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table of contents This Crimson & Green Guide was created to let you know all about sustainable living and initiatives at OU. But what does sustainability even mean? Simply put, sustainability entails meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations in terms of economic, environmental and social health. Given the history of our state, Sooners inherit a pioneering role in our society. To that end, the University of Oklahoma continued that pioneering tradition in leading collegiate sustainability practices by becoming a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. In 2007, OU President David L. Boren signed the ACUPCC, a program designed to address global stewardship within collegiate communities through sustainable acts by implementing resources and initiatives that will bridge a connection to the university and the environment. We prepared this guide to educate the OU community on sustainability resources in our community. Whether this guide inspires you to join OU’s green movement or simply encourages you to conserve more, many levels of sustainability are right at your fingertips. Boomer Sooner!

2 what does going green mean? 3 oklahoma goes green 5 every day earth day 6 food for thought 7 savvy shopper 9 rethink your waste 11 recycle like a champion 13 green transportation 14 green community The University’s Efforts

sustainable tips

benefits of a sustainable lifestyle tips for green shopping

OU’s recycling program

sustainable travel resources

student opportunities and organizations

what does“going green“mean?

We hear it all the time - Green this, Green that. So let’s face it, green is the newest black and almost everybody wants to participate. It is the latest trend. It’s marketable. And it’s not slowing down. Green does not necessarily mean drastic changes. You do not have to become a full fledged vegan or a car-free hippy. The whole green movement is based on the idea of making conscious decisions about our resources. It is about improving your quality of life, and understanding that you impact the community. Also, going green doesn’t even cost an arm and a leg. You don’t have to buy a Hybrid, restock your fridge with organic foods and you certainly don’t have to ride your bike wherever you go. Basically, the idea is to think before you act. Yes, it is that simple. Do you need to turn that light on? Do you really have to print that entire Power Point of class notes? Is driving a half a mile really necessary? By asking questions BEFORE you make

decisions, you’re already going green, saving green and conserving resources. There is no secret formula or hidden ritual. Going green is simply thinking about your life and making efficient, healthy choices. It is taking the time to consider what you are doing, who you are buying from and how you are impacting the world in which you live. Going green starts with small steps. It means changing a few habits to something a little different. Maybe it is a seven-minute shower instead of a 20 minute shower. Or walking three blocks instead of driving. Going green is a very simple idea that has the potential to make a major impact on the world that surrounds you.

OKLAHOMA goes green In 2010, OU was named a “green campus” by the Princeton Review*, we are the only public university in the state noted as one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges. campus statistics At OU, we are fortunate to have many students, faculty and staff dedicated to sustainability and constantly working to improve our community.

20% Increase of recycled goods in 2009 compared to 2008. 13% reduction in waste in 2009 compared to 2008. energy savings upgrades are expected to save as much energy as having 1800 fewer cars in Norman, OK. 40 electric vehicles are used by OU Parking and Transportation to reduce the University’s consumption of fossil fuels.

OU’s Sustainability Plan

Our actions and programs will provide awareness of and progress toward sustainability by addressing resource conservation, waste minimization, emission reduction, academic programs, research for alternative energy, and community awareness. OU is working hard, on every level, to bring sustainability ideas into practice. It started by signing the ACUPCC, and will continue on with the programs and projects as listed on the following pages.

14% INCREASE IN RIDERSHIP with Cleveland Area Rapid Transit (CART) for 2009. Check out cart. for more information. Farm-to-fork participant OU Housing and Food Services uses products from local farms as available.


RecycleMania RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs. During a 10-week period, schools report recycling data, which are then ranked based on the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or the highest recycling rate. Schools use weekly rankings and reports to encourage recycling on campus. The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), of which, the Norman Campus is a charter signatory, has made RecycleMania an integral component of its action plan. During RecycleMania 2009 OU finished in the top 15 percent of all participating universities and colleges, and first among the benchmarking divisions Big 12 schools.

