Sustainable Campus Days to Showcase Environmentally Friendly Initiatives

The Sustainable Campus Committee will be displaying AUC’s various sustainability efforts across campus today and tomorrow, November 24 and 25, as part of its first annual Sustainable Campus Days.

The nucleus of the two-day event will be taking place at the Sustainable Campus Days booth on Bartlett Plaza, with flyers and posters on display representing various groups and teams. Volunteers will be present to explain projects such as the green roof system and AUC Living Learning Laboratory, developed by the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment (formerly the Desert Development Center), as well as provide information on the graduate program in sustainable development and the newly released AUC Carbon Footprint Report 2.0 for the fiscal year 2012, co-edited by the Office of Sustainability and RISE. The report follows up on the Middle East and North Africa region’s first Carbon Footprint Report, published by AUC last year.

In an effort to increase community involvement in the AUC sustainability discussion, organizers are also holding Voices for a Sustainable AUC competition. Until November 25, AUC faculty, staff and students are invited to complete the sentence, “In order to make AUC’s New Cairo campus more sustainable, I suggest that….” Responses should be submitted directly to the Sustainable Campus Days booth or sent to colleen.devlin@aucegypt.edu. The winner will receive a bike, and the responses will be compiled and sent to the administration to inform the University’s strategic planning process.

Another way of winning prizes during the Sustainable Campus Days is by watching the newly released recycling videos, featuring AUC’s “Trash Monster.” The videos, co-produced by RISE and the Office of Sustainability, demonstrate how to use the recycling stations around campus through the off-beat adventures of a friendly monster as he sacrifices his love of trash for the importance of recycling. AUCians will be able to view these videos on the LCD screens across campus, as well as onAUC’s YouTube channel, and win prizes by answering three of the following five questions in an email to colleen.devlin@aucegypt.edu, also by November 25:

• What does the trash monster hope to make for dessert before he learns how to recycle cans?
• What instrument does the trash monster’s competition play while the trash monster is recycling food?
• What piece of fruit can you find in an observer’s salad when the trash monster is recycling his plastic tail?
• How does the trash monster try to reach his girlfriend in the glass factory?
• What is the trash monster’s reward for recycling paper?

Sustainability will also be celebrated in AUC’s classrooms. Some faculty members will dedicate the first five minutes of their Sunday and Monday lectures to the topic of sustainability and to play at least one of the Trash Monster videos for their class.

Sustainability initiatives on campus are numerous, from a sustainability focus in academic disciplines and various administration committees to student club activities and institutional efforts. Through the Sustainable Campus Days, organizers hope to help AUCians sort out the opportunities available, stress the importance of sustainable practices and increase student involvement. “Through a range of events and competitions, the days aim at enhancing environmentally conscious behavior on campus, increasing student participation in sustainability projects and encouraging all AUCians, particularly students, to engage in AUC’s sustainability debate,” said Tina Jaskolski, research coordinator at RISE.

The two major faces of sustainability on campus are the Office of Sustainability, led by Sustainability Director Marc Rauch, and RISE, directed by Richard Tutwiler. “The Office of Sustainability,” explained Rauch, “helps AUC manage carbon, energy, water and trash more wisely. The goals are to reduce AUC’s impact on Egypt’s environment and to achieve significant, permanent reductions in the University’s operating costs.”

With RISE, which has a more regional focus, Tutwiler noted that the center serves as “a research, education and service unit of AUC, dedicated to benefiting people and nature through integrated resource management solutions to environmental problems.”