Category: UCO

Broncho Bites Launches

Oklahoma is one of the top five states in the nation for food insecurity, and it is estimated that 1 in 7 Oklahomans goes to bed hungry. However, over 40% of materials in municipal solid waste (the stuff going to landfills) is food or other organic waste. If we just cut down on 15% of food waste in the U.S., we would cut hunger in half.

UCO started helping with this issue by opening the Central Pantry in 2012, and now services have expanded with the launch of Broncho Bites, a food recovery program on our campus!

Broncho Bites launched on October 24, 2022 when our campus food vendor, Chartwells, started donating leftover, off-the-line food each weekday after lunch. Volunteers pack this food in compostable packaging at Ayers Kitchen, bring it over to the Broncho Bites refrigerator outside NUC 150, and an alert goes out to UCO students, faculty, and staff to tell them food is available.

Students, faculty, and staff swipe their UCO ID card, take one or two containers, and usage has been great with over 60 users and 161 pounds of recovered food so far. Not only has that 161 points been diverted away from landfills, where it would breakdown and release the potent greenhouse gas methane, but even more food scraps and those compostable containers have been deposited in a compost bin at the Nigh University Center.

The community is noticing this outstanding program at UCO, thanks to some great press:

Find out how to sign up for Broncho Bites alerts and how to volunteer at http://go.uco.edu/bronchobites.

photo of Broncho Bites launch team, funding agency representatives, and President Neuhold-Ravikumar, August 2022
Pictured are part of the Broncho Bites team, the UCO President, and the representatives from the funding agency, that helped launch Broncho Bites. From left to right: Julio Mata, Chelsea Ratterman, Libby McCaskill (Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality), President Neuhold-Ravikumar, Jimmy Givens (Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality), Mark Walvoord, Nicole Doherty, and Erin Clemons. (Not pictured Susan Woods and Caleb Howard.) Photo by UCO Photo Services.

Electrifying Energy Employment

Green energy jobs are growing, and expected to continue growing, in the U.S. and in Oklahoma. Ever wonder what it takes to get a job in this sector? Priscila Guillen (UCO ’22), an energy project specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce will talk about her current job, her job search experience, and the things she did at UCO that were helpful in her career acquisition.

Join us for the STLR-tagged event:

  • Monday, November 14
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Center for Transformative Learning (CTL), room 101

Priscila graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in May 2022 with two Bachelor’s Degrees – one in Economics and one is Finance. Priscila is a first generation college graduate and was a very active student while at UCO. She plans to return to school to pursue her Ph.D. in Economics soon.

Edmond as Urban Forest

The University community is invited to join us for our next Central Oklahoma Sustainability Collaborative meeting, Thursday, October 27, 12:00-1:00pm in CTL 108. Along with hearing about the sustainable activities happening around campus, Leigh Martin, Urban Forester with the City of Edmond, will be joining us.

Leigh develops and administers urban forestry programs related to community engagement, education, tree planting, public policy, and urban forest management.  Leigh received a Bachelor of Science in Forestry with an emphasis on Urban and Community Areas from Oklahoma State University. An alumna of the Society of Municipal Arborists’ Municipal Forestry Institute and Leadership Edmond Class XXXVI, she is also an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist and Municipal Specialist, with the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. Advocating for the benefits of trees and a connection with the natural world are priorities in Leigh’s personal mission, as well as equipping people with information to aid in this quest through an understanding of tree biology and proper tree planting and care techniques.

Students, faculty, and staff – we hope to see you there!

Bucking Industrial Food

The Central Oklahoma Sustainability Collaborative (COSC) is proud to be working with our student arm, Students for Sustainability, to host the first sustainability meeting of the 2022-2023 academic year. You won’t want to miss it on Tuesday, September 20 from 3:30-5:00pm in the NUC 300, Carl Albert Room.

From 3:30-4:00pm we will give updates and get feedback from attendees on campus sustainability initiatives. These includes our petition and proposal for a Sustainability Center on campus, our grant for food recovery and composting, Students for Sustainability activities, and other educational opportunities happening in the OKC metro area.

