Fall 1995 Student Project Executive Summaries -- Greening the Maize and Blue, University of Michigan

NOTE: These are executive summaries written by the students who conducted projects in the Fall 1995 course, NRE 306 -- "Greening the Maize and Blue." The words are the students, while I have standardized the formatting. Formatting is with spaces rather than tabs -- a monospace font such as Monaco or Courier will give the best results.

-Andy Duncan, Instructor, aduncan@umich.edu, 12/95


* Awareness Building of Organic Produce for College Campuses: A

Case Study at Couzens Dining Service

* A Classroom in the Arb

* Encouraging Recycling in Fraternity, Sorority, and Co-op Housing

* Junk Mail: Want Not, Waste Not

* Recycled Non-bleached Paper Survey and Study

* Recycling at the League

* The Ecological Constraints of Planting in Parking Areas: A Case

Study at the University of Michigan

* The Invasion Of Construction On Campus Quality Space

* Campaign to Support the Talloires Declaration

* Living Lightly Workshops in Sorority and Fraternity Houses

* The Michigan Daily: Strategies for Waste Prevention

Awareness Building of Organic Produce for College Campuses: A Case Study at Couzens Dining Service

Kristal Aliyas kradmdev@umich.edu

Eunah Hyun poopoo@umich.edu

The Awareness Building Project was undertaken by two undergraduate students at the University of Michigan to fulfill the requirements for the Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) 306 course -- Greening the Maize and Blue. NRE 306 was instructed by Andy Duncan, a doctoral candidate at the School of Natural Resources and Environment. The course sought to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into college campuses in an effort to emphasize the relationship between environmental stewardship and education.

The term project required different individuals/groups to research a specific topic related to environmental practices and programs at the University of Michigan. We had a common desire to develop a program that promotes student awareness building on the issues concerning organic produce, and possible incorporation of organic foods into dining services. We hoped that our project would lay the groundwork for future procurement practices targeting college dining services and also be a reference for similar initiatives.

The project fell into three distinct stages: data-compilation, surveys, and awareness-building table tents.

In the first stage, we contacted management staff at Couzens Dining Service, and several other local organic food retailers and distributors in an effort to compile a price comparison data of organic and conventional produce. From the price comparisons we discovered that some organic foods were slightly higher in price compared to conventional items. But there also existed the presence of similar or comparable prices between some organic and conventional produce. We also collected informational materials on organic produce from People's Food Co-op, Rosewood Distributors, and publications such as "Ecodemia" published by NWF, "Sane Living in a Mad World" by Robert Rodale, and "A Campus Environmental Audit" compiled by Oberlin College.

Second stage of our work involved conducting a survey designed to analyze the awareness level of students who eat at Couzens Dining Service regularly. Through the survey, vegetables to be targeted for the research, and other factors that contribute to the students' attitude toward organic produce were determined. During the survey process, we noted the lack of awareness demonstrated by the students. Several students were uninformed of what organic produce was. There also were other students that had heard of the term "organic" but were unaware of what it meant.

In the last stage, a table tent was produced as our awareness building product. The table tent was designed to be displayed on cafeteria tables so that students can read it while dining. Information on what, why, and how aspects of organic produce were included, along with our e-mail addresses for those wanting further information.

At the closing of our project, we were able to generate a list of general recommendations to the management staff at University of Michigan Dining Services that might enable active participation in procurement practices such as purchasing organic rather than conventional produce. Some of the recommendations include: recognizing the environmental problems involved, being cognizant of their (the management staff) purchasing power and to prefer environmentally positive products and encourage active participation from the students in expressing their concerns on purchasing decisions made by the management staff.


A Classroom In The Arb

Becca Bodzick rsbodzic@umich.edu

Brooke Scelza bscelza@umich.edu

Jon Streeter streets@umich.edu

The students of NRE 306, "Greening the Maize and Blue," were required to complete an individual or group project. We chose to address the issue of environmental education for our project. We wanted to design a program which local teachers could use to bring their classes on field trips to Nichols Arboretum. We chose to focus on pre-schoolers and early elementary students (K-3).

Our group had originally planned on establishing this program as well as recruiting and training volunteers to run the program. Through our work, we found out that there are docents trained to do this type of work, rendering this part of our project unnecessary. We reorganized and decided to focus on training teachers to lead their classes through an arb field trip. Our final project included a teacher survey, an outline for a teacher workshop, and an activity book.

