Campus Leaders Join Sustainability Broad Council

Sustainability Broad Council works to advance sustainablity on UM campus

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss CommunicationsRepresentatives from all corners of the university community will convene for the first- ever meeting of the Sustainability Broad Council on Tuesday, February 24.

The council was established to enact the measures recommended by the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), signed by Chancellor Dan Jones in April 2014. A collaboration of more than twenty different offices and organizations across campus, the Sustainability Broad Council will oversee the development and university-wide institutionalization of a sustainability and climate action plan.

Members of the Broad Council will include representatives from the Chancellor’s Office, the Department of Athletics, and Ole Miss Dining Services, as well as the Associated Student Body and the Graduate Student Council. Support for the council’s creation has come from across campus.

“I believe this is a very important subject that deserves much discussion,” said Carl Hill, president of UM Staff Council.

The full membership of the Sustainability Broad Council will meet biannually, with working groups of the council meeting more frequently to accomplish particular tasks and monitor progress. The initial February meeting will give an overview of the Broad Council and ACUPCC timeline, and establish a timeline for next steps.

Five New Sustainability Projects Receive Funding

UM Green Fund receives record number of project proposals from students, faculty and staff

The Green Fund has funded nine projects since its creation in 2013, including the UM Composting Project.

The Green Fund has funded nine projects since its launch in 2013, including the UM Composting Project.

During fall 2014, the University of Mississippi Green Fund Committee received a record number of project proposals from students, faculty and staff. After careful consideration following the presentations given at the public hearing, the committee awarded $11,580 to fund five projects. The funded projects are:

The Law School Student Body (LSSB) received funding to install a hydration station in the Robert C. Khayat Law Center to promote the use of reusable bottles by students, faculty, staff, and visiting alumni. Proposed by Tre’ Dekle, LSSB president

The biology department will partner with UM Landscape Services to introduce native plant species at the intersection between Jackson Avenue and Fraternity Row in fall 2015 to raise awareness and biodiversity on campus. Proposed by Jason Hoeksema and Ann Rasmussen

The Sports Nutrition Department will receive partial funding for a cargo bike. This project is a pilot bike-share project that aims to improve the University’s greenhouse gas inventory by offering a more sustainable form of transportation while also providing its users with an easy way to incorporate physical exercise into their everyday tasks. Proposed by Melinda Valliant

Two groups of Ty Allushuski’s EDHE 305 students will receive funding for their Green Fund proposal submissions:

UM will become the first state university to install a solar-powered charging station on its campus. Proposed by Michael Thweatt, Daisey Martinez, Makenzie Heard, Mac Kane, and Cody Friga

Finally, the Residential College South will soon be installing faucet aerators in an effort to promote awareness and increase the practice of water conservation. Proposed by Kayla Carter and Katie Grantham

The UM Green Fund Committee is accepting project proposals for the spring through March 18, 2015. The fund operates on a baseline contribution of $7,500 per semester from the university, as well as donations from students, faculty and staff. Click here to make a donation.


UM Named ‘Tree Campus USA’

Arbor Day Foundation recognizes UM's efforts to protect trees, educate campus community

Jeff McManus and Denise Hill worked for the past year to apply for Tree Campus USA status.

Jeff McManus and Denise Hill worked for the past year to apply for Tree Campus USA status. Photo by Grace Sullivan

The Arbor Day Foundation recently named the University of Mississippi a “Tree Campus USA,” thanks largely to the work of Landscape Services. The designation recognizes UM for meeting high standards of protecting trees and educating community members.

“Anytime you get anything like this it’s a recognition of the work that’s already being done,” said Jeff McManus, director of Landscape Services. “A lot of campuses aren’t fortunate enough to have even the awareness we do; it really helps people become sensitive to the effect trees have on any culture.”

McManus and UM Superintendent of Landscape Services Denise Hill have been working to apply for the designation for the past year. To earn Tree Campus USA status, the university had to meet five standards including gathering a campus tree advisory committee, developing a campus tree care plan, establishing a campus tree program with dedicated annual expenditures, publicly observing Arbor Day and offering a tree-related service learning project.

At this point, the campus has met these standards and beyond. According to Hill, all of these criteria were ways that Landscape Services could protect the campus trees. For Hill, the presence of trees defines a campus.

“It’s amazing to go to a campus of a university and see beautiful architecture and beautiful structures, but when they’re devoid of trees, you really don’t notice the architectural aspects of the campus grounds as much,” Hill said. “We’re blessed with having a naturally beautiful campus and we like to keep it that way.”

Looking beyond the physical, McManus believes that trees are crucial indicators of campus life.

