University to showcase green initiatives at Sustainability Open House

The latest campus and local community green initiatives will be showcased at Princeton University's Sustainability Open House from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, in Chancellor Green.

Organized by the University's Office of Sustainability, the event will coincide with the publication of Princeton's second annual Sustainability Report. The online report, set to be released Nov. 15, will describe progress toward goals since the University adopted its Sustainability Plan in February 2008. The first report was released in November 2009.

The open house will feature interactive displays and demonstrations from the working groups, academic and research programs, and student initiatives that are part of the effort to measure sustainability performance across University operations, teaching, research and student activities. Sustainable food samples will be served.

A short opening ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m. Executive Vice President Mark Burstein will deliver remarks, along with Danny Growald, a senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and the former undergraduate chair of Princeton Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE), a campus climate action group.

This is the second open house organized by the Office of Sustainability. The first one, in September 2008, focused on introducing the Sustainability Plan and drew a crowd of 900 to the Frist Campus Center.

This year's event was moved to Chancellor Green -- closer to Nassau Street -- and includes the goal of incorporating both campus and community groups. Local nonprofit organizations and businesses will participate.

"We are very excited by the enthusiasm of the 45 campus and community participant groups this year!" said Shana Weber, manager of the Office of Sustainability. "We are really looking forward to a dynamic and fun 'fair-like' atmosphere to celebrate and sample a smorgasbord of green options."

Teams from the campus and local communities have been invited to enter a Trash Sculpture Contest, and more than 40 have done so. The works of art will be displayed and voting for award winners will take place during the open house. At 6:30 p.m., University Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee will announce the winners of three cash awards from among sculptures judged by a panel of jurors and of the "people's choice" award from among the remaining works.

Those participating in the open house also will have an opportunity to check out electric and low-emission vehicles and to recycle their personal (non-University) computers, cell phones and handheld devices.

Working groups staffing displays will include those involved in campus energy systems, sustainable dining, landscaping practices and transportation alternatives. Among the academic and research programs on hand will be the Princeton Environmental Institute to showcase its environmental research, education and outreach, and the School of Architecture with models and images of sustainable designs.

Student groups planning to participate include the Princeton BEE Team (beekeeping), the Student Environmental Communication Network (green videos), Engineers Without Borders (sustainable design solutions for the developing world) and the EcoReps (campus recycling and waste reduction). The Pace Center for Civic Engagement will provide information on sustainability fellowships and civic action trips, and the Princeton Blairstown Center will offer details on adventure-based educational youth programs.

Among the community participants will be the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, the D&R Greenway, the Princeton Regional Schools Garden Project, Freecycle, the Princeton Record Exchange and Greendesign.

For more information, contact the Office of Sustainability.