Once again, UND named a 'Green College' by 'Princeton Review'


Kate Menzies

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Once again, UND named a 'Green College' by 'Princeton Review'

At the University of North Dakota, going green and promoting sustainability aren't things celebrated once a year in April on Earth Day. They have become part of the campus culture that's engrained in nearly every aspect of its operation.

So, in honor of Earth Day ? April 22 ? it's time to reflect on the campus-wide efforts that have made UND more environmentally friendly. The University has participated in countless initiatives to promote sustainability on campus. What does sustainability mean to UND? It means that the University strives to meet the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Just last week, the University learned that it has once again been included in The Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges for its noteworthy achievements in integrating sustainability into the campus, classroom and community.

The move toward a greener campus began with educating individuals about global climate change-related issues. To do this, UND leaders signed a Presidential Campus Climate Commitment, which commits institutions to maintaining a sustainable, eco-friendly campus. UND was the first institution in North Dakota to sign this agreement.

This agreement established a commitment by UND to find ways to dramatically reduce its own contributions to greenhouse gases. An additional benefit to UND is reduced energy costs. And with reduced energy costs comes a reduction in operating costs.

Sustainability strategies already in place include the University supported shuttle program and City of Grand Forks bus service that transports students to and from campus, research by the Department of Chemical Engineering on the use of bio-fuels, and UND's recycling program, which keeps nearly 500 tons of waste material annually out of landfills, to name a few.

What's more is that UND has become more energy efficient. The lighting efficiency program alone has saved electrical equivalent produced by 164,610 100-watt bulbs.

UND has also constructed buildings that are certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED certification proves that an independent third party verified the building scored high for fostering human and environmental health through energy efficiency and eco-friendly materials.

The most prominent example of this is the Gorecki Alumni Center, which boasts the highest certification of LEED ? a Platinum ranking. The Gorecki is the only Platinum certified building in North Dakota.

The Alumni Center contains a solar-paneled roof, geothermal heating, recycled flooring and building materials, waterless urinals, a low-flow water system and a dashboard displaying the energy levels of different parts of the building. The building is a catalyst for change on campus, as other buildings are in the process of becoming green. The new Education Building on campus also received a Silver Certification by LEED.

UND's continuous efforts are commendable and are a testament to the forward-looking vision the University has for a better, greener campus. It will serve as a place that will provide sustainability and sustenance for the next generation of students, staff and faculty.

It's probably best stated in the American Indian proverb, "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."

Kate Menzies University & Public Affairs student writer

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