Then from 4:00-5:00pm Mary Bixler will host “Bucking Industrial Food.” Where does our food come from and what are the environmental impacts of industrial versus local food systems? Once food gets to the consumer, what happens with food waste and how does that further impact the environment? As a board member of the Oklahoma Compost and Sustainability Association, a UCO alumna (2018), and manager of the OKC Scissortail Park Farmers Market, Mary is well-versed in the place of industrial food systems in feeding our state.

Mary will put local food systems into perspective, from planting to eating to composting food waste. In fact, you can bring a bag (paper or BPI compostable plastic) of food waste to contribute to our new compost bin!

We hope to see you there as we work together towards a more sustainable campus.

Recycling Team Unite!

by Kelly Vaughn, Assistant Director of Physical Plant –

UCO is committed to sustainability and green living! The Facilities Management Recycling team regularly collects the following recyclable items across campus:

  • paper,
  • cardboard,
  • plastics stamped with the #1 recycle symbol,
  • aluminum/tin, and
  • books. 

Items are collected weekly and regularly taken to Batliner Recycling Center in Oklahoma City. 

Since 2019 we have diverted over 548,165 pounds of items from our Edmond landfills!

Pounds Recycled Per Fiscal Year (FY)

FY 22FY 21FY 20FY 19TOTALS
Aluminum1660500164023206120
Books576015700197404480086000
Cardboard37160420053676061440177365
Paper45900498606658096420258760
Plastic318024606220806019920
TOTALS93660110525130940213040548165

Facilities Management is especially excited to announce the launch of new maps that identify the locations of over 400 recycling bins across campus. Check them out to find the recycling locations nearest you!

Finally, we would also like to promote a temporary glass recycling event happening now, right here on campus.  If you would like to participate, we also have free recycling boxes available for you at the Facilities Management Supply Desk so you can collect your glass off site or in your office suite, then bring the items to the site to recycle.  The glass collection dumpster is located in the parking lot (#51) between the Facilities Management building and the Baseball Field at University & Washington.

We call on you, the campus community, to do your part by merely taking advantage of these free services. It only takes a small amount of time and effort to make a lasting difference in our community!

Photo of "Glass Only" dumpster beside a map of where it is located (University Dr. and Washington, Edmond, OK)

Infinitely Recyclable Glass

The City of Edmond stopped taking glass in their curbside recycling back in 2019, and UCO doesn’t recycle glass in their regular recycle locations. But, this commodity is in high-demand by glass manufacturers and is infinitely recyclable. In fact…

  • Melting recycled glass down happens at lower temperatures than smelting it together from sand;
  • Lower temperature ovens mean less greenhouse gases;
  • Lower temperatures mean lower prices; and
  • Recycling glass diverts it from landfills, leaving more room in landfills for other items.

The Central Oklahoma Sustainability Collaborative (COSC) here at UCO worked with our Physical Plant to have a giant GLASS ONLY DUMPSTER delivered for Summer 2022 at Lot 51 (University & Washington). So, all you have to do is take your clean, any color, glass bottles and jars over there and toss them in! [Note: no bags, boxes, lids, or “complicated glass” like auto-glass, electronics glass, plates, etc.]

What can you do to help the earth today? Recycle those glass jars and bottles, and help us fill up the glass dumpster!

Questions? Contact Mark Walvoord, x5589

Photo of "Glass Only" dumpster beside a map of where it is located (University Dr. and Washington, Edmond, OK)

