The University of Colorado at Boulder is a large university with a student

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1 Disclaimer The following document was created by one or more students as part of requirements for completing a Trent academic course. The views expressed in this document may not reflect official Trent policy. Trent University and its agents shall not be held liable for any damage whatsoever, which may arise as a result of errors or omissions in the information appearing on pages contained herein.

2 Introduction of University The University of Colorado at Boulder is a large university with a student population of 29,151. i It is an old school, which was founded in ii Enrolment fees are $1,388 for a resident and $9,060 for a non-resident. iii It has a total operating budget of $736, 860, 421 American. iv Sixty seven percent of the student population is from in state. The university only has an international student population of 4%. v The gender makeup of the school consists of 52% men and 48% women. vi The city of Boulder has over 80 miles of bike and pedestrian trials throughout it vii, enabling alternative forms of travel such as hiking and cycling, in Bolder to be safe and efficient. The Campus itself is on the edge of the city at the foothill of a section of the Rocky Mountains. This means that like Trent, students either have to live on campus or travel from within the city to get to school. Because of this, the university has implemented steps to help minimize the impact of students traveling to campus. The school does not appear to own any natural areas, but is on the edge of wilderness and a mountain. 2) Institutional support for environmental initiatives Support for environmental initiatives at CU Boulder seems to be outstanding. The majority of the student body is behind campus environmental initiatives, as well as the administration. The school is home to the largest student run environmental centre in the United States, the CU environmental centre. viii It features five permanent full time staff, as well as student volunteers. ix Student fees, as well as other grants fund the centre. University departments on campus are striving to be more environmental conscious in their decisions. In October 2001 the Housing Department hired their first environmental coordinator, whose job it is to ensure that all of the residences are ran in

3 an environmentally sustainable manner, and to increases communication between the environmental centre and housing. x In 2000, facilities management created an Environmental Operations Supervisor position. xi This has lead to the formation of an Integrated Pest Management plan to reduce the use of pesticides on campus, and will hopefully lead to more environmentally friendly upkeep of the university. The new campus master plan has a strong environmental management section, called the Environmental Management Plan. This section can be viewed in full at It addresses a large variety of issues such as air quality, water quality, flood mitigation, hazardous materials, green buildings, energy and water conservation, and solid waste management. The school is framed in a way, through management and administration, which will ensure that the campus is managed as sustainable as possible. Support for environmental issues at CU- Boulder seems to be high. Environmental programs, such as the BUFF bikes (will be discussed later), student bus pass program, and the wind source purchasing all faced referendums that resulted in overwhelming student support. The university has listened to the public demand for these projects and implemented them. On the CU- Boulder website the environmental centre is predominately displayed with a large portion of the school s website dedicated to the environmental project being conducted by the centre. Student run offshoot projects of the environmental centre are also proudly displayed on the university website. It is obvious that the University administration think that a green image is a selling point for the university, and is beneficial to the universities reputation.

4 3) Environmental Challenges and initiatives CU Environmental Centre - Established in 1970, the CU environmental centre assists with the educational mission of the University by providing information on environmental issues to students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. xii The environmental Centre accesses the environmental performance of the university and works with other parts on campus to improve the environmental performance of the university. xiii The Environmental Centre is not just an auditing tool but also runs several green initiatives at the university. They are responsible for the recycling program, the student bus pass program, and the management of the wind source purchase. In May 2001, the University of CU- Boulder committed to reducing energy consumption by 5% per square foot. xiv In order to facilitate this goal the Campus Resource Conservation Committee was established. Between July energy consumption was reduced by 2.2% and water consumption was reduced by 10% even with a rise in student enrolment. xv Waste Management Recycling Recycling was established in 1976, and is one of the oldest campus recycling programs in the United States. xvi In 1995 the National Recycling Coalition recognised Colorado s efforts and awarded them the first ever Outstanding School Program award in xvii The university has it s own recycling facility, which enables them to collect and potentially profit from the recycling of available materials such as aluminium. The

