In 2013, the Office of Sustainability launched its Small Footprint Pledge program. This program encourages students, faculty and staff to take a pledge, and commit to at least one of 12 different sustainable actions for a specified amount of time. One of the actions requires participants to commit to replacing one incandescent light bulb in their residence with a more energy-efficient, compact fluorescent bulb (CFL).
A new I-Series course, Sustainability and History: the Maryland Experience, focuses on environmental problems related to agriculture, resources of the Chesapeake Bay, mining, industrialization, energy production, and water and air quality. A key component of this course is a research project that focuses on one of these sustainability-related problems in Maryland. The project will require students to gain a deeper understanding of the geographic and temporal settings of sustainability choices and challenges.
In collaboration with the Counseling Center, Facilities Management made improvements to an outdoor area near the Shoemaker building to improve stormwater management and pollinator habitat. Facilities Management completed installation in 2017.
The Honeybee Haven project introduced native shrubbery, ferns, grasses, and herbaceous plants in a space between the Benjamin Building and Knight Hall in order to create a suitable environment for pollinators. Volunteers and Facilities Management collaborated to design the project. This garden continues to be maintained with the assistance of student volunteers.
The BSOS Sustainability Task Force, comprised of 18 undergraduates from different majors, designed a solar-powered, outdoor study area to be installed on campus. The design includes a table furnished with solar-powered outlets and benches. This project will allow students to study in an area where they can minimize their environmental impact by utilizing renewable energy from several nearby solar panels. This space will raise awareness about alternative energy sources while serving as an outdoor gathering space.
The SGA Student Sustainability Committee is working with Stamp Facilities to test out #UMDGreenhacks napkins at Stamp Student Union. The project involves replacing Stamp’s current napkins with ones that are printed with information about proper waste sorting in the food court. Every month, there will be new information on the napkins, and the program will be advertised on social media to generate interest and awareness. These napkins will effectively serve as PSAs to inform people about correct disposal methods that will hopefully lead to less contamination in the waste stream.
The project is an effort to increase composting and recycling in Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life chapter houses. Currently, Facilities Management collects compost from 10 out of the 21 university-owned chapter houses. To create consistency in the indoor and outdoor bins that are used, the grant will be used to purchase composting and recycling bins for each chapter house. A comprehensive educational plan to teach residents about how to properly manage waste will also be developed.
The Center for Young Children (CYC) Rain Garden seeks to address the current drainage issues at the CYC's playground. The garden, designed by students in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, would mitigate damage from excess stormwater. Related educational opportunities will also be available for educators at the CYC, as they can incorporate sustainability into their lesson plans. University students are involved with the design and research portion of the project, and plan to meet with faculty to develop lesson plans.