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Director's Note

Dear friends and colleagues,

Happy Earth Month! 

We are excited to announce that the University of Arizona was recently awarded a pro bono consulting opportunity with Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D) to advance our first-ever Sustainability & Climate Action Plan. B&D has extensive experience working with colleges and universities, partnering with over 600 institutions of higher education to advance their clients’ goals. We plan to use this opportunity to jumpstart our Sustainability & Climate Action Plan process. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved this coming Fall!

The University also officially launched its inaugural call for proposals on April 5th for the Utility Modification Revolving Fund (UMRF). The UMRF is the University’s take on an energy efficiency revolving fund. Students, staff, and faculty are all welcome to partner with the applicable facilities support unit to submit a proposal. For more information, click here

For Earth Month, Students for Sustainability and the Office of Sustainability will be putting on a series of events from April 19th through April 25th - learn more below. The Office is also hosting a week-long Earth Week Challenge on our Instagram starting today, so be sure to follow along! 

Finally, Compost Cats is hiring for a few student Compost Specialists. More details below!

Have a safe and beautiful Earth Week!

Trevor Ledbetter, Director
University of Arizona Office of Sustainability

Students for Sustainability's Earth Week Events

The Office of Sustainability and Students for Sustainability have partnered up to host a series of fun, interactive Earth Week festivities from April 19 - 25th! Some events are online, while others will be held in person in a COVID-safe format. Be sure to follow @UASFS on Instagram for the latest updates. Note that some events require RSVP and will be capped at a certain number of participants. 

Looking for more ways to celebrate? Follow the Office of Sustainability’s Instagram account, @uarizonasustainability, for a series of easy challenges and life hacks this week to help you tread more lightly on the planet. Happy Earth Week!

UArizona Community Garden Updates
Spring is upon us at the UArizona Community Garden! The Garden has never looked better, thanks to all the gardeners and volunteers who dedicate their time to maintaining and revitalizing the beloved space. Recent projects such as a new pollinator garden have led to an influx of friendly insects that are busy keeping the colorful flowers blossoming.

A new herb garden has been planted next to the Ramada, and soon the little plants will be available to community members to pick what they need for cooking – though for now, they need a bit more time to grow! We are hard at work laying brick borders around all the beds in the Garden to standardize planting rows and add to the Garden’s charm. Check out this verdant sanctuary at 1400 E. Mabel Street, or visit our
website for more information about the Garden's various sustainable features!  We will also be launching our first ever Instagram account this week, so be sure to follow us at @uarizona_garden!
The ExtraVAGanza Project
The Office of Sustainability's ExtraVAGanza Project is a new initiative that provides free, reusable menstrual products to students on campus. The team held its first outreach event in late March, in partnership with the UArizona Campus Pantry. The team distributed medical-grade silicone menstrual cups from The DivaCup and washable cloth menstrual pads from GladRags to 150 students. Learn more about the event and how you can receive a free, sustainable menstrual product by reading our blog post or visiting the ExtraVAGanza Project website. One item is available per person, while supplies last. Cat Card required to redeem.
Sustainable Laundry Tips For Earth Week
Laundry might be a dreaded chore for many (sorry, we can't help you there!), but did you know that there are ways to make it at least a little more planet-friendly? Read our blog post to discover some low-cost, simple actions you can take to make your laundry practices more sustainable.
Announcements
 
Compost Cats is Hiring!

The University of Arizona Office of Sustainability is currently hiring for 4 to 6 new student employees, as part of the expansion of the University of Arizona Compost Cats Program. The deadline for applications is April 25th at 11:55pm.

We recognize that many students may not have the background or privilege to have engaged with composting and/or sustainability. As a result, neither of these positions require prior experience or knowledge in composting or sustainability. All skills and required knowledge in this space will be provided by the Compost Cats Program and the Office of Sustainability. Please see the position description below for more information and to learn how to apply.

