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Director's Note

Dear friends and colleagues,

Welcome to the inaugural newsletter for the University of Arizona Office of Sustainability! We’ve been hard at work making the University and Tucson community more sustainable, and want to start sharing our progress with you. 

Our goal with this newsletter is not only to keep you apprised of what we are up to, but also to provide resources that help you be more sustainable in your own life, as well as to offer opportunities on- and off-campus where you can get involved! We know newsletter fatigue is real, so we plan to only publish once per month in 2021, with a few special releases here and there. 

To keep up with us in our day-to-day, follow our social media platforms (linked below) or visit the Office’s brand new website, which features many of the larger projects the Office has in progress. 

Please let us know what you would like to see most from these newsletters here. We’d love to hear from you!

Finally, we encourage everyone to minimize travel and family get-togethers this holiday season to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We recognize that it has been a hard year already, however, we must do whatever we can to slow the current outbreak that is taxing our medical systems and the brave folks who are working tirelessly to keep us healthy. 

We hope everyone has a safe and happy winter break!

Trevor Ledbetter,
Director of the University of Arizona Office of Sustainablity

How to Have a Sustainable Graduation During Quarantine

Happy graduation season, and congratulations to all Wildcats who will be donning their caps and gowns for Winter Commencement! Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s graduation gatherings and celebrations may look a little different from other years, but you can still enjoy this important milestone.  Please be sure to celebrate responsibly and follow the CDC’s recommended COVID-19 safety guidelines.  Whether you are getting together with loved ones virtually on Zoom, safely spending time with your “quaranteam” (those folks already within your household or pandemic bubble) or looking for ideas about how to honor a green graduate in your life, there are many ways to keep the festivities eco-friendly.

Read the article
UArizona Named a Top School For Renewable Energy

We are thrilled that the University of Arizona was recently listed as one of the leading schools for renewable energy in Environment Arizona ’s America’s Top Colleges for Renewable Energy 2020, which came out in early Fall.  Page 19 of the report provides more info on UArizona's renewables projects.  By embracing renewable energy, colleges and universities can help create a better, healthier world for their students, future generations, and the planet. At the University of Arizona, advancing large-scale renewable energy on campus is a crucial step toward reaching our carbon neutrality goals.  

In response to receiving this accolade, University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins stated: “I am incredibly honored that the University of Arizona has been recognized as a leader in the transition to 100% renewable energy. As the state of Arizona's land-grant university, we are committed to being at the forefront of climate action. Through this agreement, we are taking an ambitious step toward our goal of achieving carbon neutrality." 

For more about the Office of Sustainability’s efforts in renewable energy, visit our website.  Congratulations to all the colleges and universities who received this honor and are working toward a sustainable, renewable energy future!

Photo: Red Horse II Wind Farm, courtesy of Tucson Electric Power (TEP)

Read the report
Featured Project: ENR2 Rooftop PV+ Project

Phase 2 of the ENR2 Building Rooftop Photovoltaic (PV)+ Project started the week before Thanksgiving, with the installation of 288 solar panels. These panels will generate approximately 74.5kW of electricity, which is about one-quarter of the electricity that ENR2 uses on an annual basis!

Agrivoltaic and PV+ systems, especially rooftop systems, are an emerging area of research, which could eventually improve sustainability on a large scale. Installing a green roof below the solar panels allows transpiration from the plants to cool the panels, increasing the panels’ efficiency and their electrical output. In turn, shade from the panels both cools the plants and helps prevent water loss in extreme heat, increasing plant productivity by as much as 300%.

Learn more


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 first collection is scheduled for Saturday, January 9th at the Eastside City Hall, 7575 E. Speedway Blvd. The full calendar of collection dates and locations will be released soon.

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.

Have an annoucement or event to share?

Submit it here!

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