Our Green Union
Union is staunchly committed to promoting an ecologically friendly campus and reducing the college's carbon footprint. In everything from the living environment to academics to the daily operation of buildings and facilities, we're continually taking steps to make the campus more sustainable.
President Ainlay underscored the college's commitment to sustainability when he signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007. Through the ACUPCC, Union promises to provide critical research and education that will help eliminate global warming and to develop a comprehensive long-term plan to cut emissions.
On campus, the U-Sustain Committee (Garnet Goes Green), made up of about 70 environmentally and socially-concerned students, faculty and staff, oversees sustainability initiatives and educates the campus community about ways to live, work and enjoy Union in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible.
Green Grant Program
This innovative program, started by President Ainlay, provides eight grants each year to fund grassroots sustainability projects. Grants have been awarded for projects ranging from an innovative way to clean car exhaust to an expanded community garden.
The College recycles aluminum, plastic, glass, paper, batteries, cardboard, food scraps and reusable items. Every year, container recycling helps to collect more than 150,000 containers and several tons of aluminum, plastic and glass. In addition, more than 40 tons of paper alone are recycled each year.
The campuswide "Do it in the Dark" competition sponsored by U Sustain challenges students to reduce consumption of electricity, gas and water. Further, wind turbines installed in 2010, supply 40 percent of the power used regularly at the athletic complex.
There is an organic garden, marketplace and organic café on campus. Dining services also has increased its use of fair trade, organic and local foods and has instituted an impressive composting program.
Union's Facilities Services has undertaken a number of innovative projects to support sustainability, including purchasing Segways and electric vehicles for use around campus. Union's newest academic building, the Peter Irving Wold Center for Science and Engineering, is a LEED Gold certified building.