Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
ATLANTA - Georgia State University has recently been made a Silver Level member of the Partnership for a Sustainable Georgia within Georgia's Department of Natural Resources for its commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.
The Silver Level status is awarded to entities which have put policies in place and are keeping track of environmental sustainability statistics, including trash generation, energy usage, water usage and recycling.
"We're proud of the Silver Level status because we are one of only two institutions in the University System of Georgia who have attained it," said Michael Thompson, Environmental Programs Manager in the Office of University Research Services and Administration. "We have so much interest on campus from students, faculty and staff to go greener."
With a focus on water and energy, the university hopes to see a 5 percent reduction in water and energy usage per year over the next five years.
In 2006, GSU started a sustainability program to gain baseline measurements of environmental sustainability, and pushed forward with efforts to reduce waste, save water and energy, and increase recycling, Thompson said. GSU's Environmental Programs Advisory Committee (EPAC) oversees the implementation of these policies.
GSU faces particular challenges as it is an urban campus with older buildings that were built before certain standards were established, Thompson said. But the university has forged ahead with its environmental efforts in the construction of newer facilities, such as the Student Recreation Center and the newest addition to campus, the Parker H. Petit Science Center.
A large number of fluorescent light bulbs, associated ballasts, and batteries also continue to get recycled. Last year, GSU recycled nearly three miles of fluorescent bulbs and over five tons of ballasts. Thompson's immediate goals are to evaluate water pipes across campus for leaks and to explore the possibility of establishing charging stations for electric cars.
There are also policies and programs in place to reduce waste and water and energy usage. Recycling containers are ubiquitous across campus, and low-flow toilets and sinks have been installed. In addition, water collection tanks are capturing rainwater, and the Petit Science Center reuses water that has been used for cooling purposes.
As part of the partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Thompson and his team plan to do more community outreach and training in the coming years. For questions regarding GSU's sustainability program, contact Michael Thompson at (404) 413-3551 or email@example.com.
April 4, 2011