host the community of approximately 20 students who will live in the Red, Blue, & Green community within the Residential College South.

“We wanted to provide incoming freshman an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in sustainability at Ole Miss,” said Sara Douglass, post baccalaureate fellow in the Office of Sustainability. “Through their participation in the FIG, students will be equipped with change agent skills to create a meaningful impact on sustainability at UM.”

Douglass worked with Student Housing and Marvin King, senior fellow of Residential College South, to develop and implement the program.

As members of this group, students will gain access to many outstanding opportunities as well as lifelong relationships. All of the students in the community will take part in “From Farm to Fork: Going Green Locally,” a LIBA 102 course designed to facilitate conversation about food and its environmental impact, as well as give students the opportunity to engage in discussion on common coursework and readings.

Along with the shared academic aspect, students will develop engaged scholarship and responsible citizenry skills through a variety of leadership and service related activities. FIG programming will also help students develop an understanding of their carbon footprint, energy and water consumption and current sustainability initiatives on campus. From field trips to lectures, to work in the community garden or shared meals in the dining hall, members of the Red, Blue, & Green FIG will have ample opportunity to learn and experience environmental sustainability and conservation together as a community.

To apply or learn more about the Red, Blue, & Green FIG, click here or contact Sara Douglass at