Surveys were sent to teachers at public and Montessori schools in the Ann Arbor area. We aimed to find out whether environmental education was already a part of the school's curriculum, how often the classes take field trips, and whether or not the teachers would be interested in our program. We received a small but positive response to our surveys.

The second part of our project focused on an outline for a teacher workshop. The workshop would allow teachers to try out some of our activities, and it also would give out information about how to overcome various obstacles that might be encountered, such as funding for the field trips.

The activity book was the main component of our project. The book consists of a description and map of the arb, a summary of our project, and the activities. The activities fall into one of four categories: senses, trees, animals, and ecosystems. Each activity contains the objective, suggested vocabulary, time that the activity will take, appropriate age groups, directions for the activity, the location in the arb where it can be done, and some follow-up activities and books for the classroom. The activity book is available for any teacher who is interested in it.

"A Classroom In The Arb" is a project that we feel helps place the University of Michigan on the right track for attaining its goal of campus environmental stewardship. By educating young children about environmental issues, and helping to give them a better appreciation of nature, we are hoping that the next generation of students here at Michigan will have a greater respect for the world around them.


Encouraging Recycling in Fraternity, Sorority, and Co-op Housing

David Colliver dcol@umich.edu

Nicole DeJonghe dejonghe@umich.edu

Jennifer Samnick bethjen@umich.edu

Our Off-Campus Recycling Program was designed to reach out to the student community in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. Three undergraduate students at UM's School of Natural Resources and Environment worked with some of the larger off-campus housing groups: fraternities, sororities and cooperatives. We intended to educate and initiate comprehensive recycling programs at each house to allow them to fully participate in the town's curbside pick-up and drop-off program.

To begin our project we contacted the fraternities, sororities and student co-ops. Based on their interest and need for an improved or new recycling program, we selected five fraternities, four sororities and four student co-ops to work with. Each house had a liaison between us and the house members. Working with these house contacts, we decided how we would improve or establish their recycling programs.

We acquired city bins for those houses that needed them. We then educated the house contact on which items belonged in each bin and the proper way to prepare the materials. Suggestions for signs and actual signs were distributed to help the house contacts educate the other house members. We also spoke with several house members. Later, we continually assessed each house's recycling program and made improvements as needed. Finally, to ensure a lasting program, we either provided each house with an information packet with city educational materials and our suggestions or helped the house create a recycling chair or focus group.

Overall, most houses we worked with seem to be interested in a long-term recycling effort. We achieved our goal by improving and initiating several off-campus recycling programs. We feel that we were able to successfully educate house members and generally raise awareness of the city's recycling program. We feel that we would have been more effective if we had had more time than half a semester to work with the house members and had narrowed our focus to fewer houses. We sometimes found it difficult to coordinate our time with the constraints of conflicting student schedules.

We hope that there will be a greater student awareness and interest in participating in Ann Arbor's recycling program while at home besides on campus. By educating students on home recycling, their behaviors may be influenced and carry over to other arenas of life. This would increase positive student environmental attitudes and aid in the promotion of an environmentally aware campus which would help reach the broader goal of campus environmental stewardship.


Junk Mail: Want Not, Waste Not

Emily Dawson eld@umich.edu

Mallory Tackett mallory@umich.edu

This project examined the paper waste caused by unwanted mail in the residence halls at the University of Michigan. The project consisted of gathering a quantitative measurement of the type of mail that students receive in two pilot halls (Bursley and Barbour/Newberry) over a two week period. After obtaining a copy of the official policy regarding distribution to student mailboxes, it became evident from a case study that residence halls were not always adhering to the guidelines mandated by the University Housing Division.

The second aspect of the project involved informing students of junk mail and its negative environmental impacts. During project presentations, students were encouraged to complete a postcard which removes their names from a national distribution list, and were also provided with an informational pamphlet. In an informal survey, students responded that major sources of junk mail include restaurant franchises, credit card companies, catalogs, and organizational fliers. Overall, students who responded seemed concerned about the amount of junk mail they receive.

Recommendations for reducing/eliminating the amount of junk mail distributed to the students include: enforcement of University Housing Division policy, providing display racks, utilizing bulletin boards and posters, implementing an electronic mailing list, and removing all trash cans from the mailroom areas.


Recycled Non-bleached Paper Survey and Study

Aaron de Long gondela@umich.edu

The chlorine bleaching process used in the manufacture of most office papers is one of the most serious environmental problems facing the Great Lakes region today. Every day the average paper mill discharges between 10-35 tons of organochlorines into the environment. These organochlorines include most significantly dioxin, a carcinogenic family of chemicals known the cause birth and developmental defects in both wildlife and humans.