“When you see a healthy, vigorous tree growing, you perceive that it’s a healthy campus, that our community is healthy,” McManus said. “And just the opposite is true. When you see a tree that’s dying or dead you perceive just the opposite.”

Now that the university is a Tree Campus USA, Hill and McManus look forward to educational opportunities as awareness grows.

“Just yesterday we had a group that came to us and wanted to do a service project, and through that project they’re learning and we’re out there with them teaching,” Hill said.

Moving forward, Landscape Services continues to protect the campus tree scene in the face of increased construction and a growing community. The department uses a simple formula for replanting trees after construction and restricts other damage through practices like fencing off trees and prohibiting the use of hammocks on campus trees.

To learn more about trees on the UM campus, visit

Green Grove Initiative Needs Faculty and Staff Help!

Volunteers needed to sort recycling Dec. 1, Dec. 2 at Oxford Recycling Center

Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss CommunicationsWith the end of the semester just around the corner, the Office of Sustainability is seeking faculty and staff volunteers to help sort game day recycling from the Egg Bowl to give students time to prepare for final exams.

Volunteers are needed on Monday, December 1 and Tuesday, December 2 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Oxford Recycling Center. (Faculty and staff are welcome to stay for as long as their schedule allows.) Volunteers sort out aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and Solo cups, while disposing of the non-recyclable material. All faculty and staff volunteers will receive a free Green Grove t-shirt. Click here to sign up, or e-mail

So far this semester, more than 400 student volunteers have helped recycle six tons of aluminum cans and plastic bottles, either by volunteering to pass out recycling bags in the Grove or sorting recycling post-game day.  Additionally, the Green Grove Initiative has recycled 15,000 Solo cups through the university’s partnership with TerraCycle, a 133 percent increase since last year.

To learn more about the Green Grove Initiative, visit

UM Receives Honorable Mention as Bicycle Friendly University

National designation recognizes achievements; helps lay foundation for improvements


The University of Mississippi received an honorable mention as a Bicycle Friendly University earlier this week from the League of American Bicyclists.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has been recognized for its efforts to support and improve cycling on campus with an honorable mention nod as a Bicycle Friendly University from the League of American Bicyclists.

Ole Miss is the first university in the state to receive this designation.

“The designation recognizes that we are making an effort to improve the culture of biking on campus,” said Sara Douglass, post-baccalaureate fellow in the UM Office of Sustainability who is focusing on biking as part of her yearlong fellowship. “We’re looking forward to receiving feedback from the League of American Bicyclists about how to further these improvements.”

Recent efforts on the UM campus include the opening of the newly renovated, full-service Ole Miss Bike Shop, which offers repairs and maintenance for cyclists by a fulltime bike mechanic, and the expansion of the Rebel Pedals Bike Share program, through which students, faculty and staff can rent bicycles for $25 a semester. The bike share fleet will expand this semester from 100 bicycles, all of which are rented, to 175 bikes.

“We have a waiting list for those who want bikes,” said Mike Harris, UM director of parking and transportation. “That demand is there, and we want to meet it.”

Twenty-five new bicycles will also be distributed to campus departments as part of the university’s wellness initiative, RebelWell, to promote the use of bikes among faculty and staff during the workday.

Moving forward, education for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists will be a focus of the university’s biking efforts, Harris said.

The Bicycle Friendly University program, a branch of Bicycle Friendly America, evaluates universities in five areas: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning. Universities that receive the Bicycle Friendly designation can earn honorable mention, bronze, silver, gold or platinum status. The League of American Bicyclists then provides feedback to help universities reach higher status in the program.

“Going through the process helps us identify our relative strengths and weaknesses when it comes to being a bike-friendly university,” said UM assistant professor of psychology Kate Kellum, a member of the working group that applied for BFU status and member of the Oxford Pathways Commission. “I think it’s also important to celebrate some of the successes that we’ve had on campus and in town in improving bike availability.”

To learn more about biking at UM, visit

UM, Oxford to Celebrate Food Day

Oct. 16 celebration to feature on-campus farmers market, festival and panel discussion

2013 Food Day Farmers Market and Festival

2013 Food Day Farmers Market and Festival

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Oxford community will observe Food Day – a nationwide movement toward healthy, affordable and sustainable food – Thursday (Oct. 16) with a festival and panel discussion.

The Food Day Farmers Market and Festival is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Student Union. Following the festival, student leaders will gather to speak about “The State of Food at UM,” a panel discussion focused on student-led initiatives, at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Food Day is about opening a dialogue and raising awareness about food-related issues,” said Lindsey Abernathy, project coordinator in the Office of Sustainability. “But, it’s also about celebrating what we are doing right by highlighting local, real food and the people behind that food and those initiatives.”