Energy Efficiencies Upgrades OU Spirit Wind Farm By 2013, all of OU’s purchased electricity will come from wind power. The OU Spirit Wind Farm, which is owned and operated by OG&E, is one of the largest renewable energy agreements by a public university in the nation. The wind farm will provide enough energy to the University of Oklahoma to power 140,000 homes or 10% of the households in Oklahoma. It will also promote new job opportunities in Oklahoma, positively impacting Oklahoma’s economy and well-being.

Mechanical improvements, lighting upgrades, water conservation-plumbing upgrades, and improvements to heating and cooling systems are being implemented across campus to decrease energy use. “Smart” features are also being incorporated into buildings, including the addition of water-free and low-flow urinals and light sensors that turn off lights automatically when people are not in the room. The upgrades across Norman campus will be in three phases, we are currently in phase two, once completed all upgrades are expected to reduce OU’s energy use by the equivalent of 415 single family homes annually.

Crimson & Green Commitment During Fall 2009, more than 1600 students, faculty and staff united to make a personal pledge - a Crimson and Green Commitment- for sustainability. Each commitment was matched with a $2 contribution from the Facilities Management Department toward expanding the University recycling program in 2010.

“Save Energy” hot line: (405) 325-SAVE, or email to report ideas, inefficiencies, or for questions.

make every day

earth day

If everyone in the world used as many resources as the average American... We would need 5 planet Earths to maintain our current lifestyles. The problem is, we only have one. Try some of the ideas listed below to reduce your carbon footprint on the Earth, and make your life more sustainable. Every little action counts! save energy Turn off your computer: doing so can save $200 of energy per year. Remember: screen savers do not save energy.

reduce water use Reusable water bottles: Tap water is usually as clean or cleaner than bottled water, and reducing the use and costs of plastic bottles should give you enough incentive to invest in one. There is a filtered water system in the entrance of Cate Main.

COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS: -they’re the spiral shaped ones! They last ten times longer than regular incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy. Cool off: Take cooler showers and wash your clothes in cold water. It takes energy to heat water and clothes washed in cold water last longer.

TURN OFF THE TAP: Don’t let the faucet run when you are brushing your teeth or shaving.

unplug the unused: Electronics use energy even when they aren’t being used. A power strip makes this easy: just flip the switch when electronics aren’t needed.

ONLY WASH FULL LOADS: Running the washer machine or dish washer uses a lot of water, keep the loads full to stay efficient.

be a fan: of fans! Ceiling fans can make a room nine degrees cooler, so instead of turning down the air turn the fan on first.

TAKE SHORTER SHOWERS: No explanation needed.

reduce paper use Use fewer paper towels: They are not recyclable papers, their composition is too weak to be broken down for alternative uses. Try a cloth napkin or dish towel instead. go Tree Free: Use paper (printer/copy paper, toilet papers, tissues, paper towels, stationary, etc.) made from non-wood plants like cotton, hemp and bamboo. Be sure you check the labeling! REDUCE JUNK MAIL: by asking that your name and address be removed from mailing lists, check out for more info. print double-sided: if you absolutely have to print your documents. Start now by setting your computer default to print double-sided. Bring your own mug: Many coffee shops or stands use paper cups, bring your own reusable mug!


Embracing a greener, more sustainable lifestyle can mean an improvement to your health, your bank account, and ultimately, improving your overall quality of life and the life of your community.



In the US we have more stuff than ever before, but polls show that our national happiness is actually declining. Our national happiness peaked sometime in the 1950s, the same time as consumption and mass marketing exploded.

Taking on a more sustainable lifestyle brings the assurance that you are doing what is right for your own health and well being, which transcends to your community and the planet. Research shows there is a link between personal and planetary well-being ( A recent study from the Imperial College of London found a green lifestyle improves health and happiness through connectedness to nature, involvement in local communities, and non-materialist values. Think about it. Simplifying your life means more freedoms. More free time, more financial freedoms, and more social engagements. Going green can be an

integral part of your future, much like your degree plan at OU. They are both assets for the future that take dedication, but result in great rewards. The bottom line is that every single thing we do each day has an impact on the planet - good or bad. As individuals and consumers, there is potent power to influence the laws of supply and demand, ecology and economy, and the give-andtake that shape our world. Being a part of the Sooner nation puts us at a pivotal point; if we unite to make small changes, the outcome will add up to be something meaningful This generation can change the world - one action at a time.