My project involved building awareness and demand on the University of Michigan campus for non-bleached recycled paper. I went about accomplishing these two goals by developing a survey which I distributed to various department purchasing heads, and by then tabulating the results of this survey and submitting it to M Stores (the primary office supplies dealer on campus) through a written report and a verbal presentation at a Buy Recycled Seminar.

The results of my project were a definite interest in this paper being discovered primarily in a group of fifteen (out of twenty) respondents. This group of fifteen expressed a desire in the purchase of non-bleached recycled paper at even a slightly more expensive price than normal office paper. Per year this group constituted approximately two truckloads, or $60,000, worth of paper.

The major concerns listed by all respondents with regard to non-bleached recycled paper were its performance in copiers and its availability. Copier performance was rated by a local copy store, by a secretary at the National Wildlife Federation and by the City of Ann Arbor Public Works department. In all cases printing quality was rated excellent and copier performance was rated satisfactory. Only the NWF reported significantly more problems were this paper in their high speed copiers. As for availability, part of the main thrust of this project was to increase this through the stocking of it by M Stores.

M Stores is now currently in the process of bidding for a chlorine-free paper contract, the results of my survey can only serve to underline the importance that a contract is reached As one of the largest public institutions in the country it is an imperative that the University of Michigan be a leader, particularly on environmental fronts where leaders are sorely needed. The establishment of chlorine-free recycled paper usage on our campus would only further us in achieving the ultimate goal of an environmentally sound, sustainable campus.


Recycling at the League!

Sucila Fernandes sucila@umich.edu

At the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus, recycling is not mandatory but programs exist in some of the buildings. The Michigan League is not one of them. There are several reasons for this; the custodial staff feels like it's not their responsibility to recycle; the kitchen staff feels the same way; there hasn't been a central person to initiate and coordinate such a program; many of the employees are unaware of what can/can not be recycled.

The City of Ann Arbor has just recently implemented a new and more efficient recycling system. The recyclables are collected and then sent to the new Materials Recovery Facility. At this new facility all of the recyclables are sorted into the different categories so that residents of Ann Arbor don't have to. Then they are sent to various areas. This is important because it not only makes it easier for the resident to recycle it also encourages more recycling.

Currently the Michigan League has little recycling in progress and no holistic programs in effect. The custodial staff picks up the trash from around the building and brings to the kitchen, where the kitchen cleaners dispose of the garbage. Both the Custodial staff and the kitchen staff are unaware of the proper procedures for recycling as well as items that can be recycled.

The program I am trying to implement is still in progress. So far a general Managers meeting was held where most of the managers attended it. The kitchen cleaners were given a separate recycling training session. I have also visited all the offices and discussed individually all the possibilities of recycling found in their office and trash. This personal type of awareness building approach, allowed for questions on a one on one basis, which I feel is very important. Purchasing more recycling bins, surveys of custodial process, more training sessions, among other things are proposed to occur in the beginning of next semester. Future prospects include energy audits.

This project is important because recycling is no longer a thing of the past. The League has the potential of changing its image to becoming one of the most environmentally friendly buildings on campus. I feel like I can make this happen through persistence and dedication and a lot of encouragement. I plan on continuing this project not only as an awareness building project but as a way of showing the University that although recycling is not mandatory, recycling efforts can happen all over campus not just in one building and become very successful.


The Ecological Constraints of Planting in Parking Areas: A Case Study at the University of Michigan

Tracy Filippi tfilippi@umich.edu

I looked at the ecological constraints of planting in parking areas. Parking lots are harsh environments for trees, and special care should be taken to ensure that trees reach their full potential. Trees should and can be more than just a decorative touch to top off an engineering design. I looked at 3 parking lots here at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor: G.G. Brown and Art and Architecture-North Campus, and Crisler Arena-Central Campus. I wanted to see what problems were actually occurring and what if any thing could be done in a pollution prevention vein, to fix them.




