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A Year in Review

The 2017-2018 academic school year was another standout year for the Office of Sustainability. From events, both old and new, the office was able to engage numerous faculty, staff, and students on what it means to “Make Orange Green”.

Here are a few of the highlights from the year:

Over the academic year we had 117 volunteers contribute to over 300 hours of service. We individually educated over 250 students by going to classrooms to present about the various projects currently underway across campus, as well as providing real world data for individual research and design projects.

During the 2017 POWER Challenge, held throughout October, campus avoided $72,000 in energy costs from conservation efforts by students, and our office collected 251 signatures pledging to make more environmentally conscious decisions in their day to day lives.

In the winter months we with worked residence halls for Thanksgiving and Winter Break shutdown, to ensure that no energy or water was wasted while students were on break. Additionally, in January we had the theme of “New Year’s Resolutions: Be Green”, where we gave out numerous tips on how to live a more environmentally lifestyle in the new year. These were highlighted weekly in the Vol-Update, the newsletter that goes out to all UTK students twice a week.

We celebrated Earth Month all throughout April, with eight different events. Over 1,000 students attended a variety of events, including Sustainability Day of Service, Environmental Leadership Awards Dinner, Earth Month Celebration, and the Environmental and Sustainability Career Mingle.

At the Earth Month Celebration, we had a record number of twenty-five environmentally focused organizations from campus and around Knoxville attend the event. Some highlights from the day included pop-up shops from the UT Recycling Free Store, Smokey’s Closet, Goodwill Industries, and the UTOPS Mobile Bike Shop.

One of the major success of the year was our office’s interaction with student groups. The formation of the “Environmental Summit” was created, which included all of the board members from the various environmentally focused groups on campus. This led to great connections between our office and these student groups, as well as students in general.

One example of the newly established connections amongst student groups was ‘Whirlwind Wednesday”, an event put on by the Center for Student Engagement. As a mini student engagement fair for various organizations on campus, Wednesday, March 7th was the designated day for environmental organizations where the environmental groups interacted with potential new members.

On social media, we saw an 331 individual increase in our followers this year, through our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

The Student Environmental Initiatives Committee (Green Fee) approved seven new projects, including funding the new bike share program in Knoxville, Pace, and the installation of two new rain gardens at BESS and Stokely.

Other highlights include new partnerships with different departments on campus, including Be Well for Bike to Work Day and the UT Gardens, for a service event at the gardens.

More updates from the year can be found in our 2017-2018 Environmental Impact Report. Images from all of the events over the year are uploaded on our Facebook. If you have any questions about the above events email