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A drawing with plastic trash, plants, and birds
Getting crafty during quarantine? During the last two weeks of April, UVA Sustainability student employees hosted the Waste Reimagined art competition. The competition encouraged students to think differently about the waste around them; participants had to use recycled, repurposed or forgotten items as a main component of their piece. See some of our top submissions below:
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Clark Hall Mural room
The program has saved the University $28.7 million in energy costs since 2009
The UVA Office for Sustainability’s Delta Force program was recently honored for its innovative efforts to drive energy efficiency by the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC). The program received the council’s Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Award on May 14 at the VAEEC Spring Forum.
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A student donating gently used items to a Goodwill donation box on Grounds for Hoos ReUse.
UVA’s Hoos ReUse program provides students an opportunity to donate gently-used or unwanted items to various community organizations in hopes of minimizing the amount of waste sent to the landfill. Hoos Reuse will still take place this year but will look differently given the ongoing COVID-19 situation. While waste minimization is certainly important, the health and safety of our community takes top priority during this year’s campaign. If you choose to donate, please be sure to practice social distancing and review best practices listed by the Center for Disease Control.
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Earth Day Every Day yard sign in front of a tree with flower landscaping.
May 5, 2020
“UVA Sustainability partnered with many Charlottesville & Albemarle organizations on the ‘Earth Day Every Day’ campaign which encouraged the community to participate in different types of engagement on different days of the week all throughout the month of April.” Read more to learn about how the Office for Sustainability adapted to the "new normal" and ran a successful outreach campaign.
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The Lawn on a sunny fall day
April 22, 2020
In the face of COVID-19, we have all had to adapt to a new normal. Read more how our recent "sustainalumni" are adjusting to their new jobs in the sustainability field during the global pandemic.
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Blue and green watercolor paint on paper
April 3, 2020
Although we can no longer be together in person, the UVA, Charlottesville, and Albemarle communities remain united in our commitment to climate action. The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2020, and we won’t let this landmark time go entirely uncelebrated. Read more to learn about the creative ways you can employ to stay motivated in the pursuit of a better Earth.
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lab occupant working with blue tubes inside of a UVA lab
At the University of Virginia, a competitive research environment is our petri dish for testing friendly lab-to-lab competition aimed at reducing environmental impacts of research. UVA Green Labs hosts three annually recurring programs: The International Laboratory Freezer Challenge each Spring, a Shut the Sash fume hood competition in October, and a comprehensive year-long Certification Program. Through these competitive programs, labs are improving their operations, conserving lab resources, and earning rewards (with bragging rights, for some).
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Students utilizing tools for building the solar car
Since the founding of Solar Car at UVA in 1997, the team of undergraduate students have worked diligently to create a competitive solar race car. Twenty-three years later, and after a stint of dormancy from 2002 to 2016, the team is expected to complete their first car when they return to Grounds next fall due to Covid-19.
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Vinnie and Doug pose for a picture near medial equipment
Vinnie Vawter & Doug Rush - Leading Green in HSPP
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Student bending over garden
March 3, 2020
At UVA, students, faculty, and staff are pursuing initiatives to promote sustainability on grounds and around the world. Read more to check out what the University has to offer in terms of funding for sustainable research and projects.
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Student volunteers (with Green Game t shirts) posing with fun signs
UVA continues to rank highly amongst our competing ACC schools, in terms of both sports and waste diversion. Read more to find about our upcoming Green Game and how the Green Athletics group is going to play a role!
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Photo of a blue and black recycling container that reads " Plastic, Metal, Glass, Recycle"
February 3, 2020
If you’ve ever recycled a peanut butter jar, you probably have had the same thought as me: by the time I have scrubbed it clean, rid the jar of all the oil, and diligently sorted it into its paper grocery bag to recycle, is this jar even going to make a difference? Where will it even go?
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Sustainability students in classroom
December 16, 2019
After its first semester, the Eco-leaders program flourished, by promoting green living in UVA dorms. Read more about what founder, Bobby Pazhwak, and his students have to say about the success of the program.
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Holiday lights on the lawn at night
In the Spring of 2017, I took a course called Intro to Renewable Energy Systems taught by now-retired Professor John Bean. I’ve never really liked school, but I was obsessed with this class. It was the kind of class that I could get home from final call at Trinity and start doing the reading. Bean, extremely passionate about the subject matter, always challenged his students to think analytically and put real numbers behind the sustainability movement to uncover if real business cases for renewables and an energy transformation existed. I felt they did.
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panini next to dish of cranberry sauce
Check out the Office for Sustainability's promo student employees' takes on a sustainable thanksgiving.
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Graduate researcher, Mara Kuenen, shuts the sash on a lab chemical fume hood to improve occupant safety and reduce loss of conditioned lab air.
The goal of Green Labs is to promote safe and sustainable practices in research at UVA. One of the best things that lab personnel can do is shut their chemical fume hood sash when not in use to protect lab occupants and save building energy use. Every October, Green Labs runs a “Shut the Sash” competition where labs are able to win prizes for meeting goals in fume hood management.
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Counter at a juice store
Over the past decade, University Dining has taken strides towards providing more sustainable and healthier options for students and staff alike. The recent revamp of the “Castle” into a vegan-friendly hub, promotional events such as Meatless Mondays in dining halls, and University farmers markets all point towards progress in the arena of sustainable food. The recent opening of a second Charlottesville location of The Juice Laundry in the space that was once occupied by Freshens in the University Aquatic and Fitness Center (AFC, pictured above) poses new and exciting possibilities for not only sustainability but also community integration and collaboration. 
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3 solar panel rows in a field
On September 17th, 2019, VA Governor Northam signed Executive Order Forty-Three to both expand access to renewable energy and support clean energy jobs.
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OFS Student Employee, Yuki, manages a zero waste station at a UVA farmers market.
Special events are an important part of the UVA experience. From football games to Lighting of the Lawn to Puppies & Pumpkins, there are always special events happening across Grounds. To help reduce the waste sent to the landfill, UVA has encouraged special events to go zero waste or include compost collection when possible.

A Zero Waste Event (ZWE) is an event in which 90% of the produced waste can be diverted from the landfill. This means that the vast majority of waste is either composted or recycled. Out of 243 special events at UVA, an incredible 157 events either achieved zero waste or collected compost, demonstrating departments and student groups alike are making the switch to zero waste events. To make the switch easy, the Office for Sustainability (OFS) recently released an updated version of the Zero Waste Guide to walk event planners through the process.