May, 2010
Auburn included in Princeton Review's "Guide to Green Colleges"

Auburn prepares Climate Action Plan

Green Lunch Series on vacation through Summer

The Market at Ag Heritage Park to open soon for 2010 season

New website provides Auburn resources for public, media on Gulf oil spill

Hybrid Tiger Transit buses to begin routes this Fall

Eco Art exhibition in Biggin Gallery

Minor in Sustainability Studies, second group of graduates

New course in river basin management and planning

Climate change education campaign

Several university faculty working on green projects

Watershed conference planned for Alexander City

Auburn included in Princeton Review's "Guide to Green Colleges"

Auburn University is among the country's most environmentally responsible universities according to The Princeton Review. The nationally known education services company selected Auburn for inclusion in a unique resource it has created for college applicants, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges." The Princeton Review chose the 286 schools included in the guide based on the "Green Rating" scores the schools received in summer 2009 when The Princeton Review published Green Rating scores for 697 schools in its online college profiles and annual college guidebooks. Of the 697 schools that were given Green Ratings in 2009, the 286 schools in the guide received scores in the 80th or higher percentile.

The guide looks at an institution's commitment to building certification using the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources; and recycling and conservation programs. For more information, please read the news release.



Green Lunch Series on vacation through Summer

Once a month, the Office of Sustainability invites a speaker to speak on a Sustainability related topic for our Green Lunch series. The talk is free and open to all. This spring the Office of Sustainability hosted 4 such talks.

We thank all our speakers and participants and look forward to next year’s series beginning in the Fall. If you or someone you know might be interested in presenting a sustainability related topic at Green Lunch please email us. Look for the narrated webcasts for each talk to be posted on the Office of Sustainability's website this summer.



New website provides Auburn resources for public, media on Gulf oil spill

Auburn University has launched an oil spill resources website containing information for the public and the media. The site includes links to updates and continuing information, volunteer information and Auburn faculty expert contacts who can address the impact of the spill on the fishing and seafood industry, water quality and aquatic and coastal life. View the website here.



Eco Art exhibition in Biggin Gallery

The exhibition, "Eco Art: Auburn University students explore sustainability," opened this week in Biggin Gallery and will run through Sept. 1. The exhibition was created in response to "Art in Agriculture," a yearlong initiative that examines the intersections of art, culture, ecology, and the environment. The exhibit is sponsored by the Department of Art in the College of Liberal Arts and features sculptures, installations, drawings, postcards, and artists' books in a wide range of media and styles created in art classes at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. It is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.



New course in river basin management and planning

This team-taught class from campuses around the Southeast will provide a foundation for understanding the planning and management of river basins as a system from a biological/ecological, hydrological and geo-political basis.  Special emphasis will be focused on the planning and management of transboundary basins (interstate and among countries).  The course, FISH 6970, will examine river basins throughout the world with a special emphasis on ongoing management issues in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint and Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa basins in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. An optional laboratory section for 1 credit hour will be available. Contact Elise Irwin for more information.



Several university faculty working on green projects

Hanqin Tian, Auburn Forestry alumni professor, is part of a team that was awarded nearly $4 million in interdisciplinary NASA research grants to study how changing climate and land use affect greenhouse gas emission from terrestrial ecosystems, carbon and nutrient fluxes from land to the Gulf of Mexico, soil moisture and ecosystem water use efficiency.

Wei Zhan, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received a five-year, $580,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award to conduct research into a more efficient conversion of solar energy to electrical energy.

Mark Smith, assistant professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and a specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is developing ways to restore river cane that once covered floodplains throughout the state.

Puneet Srivastava, associate professor in the Biosystems Engineering Department at Auburn University and an ecological engineer has developed a web-based computer software program that could lead to cleaner water in Alabama’s top poultry-producing region and greener pastures in the Black Belt.



Auburn prepares Climate Action Plan

Since Fall of 2008, when President Gouge signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, the Office of Sustainability and many volunteers from around campus have been hard at work developing a carbon neutrality plan for Auburn.  Over 130 members of the campus community, including administration, faculty, staff and students came together in 9 working groups targeting: energy, buildings, transportation, IT, purchasing, grounds, food, community engagement and student engagement.  In the past eight months those groups have met 75 times to discuss and make recommendations on emission reduction programs, campus monitoring and accounting and procedures for increasing communication and participation in campus decision making.

