With the creation of the Green Initiative, the University is saving energy and becoming more environmentally conscious. The Green Initiative is funded by the Student Green Fee, approved by a student vote.
Green Fee funds began coming into the University in 2007-08 and as a result, a recycling program in campus housing units was initiated in fall 2008. Recycling containers were purchased and a new contract was established with Orange Grove.
Recycling is clearly important for all the typical environmental reasons including saving trees, cutting energy used in creating new products, and being good stewards of the earth, according to Claire Terney, campus recycling educator.
“Recycling on our campus is also beneficial in ways that are not always addressed. The success of the recycling program is due to the Orange Grove Center employees, who are developmentally disabled adults. So by providing jobs, we are serving the community. In addition, the creation of the jobs at Orange Grove Center aid in the economic growth of the local community,” Terney said.
Terney’s responsibilities are to educate students about the recycling program and the importance of their participation. She also uses alternative education methods to continue to build student excitement and involvement for the program.
Last year, the University began purchasing green energy from TVA’s Green Power Switch program. UTC is listed on TVA’s web page as a “Green Power Leader,” according to Dr. David Aborn, Associate Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences. Aborn works with the University’s Environmental Task Force and serves as faculty advisor for Ecological Decisions for a Global Environment (EDGE).
“Money was also used to install motion sensors in all the classrooms, and those are expected to pay for themselves in electricity savings within one-two years,” Aborn said.
Other items the UTC Environmental Task Force approved were funds to:
- help the City of Chattanooga map stormwater runoff on campus
- begin the process of getting the campus certified as an arboretum
- pay for Claire Terney’s position
- and to provide educational materials about recycling.
Success with the campus housing recycling could lead to an expansion of the program, according to Aborn.
“Other items under consideration for this year include a rainwater collection system that would help irrigate the intramural fields, replacing some of the gas powered golf carts and Gator carts with electric ones, and possibly helping ATTI provide solar powered signs at the bus stops on campus,” Aborn said.