About | Waste Reduction | Energy + Water Conservation | Engagement
Sustainability seeks to provide the best outcomes for individuals and the natural environment both now and into the future. University Housing works diligently to reach the sustainability goals as outlined in the University of Georgia Campus Sustainability Plan. University Housing has incorporated the principles of sustainability into the department's daily operations. In addition, University Housing strives to increase environmental awareness among students and staff as well as promote a sustainability community by example and through education of residents.
There are four primary ways by which University Housing demonstrates its commitment towards sustainability efforts - educational programs and campaigns, water and energy conservation efforts, recycling and other conservation efforts, and maintaining a healthy living environment.
Interested in learning about how the University of Georgia emphasizes sustainability across campus? Check out the University of Georgia’s Office of Sustainability.
Christy Tweedy, Sustainability Coordinator
Lauren Towe, EcoReps Intern
In an effort to limit unnecessary trips to the local Athens-Clarke County landfill, University Housing encourages residents to take steps towards reducing their waste. Below you will find a map of our recycling bins, plastic film collection bins, as well as compost bins throughout our residence halls. Not sure what can and cannot be recycled or composted? Scroll below to see our signs or check above the bins in the halls.
Recycling in Residence Halls
Residents across campus have the opportunity to recycle inside and outside of their residence halls. Residents can recycle many items in our single-stream system including, but not limited to, paper products, aluminum and tin cans, glass containers and bottles, plastic containers (excluding #6 and Styrofoam), aerosol cans and cardboard in designated areas. Plastic bags can be recycled in designated plastic bag recycling bins. For a comprehensive list of items residents can recycling, visit the Athens-Clarke County Recyclable Items page.
When in doubt, throw it out!
Athens-Clarke County upgraded several years ago to a single stream recycling system in an effort to drastically increase our county's recycling rate. This means recyclables are automatically sorted at the recycling center. Plastic film gets caught in the gears and can damage equipment, therefore plastic bags and other plastic film must be collected separately.
Find your closest location and bring not just your plastic bags, but bread bags, dry cleaning bags, ziplock bags with zipper removed, produce bags, shipping/packaging, newspaper bags, and any plastic film.
If your plastic film stretches (instead of tearing) and it's clean, it can go in the bins.Composting
Many of our residence halls offer free composting services through the UGA Departmental Composting Program. This offers residents a convenient way to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill, while providing nutrient-rich compost to be used on campus.
Not sure how to compost? Ask your Hall Council's EcoRep for assistance!
Move-In Recycling Saves Items From Reaching The Landfill
In efforts to reduce our collective impact during Move-In week, residents will notice locations where they can easily recycle large amounts of their packing items. These items are usually cardboard boxes and Styrofoam. University Housing will have locations along each hall where students can recycle these large quantities. Cardboard boxes (among other accepted items) can be recycled year-round nearby each resident hall. Consult your Resident Assistant for locations of recycling locations for your hall.
Annual Move-Out Donation Program Benefits Community Non-Profits
During the spring move-out, housing’s annual Dawgs Ditch the Dumpster and Donate program collected 60,000 pounds of unwanted furniture, clothing and other items, which was then distributed to more than a dozen local and regional non-profit organizations.
Dawgs Ditch the Dumpster and Donate (Dawgs Ditch for short) is an annual landfill diversion initiative and student volunteer opportunity that reflects housing’s commitments to sustainability and student leadership. The program allows residents living on campus to donate unwanted items that may otherwise end up in a landfill. Thanks to a grant from the UGA Office of Sustainability, University Housing coordinates this annual event with help from student organization Hillel at UGA.
"This program allows students to serve the community while giving them tools for tackling real-world challenges,” said the housing Sustainability Coordinator. “Service and sustainability are increasingly important issues the leaders of tomorrow will face and Dawgs Ditch speaks to both those concerns.
Many donations go to housing’s main partner, Goodwill of North Georgia, which contributes resources such as volunteers and trailers for the duration of the program—usually the two weeks leading up to spring commencement. Donations to Goodwill directly impact the Athens community by providing funds for job training services.
The list of organizations that benefit from Dawgs Ditch grows each year. Organizations that have benefitted in the past include Athens Area Habitat for Humanity, Project Safe (a shelter for women and children in crisis), Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Athens Area Humane Society, Friends of the Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Library, Keep ACC Beautiful, the ACC Teacher Reuse Store, and Easter Seals of Northeast Georgia.
Energy + Water Conservation
The Green Cup Challenge is a friendly conservation competition in the lower five residence halls (Mell, Lipscomb, Church, Hill, Boggs) that occurs every October. Residents compete to see which hall can conserve the most amount of electricity, water, and participate in educational programs. Residents can see their hall’s daily scores via Instagram @sustainableugahousing. The challenge concludes at the end of the month with a final celebration. This event features live music from local musicians, food sourced from local vendors, environmentally focused organizations tabling, and the announcement of the winning hall. The residents of the winning hall not only receive bragging rights, but a reusable mug as well. The Green Cup Challenge educates and inspires students to think more deeply about their impact on the world around them, not only during their time living on campus but as they move off campus as well.
Green Room Certification
Join other residents by getting your room Green Room Certified! This is a great starting point for anyone wanting to learn what steps they can take to reduce their impact while living on campus. Simply fill out the survey to see which level your room comes in at. Once completed you will receive a special door decoration delivered to your room.
There are many ways to get involved with sustainability within the residence halls, across campus, and throughout the Athens community. If you are seeking a leadership position and enjoy representing your community, see if the EcoRep position on Hall Council is for you. The EcoReps meet bi-weekly with advisors to learn about localized and current sustainability resources and initiatives. EcoReps become peer advocates and educators by engaging their community through active and passive programming and bulletin boards. The EcoReps also assist the rest of the community council executive board and general body in efforts to increase sustainability within their buildings. EcoReps have the opportunity to gain the Experiential Learning Credit in leadership, participate in an overnight camping retreat, and attend the Southeastern EcoRep conference in the spring semester. Those interested must attend a Hall Council Info Session. Majority of the Hall Council positions are assigned through an election process at the end of August. Ask your Residence Hall Director for details on how to apply.
Internships, Sustainability Certificate, Grants
Since 2008, our campus has had a thriving Office of Sustainability that has supported over 78 projects initiated by students, over 300 interns, and now offers a certificate in sustainability. Feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Join their Semester in Review at the end of each semester on Reading Day to hear about current intern projects, goals moving forward, and the semester’s accomplishments.
Looking to find your groove, provide service, and meet other students? Try UGArden (pronounced U-Garden), UGA’s own student community farm located just south of campus! UGArden focuses on teaching students to grow food using organic practices through experiential learning, sharing healthy food with local community members facing food insecurity, providing an opportunity for engagement, service, and experimentation, all while fostering an entrepreneurial spirit. Other sustainable university-community partnerships to get involved in include Campus Kitchen at UGA. Campus Kitchen runs a weekly food recovery and redistribution enterprise led by UGA student volunteers. Student leaders and volunteers together transform unused food from grocery stores and farms into meals and groceries that are delivered to older adults and human service agencies in Athens, Georgia. More service opportunities can be found on Engage Georgia.
Sustainable Student Organizations
Various student organizations exist on campus that focus on topics such as single-use plastics like Bag the Bag, or EcoReach which connects graduate, undergraduate, and professional ecologists at the University of Georgia with school-age children in order to heighten awareness of the science of ecology and environmental issues. Palm Oil Project, which works to increase awareness and motivate students to become smarter consumers and ultimately impact their local, and global, environment. More student organizations can be found on the UGA Involvement Network website.