Author: Ryan Murrell

Clearing the supposed wetlands and opposition to it

Although the area on the west side of campus were once wetlands, the deterioration of the area resulted in a positive use of the badly-needed space where they stood. Last semester, the decision was made to remove from campus an area referred to as wetlands. This is not a negative choice for this area. This decision will utilize an area of land on campus that was not classified properly, had not been used in over five years and provides additional land for a campus that struggles to find space. “We brought in the Army Core of Engineers to test if it was a wetland or not,” said Jim Michaelis, associate vice president of Facilities Planning. “After eighteen months of testing, it was shown that the area was not a wetland.” When the university built its events center, that land was classified as a wetland. When a wetland is constructed over, it has to be mitigated, in this case to the south of Utah Lake. When this more recent area was removed for more parking and playing fields, there was no required mitigation of this land. “We were not required to mitigate this land,” said Michaelis. “When people mention mitigation, we are still working on the previous mitigation from the event center. It is not holding to the south of Utah Lake, so we are working on moving it to...

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Sitting, waiting, wasting

Dining Services must reduce what it produces Dining Services works hard to reduce the amount of waste they produce each year. Unfortunately, the gap in the amount of waste produced compared to the effort to reduce waste is too large to overcome without major change. There are two contributing factors to waste production on campus: Styrofoam use and food waste. Dining Services attempts to discourage the use of these containers by charging for them. “The cost to produce a Styrofoam container is fourteen cents. Dining services charges fifteen cents,” said Val Brown, Director of Dining Services. “We could do some signage, about how long it takes to biodegrade. We haven’t done that, but we do charge to help discourage, or offset, the cost of it.” More needs to be done to discourage Styrofoam use. Charging more than what it costs to produce is just a way to make money, not to reduce the use or the waste. If Styrofoam use is to continue on campus, with no steps to discourage its use, the University needs to take action to recycle this Styrofoam. Currently, UVU’s Styrofoam recycle plans are dependent on BYU. “BYU has, whether they have installed it or not, a recycle area for anything that is Styrofoam,” said Val. “The plan was for us to box up our Styrofoam and take it up to BYU to have it...

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The green in the Wolverines

The U. and BYU are years behind the energy conservation programs already in place here at UVU. This university has been a leader in energy conservation for many years. When compared to the major universities in the state, our program is years ahead of Utah’s other universities. We have been conscious of energy conservation for 40 years, when the school implemented geothermal wells to heat and cool the buildings around campus. The water is pumped up a well on one side of campus, is used to warm the air and then is pumped back into the aquifer on the other side of campus. No water is actually removed, tampered with or otherwise altered. Since 2008, the University of Utah has installed two 3-kilowatt solar photovoltaic systems on their main campus. These installations are anticipated to be the first of many as the university strives for climate neutrality. We are leading the state in energy efficiency. The U. is not the only university behind the standard set by our own campus energy practices. With only two implementations for energy conservation, changing light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent and adding motion sensors for lights, BYU doesn’t seem overly concerned either. Another focus for the university is that of water consumption and waste. Our campus receives irrigation water directly from local reservoirs that flow naturally to the university without pumping. During the...

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Campus recycling is more serious than buying a Prius

The university’s recycling program has improved over the last few years, and with key additions being discussed for implementation, it only looks to get better. Headed by the Sustainability Committee, the recycling program was adopted to help the campus become green and reduce its overall carbon footprint. The committee is charged with developing, innovating and suggesting potential projects to increase sustainability on campus. The first implementation within the recycling program was the acquisition of a bailer for all cardboard products. “We got the bailer installed for cardboards, and we are running 18,000 to 22,000 pounds of cardboard per month. That is just cardboard,” said Denny Rucker, Sustainability Committee member. The original idea behind the cardboard bailer was to sell the bails of cardboard to recycling companies for a profit, but as the recycling program evolved, the expectations changed as well. “We use those funds to hire people to collect the goods,” Rucker said. “We have created jobs and we have people cleaning up in areas that we normally wouldn’t. It’s still profit, it just depends on how you look at it.” Besides acquiring new employees, the committee has made it a point to increase campus-wide awareness of the recycling program. One year ago, the university purchased 230 additional recycling bins to place around campus and the effort to increase awareness has increased. “We have about double the number of...

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Education available 24/7

Education has always been on set schedules. Class is at a specific time, on a specific day. Online classes, however, provide students with a freedom that on-campus classes do not — freedom of time. Referred to as Distance Education, online classes are no different in coursework and length than attending class on campus. The courses are semester-based, meaning that they begin and end at the same time the on-campus classes do. Instead of having to fight traffic, parking and crowds for an entire semester, enjoy your freed-up time by taking an online course. While many of the courses have scheduled dates for tests and assignments to be turned in, the course content can be accessed anytime of day, on any day of the week, from anywhere with an Internet connection. This gives the students the freedom to attend class when it is most convenient for them. “Taking online classes was the best decision I have made,” said student Jared Fager. “Online classes here are the best.” UVU recognizes the importance and convenience that online classes bring to students. The university is planning on raising the amount of curriculum that is offered online. Distance Education offers just over 150 courses right now. The current plan is to have the amount of all courses available online around 20 percent. “[That’s] the number the president has used [for] curriculum online,” said Dan...

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