eating one less burger per month saves 1300 gallons of water

that’s how much it takes, per burger, to hydrate the cow, grow its food, process and transport to the plate -National Park Service & the U.S. Geological Survey

Savvy Shopper change in your pocket While it is another benefit to being green, it also means that small actions can make big change. A look at some basic information that will help you make educated choices as a green consumer.

green here, green there, green everywhere You’ve probably noticed green is everywhere these days--in the news, politics, fashion, and even technology. That is a good thing, right? Kinda. With a million messages and ideas coming at us from all sides it can be easy to get mixed up with all the labels and shades of greens. You could even be suffering from a little green “fatigue” and purchase anything that says “green” or “natural.”

Beware of Greenwashing

shop green Buy Local products: The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your fork. Buy Organic Products: Not just for food. Even your T-shirts can be certified organic. BYOB: Take a reusable bag to the store. Each year the United States consumes 30 billion plastic and 10 billion paper grocery bags, requiring 14 million trees and 12 million barrels of oil, respectively Buy in bulk: There is less packaging waste produced by buying in bulk. Buy recycled: Many products made from recycled materials actually cost less to produce and are the same quality as virgin products.

eat green

Unfortunately some corporations spin their products as environmentally friendly to add another selling point. See the next page for labels and their meanings.

Buy from Farmers’ Markets: Buying local products supports local economies.

low budget

Eat seasonal foods: Produce costs less when peak supplies are available and they are fresher. Visit to find seasonal foods in your area.

There are quite a few natural and inexpensive methods to replace products and habits that are conducive to the environment and much easier on your budget. For example, refilling and reusable water bottle or a water pitcher rather than purchasing disposable water bottles can save a lot of money. Check out the for more green tips on a budget.

Eat MOre Fruits: It only takes 30 gallons of water to create one pound of fruits, veggies or grains. They are healthier for you too!

it means

Reading labels is a simple, effective way to find out what is in a product. Learning the meaning behind the labels can allow you to sort through the clout and the facts. Some labels are enforced by trustworthy organizations and others are used for selling points. This chart is a guide to sustainable purchasing. Animal Products beef, pork, dairy, poultry, eggs, etc. produce & packaged goods fruit, veggies, oats, cotton, soy, etc. clothing t-shirts, shoes, jeans, etc. Paper Products printer paper, tissues, stationary, etc. household products cosmetics, cleaners, paints, etc.


As clean and good as it gets.


Not much.

Fair Trade

Produced and traded in a socially responsible way.


about grown or raised without chemicals or synthetics, hormones, or GMOs; contains no added sulfates or artificial colors or flavors

products may still contain highly refined and altered ingredients, like high fructose syrup, NO certification, that are permitted to be labeled as Natural; no read the ingredients legal standard for this labeling social movement and market-based approach aimed to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions (i.e. fair wages) and promote sustainability

Beyond organic

agricultural method uses self-sustainable approach, with a strict emphasis on zero use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, etc.; holistic approach to nature with very strict standards upheld annually


Exactly what it says.

animals are not given hormones or antibiotics to increase production for profit purposes


Exactly what it says.

animals were treated humanely in a safe, healthy living environment

Demeter Certified Hormone rGBH Antibiotic

raised & Handled



Not damaging to living organisms.

Green Seal

Eco-Friendly product.

sustainable throughout product life cycle, including raw material extraction, manufacturing, use, and disposal


Exactly what it says.

made from recovered fibers or scraps leftover from producing new paper or from post-consumer waste*

plant-based products with supporting evidence NO certification, are the most trustworthy products read the ingredients

NO label, not a typical category for greenwashing

*paper that has been used and repulped to use again

rethink your waste

U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes 30% of the world’s resources and creates 30% of the world’s waste. Read on for some waste-loss information. per person

We love stuff. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but lots of stuff produces lots of rubbish and waste. Mountains of it. Fortunately, more and more waste is being recovered for recycling and has resulted in an alternative use for one third of the materials destined for landfills. While recycling is vital, reduction in waste is also a major component for sustainability. In Fiscal Year 2009, OU saw a 13% reduction in landfill wastes. Waste is not just created when consumers throw items away. Throughout the life cycle of a product from extraction of raw materials and transportation to processing and manufacturing, waste is generated. Reusing items or making them with less material decreases waste dramatically. Ultimately, less materials will need to be recycled or sent to landfills.

