The UCF Alumni Association takes on GreenUp UCF campaign

The UCF Alumni Association Staff pledged to "green" their workspace at the GreenUp UCF Lunch & Learn on Friday, the kickoff date of the "GreenUp UCF" campaign. In partnership with Sustainability Initiatives and UCF Utilities & Energy Services, the Alumni Association dedicated the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center building to carry out the Green Office Certification initiative. Ann Allen, Assistant Director of Marketing & Events, was motivated to lead this task. She reflected, "When I thought about a project for my Leadership Enhancement Program, I knew I wanted to focus on the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center and devise a sustainability plan. I chose an area that supports Dr. Hitt’s plan to become climate neutral by 2050."

Now in its tenth year standing, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center was the first building selected to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-EB Certified, meaning that the existing building will preform at LEED standards in its continuous living operations. The UCF Alumni Association recognized that although building efficiency plays a large role in energy savings, the individual behaviors of the building's everyday users also affect the result. The GreenUp UCF Pledge symbolized the carrying out of these behavioral changes. It touched on various categories to lead a more sustainable workday: energy, waste, events, and office space. Some popular commitments include keeping a recycle bin under one's desk, taking the stairs to save electricity, and turning off the lights when leaving one's office or meeting room every time. One staff member daringly checked off every commitment in the pledge and declared to the group that being sustainably conscious is important.

Alexandra Kennedy, Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator, gave an engaging presentation during the GreenUp UCF Lunch & Learn to commend Alumni Staff for taking part in the university's goal to reach climate neutrality by 2050. She spoke on a deeper meaning of sustainability by using a trajectory graphic of humans' current consumption constituting 2.75 earths in order to fulfill our needs. However, if we support a turnaround by reducing our consumption, we can live within the resources of our one planet. Kennedy also included a graph depicting the Alumni Center's kWh energy reductions this year compared to last. Despite some improvement, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center's current energy usage equates to the energy used by 44.2 average U.S. homes for 1 year, 67.6 passenger vehicles driven for 1 year, and 115 tons of landfilled waste. In other words, a lot of energy!

With change in mind and hope on the horizon, the staff was given the opportunity to take the pledge at the event and received a GreenUp Decal to display at their workspace following to show support. Allen notes that this is just the start. "I know sustainability starts with people and my team are the trail blazers to help jumpstart this initiative. We had 100% participation and have taken a yearlong pledge to change our office behaviors to make UCF a better place to learn and work."