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UNT Insider | September 2008 Issue | We Mean Green

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'We Mean Green' solidifies UNT commitment to sustainable living

From a UNT News Service Press Release

water bottle

The Mean Green nation now means green.

The University of North Texas is launching "We Mean Green," a university-wide public awareness campaign to discuss and promote sustainability events and opportunities and generate a sense of responsibility and excitement about reducing, reusing and recycling.

"Living green has long permeated the UNT experience, and our campus has for years made environmentally responsible choices in the way we conduct our business," UNT President Gretchen M. Bataille says. "Branding those campus-wide choices with our 'We Mean Green' campaign will remind us all about the depth of the impact we each have on the future."

"We Mean Green" will kick off Oct. 10-11 with a free public conference on renewable energy and the environment, sponsored by the North Texas Energy & Environment Club. The campaign also will promote UNT's new eco-friendly filtered water system. Free reusable water bottles will be provided across campus to replace disposable, plastic ones.

In addition, a "We Mean Green" committee of students, staff and faculty will publicize UNT's wide-ranging environmental efforts and activities, from recycling programs in residence halls to efforts to make buildings more energy efficient. To learn more, check out the "We Mean Green" Facebook group.

"Our intent is to create a venue where all UNT organizations can funnel their green initiatives to effectively reach everyone on campus, and create awareness about how to be more conscious of our individual carbon footprint at UNT and in the world," says Jessica Nichols, UNT's coordinator of specialized marketing and program spokeswoman. "This is an exciting opportunity for campus collaboration, group diversity and an understanding of where UNT is on a 'green' global scale."

This movement grew out of a marketing class project. Biology Professor Thomas LaPoint coined the term "We Mean Green," in spring 2008 when speaking with students in Francisco Guzman's class, who were developing branding campaigns about UNT's green efforts.

The public awareness initiative continues UNT's ongoing commitment to sustainability:

  • UNT has reduced its carbon footprint by cutting its carbon dioxide output from natural gas by 15 percent, or more than 50 million pounds, in the past 10 years.
  • This fall, the university will purchase a bio-diesel fuel generator that will convert cooking oil from campus cafeterias into diesel fuel for UNT vehicles for about $1 a gallon.
  • The facilities department plans to replace its gasoline-powered cars, with eight new electric vehicles taking the road this fall.
  • In 2007, the university recycled 363 tons of paper and cardboard. In 2008, that number is likely to hit 369 tons.
  • Each week, 12,000 to 14,000 plastic bottles are recycled. Each month, 300 pounds of aluminum cans are recycled.

UNT became the first large public university in Texas to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a growing nationwide initiative of college and university presidents and chancellors dedicated to counteracting climate change by taking steps to make their campuses climate neutral.

UNT is the first university in the nation to partner with the Chiapas Project a nonprofit organization designed to help improve the lives of women and families in some of the world's poorest countries by recycling cell phones and printer cartridges, which would normally clog landfills.

"At UNT, 'We Mean Green' can help bridge the North Texas community and help unify sustainable efforts across the local economy," says Brandon Morton, a UNT student and committee member. "As students, we help promote the latest trends to 'go green.'"

UNT News Service Press Release
Sarah Bahari can be reached at sarah.bahari@unt.edu.

Read other stories in this issue:

September 2008

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