UVU to Celebrate Earth Day with Live Discussions on Sustainability


OREM, Utah — This Earth Day, UVU is proving that green is more than just its school color with a special celebration to showcase the university’s sustainability efforts. On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, the celebration will include a live Microsoft Teams webinar at 1 p.m. and an Instagram live Q&A at 2 p.m. on the account @sustainability.uvu.

Despite the COVID-19 health and safety precautions that have shut down most of campus, the UVU Sustainability Committee felt that it was important to recognize, even if it is remotely, the ongoing and new campus initiatives for the year.

“With all of the heavy news surrounding the pandemic, it’s important that we celebrate things like Earth Day,” said Jim Murphy, assistant dean of UVU’s College of Science and co-chair of UVU’s Sustainability Committee. “UVU continues to be committed to furthering a sustainability community both here on campus and throughout the world.”

“By proactively addressing the issue of sustainability, UVU has a great opportunity to demonstrate our core values of exceptional care, accountability, and results,” said Genevieve Richards, UVU Sustainability Coordinator. “As we take action to reduce energy consumption and quantify our environmental footprint, UVU becomes more accountable to key stakeholders in areas of fiscal, environmental, and social concern.”

There are a wide variety of UVU sustainability projects in the works, many of which started when the main campus was constructed. For example, did you know:

  • UVU currently offers over 40 sustainability-related courses?
  • UVU’s main campus is built on top of a natural aquifer, giving the campus a geothermal heating and cooling system?
  • The Facility Complex generates more electricity annually than the building consumes thanks to its 45 kilowatt-per-hour solar array?
  • The buildings at Capitol Reef Field Station, managed by UVU in partnership with Capitol Reef National Park, use solar chimneys and white roofs instead of air conditioning units to maintain interior temperatures?

With social distancing in place, UVU’s students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to incorporate some of the university’s sustainability efforts in their own homes.

Richards recommends taking small steps to reduce environmental impact like:

  • Unplugging electronics when not in use
  • Adjusting your thermostat
  • Using reusable bags while shopping
  • Running only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine

“Advocate for sustainability in your home, workplace, place of study, and polling station,” Richards said. “Discuss the issues with your friends and family. Most people don’t talk about sustainability and climate change, and we can’t promote change without talking about it. We hope that our Earth Day events can spark that discussion for people, whether they be students, staff, faculty, or community members and leaders.”  

With all of the heavy news surrounding the pandemic, it’s important that we celebrate things like Earth Day.

— UVU assistant dean Jim Murphy