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Director's Note

Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope your Spring 2021 semester is off to a great start! This month, the Office of Sustainability launched a new YouTube channel and with it, two new videos we encourage everyone to check out (more on that, below). Our talented student employees have worked wonders on these! Be sure to subscribe to our channel to stay up to date with us.

In January, Compost Cats and the City of Tucson officially relaunched the commercial compost program, FoodCycle, with the opening of a new Compost Facility at the Los Reales Landfill. We also completed construction on the ENR2 Rooftop PV+ Project and expect research to begin later this Spring.  Looking forward, we will also be laying the groundwork for the University’s first ever Sustainability & Climate Action Plan. Stay tuned for information on how to provide input on this!

Finally, we recognize Black History Month and celebrate the importance of Black lives and Black leaders, both past and present, who have paved the way toward climate justice and a greener, more equitable and sustainable world. This month, we have been highlighting Black activists in sustainability and environmental justice on our social media accounts. Please follow along and let us know which Black sustainability leaders have inspired you!

Trevor Ledbetter

Director of the University of Arizona Office of Sustainability

Office of Sustainability Launches YouTube Channel
The Office of Sustainability has been hard at work creating educational videos about our projects and programs, and the first two are now available on our new YouTube Channel! The channel, which launched last week, currently features a video about Phase 1 of the photovoltaic (PV)+ solar and green roof installation on the ENR2 rooftop. Phases 1 and 2 of the ENR2 Rooftop PV+ Project were completed last Fall and earlier this year, and Phase 3 is currently underway. Watch the video below, and stay tuned for the Phase 2 video about this exciting project!
Rooftop Photovoltaics (PV)+ Project: Phase I | University of Arizona

We have also created a video that highlights many of the sustainability features on UArizona’s campus, from the active and passive rainwater harvesting systems at the UArizona Community Garden, to the energy-saving design of the Platinum LEED-Certified ENR2 Building, and the habitat that shelters endangered species at the Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory. To learn more about this video, read our blog post. And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and follow us on social media so that you don’t miss our latest uploads!
Sustainability Features Campus Tour | University of Arizona
Office Featured in Winter 2020 Sustainability Issue of Chamber Edge Magazine
The Office of Sustainability was recently invited to contribute an article to Chamber Edge magazine, a publication of the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce. The article provides an overview of the Office’s key projects, partners, and composition of our team. We were honored to be featured among so many noteworthy sustainability innovators and pioneers in the Tucson community! Our article appears on page 48.
Read the issue
Housing & Residence Life Kicks Off Annual RecycleMania Competition

RecycleMania is a friendly eight-week competition between the top college and university recycling programs in the United States. The competition began at the end of January and lasts through Saturday, March 27th. Join other UArizona students and staff competing nationally by recycling often and recycling right!

Dorm residents can recycle clean, dry, loose glass, paper, plastics #1-7 (check the bottom of the container to see the number), and aluminum/tin in their dorm’s recycling bins to earn points. Cardboard can be recycled in the outdoor cages. Plastic bags are not recyclable on campus but are collected in blue bins near each dorm’s vending machine, for reuse. Items that are not recyclable include hot coffee cups, styrofoam, plastic utensils, foil, bubble-wrap lined envelopes, and anything with food residue on it. Watch this video to learn more about what's recyclable on campus.

The top three dorms with the most points (points are based on recycling volume and quality) win. 1st place receives $500, 2nd place receives $350, and 3rd place receives $200. 

To find out more about RecycleMania, please visit the Campus Race to Zero Waste (RecycleMania).

Cooper Center Kicks Off Fundraising Efforts for Extreme Makeover
The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, also known as Camp Cooper, has provided hands-on environmental learning experiences to over 130,000 students since its inception in 1964. Located 20 minutes west of downtown Tucson and nestled in the Tucson Mountains, Camp Cooper serves student groups of up to 60 students, along with teachers and parent volunteers - all with facilities built in the mid-1970s. Thanks to a new 20 year agreement between Camp Cooper's organizational partners, Tucson Unified School District and the University of Arizona College of Education, Camp Cooper is, at long last, fundraising to transform the Camp into a modern model of sustainability that can serve more students.

The first phase of the Camp Cooper Master Plan includes upgrades to bathrooms, new shower facilities, and a solar shaded outdoor classroom. Rainwater and greywater will be captured and reused, and a modern, odor-free composting toilet facility will reduce water consumption while doubling capacity. Adding showers supports overnight programs, with the aim of making many students' first overnight outing in the Sonoran Desert more comfortable and welcoming (and less smelly!).

