UA makes the grade when it comes to going "green" - Tucson News Now

UA makes the grade when it comes to going "green"

The UA's Rec Center is a certified LEED building. (source: UANews) The UA's Rec Center is a certified LEED building. (source: UANews)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -


The University of Arizona is making the grade according to the "Princeton Review" for its commitment to going green.

The expansion of Arizona Stadium is just one example of how the UA is practicing sustainability. When the building is completed, it will be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, according to Joe Abraham, the director of UA's Office of Sustainability. It also will be a certified "LEED" building, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building. The windows of the building are North-facing, which Abraham says will reduce the need for artificial light, saving energy. 

The University is also a leader in other aspects of sustainability, including solar research. The Princeton Review noted the school's recycling initiatives. The UA recycles 800 tons of material each year, including newspapers, magazines and books. There is also an "energy dashboard" which allows the university community to track how much energy is being used and how much carbon dioxide is being emitted. Southern Arizona's temperate climate allows for a year-round bike culture, and students who use public transportation get a SunTran discount.

Abraham says the Princeton Review listing reflects other "green" recognitions.

"The opportunity it provides is for us to be telling our story to our campus community," Abraham said. "But also the community at large and I think because it's something our perspective students look to and more and more of them are liking to see what our commitment is, it gives them an opportunity to find that pretty easily."

Abraham says the Princeton Review is one of the most used sources for students comparing colleges and universities.

"We want to be bringing the brightest, best students in and a lot of them care about sustainability. We want to have the right kinds of partnerships with the people we do business with and a lot of them are looking to universities that have sustainability initiatives," he said.
Abraham says he is most proud of the UA's "Green Fund" established three years ago. A committee of ten students help decide how the UA should invest half a million dollars in sustainable projects and programs each year.

"It's been a huge catalyst in engaging our community and really moving things forward," Abraham said. "We've seen some of those projects now acquire external funding from non-profits and donors that would have never happened otherwise. so we are seeing all this leveraging and added value coming out of it."

To see Princeton Review's full "Guide to 322 Green Colleges" visit the following link: 

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