UTPA Report: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

UTPA Report: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

POSTED: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 9:47am

UPDATED: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 9:47am

The University of Texas-Pan American’s commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle is rubbing off on other higher learning institutions.
It’s even catching on overseas!  As Roxanne Lerma tells us in this Newscenter 23 report, sustainability is a top priority on campus.

UTPA’s dedication to green living is sparking some international attention.

Chris Lash, McAllen Renewable Resources Manager, “We have German students here. They’re exchange students from Germany and it’s a great opportunity for us to exchange ideas.”

UTPA’s College of Business formed a study abroad program 15 years ago with the Leuphana University in Germany. As part of the unique partnership, a week-long conference on sustainability gave students like Christian Maly a chance to explore local environmental projects.

Christian Maly, German graduate student, “I think it’s very important that not only one country or one person will try to achieve or create a better world. We have to do it as a whole world I think.”

Maly was particularly impressed that UTPA has enlisted the help of local cities to expand and increase recycling efforts. Chris Lash, the Renewable Resources Manager for McAllen says it’s vital to work hand in hand.

Chris Lash, “It’s about being good stewards. It’s about being sustainable all the way around with water, with electricity and energy conservation.”

As part of the workshop the German students toured Pan Am to get a feel for the numerous sustainability projects on campus. There’s the Big Belly solar machine by the library -- a recycling station for plastics with a built-in compactor.

Chris Lash, “Recycling in particular it has tremendous global impact for the commodities and so for us it is really important to meet people from other countries as we try and broaden and expand this realm.”

A hydro-mulcher and wood chipper that produces mulch from recycled brush has also saved the University a lot of green on the grounds. Like in Germany, there’s a push to promote bicycling to cut down on fuel emissions, and there was particular interest in solar powered panels scattered around campus.

Marianella Quiroga-Quintanilla, UTPA Sustainability Director, “Our college of engineering students are actually tracking those and monitoring those and learning about solar energy, renewable energy. They also have solar panels above the engineering building.”

Maly says the panels gave him a fresh perspective on energy efficiency that he can take back and perhaps implement in German buildings.

Christian Maly, Luephana University, “They try to build it in a sustainable way that you don’t need so much a/c anymore and things like that so it is very interesting.”

They are small ways to save the planet. I’m Roxanne Lerma, reporting for UTPA and Newscenter 23.

As part of the sustainability conference, the German and UTPA students also got to tour an oil drilling site to learn more about the impact it has on the local environment.

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