1) HEAT:

*surfaces of parking lots and adjacent buildings reflect vast

amounts of heat onto plants

*this in turn increases the water needs of the plant


*low oxygen--> compaction by construction equipment and foot


*little nutrients--> soil is often full of rubble and has very

little organic matter because of removal

*poor drainage--> a result of design, compaction, and poor soil


*insufficient root space given in design

*soil pollutants--> herbicides-toxic

salt-impedes gas exchange

heavy metals


*sulfur dioxide, ozone, airborne herbicides

--> light pollution from outdoor night lighting makes plants more

susceptible to air pollution


1) HEAT:

*when planted together, plants can provide shade for each other

*larger planting areas provide for less reflective surface than



*aeration of already compacted areas increases water and oxygen


*channel foot and vehicular traffic away for plantings, don't use

trees to try and deter foot traffic

*enlarge planting areas to allow for healthy horizontal root


*mulch to cushion foot traffic and to retain water in already

compacted areas

*amend soil (carefully and only when needed)--> too much can

reduce growth and stability

*reduce salt and herbicide use


*plant away from pollution sources

*reduce pollution: What is good for people is good for plants!



*they absorb gaseous pollutants

*wind turbulence that they create disperses pollutants


*intercept glare

*provide evaporative cooling

*absorb solar radiation

*provide shade


*if properly planted, can provide for reduced winds

*less snow drifts in parking lots


*decrease street noise if planted close to the source


*mask odor of pollutants


*reduce runoff by intercepting some of the rain in parking lots


*grouping and multi-lering of plants can produce habitat


*provide a more livable environment psychologically

*give a sense of place


*tree appreciate over time


*made a map for site use from origin plans

*recorded species present, dead, dying, diseased, under stress

*recorded size of trees and relative size of planters

*noted foot traffic patterns


G.G. BROWN- sun scald, and compaction because design did not accommodate for foot traffic from other side of the road to the the main entrance of the building

ART AND ARCHITECTURE- some sunscald, lots of compaction because planters were designed to be right in front of the two main entrances

CRISLER- some sunscald, compaction is a huge problem because of large amounts of foot traffic for sporting events, especially tailgate parties


1) When designing, car should be taken to see that trees reach their

full potential, and more than just a decorative afterthought.

2) Anticipate foot traffic patterns and design plantings out of the


3) Plant in a few large grouping rather than many small strips-->

survival rate is much higher.

4) Plant native species to encourage native wildlife, give a sense of

place, and to deter naturalization by exotics.

5) Plant no more than 10% of one species to avoid encouraging pest


6) A nice looking campus with healthy vegetation gives U of M a good

image and makes living in the city more enjoyable.


The Invasion Of Construction On Campus Quality Space

Ben Johnson benjy@umich.edu

Liz Mancini emancini@umich.edu

This project was taken on by two undergraduate students at the University of Michigan to fulfill the requirements set for us by our facilitator in an undergraduate experimental seminar. The two of us had a common interest in the area of Landscape Architecture, and we formulated a project that was both interesting to us and helpful in creating a more environmentally friendly campus. We evaluated students, faculty, and staff's feelings on construction practices on the University of Michigan's Central Campus, and we also implemented an awareness raising poster that could potentially help extend the life of the trees that are near a construction site.

Our first goal was to find a way to evaluate the opinions of the population of the University of Michigan about the construction invasion on campus. This was done by making up a survey that could be posted over e-mail. The survey was sent to approximately 350 people, and there were a total of about 100 responses, but only 80 of them were valid. This same survey was also used to obtain oral responses.

Our second goal was to try to implement an awareness raising poster that would be put up on construction sites. The poster, modeled after a pamphlet that had similar intentions, contained information on how to prevent tree damage during a renovation or construction of a building.

The outcome of our research and work was compiled into an informational packet and distributed to Landscape architects for use in their practices. The poster is in the process of being passed through various departments in order to be eventually put on sites.

Through this project, we hope to have raised awareness to many different groups. We hope to have shown the landscape architects the trends of likes and dislikes in quality spaces, we hope to have curbed tree damaging practices on construction sites, and finally we hope that the population of the University of Michigan is aware of the invasion of construction on quality green space on campus.


Campaign to Support the Talloires Declaration

Jon Kazmierski jkazmier@umich.edu

A project that involves gathering support from students, faculty members, and administrators that want to see the Talloires Declaration signed by the President of the University of Michigan. This project entails speaking to student groups, faculty members, and administrative staff about how the Talloires Declaration can benefit the University and how important it is for the University to participate in programs and activities that make it an environmentally sustainable community.

So far, my project has produced a resolution by the Michigan Student Assembly, University of Michigan's student government. The resolution outlines the students' concerns for environmental sustainability on campus, supports the Talloires Declaration, and recommends that the President of U of M sign the Declaration and form a steering committee to support the University's efforts to carry out programs and activities that are in the spirit of the Talloires Declaration. I have also been successful in receiving the support of a number of faculty and administrators.

