Santa Clara University

sustainability at scu

Sustainability Update, February 2008

A monthly update from the Sustainability Coordinator for members of the Santa Clara University community.
In this issue:
Green Highlight
It's a dirty job...
Read this month's green highlight

Recycle Trivia Week
Get $1,000 for your socially innovative idea
Call for proposals - 7th Annual CA Sustainability Conference

See this month's news

RecycleMania Planning Meeting: Thursdays
Energy Efficiency Seminar: 2/21
CA Student Sustainability Coalition Convergence: 2/29 - 3/2
Undergraduate Science and Engineering Symposium: 3/7
Common Grounds, Common Waters: Towards a Water Ethic: 3/14

Read more about these events

What Can I Do?

Reduce: The Trash Project
Reuse: Reusable beverage containers
Recycle: Why recycle batteries?
Respect: Sustainable seafood

Read this month's 4R's


Green Highlight

It's a dirty job...

students sort recyclables from trash...but someone's gotta do it. Students recently dug through their peers' garbage to determine waste contamination levels - how many recyclables are thrown away in a given day?

The SCU RecycleManiacs (so named because they promote the national recycling competition called RecycleMania) decided it was time for a trash audit. The RecycleManiacs are a group of student volunteers who are commited to reducing the University's waste stream. Most students are members of the GREEN Club or Recycling Club and new RecycleManiacs are recruited all the time.

students remove recyclables from trash bags"We wanted to show students how many recyclable materials they throw away," said sophomore Kelly Ferron. "Every bottle, can, or cardboard box we found could have easily been tossed in the recycling bin."

The trash audit on February 12th resulted in nine bags of aluminum, plastic, and glass, and two full paper recycling bins. Many students passed the audit-in-progress and were shocked to see how much waste could have been diverted.

Students pose with bags of bottles and cans for recycling

The RecycleManiacs have scheduled an event each Tuesday through the end of RecycleMania. Upcoming events include trash art, adopt-a-game, and a dorm storm. Check out their calendar.

Learn more about RecycleMania, a friendly competition among over 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. to see which institution can recycle the most and produce the least amount of trash. Visit SCU RecycleMania 2008 for results, updates, and upcoming events.

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reused containers with recycle trivia signsRecycle Trivia Week: 2/18 through 2/22

The Recycle Trivia question for Winter Quarter will be posted online: "What's Going On This Week" undergraduate e-mail, Recycle Trivia, and Facebook. Campus residents: place your completed raffle ticket in your residence hall's service desk by 5 pm on Friday 2/22 to qualify for a $50 gift certificate to Sports Basement.
Don't have a raffle ticket? Check out your recycle magnet or e-mail
Learn more about Recycle Trivia

Get $1,000 for your Socially Innovative Idea
Are you passionate about making the world a better place? Have an idea about how to make your fellow students and your school more socially responsible? Want to turn that idea into a reality? Conscious Lifestyle is accepting applications for its 2008 venture program. Submit an application for the chance to win: up to $1,000 in start-up funding, web space on, monthly skill-building workshops, personalized support, and access to a network of social entrepreneurs. Application Deadline: February 15, 2008.
Learn more and download an application

Call for proposals - 7th Annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference 
The UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference was established in 2001 for the exchange of best practices between people engaged in, or seeking to learn more about, campus sustainability—from teaching and academic research to all aspects of campus operations. In 2008, the sustainability conference will be hosted at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, the first time ever at a CSU campus! Anyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Who Should Submit?
In order to foster a peer-to-peer network between and within the three California college and university systems, we are seeking presentations, micro-workshops, and posters from: campus operations and planning staff, faculty and academic researchers, campus administrators, college and university students, providers of the products and services delivered to colleges and universities in teams co-presenting with any of the above members of the campus community.

Presentation proposals due Feb 26, 2008. Poster proposals due June 1, 2008. Registration opens March 2008. Conference dates July 31-Aug 3, 2008.
Learn more about the conference

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For more events, visit the Sustainability Calendar. Events with an * denote on-campus events.

student places recycling sticker on a bin*RecycleMania Planning Meeting
8:00 pm, Thursdays. Commons at Kennedy Mall.

Join the Recycling Club as they plan fun events to promote RecycleMania at SCU.
Read more about RecycleMania.