The Food Day Festival and Farmers Market will focus on local food and will feature a mobile farm bus, farmers selling local produce, free food samples and educational displays by campus and community groups including the UM Food Bank, Real Food Rebels, Oxford Community Garden, Good Food for Oxford Schools and more.

At 11 a.m., Blue Cross Blue Shield Chef Labron Alexander will conduct a healthy cooking demonstration as part of the university wellness program, RebelWell. Alexander will demo a ginger-kale smoothie, oven-baked chicken and sweet potato hummus. Samples will be available.

“The State of Food at UM” panel will be moderated by Catarina Passidomo, assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology, and will feature short talks from Chancellor Dan Jones; Jillian Cowart of Real Food Rebels; Christine Dickason of the UM Food Bank; Katelynn Dillard of the Office of Sustainability, Oxford City Market and Good Food for Oxford Schools; Kendall McDonald of the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network; and Dottie Reid of Oxford High School.

“I think it’s important to have a better understanding of where the food that we eat comes from and the people involved in that production,” Passidomo said. “Students in particular are at a good point in their lives to become engaged and to feel empowered to make a changes and I think that this is one area where they can set really specific goals. I hope the panel is something that students come to and feel inspired by and feel like they have new information about ways to get involved to make difference. “

The Food Day celebration at UM kicked off Oct. 8 with a screening of the documentary “Fed Up,” which chronicles the rise of the processed food industry in the United States and the health implications related to processed, sugary foods.

For more information about Food Day events, email or contact Lindsey Abernathy at 662-915-3442.

UM, Oxford to Celebrate Food Day Oct. 16

Festival to feature market, cooking demonstration, mobile farm bus and more

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss CommunicationsThe University of Mississippi Student Union Plaza will transform into an on-campus farmers’ market and festival on Thursday, Oct. 16 as part of the fourth annual Food Day celebration, a nationwide celebration and movement toward healthy, affordable and sustainable food.

The Food Day Farmers’ Market and Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The event features a mobile farm bus, farmers selling local produce and educational displays by campus and community groups including the UM Food Bank, Real Food Rebels, the Oxford Community Garden, Good Food For Oxford Schools and others.

During the festival, Blue Cross, Blue Shield chef Labron Alexander will perform a healthy cooking demonstration as part of the university’s new wellness program, RebelWell.

Campus Food Day events also include a screening of “Fed Up” on Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium.  Following the festival on Oct. 16, students will discuss “The State of the Food at UM,” during a panel discussion in the Overby Center Auditorium from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

For more information about Food Day events, e-mail or contact Lindsey Abernathy at 662-915-3442.


Panel discussion to focus on “The State of Food at UM”

Photo by Kevin Bain.  OverbyAs part of the Food Day celebration, the University of Mississippi is hosting a student discussion panel on Thursday, Oct. 16 from 5:30–6:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Audtiorium. “The State of Food at UM” discussion will be led by Catarina Townes, Assistant Professor of Southern Studies and Anthropology, and will feature short talks from Chancellor Dan Jones, several UM students and an Oxford High School student.

The panel will offer insight to university and community members about the current state of local food. The student speakers are individuals heavily involved in food issues and bringing positive change to the local community.

This year’s panel will include Christine Dickason of UM Food Bank, Katelynn Dillard of the Office of Sustainability, Jillian Cowart of Real Food Rebels, Kendall McDonald of Mississippi Sustainable Agricultural Network, and Dottie Reed of Good Food for Oxford Schools. Through this panel, participating groups aim to educate attendees about local food and strengthen a healthy food system within the Oxford community.



UM to Screen ‘Fed Up’ on Thursday, October 8

Fed Up DVD PosterThe Office of Sustainability is partnering with Students for a Green Campus, the Environmental Studies minor, the Student Dietetics Association, and Real Food Rebels to screen Fed Up, a documentary about the obesity epidemic in America. The free screening will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium.

Obesity is a serious health risk that threatens the lives of millions of Americans. According to the documentary, “over 95 percent of all Americans will be overweight or obese in two decades. By 2050, one out of every three Americans will have diabetes.” These are some of the major health concerns about processed food. Robert Lustig, professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco, explains “there are 600,000 food items in America. Eighty percent of them have added sugar.”

The Office of Sustainability is dedicating the month of October to celebrate real food and bring attention to local, regional, and national food issues. The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University explains how food is related to environmental sustainability:

“As individual consumers, and as employees in corporations, we make decisions every day about the food we buy, which gives us great power to reshape the way we produce, process, transport, and use food.”

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 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 to receive further information or visit 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 or email 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.