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Summer 2021 | Issue 2
If you have trouble accessing the content in this newsletter, contact Bhargavi at bhargavi.jeyarajah@uta.edu or (817)272-0199

Dear UTA community,

Welcome to our new subscribers! We hope everyone is having a great summer and gearing up to be back on campus in the fall. We're working on some  exciting new programs for the fall semester including an Electronic Waste recycling program, an Eco-Reps program for students, and a Bike Share program. We encourage you to share your sustainability story with us and the campus community. Please email Bhargavi at bhargavi.jeyarajah@uta.edu.

Upcoming Opportunities

Recycling Training - August 4, 2021 
2 PM - 3 PM
Office of Sustainability collaborates with academic and administrative departments to find ways to increase recycling. The recycling program, supported by the Office of Facilities Management, accommodates paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum. UTA also adopted a Recycling Policy. Join us for a virtual recycling training on Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Please join using this link.

Clean Air Action Day - August 4, 2021
The North Central Texas Council of Governments and Air North Texas are inviting us to participate in Clean Air Action Day. You can participate by taking part in at least one clean air action like working remotely, using mass transit instead of driving somewhere, signing up for air pollution alerts, and many other ways that are listed right here. Share how you participate on social media by using #CAAD2021 and tagging them at @NCTCOGtrans.

Bike Share Kickoff - August 26, 2021
11 AM - 2 PM

Please join us at the Bike Share Kickoff event to learn about and try out the new e-bike share program at UTA with Blue Duck. The location and more information are to be announced closer to the date. We hope to see you there.

Office Green Team Program


Sustainability actions at the workplace level can have a positive impact well beyond campus. After all, waste and emissions don’t stop at the campus borders—nor do the positive impacts of education and empowerment! A green team can integrate sustainability, equity, inclusion, wellness and community-building for a broad, lasting impact. Join the Office Green Team Program 
This campus-wide program provides resources, helpful guidelines and on-going consultation, and recognition for outstanding Maverick Green Offices. The Office Green Team Network is comprised of staff and faculty who are passionate about making UTA a more sustainable community. Read about some success stories here. For more information please email bhargavi.jeyarajah@uta.edu 
Seal for Gold Office Green Team members
Seal for Silver Office Green Team members
Seal for Bronze Office Green Team members
Sustainability in Arlington
Tony Pham - second year CAPPA student and Walkable Arlington Coordinator
Walkable Arlington's banner logo with an icon of a walking person within two concentric circles

It’s severely understated how much driving is contributing to climate change. Driving is by far the largest contributor to our personal footprint: according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the transportation sector generates 29% of the total greenhouse gas emission in the U.S. We, at UTA can make a huge difference by reconsidering how we travel to and around campus.
If we drive less, we will dramatically decrease our carbon footprint and press the brakes on climate change. However, this requires several approaches to reach our goal of decreased driving dependency.

  1. Encourage people to walk and bike more. From my personal informal observations, many students chose to drive off campus to eat. However, there are dozens of restaurants and establishments that are within biking and walking distances from the UTA campus. Not only can walking and biking be able to save us money on gas and reduce emissions, it is also much healthier. According to a study conducted in the UK, those that biked to work had 41% lower risk of dying prematurely, 46% lower risk of developing heart disease, and 45% lower risk of developing cancer.
  2. Build it and they will come. From the walk audits conducted by Walkable Arlington, we realized that many areas lack the infrastructure necessary to foster a walk- and bike-friendly environment. According to an article in Bicycle Times Magazine, investment was the key solution in Macon, GA. City officials in Macon claimed that no one rides on its three non-contiguous blocks bike lanes but the midsized city saw an increase of 800% in bike traffic after putting down eight miles of temporary and low-cost bike lanes and creating a contiguous and safe biking network. Jeff Speck writes in Walkable City Rules that Portland, OR invested about $60 million in cycling infrastructure over a period of forty years—enough money to pay for about one mile of urban freeway—and now sees biking rates at more than fourteen times than the national average.
  3. Take action and become do-ers. None of the aforementioned steps can take place without a concerted effort from a coalition. From my own personal experience, change happens when people get involved and work with fellow "changemakers." It wasn’t until a couple of students banded together to create Walkable Arlington that we're finally seeing some progress. City council members called us to ask about “walk audits” that we were conducting in Downtown, and we even got a spotlight from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Now, we are coordinating with several leaders in creating a more walkable and sustainable future. If you want more bike lanes and infrastructure, I challenge you to join the Bike Committee and become involved with the local government.
Three Walkable Arlington members discussing the walkability of downtown while conducting a walk audit
Walkable Arlington members conducting the recent June 26th walk audit in downtown.