5 university then markets the recycled products to prospected buyers. This program is a partnership between both the student union and the university administration. Transportation - Student Bus pass Program Like Trent University, the University of Colorado at Boulder has a student bus pass program that is pre-paid through student fees, but unlike Trent this pass only deducts $31.76 per person from student fees for the academic year. xviii The student bus pass program was created in 1991 when students overwhelmingly voted in favour in a referendum to establish this program. xix The initial program only incurred a fee of a low $10 per semester, that amount has since been increased to $ xx Within the first six years of the program the number of students riding the bus jumped from 300,000 to 1,500,000 trips annually. xxi A survey concluded that 42% of these trips would have been done by car. Between the years bus rider ship to campus has increased by about 550%. xxii This is estimated to reduce driving by 3.2 million to 6.5 million miles per year consequently preventing 17,000 to 30,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. xxiii The buses in Boulder even have bike racks, which enable students to have the flexibility to ride their bikes part of the way to school, or to ride the bus if the weather turns bad. The student/ bus pass cards at Boulder are also done in a slightly different less wasteful way than at Trent University. Instead of a separate card being made ever year, like at Trent, students at Boulder keep the same card throughout their university career and a different colour sticker is applied every year to function as their bus pass. Even though it seems insignificant, using the same student card year after year can dramatically

6 cut down on the amount of plastic student cards that are produced every year. This is not only better for the environment but saves the school money. Bicycle Program Not just settling on having an effective bus system, the CU- Boulder has implemented a bicycle program to encourage cycling. This program makes it so no able bodied person on campus has an excuse not to ride a bike. If you cannot afford to buy a bike, the school offers interest free loans on bicycle purchases. All that is required is a good credit rating and a10% down payment. xxiv Another service they provide is bicycle registration. Registration makes it easier to recover your bicycle if it is stolen. Also many homeowners insurance policies will only cover bicycles if they are registered. The school has made bicycle registration mandatory for all bicycles that are on campus. The registration fee is a low $10. xxv This money is used to build bike racks on campus, and to improve bicycle access. The university also has the Buff bike program essentially a more practical version of the yellow bike programme that is in Peterborough. In this program, all university students, faculty, and staff can freely rent a bicycle for up to two days. xxvi These bikes are all simple single speed commuter bikes, which ensures that they are cheap and easy to fix if they break. The bikes all come with a lock, light, and an optional helmet. By allowing people to rent the bike this means that they are contractually forced to bring the bicycle back. This ensures that all bicycles are brought back to the bike depot, and helps prevent theft. In the Yellow bike programme once you have a key you can essentially do whatever you want with the bike, and the bikes can end up getting lost, as well as damaged.

7 Alternative Fuels CU Boulder has a student group dedicated to advancing the knowledge and support of bio-diesel fuel. This group has been quite effective in having their voices heard, their name is CU bio-diesel. xxvii This organization is funded by a student levy that the student body voted in favour of paying. xxviii They have been successful in converting two of the thirteen campus buses to run on 100% bio-diesel (B100) and the rest of them to run on 20% bio-diesel-diesel (B20) mixture. xxix With the help of the Cu bio-diesel the first public bio-diesel pump located in Boulder has been opened. The organization is currently working with the local public school board, the Boulder valley school district, to implement B20 fuel to be used in the school buses. Energy Use Generation Green UC-Boulder has not been successful at conserving energy in recent years. Campus energy use has been rising by 5% per year for the past seven years. xxx This is partly due to continued growth of the size of the campus. This has forced the university to start the Generation Green project in order to lower on campus energy use. xxxi The programs basic focus was on education, making the student body as well as the facility aware of the excessive energy they are using. They included things such as putting up posters that state the environmental effects of excessive energy use. They made flyers with energy tips to pass around campus, as well as placed stickers reminding people to turn out the lights in rooms when not in use. They also started focus groups to hypothesize ways in which energy could be reduced on a building per building basis.