On average every American produces about 4.6 pounds of garbage per day. That adds up! So, where is it all going? A third gets recycled (1.5 pounds per day), a smidgen gets composted, while the rest ends up in landfills (2.5 pounds per day) or is incinerated (0.6 pounds per day).

reduce, reuse Reduce simply means to use less. While recycling is a great method, reduction in waste obviously uses less resources and energy than recycling. Reuse gets little attention as well, but is a key short cut to help us quickly move toward an environmentally and financially sound way of life.

ClockWork The time it takes for your trash to decompose. Banana Peel

2-5 Weeks

Tin Can

some bright ideas Garage Sales, freecycle, Craigslist, ebay: There are several, great online resources to save and make money! switch from disposable to reusable products: Find creative and sensible ways to reuse water bottles, towels, shopping bags, etc. The Library: You can save about $50 a year by borrowing six free books from a library instead of buying the same books. rechargeable batteries: The costs of rechargeable batteries will be expensive initially, but in the long run you will be saving money and resources!

50 Years

Simplify: Cut back on shopping and only keep belongings that you use or enjoy on a regular basis. Green your waste: Combine organic wastes (apples, grass trimmings, etc) into a plastic tub or bin outside to have a rich soil that is perfect for gardening. Check out for more information. Shop resale and thrift: Someone else’s “trash” could be your treasure! Food containers: Use reusable to-go food containers to reduce waste! Oliver’s in Cate ala Carte offers a break resistant, microwave safe to-go container to use throughout the year.

Plastic Bottles

80 Years

Plastic Drinking Cups

80 Years

Cigarette Butt

1-5 Years


The Facilities Management Refuse and Recycling team provides recycling services campus wide for the following materials:

Plastic See the following page for a full list and description of the types of plastics accepted on campus.

like a Champion


In the last decade, there has been a surge in recycling participation and programs nation wide. Recycling is a crucial step to minimizing waste and first came to OU in 1991. Seven years later, under the leadership of President Boren, a major expansion of the program made the collection of more recyclable materials possible. The OU recycling program has continued to thrive and now accepts more than eight different materials on campus. In Fiscal Year 2009, OU recycled 932.55 tons or more than two million pounds. This marks a 20 percent increase of recycled goods from the previous year’s total in fiscal year 2008. Good job, Sooners.


All paper that is collected is shredded except newspaper. See the next page for more information

Aluminum cans are accepted .

Cardboard Collection trailers are located across campus. For more info e-mail

Batteries Battery collection containers are available upon request.

(405) 325-8068 or for more info.

The Process Collecting recyclables at the various sites on campus is just the beginning. After the materials are collected, OU Refuse and Recycling transports all material to the University’s recycling compound south of campus where the materials are hand sorted by type. Old files are shredded, and paper, plastic and aluminum materials are crushed and baled. Then every eight days, Georgia Pacific picks up the paper bales and GreenStar picks up the plastic and aluminum bales to make into post-consumer products. OU Recycling and Refuse even accepts tires, waste oil, ink cartridges, antifreeze, and pallets, but these items require special coordination. Call (405) 325-8068 or e-mail for more information.

Paper Weight Nearly one third of all landfill waste is from paper products! OU recycles all types of paper from sticky notes and memos to newspapers and magazines to old files and high-gloss brochures. And, every piece of paper received is shredded except for newspaper. Each building on campus has a recycling bin specifically for paper. If your office would like its own recycling containers or has files to shred e-mail no glass

OU Refuse and Recycling does not accept glass.

