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GSU Plaza Goes Green

First Annual Sustainability@BU Festival today

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Sustainability@BU will give free mugs to students who sign a pledge to promote a greener campus. Photo by Vernon Doucette

This week we bring you “BU Goes Green,” a five-part series about efforts by students, faculty, and staff to make the University a greenerplace. Our series features green initiatives from composting to bees toliving off the grid. Read more about BU Going Green.

Fall colors may be fast approaching, but the George Sherman Union Plaza will be awash in green today.

The First Annual Sustainability@BU Festival is showcasing student clubs, University programs, and private companies that focus on environmentally friendly topics on the plaza from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“This is really a great opportunity for people to find out what’s going on and to get involved,” says University sustainability director Dennis Carlberg, whose office, sustainability@BU, organized the event.

In addition to the regular Thursday farmers market, the plaza will be filled with tables from sustainability-flavored student clubs, including BU Energy, the BU Outing Club, Net Impact Undergrad, Slow Food BU, and THecology. Metropolitan College is also promoting its sustainability program.

Sustainability@BU is hosting its own spot and will give away coffee mugs to those who sign up to Join the Challenge, a campaign encouraging participants to tackle at least one sustainable action a month.

Residential energy efficiency company Next Step Living is offering homeowners a free energy audit. Partnering with Mass Save, energy-saving experts will perform an attic-to-basement assessment of a home’s energy use. With the homeowner’s consent, they will swap incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient ones, switch showerheads to low-flow attachments, and put weather stripping on windows and doors. They will also check the home for potential air leaks and heat loss. Yes, it’s all free.

Other festival presenters include Zipcar, Save That Stuff, Goodwill, and a  host of other green friendly organizations.

Bluegrass band Tumbleweed Company is being broadcast live through BU’s student radio station WTBU, and BU Dining Services is hosting a Fall Crisp contest, with dining hall chefs offering their best peach, apple, and berry crisps for sampling. Again, that’s all free too.

Ten things we all can do to make BU a greener place; suggestions provided by the BU Energy Club and Slow Food BU.

1.  Wash as many loads of laundry as possible in cold water. The EPA estimates that running hot water for five minutes uses as much energy as a 60-watt bulb burning for 14 hours.
2.  Eat locally and sustainably grown foods.
3.  When pouring coffee (into a reusable mug), add the sugar and cream first to eliminate the need for wooden or plastic stirrers.
4.  Eat at restaurants that offer locally and sustainably grown food.
5.  Put heavy drapes or curtains on windows to increase heating and cooling efficiency. This allows you to use less air conditioning in the summer and less heat in the winter, plus helps you sleep better.
6.  Compost your food waste.
7.  Buy secondhand clothing. In addition to saving money, reusing one ton of cotton clothing takes only 2.6 percent of the energy needed to manufacture new items.
8.  Bring extra rubber bands and fruit and egg cartons to farmers markets. Farmers love reusing them.
9.  If you see a recyclable product in the wrong bin or on the ground, take a second to drop it in the right bin.
10. Purchase less processed and prepared foods. Cooking at home is fun, often more healthy, and kinder to your wallet.

The First Annual Sustainability@BU Festival happens today, September 16, at the George Sherman Union Plaza, 775 Commonwealth Ave., from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The festival is free and open to the public.

Leslie Friday can be reached at lfriday@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @lesliefriday.

2 Comments

2 Comments on GSU Plaza Goes Green

  • Anonymous on 09.16.2010 at 8:48 am

    In just a year...

    BU has made tremendous strides towards becoming more environmentally conscious. Congratulations is in order for all of those involved for such an honest and dedicated effort.

  • Anonymous on 09.26.2010 at 11:04 am

    bs at bu

    BU doesn’t recycle like you think…There should be recycle containers next to all the trash barrels around campus.More trash gets dumped that should be recycled.We see a few next to all these new fancy trash barrels around campus but not enough to even consider it a true recycle program..WAKE UP PEOPLE!

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