UNI shows its 'commitment to c.a.r.e.'

Sustainability FourmThe University of Northern Iowa handed out its first Commitment to c.a.r.e. Awards during the 2010 Sustainability Forum on April 22 -- the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The awards, where c.a.r.e stands for "creating a responsible environment,"  recognize outstanding leadership, dedication and efforts to creating a responsible environment at UNI and acknowledge and honor the efforts of those who have significantly contributed to enhancing sustainability efforts at the university.

The inaugural Commitment to c.a.r.e. Award winners:

  • James C. Walters, head of Department of Earth Sciences and Energy Conservation Committee Chair           
  • Tyler Lorenzen, UNI alumnus and high school science teacher with Fort Madison Community School District.
  • Philip Wilson, UNI senior geography and psychology major
  • Halil Dulgeroglu, UNI MBA student

Lorenzen, Wilson and Dulgeroglu were recognized for their leadership in the Rider Recycling Revolution project through UNI's Recycling & Reuse Technology Transfer Center. This pilot program has increased recycling in Rider Hall by more than 300 percent over the last year, calling for a plan for implementation in all UNI residence halls.

According to the forum's keynote speaker, Faramarz Vakili, associate director of the physical plant and director of campus sustainability operations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, initiatives such as the Rider Recycling Revolution -- in which a few small changes and a little education have a big impact -- make a lot of sense.

"Sustainability is not some heroic action," he said via video conference system, which reduced the university's costs, Vakili's travel time and the forum's carbon footprint. "It's simply common sense and energy-use reduction."

Vakili directs UW-Madison's WE CONSERVE environmental stewardship initiative. His address, "If not now, when? If not us, who?" reminds people that they, and the institutions they work for, have a responsibility to use resources responsibly.

UNI President Benjamin Allen and UNI Executive Vice President and Provost Gloria Gibson also provided an overview of sustainability efforts across campus at the forum, which capped off a week of activities focused on energy reduction, conservation and environmental education and action.