Energy Efficiency Seminar
9:00 am - 3:00 pm, February 21. Pacific Energy Center, San Francisco

The Customer Energy Efficiency Department at PG&E is Presenting and Energy Efficiency Seminar
SCU will be highlighted as a case study of successful energy efficiency projects.

California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) Spring Convergence '08
February 29 to March 2. University of California at Santa Barbara

CSSC Convergences are the statewide gatherings of the California Student Sustainability Coalition - an event where community is fostered, skills are built, resources are shared, and life is celebrated! The convergence is free, but students must register.
Learn more about the CSSC Convergence.

*SCU Undergraduate Science and Engineering Symposium (USES)
12:00 pm - 7:00 pm, March 7. Williman Room, Benson Center

The symposium will feature talks by advanced undergraduate researchers from several departments, and it should appeal especially to newly declared science and engineering majors who are looking for a way to get involved in undergraduate research.  Faculty are also encouraged to attend, especially those looking for research students.
More information about USES.

water faucet*Common Grounds, Common Waters: Toward a Water Ethic
8:15 am to 5:30 pm, March 14. California Mission Room, Benson Center.
Professor Irene Claver, Director, Philosophy of Water Project, University of North Texas; Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Director, Center for Water Law & Policy, Texas Tech University; Professor Jean Fried, UNESCO and University of California, Irvine; and others. Presented by the SCU Journal of International Law and SCU Center for Global Law & Policy.
Co-sponsored by the International Law Students Association and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Free for SCU students, staff, and faculty.
Please register in advance for the conference.

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What Can I Do?

trashReduce: The Trash Project

Follow two people as they minimize their waste, attempting to achieve over 6 weeks of a garbage-free existanceAn excerpt from their blog: "This blog will serve as a journal for us to log the triumphs and tribulations of living trash-free in this trash-laden world. We're anticipating a few awkward situations, some marked frustrations, and of course no shortage of laughs - or at least good stories! We invite you to join us in this effort to reduce our garbage footprints forever!"
Visit the Trash Project blog.

reusable water containers and coffee travel mugReuse: Reusable beverage containers

The RecycleManiacs' recent trash audit demonstrated how many disposable beverage containers are consumed on campus each day. From water bottles to red plastic cups, and coffee cups to soda cans, we make a lot of trash! By reusing our own containers, we can reduce waste. Carry a reusable water bottle or coffee tumbler wherever you go. Mission Bakery offers a $.10 discount when you use your own mug. Fill up your water bottle at the free water filling station in Market Square.

Recycle: Why recycle batteries?

  • batteriesIt's required by law. As of February 2006, California became the first state to legally prohibit throwing away batteries and other items referred to as Universal Waste
  • They contain toxic metal and chemicals. If not properly disposed of, toxic heavy metals found in batteries including cadmium, alkaline, mercury, nickel, and lead acid can enter the environment.
  • Batteries pose risks to animals and humans. Batteries in landfills and incinerators leak into the environment, causing harmful toxins to end up in the food chain.
  • They contain recyclable material. Reclaimed metal and plastic from batteries can be reused to manufacture new batteries and different products.
battery bin How to recycle batteries at SCU:
  • Campus residents: place used batteries and ink cartridges in the blue recycling receptacles at each residence hall's service desk. 
  • Faculty and staff: send used batteries and ink cartridges to Facilities in an intercampus mail envelope.
For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions about Recycling and Waste.

Information is from Recycle: The Essential Guide and Recycling & Waste signs developed by Tracey Mangin, SCU Recycling Intern.

sushiRespect: Sustainable Seafood

Easy-to-use pocket guides or text messaging services help us determine the sustainability of our seafood choices.
From Ideal Bite's "How fine's your kettle of fish?" tip:

  • Blue Ocean Institute FishPhone - send a text to 30644 with the message FISH in all caps, followed by the name of the fish you want to know about.
  • Oceans Alive - download a pocket seafood selector.
  • NRDC - mercury info and another pocket-sized seafood selector that focuses on mercury levels.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Guide - download a pocket seafood guide.

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Future Sustainability Updates will continue to be distributed to SCU students, faculty, and staff through non-Essential SCU Global E-Mail Distribution Lists. If you are not a student, faculty, or staff member at SCU and wish to receive future Sustainability Updates, please join our Sustainability at SCU e-mail list.

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