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Director's Note

Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope your Fall 2021 semester is going well! This month, the Office of Sustainability is officially launching the new Campus Sustainability Fund. We also welcomed a new full-time staff member, Emily Haworth, who will serve as the Fund’s new Coordinator! Building on the past successes of the University of Arizona Green Fund, the Campus Sustainability Fund will provide funding to support large- and small-scale sustainability projects that build a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future for the University of Arizona.

The Campus Sustainability Fund is pleased to launch its inaugural call for proposals and will begin accepting applications for small, “mini grant” projects in amounts of up to $7,500 for Fall 2021! We strongly encourage all members of the campus community, particularly students, to submit proposals. 

Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis through the end of November, with the last deadline of the semester being November 22. For more information, check out our Fall 2021 Info document including our interim eligibility and evaluation criteria.

Not able to put a proposal together this semester, or interested in a larger project? We will also have a similar mini grant opportunity in place in the Spring 2022 semester and will announce a call for proposals for larger projects, so stay tuned!

Our newsletter will be moving to a quarterly format and one that integrates announcements from all of the Office’s programs, including Compost Cats, the UArizona Community Garden, and the Campus Sustainability Fund. Keep an eye out for our next edition in January!

Finally, the Office is currently hiring for six new student employee positions to build out the new Campus Sustainability Fund and to support the Sustainability Map and a forthcoming Campus Sustainability Tour! More details on each opening are available on Handshake.


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

Partnership with Student Unions to Reduce Waste
The University of Arizona Student Unions recently made a commitment to curtail more of its waste, and has been working with the Office of Sustainability on this joint project.  The Unions purchased new user-friendly waste bins to help patrons more easily divert materials away from the landfill. The Office of Sustainability had the pleasure of helping the Unions select the new three-bin system that collects compostable materials, recyclables, and landfill waste. These new bins utilize a unified coloring system for the three waste streams, and feature built-in space for signage that will make it easier for campus users to decide if their waste is compostable, recyclable, or truly trash. Our very own Office of Sustainability student graphic designers created the signage for the new bin systems.  So next time you are in the Student Union Memorial Center, look out for the new bins and signs!  Help us #beardownonwaste!
Compost Cats Corner
Bucket Program Expansion

There have been some awesome changes to our signature Compost Cats Bucket Program! We are expanding the program to allow even more participants to join, as well as upgrading our buckets to include a five gallon option for those of you who filled the two gallon quickly. 

Since the start of the Bucket Program over a year ago, Compost Cats and our participants have helped to divert over 12,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill! The number of participants has also quadrupled and we are excited to welcome many new participants! If you are interested in becoming a member of the Compost Cats Bucket Program, email for more information, fill out our interest form, or visit the UArizona Community Garden during our usual Bucket Program hours, Monday 4-6pm and Saturdays 8-10am, to sign up!

Demonstration Sites
Compost Cats now has a total of three composting demonstration sites on campus and in the community. These sites provide space to host classes, tours, and other public education events, while also offering novel research opportunities for faculty and students investigating topics ranging from carbon and nutrient cycling to food security and food safety.

Tucson Village Farm
Throughout the summer and into this semester, Compost Cats, in partnership with Tucson Village Farm (TVF), established our second demonstration site! While working on getting our six-bin composting system built and ready to begin processing food waste, we also helped to run fun and educational summer camps at TVF. We also created and now maintain a vermicomposting system!  This fall, we are working with TVF to host weekly field trips with local elementary schoolers to learn more about composting and food waste!

Cooper Center
Compost Cats, in tandem with the Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, has been building another demonstration site at the Cooper Center to further the mission of providing K-12 students with a chance to explore the Sonoran Desert and learn about environmental science concepts, while deepening their connection to the Earth. Since the project began, Compost Cats has worked to enclose the demonstration space with a live ocotillo fence, installed an ADA-compliant deconstructed gravel path, and built six planter beds to hold native pollinator and local foods gardens!
Harvest Season at the UArizona Community Garden
Autumn has arrived at the UArizona Community Garden! We recently welcomed back our dedicated Students for Sustainability volunteers, who harvested a bevvy of pomegranates and chiltepins, and donated them to the UArizona Campus Pantry. Over the summer, the Garden made significant headway on several projects as well, including the construction of a new greenhouse and more brick-lined beds.  We had a prolific harvest of fresh herbs grown in the Community Herb Garden (which, consequently, all are welcome to gather from)!  Our two pollinator garden plots have attracted a variety of bird and insect friends who help keep our plants healthy, and draw passersby who stop to admire the blooms. 

As the Garden glides further into fall, hardy greens and root vegetables will soon abound. Ears of corn, pumpkins, gourds, and vibrant marigolds are nearly ready to be enjoyed inside the kitchen and outside as festive decor. For UArizona Community Garden updates directly from the root, visit the Garden at 1400 E. Mabel Street anytime, checkout our website, and follow @uarizona_garden on Instagram. Happy harvesting! 
Alumni Spotlight
Check out our blog post about Office of Sustainability student employee alumnus Fahad Alshammry, who shares his passion for sustainability and talks about a recent contest he participated in through the MiSK Foundation of Saudi Arabia.  Fahad placed 8th out of 850 entrants!  
Read more here
Housing & Residence Life
Carpet Renovation Project
The UArizona Housing & Residential Life team found a way to minimize the environmental impact of a summer flooring renovation project in one of its dorms, recycling a whopping 18,000 square feet of carpet!  Learn more about this exciting initiative by checking out the article on the Housing & Residential Life website.
Read more here
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University of Arizona Office of Sustainability · 1064 E. Lowell St. · Rm N495 · Tucson, AZ 85721-0137 · USA