October is the Time for Sustainability

Campus Sustainability Week 2018

This October, The University of Texas at Austin is joining hundreds of universities and colleges across the U.S. to celebrate sustainability on campus.  The main events include a sustainability tabling extravaganza where students can learn and connect, sessions outlining the update to UT's Sustainability Master Plan, a graduate research ‘slam session’ known as Sustainability on Tap, a Waller Creek clean up, and several talks and information sessions.  

Sustainability Master Plan Info Session

UT Austin is now completing the first update to its Sustainability Master Plan. Join Jim Walker, Director of the Office of Sustainability, to discover the successes and challenges during two noon-time info sessions in the Student Activity Center (SAC): Monday, October 22 from 12 to 1 p.m. in SAC 1.106 and Thursday, October 25 from 12 to 1 p.m. in SAC 2.120.

“The President's Sustainability Steering Committee and President Fenves demonstrated a commitment to sustainability on campus with our 2016 Sustainability Master Plan,” says Walker. “This will be our two year progress report on early achievements and challenges, and we hope that students, staff and faculty join us and participate in the process of greening UT.”

Campus Sustainability Week Tabling Extravaganza

The Campus Environmental Center (CEC) is pleased to sponsor a tabling extravaganza at East Mall where all on campus can learn about the student organizations and stakeholders working to make UT greener. Join CEC between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17. 

“We are so excited to host the Campus Sustainability Week tabling extravaganza,” says Anthony Rivera, CEC director. “It’s a great chance for students to come out and see what initiatives they can get involved with, no matter what their interests are!”

Sustainability on Tap

Hear from fellow grad students as they present their sustainability or environmental research in fun, fast-paced, 3-minute talks on Wednesday, October 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Main (MAI) 212. This is a zero-waste event, so we encourage you to BYO-mug (16oz or less!) and enjoy a local brew.

“This event—fast becoming a UT tradition—is a great opportunity for grad students from disciplines to meet each other over a shared passion for sustainability,” says Brianna Duran, student program coordinator in the Office of Sustainability. “It is a fun forum to learn about what other students are working on.”

Waller Creek Clean Up

This annual tradition provides an opportunity to volunteer outdoors. Help Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) remove trash and clean up the section of Waller Creek that runs through campus. Supplies and breakfast tacos provided; meet at the Mustang Statue on San Jacinto and 24th Street on Saturday, October 20 from 8 to 11 a.m. Register for this event


“We like to stop and focus on Waller Creek, especially because we cannot control what’s happening upstream and rain events wash things into the creek,” says EHS’s Carin Peterson. “That is why it is important for everyone to pick up items they see on the ground. If it is not recycled or put into a trash can, it ends up in the creek.”

Humanities Institute/Planet Texas 2050 Talk

The University of Texas Humanities Institute and Planet Texas 2050 will hold a Difficult Dialogues public panel on Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and Inequality, featuring Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. This talk and panel discussion is on October 16 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Texas Union Quadrangle Room. Please RSVP  to attend.

Recycling and Green Office Info Sessions

If you are interested in getting your office to go green, the Green Offices student leaders are hosting an info session at noon on October 12 in JCB 2.218. 

And for those students interested in a deeper dive, the CEC’s Green Events team is hosting ‘How do I recycle this? - Random Item Recycling Workshop’ on October 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. in Union Pearce Hall 2.404.

Reoccurring Events with Sustainability in Mind

UT Austin has many units that host sustainability-related events on a semi-regular basis. 

  • Texas Athletics Sustainability will have several shifts starting at 10:30 a.m. on October 14 to sort waste from the football game. Sign up to volunteer for the Sustainability Sort Squad
  • Think reuse before buying something new: CEC is sponsoring a Trash to Treasure Sale on October 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the PCL Plaza.  Everything is $1.
  • Think local before buying food: Farm Stand has two events this month on Wednesdays at Jester Plaza (21st Street and Speedway), both from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: October 10 and October 24.
  • Longhorn Lights Out works to save energy at UT Austin with a fun monthly event.  Students gather in RLP 0.128, break into small groups to target different classrooms and public spaces, and return to the central location to both quantify their effort and eat pizza as part of a zero-waste meal. Please contact the organization if you wish to join the event on Friday, October 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.


Author: Kristin Elise Phillips, Communications Coordinator, Office of Sustainability