Student-Led Green Projects Get National Shout-Out

Student-Led Green Projects Get National Shout-Out

Two student-led sustainability projects at the University of Central Florida are showcased in the National Wildlife Federation’s newest resource guide.

UCF’s “Knights Pick Up” football game day recycling program and the student-built biofuel reactor on campus are featured in the nationally distributed guide, “Generation E: Students Learning for a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future.” The guide is available online at¬†www.nwf.org/gene.

The guide showcases outstanding student sustainability projects around the country that are considered best practices and can be replicated by other universities.

“Knights Pick Up,” an effort of the Student Sustainability Alliance, is a roving trash and recycling pick-up service that travels throughout tailgating areas on football game days to help keep the campus clean and encourage recycling. Since the program’s inception in 2008, UCF’s game day recycling rate increased by more than 70 percent. The program is featured on page 37 of the NWF guide, as part of the Recycling and Waste Reduction category.

A student-built biofuel reactor can convert restaurants’ used vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel that can power UCF diesel fleet vehicles. Initially a class project for four engineering students in 2008, the biodiesel fuel reactor was built from a water heater and a variety of tanks, tubes and valves. It can produce 60 gallons of biodiesel fuel every two days. The project is featured on page 47 of the NWF guide, under the Transportation-BioFuels category.

“Our students have taken leadership roles in enhancing UCF’s commitment to sustainability and enabling us to serve as a model for other colleges and universities around the country,” said David Norvell, director of Sustainability and Energy Management at UCF. “Our innovative collaborations also help students educate their peers and the community about how to lead sustainable lifestyles.”

Student sustainability initiatives are supported by a number of UCF departments and organizations, including Landscape and Natural Resources, Sustainability and Energy Management, Facilities Operations, Office of Undergraduate Studies, Arboretum, Experiential Learning and Student Government Association.