Work will be continuing throughout the summer developing overlapping goals in Facilities strategic plans and the campus Climate Action Plan, performing cost-benefit analysis for recommendations, developing a project priority list based on emission reduction capabilities and evaluating potential target levels and dates. For more information contact Matt Williams at the Office of Sustainability 844-7777. Please visit the following link for answers to frequently asked questions about the Climate Action Plan. For more information on Auburn's Green House Gas inventory, which was used to set our reduction goals for the CAP process view this PDF.



The Market at Ag Heritage Park to open soon for 2010 season

Dates for the 2010 Market at Ag Heritage Park have been set. It will run from May 27 to Aug. 26! The Market at Ag Heritage Park is an open-air farmers' market held each Thursday, 3 to 6 p.m. at Ag Heritage Park on the Auburn University campus.  The Market offers locally produced fruits, vegetables, honey, ornamental plants, herbs, cut flowers, stone-ground grains, eggs, goat cheeses, goat milk soaps, baked and canned goods, and Alabama-roasted coffee. In addition, it often features the work of local artisans, educational booths, and musical entertainment.  It's open to the public and everyone—from Auburn University employees and students to local residents and tourists of all ages—is welcome. It is open rain or shine unless severe weather poses a danger to vendors or customers. Visit the Market website for more information.



Hybrid Tiger Transit buses to begin routes this Fall

Six new electric diesel hybrid buses will be added to the Tiger Transit fleet this coming fall. The new buses use an Eaton Hybrid transmission and were chosen for their reduced emissions, improved fuel efficiency, quieter operation and better acceleration. With rising fuel prices and the unavailability of biodiesel throughout times of the year, the decision seems to be a obvious one. They will look just like many of the other transit buses but will be differentiated by a hybrid logo and will most likely be spotted running on the internal campus routes.



Minor in Sustainability Studies, second group of graduates

The Minor in Sustainability Studies is going strong with about 60 students enrolled, and by the end of summer term 15 will have graduated. This is impressive interest and enthusiasm since the minor isn’t in an academic department that automatically attracts a certain number of students, and there has been very little widespread promotion about the minor. The Introduction to Sustainability (SUST2000), taught each fall semester, has become so popular that even with an increase in the number of seats there is a class waiting list.

The Senior Capstone in Sustainability (SUST5000) for seniors about to complete the minor was taught for the first time this spring by Alicia Carroll (English) and Charles Eick (Curriculum and Teaching). Most of the students worked in groups on projects in and around Auburn: local food purchasing for AU, a community garden for the Boys and Girls Club, education about toxic waste disposal in Alabama’s Black Belt, and a sustainable house design. The minor was highlighted in the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, as “one of the first truly interdisciplinary sustainability minors in the country.”

This May, 7 seniors graduated with the minor. They are Blair Stapp, Graphic Design; Thomas Atchley, Building Science; AK Roth, History; Linsey Grace, Interior Design; Trent Williamson, Business Admin; Olivia Martin, English; Kay Douglas, Building Science. Faculty who might be interested in participating in either of these classes should contact Lindy Biggs at 844-7777.



Climate change education campaign

Auburn University's College of Sciences and Mathematics, in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Education, has been awarded $600,000 from NASA to produce modules in the varying science focus areas of global climate change. The program, "Bringing Global Climate Change Education to Alabama Classrooms," will partner with the Alabama Science in Motion, or ASIM, program to effectively train teachers and educate students in grades 9-12 about the changing planet. Follow this link for the press release.



Watershed conference planned for Alexander City

Faculty, staff and students interested in watershed issues are invited to attend the sixth annual State of Our Watershed Conference: The Tallapoosa River Basin to be held at the Betty Carol Graham Technology Center at the Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City on Tuesday, May 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Conference topics include an update on the tri-state water wars, progress of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission dam relicensing and watershed management in the Tallapoosa River Basin. Registration is free, though preregistration is required. To register, follow this link, or contact Jayme Oates at the Alabama Water Watch Office at Auburn University 844-4785.