Gathering support from all facets of the University is key to insuring that the Talloires Declaration has a successful impact on the University once it is signed. This requires meeting with many different people, a process that is time consuming but necessary. I am currently in this phase of the project. I will be continuing to gather support and will be researching the feasibility of establishing a steering committee and the ways in which a committee can serve the University.

Once the Declaration is signed, it has the potential to benefit the University by supporting programs that help the campus become a more environmentally sustainable community. These benefits may include: economic savings through conservation and reduction programs, the development of a forum (the steering committee) for campus environmental issues to be discussed, encouraging programs and curricula that provide environmental education for students, becoming a role model for other campuses and communities, and stimulating research in environmental fields.

The Declaration will only be as beneficial to a university as it wants it to be. The Declaration characterizes the will of the University to become an environmentally sustainable community. I have found and gathered evidence that the students, faculty, and administrators at the University of Michigan believe that the Talloires Declaration would be a beneficial addition to the mission of this institution.


Living Lightly Workshops in Sorority and Fraternity Houses

Laura Lebbon lmlebbon@umich.edu

Amy Silberman silberma@umich.edu

In order to increase the environmental education of a portion of members of University of Michigan's Greek system, we organized several Living Lightly workshops. The goal of these workshops was to enhance participants' knowledge of the dangers threatening our environment and the simple behavioral changes they can make to better the U-M community. Rather than targeting every member of U-M's Greek system, we opted to focus on three sororities and three fraternities. Workshops were held at each individual house, in order to provide maximum convenience for the fraternity's members. Posters and fliers posted around the house enticed participants to the workshops. We began by having all of the attendants complete our newly - devised survey, entitled "How Green Are You?", to assess their degree of environmental knowledge. The workshops themselves resembled a colloquial forum where participants stated their present behavior and we bestowed them with information about better environmental practices in the following topics: water and electricity conservation, recycling bottles, cans, and paper, and methods of transportation. We then conducted a tour through their house and posted "Quick Tips" on bathroom mirrors and refrigerator doors, reminding individuals how their daily ritual habits can be altered to aid the environment.

The Living Lightly workshops were met with a moderate level of enthusiasm from members of the six Greek homes we chose as our target audience. The message of our project: individual behavior affects the community's environment, was conveyed, as were specific ways in which individuals could increase environmental stewardship. Thus, the workshops were successful in achieving their primary goals. However, if this project is tackled in the future, we would recommend appointing a specific member of each house to be the "environmental chair", who enforces these practices after the conclusion of the workshops, in order to provide long - lasting impact on our campus. In addition, these leaders should offer incentives to their chapter to change behavioral techniques. While our workshops increased environmental knowledge within the Greek system, it would be beneficial for future planners to work with people on an individual basis to promote a "trickle - down" trend of behavior modification.


The Michigan Daily: Strategies for Waste Prevention

Mike Newman rakeman@umich.edu

The Michigan Daily is as much a part of campus as football games and the libraries. It prints 16,500 copies every day of classes, and is placed all over campus. This volume of papers has a significant impact on the environment from the natural resources used to print it to the impacts it has after disposal. In order to reduce the impacts of the Daily, this project attempted to find ways of reducing the number of papers printed which would lead to less resources needed for production and less papers for disposal. The visibility the Daily enjoys on campus means that steps they might take towards increasing environmental stewardship on campus will be a positive message for other organizations.


1) Conducted a detailed analysis of seven Daily drop off sites for two weeks - Dana, Chemistry, Natural Science, Modern Languages, Frieze, the Fishbowl, and West Quad. This analysis included the counting the number of papers not taken per day, and qualitatively determining the number of papers recycled, trashed, or thrown on the floor.

2) Interviewed various staff members of the university familiar with the issues to identify problem areas on campus, and potential solutions.

3) Consulted outside sources, particularly other universities, to learn possible solutions relevant to Michigan.


1) Found that significant overproduction takes place - thousands of papers are never touched every day.

2) Further found that potential to increase recycling exists on campus.

3) Developed solutions, including decreasing overall production, staggering production through the week in line with staggered readership levels, and improving on monitoring efforts so that future problems can quickly be identified and solved.

4) Met with the Michigan Daily business manager, the custodial staff, and the Manager of Student Publications in order to get solutions implemented.

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