Student Compost Specialist: Assist in day-to-day operations, including but not limited to the creation and management of compost/composting systems, waste management, K-12 and community-focused STEM programming/curricula, trainings for commercial business employees, potential operation of small-scale equipment for organic materials processing, collection and reporting of data to the Compost Cats Program Manager, auditing and/or decontamination of food waste loads (please be prepared to get dirty), participation in zero-waste effort events, and more. The successful candidates will inform and inspire the Tucson community about food waste reduction, materials cycling, soil health, sustainable agriculture, and environmental stewardship.

Interviews will be conducted via Zoom. Some work will occur remotely until further notice; however, in-person work, with the proper COVID-19 precautions taken and largely outdoors, will be required. More information on the Office of Sustainability can be found at https://sustainability.arizona.edu/ and more on Compost Cats can be found at  https://sustainability.arizona.edu/projects/compost-cats

Housing & Residential Life Wraps Up Annual RecycleMania Competition

At the end of March, Housing and Residential Life wrapped up their two month head-to-head dorm RecycleMania competition. Winners will be announced later this month. If you missed out on any of the fun education during RecycleMania, click this link to play the online game, “Sort That Recycling.” Test your recycling knowledge and learn about some new campus rules.

Cooper Center Exceeds Fundraising Goal for Phase I of Master Plan

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!). Thanks to donations large and small, the first phase of the Master Plan has been fully funded, enabling construction to move forward. A groundbreaking ceremony live stream will be held on Earth Day (4/22). Learn more here!

The Cooper Center is also partnering with Compost Cats and the University of Arizona Office of Sustainability to install a demonstration garden that will be used for educational purposes, showcasing live examples of desert gardening, traditional composting, native pollinators, vermicomposting, rainwater harvesting, and more. The Cooper Center hopes to begin planting this summer and welcome student visitors starting in Fall 2021. Find out more about this project here!

Bio/Diversity Project Announces Panel Series

Please join the Women in Science and Engineering Program (WISE) for their ongoing panel series, hosted by The Bio/Diversity Project! Overcoming Racial and Gender Equity Roadblocks to Diversify Leadership in Environmental Sciences is a panel series that features speakers across various academic departments and programs at the University of Arizona as well as from local Tucson agencies. Both of the remaining panels will focus on important aspects of advancing the successes of BIPOC communities and women within STEM. The panel speakers are experts in their respective fields and will share about their personal and professional experiences with overcoming challenges to diversify leadership within their fields. Find out more information about the panel series and RSVP HERE! Connect with The Bio/Diversity Project on social media by following @uabiodiversity on Instagram!

Panel events will take place via zoom on April 23rd and April 30th from 4-5:30pm. Join in for one panel or join for both! Once registered, participants will receive the zoom link and password. RSVP HERE!

Please email Bio/Diversity Project program coordinator, Elena Greenberg, with any questions: elenagreenberg@arizona.edu.

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! It only takes a few moments, and your opinion matters. The survey closes at 11:59pm on May 31, 2021.
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 https://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/announcement/glass-reuse-plan.

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

chad.dyer@tucsonaz.gov. Volunteers should include their first and last name, email address, and contact phone number. Information about training will be sent out after signing up.

#ThisIsCleanAir Photo and Poetry Challenge

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality Clean Air Program Team challenges Pima County residents to ‘picture’ clean air and submit family-friendly photographs and/or poetry (in celebration of April’s Poetry Month) regarding designated air themes by April 22, 2021, Earth Day! PDEQ Clean Air Program staff will choose the finalists which will be up for public vote the last week in April. Participants with the most votes will win prizes and all entries have a chance at being posted on social media during the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Awareness Week, May 3-7, 2021.

Air Quality Awareness Week themes:

  • Wildfires & Smoke

  • Asthma & Your Health

  • Citizen Science & Sensors

  • Environmental Justice Communities & Air Quality

  • Air Quality Around the World

Prizes include: 32oz. Hydro Flask water bottle, insulated backpack cooler, weather station, or a Loop jersey! See our ThisIsCleanAir website for details and use this form to submit entries.

Email HealthyAir@pima.gov with questions or for more details.
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