At Walkable Arlington, we are seeing great optimism within our own institution and community as we push for a more sustainable and walkable lifestyle. With hope in our hearts and fire in our belly, I want you to join us in making history. Email Bhargavi (Bhargavi.Jeyarajah@uta.edu) at the Office of Sustainability if you’re interested in joining the Bike Committee.

Walkable Arlington is a local organization that seeks to promote walkability in Arlington. To learn more about Walkable Arlington and walkability in general, follow @walkablearlington on Instagram. To join the organization email Tony Pham at Tony@WalkableArlington.org or call  him at (469) 988-4353.
A diagram of a "complete street" has a dedicated two-way bus lane in the center, two lanes on either side for cars to drive on, street parking on either side of the car lanes for cars. and a bike lanes on either side of the parallel parked cars so that the bikes are protected by the parked cars.
This picture is the general vision for what a “complete street” could look like in Arlington. Attributed to National Association of City Transportation Officials from the Urban Street Design Guide.
Vegan and Vegetarian Dining at UTA
Megan Hein - Marketing Manager at Maverick Dining

Each year, more members of the UTA community are looking for vegan and vegetarian dining options that fit their lifestyles. Maverick Dining is continuously evolving the dining program to help meet this demand. Expanding the vegan and vegetarian options at UTA also gives guests the option to eat foods that have less of an environmental impact compared to meat products. Kalachandji’s Express in the University Center Market is an example of this. With this partnership, the UTA community can enjoy local flavors and a variety of vegan and vegetarian options.
 
Kalachandji’s is a local restaurant in Dallas that serves delicious vegan and vegetarian Indian cuisine. The Kalachandji’s Express concept offers their most popular menu items in a convenient to-go style that is perfect for a college campus. Something that makes Kalachandji’s Express unique is that unlike most on-campus restaurants such as Chick-fil-A, they are fully operated by the Kalachandji’s team.
 
Including local vendors allows the campus to enjoy local flavors and support local restaurants. Campus feedback is a key factor in adding local vendors. As Maverick Dining continues to expand and evolve its dining options, the team is always looking for campus feedback. This gives Maverick Dining insight into what flavors, cuisines, and restaurants the campus would like to see.
 
For those looking to share their ideas and feedback, there are several ways to do so. The dining website, DineOnCampus.com/UTArlington offers a feedback tool, or head over to their social media channels, @maverickdininguta, to send a direct message. Be on the lookout for their annual Fall dining survey and Spring focus groups. Over the last year alone, Maverick Dining has made multiple changes and additions because of student feedback and ideas, so it is highly encouraged for the campus to use these channels.
 
In addition to adding Kalachandji’s Express to campus, Maverick Dining has expanded its vegan and vegetarian options across campus. The Rooted station at Connection Café offers a vegetarian breakfast and vegan lunch and dinner, which even includes dessert. A wide variety of vegan snack options can even be found at the University Center Market. To view a full list of vegan and vegetarian options on-campus, Maverick Dining offers a Vegan & Vegetarian Campus Dining Guide located on Dine on Campus.
Plate of Indian food with rice, a curry, and vegetables along with silverware and a drink on a wooden surface.

UTA Team Develops POWER Tool to Help Cities Consider Waste-to-Energy

 Dr. Melanie Sattler - UTA College of Engineering
A team of UTA students and faculty members are striving to help regions turn wastes into renewable energy, by developing the POWER (Prioritizing Organic Waste to Energy-Renewable) Tool. The POWER Tool is a user-friendly Excel spreadsheet which cities can use to determine the financial feasibility of converting their organic wastes to biogas.

Via a natural process called anaerobic digestion, microorganisms can convert organic wastes – food waste, yard waste, fats/oils/grease, sewage sludge, manure, and crop residuals – to a methane-rich product called biogas. Biogas can be cleaned and upgraded for use in natural gas vehicles or pipelines; it can also be burned to generate renewable electricity. Digesting the food waste generated by an average American in one year, around 248 pounds, could provide enough energy for an electric vehicle to travel 41 miles or a compressed natural gas vehicle to travel 22 miles. Using wastes to generate biogas reduces the amount of waste that must be disposed of, freeing up needed landfill space. In addition to biogas, anaerobic digestion produces a fertilizer/soil amendment as an end product. In this respect digestion is similar to composting; however, composting does not produce renewable energy.

The POWER Tool can estimate the amount of organic waste available to digest in a region, as well as the fuel/energy produced (natural gas or electricity), costs/benefits, and emission reductions. It can also determine the best location(s) for the digesters. The team has also developed a guidebook entitled “Anaerobic Digestion of City Food and Yard Waste: Answers to 10 Critical Questions,” which addresses common questions that cities face when considering diversion of food and yard waste from landfills.

Students and faculty members working on the project are from the Departments of Civil Engineering and Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering, as well as the College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs. The work is supported by UTA’s Center for Transportation, Equity, Decisions and Dollars (CTEDD).
 
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