Earth Day Fair Highlights UCSF's Green Efforts

UCSF's Earth Day fair brought out a record-number of environmental enthusiasts on April 13 -- all united around the goal of raising support and awareness for policies and practices to protect the planet. In fact, the annual event served as a one-stop source to find out about all the earth-friendly activities at UCSF, including the upcoming computer take-back days and Bike to Work Day as well as a UC-systemwide conference in June. For their part, Kathryn Hyde and Susan Bluestone, both of the UCSF Recycling Program, part of Capital Projects & Facilities Management (CPFM), was handing out free organic apples while promoting UCSF's upcoming computer take-back days in May. This is a free service for faculty, staff and students who want to recycle their obsolete computers or electronic equipment from home or work to keep them out of landfills. "Why is this so important? Computers contain heavy metals that can contaminate groundwater and pollute the air. By properly disposing of old computers, we can avoid these environmental consequences," says Steve Wiesenthal, associate vice chancellor of CPFM. Indeed, computer monitors have cathode ray tubes full of lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium and zinc. Federal and state hazardous waste laws already compel business to recycle office computers and other electronics, but moving environmentally troublesome products at the end of their useful lives to recycling centers remains an individual and institutional responsibility. UCSF has contracted with the Computer Recycling Center (CRC) to recycle computer equipment and other selected electronic waste. CRC will remove and wipe out all confidential and proprietary information from any storage devices and/or physically destroy the computer drive or storage device. The UCSF computer take-back dates and locations are: Wednesday, May 4, 10 a.m. to noon: Laurel Heights, sub-level 2 basement floor Wednesday, May 4, 10 a.m. to noon: Mission Center Building, loading dock Friday, May 6, 10 a.m. to noon: Parnassus Heights, Saunders Court and Millberry Union curbside UCSF is providing two options to participate: either drop off the unwanted electronics at a campus location or have it picked up for free. For more information about the pick-up service, email recycling@fm.ucsf.edu prior to the event. A pdf of the form required to be filled out for each item to be recycled is available here. UCSF is one of three university customers in the US to receive a $10,000 grant from Dell to be used to conduct computer collection events on campus. The grants are part of the Dell Higher Education Recycling Leadership Awards, a pilot program created to recognize select customers' commitment to leadership in environmental sustainability. Green Trend In recent years, UCSF has boosted its earth-friendly efforts as part of a UC-systemwide trend toward environmental sustainability. Under the leadership of Wiesenthal, UCSF formed an environmental sustainability committee made up of representatives from a cross-section of the campus and medical center in May 2003. The committee, now approaching its second year, is working toward a sustainable university which protects and enhances the environment and health of all. Among its ongoing initiatives are hosting the "green bag" lecture series, promoting environmentally preferable purchasing, monitoring and controlling energy and water consumption and implementing the UC clean energy standard and green building policy. But many campus groups are taking the initiative to reduce, recycle or reuse in concert with the committee. For example, Campus Life Services has made changes throughout its huge organization to move toward sustainability. Documents, Media and Mail has switched to buying 100 percent consumer-waste paper stock, which has saved precious resources or reduced consumption dramatically. Over the past three years, Documents, Media and Mail have saved nearly 1,600 trees, 75,392 pounds of solid waste and 681,733 gallons of water, according to Judy Flannery, customer relations manager. Transportation Services, also part of Campus Life Services, continues its systematic approach to providing alternative transportation options as well as its commitment to using alternative fuels and vehicles, which have been recognized by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. To promote San Francisco's transit first policy, Transportation Services encourages the use of alternative transportation modes with its award-winning rideshare program, which provides multiple options to driving alone. By switching to a combination of walking and biking, using vanpools, shuttles, light rail, buses and trains, the campus community can reduce the noise and pollution in and around the city. For bicyclists, UCSF also is constructing two new secure bicycle parking cages at Mission Bay as well as upgrading bike parking at all campus locations. And on Thursday, May 19, UCSF is sponsoring two energizer stations with refreshments for those who participate in Bike to Work Day, a healthy, economical, practical, and eco-friendly form of transportation. The energizer stations will be located at 2nd Avenue and Irving Street for the Parnassus campus and at 16th at 4th streets for Mission Bay. For more information or for help planning a bike commute, call 415/476-1513. Grassroots Efforts The University of California was prompted to heighten its environmental sustainability efforts by a group of motivated students. UC developed its green building and clean energy policy after the UC Student Sustainability Coalition began a "UC Go Solar" campaign in fall 2002. In December 2002, the Regents' Committee on Grounds and Buildings requested that the President undertake a feasibility study for the adoption of such a policy for all proposed new and to-be renovated buildings. In July 2003, the Regents approved a green building policy "for all capital projects, the principles of energy efficiency and sustainability in the planning, financing, design, construction, renewal, maintenance, operation, space management, facilities utilization, and decommissioning of facilities and infrastructure to the fullest extent possible, consistent with budgetary constraints and regulatory and programmatic requirements." The University's policy on green building design and clean energy standards was then issued to all campuses in June 2004. Among other requirements, the policy mandates that its new buildings outperform Title 24 energy parameters by 20 percent and achieve a level of sustainability equivalent to at least a Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) certified rating. In January 2005, UC issued the first-year report on progress. A second-year report, analyzing the impact of UC's sustainability efforts on energy use and building design and the effects on the overall capital program and operating costs, is expected to be released at the Regents' November 2005 meeting. The movement toward environmental sustainability now has reached all 10 campuses. In fact, representatives from throughout the system are expected to gather in June for fourth annual statewide sustainability conference hosted by the UC Santa Cruz Chancellor's Sustainability Action Council. The theme for the conference is "Building a Sustainable Campus Community." Scheduled for June 19 through 22, the conference will feature conference sessions on a variety of broad-reaching topics, as well as pre-conference field trips, post-conference workshops, interactive dialogue sessions and discussion groups, an exhibitor hall, walking tours on the beautiful, wooded UC Santa Cruz campus and an awards banquet celebration. Participants will come from UC, California State University, community college and private university campuses, government agencies, contractors, vendors, suppliers and the general public. For more details, go here. Source: Lisa Cisneros

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