Where you live... Residence Halls Paper, plastic, and aluminum can be recycled in the collection areas in the trash rooms on each floor of the Towers and Quads. The first floors of the residence halls have containers for recyclables as well. During move out at the end of the semester, look for collection boxes in your residence hall to donate or recycle goods you no longer need. OU Apartments Each Traditions Square complex has a recycling bin located outside the clubhouse and at each dumpster area with designated spots for newspapers, plastics and aluminum. Greek It is totally up to the individual house to have a recycling program; however, there aren’t currently any houses that recycle. If you want to channel your house into green action check out the non-profit organization Greeks Going Green at Also, if your fraternity or sorority is interested in starting a recycling program at your house, please e-mail Houses The City of Norman offers recycling bins for residents, visit for more info.

OU accepts all plastics, here’s a look at what the types of plastics are: Water and soda bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers Milk jugs, juice bottles; laundry and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some shopping bags; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners cooking oil bottles; clear food packaging, medical equipment; siding; piping Milk jugs, juice bottles; laundry and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some shopping bags; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food and dry cleaning bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet Disposable plates and cups; egg cartons, carry-out containers; aspirin bottles, compact disc cases ‘bullet-proof’ materials; sunglasses; DVD, iPod and computer cases; signs and displays; nylon Check out for more information on what recycled plastics symbols indicate.

Green routes

Save money, avoid traffic and parking hassles, spend more time socializing and lead a healthier life by breaking car-centered habits. With all the modes of transportation and options OU has to offer, traveling alone by car may soon be a thing of the past. by bike Bicycling is an excellent way to minimize car use and get exercise at the same time. It will also get you to class faster than walking or searching for a parking spot- especially when you live near to campus. There are bike lanes throughout campus designated to those Sooners who choose to spin their way across campus. Bike racks are located outside the residence halls and academic or administrative buildings for secure and convenient parking. Also, there is an air hose for your tires north of Walker Center and North of the Union. Check out for more information. Register your Bike: All cyclists should register their bike with OUPD in the Safewalk office located in Cate Center by Cate ala Carte, or check out for other options.

by bus Public transportation systems are almost always the greener option to traveling solo in a car. Riding the bus gives you time to review class notes, people watch and is a great way to reduce traffic.

by foot It takes about 15 minutes to get from one side of campus to the next, so walking is always an option! Many shops and restaurants are within a walking distance as well.

Cleveland Area Rapid Transit: CART is open to the OU community and surrounding cities, plus it runs almost exclusively on alternative fuels. OU students, faculty, and staff enjoy unlimited, free access to all CART services any time with your Sooner ID card. CART also has bike racks on each bus so you can ride your bike to the bus stops. Check out for route schedules and other CART benefits.

The Heartland Flyer goes North to OKC and South to the Fort Worth area with stops in between. Check out for more information.

Remember: One bus replaces, on average, approximately 45 cars, greatly improving air quality in the community (

Combine your trips and errands by planning out your car related trips. Remember, carpooling makes driving eco-friendly and it can be fun!

by train

by car

Green Flocks sustainable programs Our Earth ( This student group is dedicated to taking action and educating the OU community on environmental issues of all types affecting the campus and greater community. It aims to implement sustainable projects on campus.

Green Week ( A part of Student Congress, Green Week creates an eco-conscious culture by raising awareness about sustainability through one week of interactive events and engaging speakers that highlight opportunities individuals have to be environmentally responsible at OU.

sustainable representation Sustainability committee Comprised of OU faculty, staff, and students, the purpose of the committee is to serve as an advisory body chiefly working to accomplish the steps set forth by the ACUPCC. For more information, please call 405 325-5161.

Environmental Concerns committee The ECC assesses environmental issues and advises OU President, David Boren, on issues concerning the environment and promotes awareness of energy and other resource conservation, recycling, and personal and environmental well-being and safety.

sustainable education Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment ( IPE covers a broad area of complex environmental issues and provides a full range of knowledge relevant to environmental problems. The program offers minor and major degrees.

The unity between all Sooners and the greatness of the university is displayed as thousands strong join efforts to keep campus beautiful by day and night. By investing in a greener lifestyle through personal choices, academic studies, or organizational involvement, you have the opportunity to contribute toward a more beautiful, sustainable OU. Join the tradition. Live on University!

The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. Produced by the University of Oklahoma Facilities Management.

OU Crimson & Green Guide  
OU Crimson & Green Guide  

Sustainable living. Conceptualized, written and designed by Stacy Hawthorne.