The Cooper Center has successfully raised more than $400,000 towards a $500,000 goal to begin construction on Phase I of their project, but needs to complete this fundraising round by March 1st to begin construction this spring. Thanks to a generous gift, the next $14,000 in donations will be instantly matched. Learn more and contribute at

Bio/Diversity Project Announces Virtual Art Competition and Upcoming Panel Series
Please join the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program for two upcoming Spring 2021 events with The Bio/Diversity Project! In March and April 2021, The Bio/Diversity Project will be accepting submissions for their virtual art competition. Students can submit submissions in a digital format with a description of their work to the following prompt: "Why does water equity matter for cultural understanding and biodiversity, and what does biodiversity mean to you?"

All art mediums are accepted, but must be in a digital format. The contest will address UArizona students' experiences with water inequity, other problems they have faced in their community, and the solutions they believe are viable.

Upcoming information on the virtual art competition will be available on the Bio/Diversity Project website.

Also throughout April 2021, The Bio/Diversity Project is hosting the 100% online panel series,"Overcoming racial and gender equity roadblocks to diversify leadership in environmental sciences." This panel will feature panelists from different academic departments within the University of Arizona and local Tucson agencies with expertise in their respective fields. Each panel will focus on an important aspect of overcoming roadblocks to diversity in environmental leadership. Find out more information about the panel series and RSVP here!

For more information about these and other events, visit

Please email Bio/Diversity Project program coordinator, Elena Greenberg, with any questions:
Take the City of Tucson's Climate Action Community Survey
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is inviting the community to complete the City of Tucson’s Climate Action Community Survey (in English or in Spanish) to help the City create a roadmap toward a more resilient future. The survey will kick-start the community engagement and prioritization process for developing Tucson’s Climate Action Plan. The input gathered will help the City reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases and respond to and prepare for the increasing impacts of climate change. The goal is to improve the city’s environmental and sustainability practices while increasing health, equity and quality of life for Tucson residents. Make your voice heard, and take the survey today!
Changes to City of Tucson Glass Recycling Program
The City of Tucson Mayor and Council voted to remove glass from the residential and commercial blue barrel program and start reusing it. Glass will no longer be accepted in the City’s blue recycling bins, but instead collected at drop-off sites across the city. Note that glass can still be recycled on campus, including as part of RecycleMania. For more information and a map of glass recycling drop-off locations, please visit

City of Tucson Household Hazardous Waste Program Seeks Volunteers
The City of Tucson's Environmental & General Services Department (EGSD) is looking for volunteers for its Household Hazardous Waste Program. Collection events were previously held at only one location, but are now expanding to sites across the city. Collection will occur on the second Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The full calendar of collection dates and locations is available here.

Residents can drop off household hazardous waste such as batteries, paint products, cleaning chemicals and more (a full list of acceptable materials is viewable here). E-waste and documents for shredding will also be accepted. To ensure the safety of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, EGSD is keeping all collection events fully contactless. Volunteers will assist in removing items directly from residents' vehicles and disposing of them properly. Masks are required to participate.

For questions or to volunteer, please email Chad Dyer at Volunteers should include their first and last name, email address, and contact phone number. Information about training will be sent out after signing up.
Arizona Student Energy Conference
Dr. Martin Keller, Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, will present an e-talk titled "Research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) to Enable a Decarbonized Economy by 2050" on March 5th at 12 pm. Students are encouraged to attend. Register here!

Planning for the 10th annual AZSEC Conference in the fall has begun, with Northern Arizona University as this year's host for the event. Please check the conference website for further updates:

City of Tucson Hiring Temporary Recycling Bin Inspectors
The City of Tucson's Environmental & General Services Department is looking to hire temporary Recycling Bin Inspectors. The City received a grant through the Recycling Partnership to start a pilot tagging program to help improve the quality of recycling. The position start date is still being decided, but would likely be mid-March. The job would be 6 hours a day, Monday-Friday, for 8 weeks - plus a week-long training beforehand. Positions are temporary, but the City may consider hiring full time staff members down the road if the pilot goes well. Candidates will:

  • Inspect recycling containers at residential households to identify contamination levels;
  • Report identified unacceptable material present in recycling containers via phone app (phone will be provided).

Candidates must be comfortable walking for long distances for long periods of time (up to 8 hours consecutively). Candidates must also have technology skills as they will be using a smartphone app. Rate of pay is $15 per hour. Anyone who is interested or has questions should contact Kendra Hall at

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