UNI working to go green - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI working to go green

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- The University of Northern Iowa is making new strides in its efforts be an environmentally friendly campus.  New recycling and energy efforts are helping to achieve that mission.

Solar panels are becoming a more common site around the campus.  The college started implementing green power initiatives decades ago and the efforts have only grown.

"It's not just something that's a recent phenomenon.  Sustainability and green practices are parts of the curriculum here at UNI.  It's a commitment that the university is showing they're really dedicated to moving forward with," said Eric O'Brien, UNI sustainability coordinator.

This year, new recycling bins are popping up across campus.  Outside buildings, you'll find those containers along with solar powered trash compactors.  Thanks to a student led initiative last year, recycling bins are now located in every campus residence hall.

"We've actually installed receptacles in every single room in every single building where the residents live on campus.  So they're able to do recycling in the residents halls and take it to a centrally located recycle area and it's picked up on a weekly basis," O'Brien said.

In fact, at one fall alone, three of the five bins had to be taken out Wednesday because they were full.  It goes to shot that students are grateful for the college's eco-friendly initiatives and have been eager to get on board.

"Because of all the new programs, it makes it a lot easier to recycle, to be environmentally friendly, to warn more about the new initiatives around campus," said Britney Tonning, UNI student.

And the college's green initiatives won't be stopping anytime soon.  Eric O'Brien has been hired as UNI's first ever sustainability coordinator and will be tasked with continuing to come up with ways to green up the camps.  Next in line, a wind turbine will be installed.  It will help generate power for a nearby building, while pushing the campus to be even more down to earth.

This Friday, UNI will have its grand opening for a new parking facility on campus.  It's powered entirely by solar panels.

Some of UNI's green efforts so far include:

-A bio-retention cell system around parking lots that treat run-off storm water

-A "green" roof on one building

-70 acres of natural prairies

-Solar panels outside numerous campus buildings

-Educational programs across campus to encourage green practices (including the Center for Energy & Environmental Education)

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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