By: Alana Sundermann
The University of Findlay community is adjusting to a new effort towards sustainability, to create a greener campus. You may have noticed recycle bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans around campus. Director of the Physical Plant, Orion Jones, was responsible for that. For Jones, he has even bigger plans to promote sustainability around campus, not just putting recycle bins in different places.
“What I am shooting for is a company to come in and build a power production facility, a solar farm, and sell us back the energy,” Jones said.
Jones says he’s looking at the unused field behind the UF Physical Plant house and would tie it into either the Fitness and Recreation Center or the Davis Street Building.
“I have not seen final numbers regarding kw, but it should be over 500kw,” Jones said via email. “I am looking to produce about 40 percent (or more) of total power consumed by the fitness center per year.”
His hope is that in the long run will save the University money, while also promoting sustainability and being a more environmentally conscious campus.
Nearby Urbana University added a solar farm in 2012, which was projected to cut $2 million in electric costs. UU’s website states that more than 500 panels occupy 1.3 acres on campus, and produces about 510 kW of electricity. That provides for about 15 percent of UU’s electricity consumption.
Jones has other plans beyond a solar farm.
“I’m working on plans to build a laydown yard,” said Jones
A laydown yard, according to RFID Solutions Online, is an area off-site to store things. In regards to recycling, Jones wants to make a place strictly for recycling somewhere on campus. There are many different places on campus where recycling has to be picked up and processed, so his plan is to make one “centralized” area, to make the recycling processes more efficient and organized. However, Jones knows that all of these ideas won’t happen overnight, and he has to be realistic.
“I have three p’s in my life: patience, persistence and perseverance” Jones said.
In order to reach these goals, he is starting with the biggest group on campus, the students. Jones recently met with the student run club, Green Campus (GCC), to talk about ways to get students involved with sustainability. Student Club Director of Green Campus, Julia Harris, has stepped into her role as President and says she is trying to educate her members. With the help of Jones, Harris and the rest of GCC have been actively collaborating with the physical plant, to help promote this new recycle program.
“Because of Orion Jones’s involvement with GCC, we will be working with the physical plant as this recycling program is rolling out,” said Harris.
The club is gradually growing, adding new students each semester. Its popularity is seemingly growing more and more as the semester continues according to Harris.
“So far this semester, we have between 12 and 15 [group members]. However, there are over 60 people on the club’s email list, who all have at some point shown interest in being involved in GCC,” Harris said.
Harris is constantly looking for ways to make GCC an integral part of campus, that may include working with other groups to make those groups more sustainable and eco-friendlier.
“For the club, I want us to reach more widely across campus with more events and partnering with other clubs,” said Harris. “One plan I have is to work with other clubs to recycle and reduce waste at their events. Such as when they have catered drinks, there are recycling bins available for the plastic cups.”
UF Assistant Director of Marketing Communication, Amy Depuy, is also trying to find ways to connect with students and staff members to help push for a greener campus. With the help of FGC Depuy says they’ve already made strides to promote sustainability.
“Findlay Green Campus funded along with SGA, three different refillable water stations around campus,” said Depuy.
Depuy’s biggest push is to really get students involved with making the campus a healthier place.
“Now we are trying to find ways to not only get students involved, but to get them invested in these new processes and procedures and things that are really going to help make us a green campus,” said Depuy.