Officials at West Virginia University announced several initiatives aimed to create a more environmentally conscious campus Monday (Oct. 1) during a special ceremony at the WVU Mountainlair.
WVU President Mike Garrison, joined by Gov. Joe Manchin and state Department of Environmental Protection Cabinet Secretary Stephanie Timmermeyer, announced a yearlong program aimed to promote environmentally friendly practices at the University now and in the future.
WVU s programmanaged by the WVU Facilities Management unit and co-sponsored by the WVU Center for Civic Engagement and WVU Student Government Associationis called West Virginia University Environmental Conservation Awareness Now, or WE CAN . It consists of a series of educational, research-based and operational efforts designed to increase recycling and conservation efforts.
As a leader in the state, WVU has a responsibility to develop this program and encourage environmentally sound operations,Garrison said.The actions that we take at the University can have a direct impact on the environment around us. WVU also funds research on energy conservation and related areas that will have national and global impact.
While here, Manchin and Timmermeyer signed a proclamation,Change a Light, Change the World,a campaign to educate state citizens about how to make West Virginia more sustainable and energy efficientone way being to get more state agencies and households to make the light bulb switch from traditional incandescent light bulbs to the energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFL).
I am delighted to sign this proclamation that declares Oct. 1 as the �€~Change a Light, Change the World Dayto encourage all West Virginia households to change at least one light bulb in their homes this year,Manchin said.In presenting this proclamation, West Virginia joins other states in the nation to make a collective difference in our environment.
Garrison cited the Ecolympics competition taking place in the WVU residence halls this month as an example of the Universitys efforts to increase awareness. The contest will encourage students in each of WVU s 12 residence halls to cut back their use of utilities and increase their use of recycling.
The University also hosted a light bulb exchangewith partner Sylvaniaat the Mountainlair which provided community members a new CFL bulb for each incandescent light bulb they brought in for recycling.
The Universitys commitment to recycling has expanded into virtually every building and facility on campus. A dedicated team collects thousands of pounds of cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum each week, and the numbers continue to climb as awareness of the program increases.
The program also offers removal of bulk materials such as scrap metal, fluorescent bulbs, electronics and large volumes of paper materials for departments on campus that need to dispose of large quantities.
The collection of recycled materials goes beyond the hallways of the Universitys buildings; it also includes a successful program at Milan Puskar Stadium called Mountaineers Recycle. In conjunction with WVU Intercollegiate Athletics, student volunteers collect materials from tailgaters and fans at the stadium on home game days, resulting in thousands of pounds of materials. The recycling campaign was launched last year as part of Manchins REAP (Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan)The Next Generation initiative, and the Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority donates all proceeds to benefit WVU Childrens Hospital.
In addition, Facilities Management, in partnership with the United Way, operates theBlue and Gold Mine Saleeach spring that collects furniture, electronics, books and clothes from students and sells them during a huge yard sale. Over $25,000 in proceeds have been donated to local charities as a result of that event.
Conservation of natural resources is also an important aspect of the WE CAN program. Performance contracting and energy audits have resulted in the installation of energy efficient heating and cooling systems, low-flow water devices and more efficient lighting in new and existing buildings. One of the newest buildings on campus, the recently renovated Brooks Hall, also features a vegetated, green roof that reduces utility costs and storm water run off that can pollute nearby tributaries.
A campus wide awareness program aimed at having employees turn off lights, computers and electrical devices in the evenings and weekends could yield the University over $780,000 in savings annually.
In addition, green materialssuch as low-emitting paints, sealants and adhesivesare being used by Facilities Management workers on the WVU campus.
Garrison also highlighted the efforts the University is making towards energy research, citing the work being done on clean coal technologies. He said the University has been recognized nationally for its innovative research, education and training in responsible coal production and use.
WVU has a long history of research in energy extraction, environmental remediation, energy utilization and assistance to the states energy-intensive industries,he said.WVU faculty members are nationally known for their contributions to improve energy systems through research, service and technology transfer.
A special WVU Web site was developed as a gateway to campus environmental efforts. For WE CAN updates, energy saving tips and recycling facts, go tohttp://wecan.wvu.edu/.