New Solar Arrays, Biking to Campus and E-waste Recycling Highlight U Earth Week

Press conferences scheduled to unveil solar power system and bicycle master plan

April 16, 2012 – A new bicycle master plan will be unveiled at the annual Earth Fest celebration. The official national observance of Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, which marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement, started in 1970.

As part of the week’s events, Earth Fest event will take place at the Olpin Student Union Plaza on Thursday, April 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The celebration will be highlighted that day on Thursday, April 19 at 11:30 a.m. by a press a press conference on the Union plaza to announce the new Bicycle Master Plan for campus. On hand to make the announcement will be Alma Allred, director of Commuter Services, Myron Willson, director of the Office of Sustainability, and Vicki Bennett, director of Salt Lake City’s Division of Sustainability and Environment. In a show of support, ASUU will be giving away one of its U branded cruiser bicycles.

The new Bicycle Master Plan sets the vision for a bicycle-friendly campus. “We are so lucky to have the support of Salt Lake City for our Bicycle Master Plan,” says Willson. “Mayor Ralph Becker has been a huge supporter of sustainability and has done so much for cyclists during his tenure including significantly increasing the number of bike lanes around town. With the University completing its’ Bicycle Master Plan for the campus, this is a great time to be a cyclist in this town and on campus.”

Earth Fest is put on annually by ASUU Sustainability Board and the Office of Sustainability. It includes green organizations from throughout the city and state, as well as campus groups dedicated to sustainability. Other highlights of the Thursday event include: a CD and DVD recycling station sponsored by the Office of Sustainability; a bike scavenger hunt organized by the ASUU Sustainability Board drawing awareness to environmental initiatives on campus; a scrapbooking exercise, led by Artist-in-Residence Andrea Bowers, to create a visual display of the meaning of Earth Day; and the Department of Public Safety’s give-away of Kryptonite U locks, free bicycle registration and safety talks as part of their “Lock it or Lose it” campaign.

The U’s new solar power system was unveiled today at the Natural History Museum of Utah’s Rio Tinto Center, one of two locations where solar panels have been installed. The other solar array is located on the rooftop of HPER East.

The Natural History Museum of Utah’s system is a 330-kilowatt system, while the HPER East system is a 263-kilowatt system. The combined arrays consist of 2,470 Sharp photovoltaic panels covering 40,000 square feet of rooftop space and together they will annually produce 802,240 kilowatt hours. Members of the public can get a unique, bird’s eye view of the Museum’s array — and learn about solar power — from the Museum’s Sky Terrace.

The university will host an e-waste recycling event on Friday, April 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the University Services Building. It’s an opportunity for the public to responsibly recycle old computers, cell phones and other electronic equipment. Sponsored by Samsung Electronics, University IT, the Office of Sustainability and Salt Lake Valley Health Department, the event is free and open to the public.

The Bennion Center, which fosters lifelong service and civic participation, is offering a service project on Saturday, April 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. “The Bennion Center’s Earth Day is a wonderful way to learn about valuable community organizations, meet new people, do good work, get your hands dirty, and help create more beautiful spaces in our city,” says Ashley Edgette, Bennion Center student director of the Mountain View Elementary Community Garden project. More information can be found at http://bennioncenter.org.

Finally, the ASUU Sustainability Board is hosting sustainability related movies each week throughout the month of April.  For more details on the specific movies, visit http://sustainability.utah.edu/participate/action.php.

For information about the U’s Earth Week events visit:  www.sustainability.utah.edu.

Media Contacts For This Story

outreach & education coordinator, University of Utah Office of Sustainability
Office Phone: 801-581-7506
Cell Phone: 801-541-9442