Texas Tech Pursues Excellence in Sustainability

Recycling and other green projects highlight campus efforts.

With Earth Day in the U.S. being celebrated April 22 this year, and Texas Tech University once again hosting Arbor Day activities later that week on April 27, the university is doing its part toward sustainability and being “green.”

Texas Tech’s official statement on sustainability reads: As a steadfast and committed member of the community, Texas Tech strives to promote sustainability efforts that will preserve and protect our resources.  The university is dedicated to educating its faculty, staff and students to reduce, reuse and recycle now and well into the future.

To that end, Hospitality Services is hosting two events for students Wednesday (April 25).

The Crush’em Tech Recycling Event begins at noon in the Student Union Building West Plaza. Students can bring two plastic bottles for recycling to trade for a free Crush’em Tech T-shirt, while supplies last, one per person.

The Dining in the Dark Buffet is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Hulen/Clement, Horn/Knapp and The Fresh Plate at Bledsoe/Gordon. The first “sustainability” buffet features green games, information, center pieces which will be planted on Arbor Day, and lights off to save energy. Participants are encouraged to bring their own cup to cut down on waste. The “All-You-Care-to-Eat” menu includes: carved crusted prime rib, citrus peppercorn glazed salmon, tender vegetable pie, brie stuffed  chicken breast, loaded mashed potatoes, rich man’s spinach, blanched broccoli, roasted corn, onion roll and assorted fresh cakes.

Allison Marble, Texas Tech’s sustainability coordinator, said there are some sustainable things easily recognizable across campus, such as the new Rawls College of Business Building that was designed to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Additionally, Marble said she is in the process of filling out the Campus Sustainability Data Collector survey to send to The Princeton Review, Sierra magazine, and the Sustainable Endowments Institute for them to rank Texas Tech in their publications.

Other notable campus efforts include:

  • In the past 10 years, Texas Tech has cut its overall electricity usage by 25 percent.
  • In FY11, 98 tons of waste were recycled on campus.
  • Last August 18 tons of cardboard were recycled.
  • Hospitality Services has a reusable cup program. Customers may purchase a reusable cup at the beginning of the year to refill for a reduced cost throughout the year. Hospitality staff members are given cups and can refill them for free during the semester.
  • University Parking Services implemented the ePermit system, eliminating 65,000 stickers or hang tags printed each year.
  • Texas Tech is a member of the Association of the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  With this membership, all students, staff, and faculty can create an account on the AASHE website to access its resources. http://www.aashe.org/

Melanie Tatum is chairperson of a sustainability committee of the auxiliary departments which include Housing, Hospitality, Rec Center, University Parking Services, Student Union, Barnes and Noble and the United Spirit Arena. The group meets monthly to discuss what each area is doing, goals and things to do to improve or increase sustainability efforts.

“Housing and Hospitality have been leaders on the campus for recycling,” Tatum said. “We started out recycling just plastic (#1 bottles), and we now recycle all plastic #1-7, aluminum, tin, all paper (newspaper, white paper, slick paper, magazines, etc.), cardboard, metals, carpet and other items as they come up during projects.”

View video of almost two tons of plastic being emptied from a compactor for recycling.

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CONTACT: Allison Marble, sustainability coordinator, Texas Tech University, (806)834-6566 or allison.marble@ttu.edu; or Melanie Tatum, chairperson, Auxiliary Departments Sustainability Committee, (806)742-1459 ext. 232, or m.tatum@ttu.edu.