8 The University decided to start a pilot project in order to see if the education ideas of Generation Green would be effective. The project was implemented in six on campus buildings in order to test its effectiveness of the six building used in the pilot project, four of them showed a decrease in energy use. The only building to show a significant decrease in energy was the Environmental Building (ENVD), at 15%. xxxii The other building showed only a slight decrease in energy if any, with the next highest decrease being 3.2%. xxxiii Campus wide electricity usage was decreased by 1.1%. xxxiv This initiative did have a slight overall effect but it was not very successful. I shows that perhaps that just straight education is not effective at reducing energy consumption. Wind Power In 2000 a campaign was launched to make the university purchase a portion of its electricity as wind power. xxxv In largest student voter turnout in school history, the student body voted in favour by a 5 to 1 margin to increase student fees by a dollar each year for four years to buy wind power. xxxvi Because of the large student body this slight increase raised $50,000 per year. xxxvii This is enough for the university to purchase the entire output (2 million KWh per year) of an entire wind turbine. This has made CU- Boulder the largest university purchaser of wind power in the United States. This issue was placed on a referendum ballot after 1,300 students signed a petition showing their support of wind power. xxxviii The referendum vote saw that 5,178 students supported, while 1,096 students were opposed. xxxix This movement was spearheaded by a student group Clean Energy Now! Along with the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies xl, this programme would not have happened if it wasn t for student activism and support of wind power energy.

9 4) Conclusion CU- Boulder has been very effective at supporting student groups, and getting these initiatives off the ground. This is largely because of the well-established and funded Environmental Centre. Because of this centre on-campus student organized environmental groups are able to get support and funding as well as promotion for their initiatives. With the support of the Environmental Centre student groups were able to get the school to convert their busses to bio-diesel, start a bus-pass program, and purchase a portion of the school s electricity from a windmill. Trent University, like CU- Boulder, already has a bus pass program. But there are aspects of Boulder s programme that Trent might be able to use. The single student card for the duration of a university career, approach that Colorado uses would cut down on the unnecessary production of student cards every year and would also save Trent money. I was impressed that the city busses had bike racks on the buses. This would be an inexpensive step the university and the city of Peterborough could implement in order to encourage an increase in bus ridership. Factors that may affect the feasibility of this action may be differences in insurance and bus licensing in Colorado compared to Ontario. The student body is much larger at CU- Boulder than it is at Trent. Boulder has a student population of 27,954 almost six times larger than Trent s. This means that they have more economic resources than Trent and have more of an infrastructure for developing environmental initiatives. This is shown by the fact that Boulder was able to

10 create an Environmental centre that employs five full time people as well as occupying a building. Trent doesn t have the resources to create an environmental office, and staff a full time staff. A student run environmental centre may be possible, if Trent would provide an office or a section of a building to base the centre in. I think that an environmental centre is important in enabling students to get their environmental initiatives off the ground, and to support them in getting student and faculty support. It was through the long established (founded 1970) environmental centre that many of the environmental initiatives at CU- Boulder were able to come to light. One area CU-Boulder appears to be ineffective at is energy use reduction. Through a student initiative to purchase wind power CU- Boulder energy use is having less of an environmental impact by using some clean energy but it is still using a lot of energy. The Generation Green project to educate the students, and faculty to be more energy conscious has been largely ineffective. This may be because in these buildings the people using them were already using methods to reduce their energy consumption, or the posters reminding them are ineffective. Whatever the reason the initiative is simply ineffective. A more expensive but effective method to reduce energy consumption at the university would be to do light fixture retrofits within the building in question. This is much more expensive but would guarantee results and would eventually save the university money from lower energy costs. Trent should also consider retrofitting some of the inefficient lighting units within the older buildings to save on energy costs.

11 Referencing All information was taken from the University of Colorado at Boulder website. This can be found at Specific Url s for exact information found in the report are as follows: i ii ibid iii ibid iv ibid v ibid vi ibid vii ibid viii ix ibid x xi ibid xii xiii ibid xiv xv ibid xvi xvii ibid xviii xix ibid xx ibid xxi xxii ibid xxiii ibid xxiv xxv ibid xxvi ibid xxvii xxviii ibid xxix ibid xxx xxxi ibid

12 xxxii bid xxxiii ibid xxxiv ibid xxxv xxxvi ibid xxxvii ibid xxxviii ibid xxxix ibid xl ibid

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