Over the past year, UNO has continued making history. Whether it be in the classroom, on the field, right here in Omaha, or across the world - the students, faculty, and staff of UNO have set the bar for what it means to be a successful and engaged metropolitan university.
This story, which highlights UNO's major steps toward a more sustainable campus, is one of 15 that will be published through the month of December to highlight the "Best of 2015" at UNO.
Though UNO's Sustainability Master Plan was released in late 2014, campus and community members gave their input through much of last spring. Seven forum events were held, allowing campus and community members to ask questions and make suggestions.
Over the next several decades, the plan seeks to have the UNO campus become carbon neutral, ensure all water is used efficiently, increase the number of green product purchases and divert as much waste as possible away from landfills.
UNO's first Sustainability Coordinator Sarah Burke will play a major role in the implementation of the Master Plan. Hired this fall, Burke will also help support sustainability-based curricular and co-curricular programs, events, and research activities for the campus community.
Burke earned her Master’s degree in Sustainability from St. Louis University and her undergraduate degree in Zoology from Colorado State University. Prior to earning her Master’s degree, she worked at the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Earth Day 2015, hosted at Elmwood Park in April, kicked off a full week of campus events raising awareness of the importance of sustainability.
Events included a recycling raffle, tree planting, solar car races and a potted flower and water bottle giveaway. Panel discussions focused on everything from alternative fuel to food availability.
Here's something else that happened during Earth Week, and then again in fall semester. Transportation Showcase events gave students a chance to ask questions and receive answers about environmentally friendly ways to get to and around campus.
Options include taking the bus through MavRide, ride sharing with Zimride or Zipcar and bike sharing with B-cycle stations.
2016 will begin with a major boost to UNO's sustainable transportation efforts: starting Jan. 2, your MavCARD will also work as a Metro Transit bus pass.