A Year in Review, 2021-2022

A LOOK BACK…

  • Our Central Oklahoma Sustainability Collaborative (COSC) kicked off one year ago, May 2021, and we now have a blog, social media presence, and ~80 members (people on our email list). We met 4-5 times as a big group (mostly virtually) and heard from UCO’s Kelly Vaughn about recycling, Phil Jones from City of Edmond, UCO’s Vicki Jackson on green spaces, and more.
  • Affinity Group: We applied for and became a UCO Faculty/Staff/Student Affinity Group (thanks Cristi Moore)! https://www.uco.edu/offices/people-culture/inclusive-community/affinity-groups-at-uco
  • City of Edmond Memorandum of Understanding: UCO (President Neuhold-Ravikumar) and City of Edmond updated and re-signed our 2014 MOU. Thanks John Wood!
  • Sustainability Quotes: We released an online form to collect student (and faculty/staff) testimonials about “Why is sustainability important to you?” (STLR credit for students) and have gotten ~25 quotes! Thanks Veronica Cianfrano!
  • Food recovery and compost grant proposal: Submitted and awarded! Thanks Lauren Bieri and Susan Woods for your help.
  • Earth Week 2022: David Bass and team successfully restarted the Earth Day Fair (Wed, May 20); Veronica Cianfrano (Melton Gallery) focused on environmental justice film festival, panel, and art exhibit other days that week.
  • Students for Sustainability: The student group restarted and elected officers for next year (good work, Ryan Lykins!)
  • Faculty Book Clubs: Katrina Lacher, Ed Cunliff, and Alyssa Provencio led discussions of the books All we can save: Truth, courage, and solutions for the climate crisis and Radical hope: A teaching manifesto
  • Sustainability Center proposal: John Wood started up a 9-member subcommittee to work on this. It is progressing.
  • Sustainability Petition: Avery Geist, who just graduated, kicked this off at Earth Day Fair; about 63 signatures were collected so far. (See below to sign)
  • GLASS recycle dumpster: Delivered to Lot 51 (behind baseball field) in mid-April for campus and Edmond citizens to drop off glass for recycling. (See below for details)
  • Recycle Maps: Kelly Vaughn had her team create maps of the location of recycling bins in every building on campus!
  • Senate Resolutions on Sustainability: Alyssa Provencio and Liz Wallace got these PASSED through faculty and staff senates, respectively. The President was forwarded the wording, and responded with:
    • “Please extend my gratitude to the senates on their consideration and support of the university’s commitment to sustainability. Thoughtful care of our economic, environmental, and social systems are elemental to building our future. My best to you.”
      Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar
      President


Isn’t that list amazing!!?? Thanks to everyone who participated, served on subcommittees, volunteered, and stayed green. Let’s keep this momentum going into the 2022-2023 academic year.

A LOOK FORWARD…TAKE ACTION!

  • UCOSA sustainability resolution: Students, please contact the officers to show your support, and request they introduce it and pass it at their first meeting this fall: https://ucore.uco.edu/ucosa/home
  • Glass Recycle: We can’t send it back until it is full and it is a LONG way from full!  Please bring all your clean, any-color glass bottles and jars to the Glass-Only dumpster at Lot 51 (behind the baseball field at University Dr. and Washington). See, and share, the graphic below.
  • Food Recovery and Composting volunteers: We’ll have a press release with more details through University Communications after the fall semester starts. Prior to that, we’ll put a call out for volunteers to help with food packaging and delivery (on campus). Nicole Doherty and Susan Woods are the main coordinators, and more details are forthcoming.
  • Sustainability Center proposal: John Wood and team hope to have their proposal for a Sustainability Center ready for COSC’s input by the end of summer, so that we can get to administration by early fall.
    • Sustainability Center petition: Sign the petition and advertise to your UCO colleagues/peers.
  • Recycle Maps: The new recycle maps should soon be linked from https://www.uco.edu/offices/facilities-management/physical-plant#setup (and we’ll cross-link from our blog).
  • Sustainability quotes: Haven’t given us yours yet? Feel free to submit one.
  • New members: We’ll look forward to growing COSC membership even more this Fall. Please invite your green-minded colleagues and peers to join at https://blogs.uco.edu/green/get-involved/. Under Volunteer Form, one of the options is “just add me to the email list.”
Photo of "Glass Only" dumpster beside a map of where it is located (University Dr. and Washington, Edmond, OK)

UCO Earth Week 2022

We invite the UCO community and broader Edmond community to help us celebrate earth the week of April 18-22. Now is the time for us to to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably) to preserve and protect our health, our families, and our livelihoods.

These events are free and no pre-registration is required.

UCO Earth Day Fair 2022 graphic with text "Wednesday, April 20, 9am-2pm, Broncho Lake, blogs.uco.edu/green"

As for the past ~30 years, the UCO campus will be hosting the Earth Day Fair around Broncho Lake. This year we’ll celebrate on Wednesday, April 20, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. with educational tables and events.

TABLES will be hosted by UCO student groups with a sustainability focus, non-profits committed to sustainability, City of Edmond offices dedicated to the betterment of our community, and more.

