A truly sustainable and resilient campus can only be achieved by a united community effort that spans students, faculty, staff, and even the residents of Fayetteville. The Office for Sustainability (OFS) is dedicated to fostering and enhancing these vital connections within the campus and city community, and seeks to reinforce them through the events hosted on campus. Exploring new ways of thinking about common problems is essential to creating a culture of innovation. As such, the OFS hosts events that bring diverse groups of people together, focusing on integrating our social connections with education on the science of sustainability
The 2016 Earth Week, from April 18th through the 22nd, was the most extensive sustainability event ever hosted at the University of Arkansas. The celebration was integrated into the entire week with different activities featured on each day. The activities were designed to reach a broad demographic, offering education, service, and entertainment opportunities.
Earth Week culminated on Earth Day, with a sustainability fair on the Union Mall. The fair had booths set up for 23 different organizations. The event included representatives from the City of Fayetteville Department of Parks and Recreation, Fayettechill, CLIF Bar, the OFS, and many more. All the representatives, whether local business, government offices, or campus RSOs, divulged information and products focused on social and environmental responsibility. The Earth Day celebration continued late into the night with an Earth Day themed Friday Night Live Event held at the Union. Overall, hundreds of students and community members played an active role in celebrating our Earth through the events held by the OFS and others.
Green Building Tour
A tour of Vol Walker Hall, a LEED Gold certified building and one of the most innovative structures on campus, was led by Steven Reyenga of Marlon Blackwell Architects who designed Vol Walker. The tour provided a behind the scenes perspective of design elements and efficient materials that make Vol Walker truly sustainable. Vol Walker is home to the School of Architecture and provides daily inspiration to the next generation of architects
Two trail clean-ups, lead in partnership between the OFS, Recyclebacks, and the Beaver Watershed Alliance, were held during earth week. The first was located along the Dickson Street bike trail, and the second had volunteers collecting trash and recyclables along the Mullins Creek trail. These clean-ups were a way to encourage students to not only learn about sustainability and responsible living, but to apply these concepts in their own lives.
RED Talks Go Green
The ASG hosted a night of RED talks – the University of Arkansas’ version of TED talks – focused on local sustainability. The talks included engaging lectures by a representative from Tri Cycle Farms, a local sustainable urban farm, as well from the U of A Center for Community Engagement Food Programs. The topics covered sustainability in the food system and were relevant to both local and global issues.
The Office for Sustainability (OFS), by invitation of Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), expanded the success of Campus Sustainability Day, historically held on the 4th Wednesday in October, to extend throughout the entire month of October. This was an opportunity to partner with other like minded groups on campus and host diverse events throughout October.
Project Clean Plate
Project Clean Plate takes place over a five-week span each year. This year, they had a big kickoff event with a chef takeover and film screening. During the first two weeks, Chartwells measures existing food waste to know exactly where the numbers stand for food waste on campus. Then, the publicity starts in the third week. Chartwells volunteers begin measuring total food waste each week in the same dining halls, comparing the average of those three weeks back to the original benchmark. This process shows the decrease in food waste that resulted from Project Clean Plate.
October 5th was host to the University of Arkansas’ Third Annual Bike Fest: an event dedicated to promoting bicycle use on campus as well as healthy living in general. The Event was a joint effort between UREC Outdoor and the Office for Sustainability. Bike Fest welcomed many contributors, including the U of A Police Department who answered questions about avoiding theft, the rules of the road, and bike etiquette, as well as local bike shops and organizations who taught students and community members about local trails, gear, and other biking information. The fest also featured delicious food and a bike giveaway - compliments of Clif Bar. The event attracted hundreds of students and community members, all of whom were encouraged to bike more and drive less, reducing their carbon footprint and increasing their quality of life.
The Game Day Challenge is a friendly competition among colleges and universities across
the nation to promote waste reduction at football games. The University of Arkansas
Athletics Department, Office for Sustainability, Boston Mountain Solid Waste District
and campus volunteers facilitate the program. In 2016, the U of A ranked 1st in the
SEC conference for the fourth consecutive year for the highest diversion rate and
10th in the nation for the total pounds recycled
with 25,620 pounds recorded.
During National Campus Sustainability Month, the Office for Sustainability hosted
a free oncampus screening of the 2014 award-winning documentary, DamNation. The film
explored the change in our national attitude towards big dams, tracing the impact
dams have on our nation’s rivers and their ecology and how dam removal is now seen
by many as a necessary and sustainable solution.
With a packed theatre on Dead Day Eve, the OFS hosted a free screening of the award-winning 2016 National Geographic documentary, Before the Flood. This documentary features Leonardo DiCaprio on a journey as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, traveling to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. Following the film, a panel of professors led a discussion with eager students.