UVU Celebrates Earth Week

It’s Earth Week, and Utah Valley University is celebrating!


It’s Earth Week, and Utah Valley University is celebrating!

Monday, students were given a challenge to place recyclable materials in the appropriate containers, and 50 new trees were planted on campus.

“It is important to celebrate the earth and sustainability, because even though we may not realize it, we are all dependent on the environment,” said Hilary Hungerford, Chair of UVU’s Sustainability Committee. “The food we eat, the materials we use, the environments in which we live are all part of the natural work. And we have a huge impact on nature, so it's a great chance for us to be reminded of our relationships with nature.”

Tuesday, the UVU community participated in a trail cleanup on Mount Timpanogos between 4—7pm.

“We are adopting Lazuli (previously named Ireland and Buckle) and Upper Gopher Snake,” said Kimberly Reynolds, UVU Outdoor Adventure Center program director. “Both trails are in the Timpanogos Foothills and are part of the Wildlife Management Area. After the fire last summer, it has been a grassroots effort to get the trails open. We need volunteers to help with watering the new sagebrush that has been planted and to work on maintaining the trails.”

Thursday, UVU celebrates the inaugural planting of its Growing Resilience & Inclusivity Together (GRIT) Garden. Located near the Utah County Academy of Sciences, the fresh food grown there will be distributed through UVU’s Food Pantry. It is a space that not only feeds those in need, but also builds our community.

“If people are going to be on campus throughout the summer, they will be able to volunteer the entire time. If you want to be out there, we are happy to have you — students, faculty, staff, and alums,” said Genevieve Richards, UVU Sustainability Director.

Friday (Earth Day): The Fix-it-Clinic provides the opportunity to bring your broken bikes or damaged clothing to the Outdoor Adventure Center for assistance and tools to make all that is old new again. Bike repair tools and sewing machines will be available from 1-4pm.

“Opting to repair items is impactful because you are not going out and buying a new item — you are extending the life of something, so you aren’t utilizing all of those resources that go into creating something new,” Richards said.

UVU’s Earth Week reflects the diversity of thought surrounding sustainability.

“A really great thing about sustainability is that it looks different for everyone,” Hungerford said. “Some of us may enjoy eating seasonally or producing our own food. Some of us may prefer to reduce our impact on the earth by biking to work. Some of us prefer to drive electric cars or get solar panels.”

Richards said what is important is that we all do what we can. “People need to find their own personal why,” she said. “It doesn’t take everyone doing everything perfectly — it takes everyone doing everything imperfectly. There’s not some expectation from me or others in sustainability that everyone has to be doing everything perfectly. It’s a group effort, and baby steps are better than no steps.”

Here are five easy things to do to be more sustainable.

  1. Remember your 3Rs. Reduce: avoid single-use items as much as you can. Reuse: reuse items like pasta jars or plastic food tubs. Recycle: when items are no longer usable, find out if they are recyclable in your area and recycle them.
  2. Unplug electronics & appliances that aren’t in use.Phantom loads from plugged in unused devices cost the average US household $100 a year. Save money and energy — unplug when you’re done!  
  3. Use TravelWise strategies.Strategies like trip-chaining, carpooling, and taking UTA can greatly reduce impacts by avoiding single-occupant car trips. You can learn more about the strategies here: https://travelwise.utah.gov/strategies/
  4. Reduce meat and dairy in your diet.Meat and dairy have significant impacts on land use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t have to go fully vegan; small steps like removing meat from one meal a day or doing Meatless Mondays make an impact.
  5. Adjust your thermostats.By adjusting the temperatures on heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and refrigerators, you can save money and energy.

You can also refer students to the UVU Sustainability “What You Can Do” page and to our monthly newsletter which often has sustainability tips.

Click here to find out more about UVU’s sustainability efforts and Earth Week activities.