Earth Day activities include:

Map of UCO campus with Earth Day Fair 2022 and Glass recycling marked
  • A GLASS COLLECTION event is happening to recycle your clean, any color jars and bottles. Bring them to the Earth Day Fair under the blue tent April 20, or any time Earth Week to the big dumpster at University Dr. & Washington (Lot 51). Let’s divert those infinitely recyclable items from filling up our landfills. Recycled glass uses less energy than making glass from sand! This means fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a reduction in the impact of sand harvesting.
  • Also, a ZINE MAKING and FILM SCREENING (Arctic Summer and The Bosers of Brule) event is happening 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Melton Gallery to reuse materials as art.
UCO Earth Week 2022 graphic with announcement of glass colleciton, earth day fair April 20, and Environmental Justice events April 21

An Environmental Justice Art Exhibit, “Curating for Equity Student Spotlight Series” is on display in the Krottinger Family Gallery in Mitchell Hall from April 7-21.

This collaboration between the Melton Gallery’s Veronica Cianfrano and the School of Design’s McKenna Sanderson, highlights student artists, and a closing reception will take place from 4:00-5:00 p.m., on April 21, in Krottinger Gallery.

Following that reception, an Environmental Justice Panel Discussion will take place at UCO’s Y Chapel, 5:00-6:15 p.m., moderated by Dr. Alyssa Provencio and including panelists Guillermo Martinez Sotelo, Cheyenne Branscum, and LaTasha Timberlake. Then, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. the Environmental Justice Film Festival will commence with 4 films. See the UCO Master Calendar for details.

Edmond’s Sustainability Activities

We invite the UCO community to attend our next event: COSC welcomes Phil Jones, Sustainability Planner for the City of Edmond, to hear about Edmond’s sustainability initiatives and plans. In addition, attendees will hear about updates on UCO’s sustainability activities, including:

  • The upcoming Earth Day Fair, Wednesday, April 20 at Broncho Lake
  • Our developing proposal to form a “Sustainability Center” at UCO
  • A Food Recovery Project that is in-the-works for the fall 2022 semester
  • A glass recycling collection event (April 18-22)
  • The re-forming of UCO’s student group: Students for Sustainability
  • and more!

This event is available in-person or virtually. See details at the UCO master calendar.

Teaching Sustainability with Case Studies and Art

There are many resources available for teaching sustainability at colleges and universities. Here we highlight a few recent ones with connections right here in Oklahoma.

Organic Farming Case Study

This case study begins with a scenario at a farmers market in which two customers begin learning about organic and conventional agriculture. Later, students then use the internet to explore these topics further before engaging in a debate with each other. Students are asked to start with their opinions about organic foods – “Do you think they are healthier than conventional foods? Are they worth the money?” Then, a classroom or online discussion board debate ensues.

This case study was published by UCO’s own Mark Walvoord, Assistant Director of STLR, along with two of his biology colleagues from OU and OSU.

Source: Taylor, M. S., Hoefnagels, M. H., & Walvoord, M. E. (2022). Deep in the weeds of organic farming. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. https://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/collection/detail.html?case_id=1215&id=1215

Environ-mental Justice meets Art

Students in a non-majors biology course at the University of Oklahoma (BIOL 1005, Concepts of Biology) viewed the artistic works of Patrick Nagatani entitled “Nuclear Enchantment,” http://www.patricknagatani.com (click on “Bodies of Work”), owned by the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. Then, they were tasked with making their own Nagatani-style photos, complete with descriptions of how they related to some environmental problem.

Take a look at these student-produced projects from the fall 2021 semester.

Using Case Study Teaching for Problem-Posing

The purpose of this study was to examine the possible benefits of approaching sustainability-related teaching cases from the perspective of problem-posing (PP) instead of problem-solving (PS). Although most case studies (91%) in a business database of those teaching tools were setup with PS language, cases setup to have students propose what the problem is instead of, or at least before, proposing solutions to a given problem, should lead to more transformative change in their perspectives on sustainability.

This study was authored by two UCO employees (Dr. Ed Cunliff, Adult Education & Safety Sciences; and Mark Walvoord, Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching and Learning), along with a professor in Brazil who had done her post-doctoral work right here at UCO a few years ago.

Source: Brunstein, J., Walvoord, M. E., & Cunliff, E. (2021). Problem-posing in management classrooms for collective sustainability transformation. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 22(3), 477–496. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-05-2020-0141