Samira Sayeh

Samira Sayeh, assistant professor of French and Italian, specializes in Francophone literature and culture and the history of countries other than France that speak the language. Read More

Sustainability Spotlight

Student Success Greens the Olympics

For 11 years, Student Success departments have competed in the Student Success TEAM Olympics, a friendly competition between departments with a focus on building unity among staff. This year, sustainability was added to that focus.

Starting with team rosters that were submitted electronically, the TEAM Olympics added green activities to their regular line-up of sporting events, board games and other competitions. Extra points were awarded to teams that participated in special activities such as wearing green to events, using alternative transportation such as walking or carpooling to the games, or participating in a mystery “go green” activity. As part of the annual food drive, participants received extra points by donating green or organic food. The approximately 600 items collected through the drive were donated to Ekans. The 2009 TEAM Olympics also cut paper use by sending brackets and other notices electronically and reduced energy use by turning out overhead lights in the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center whenever possible and relying on natural lighting instead.

The mystery “go green” event, a sustainable office obstacle course, timed participants as they accomplished six tasks aimed at reducing waste and conserving energy in the workplace. The race started with setting energy saving options on computers to turn off the monitor and send the computer into hibernation when it isn’t being used, steps that can reduce energy use to near zero. Competitors then put together notepads made from used paper, replaced an incandescent light bulb in a desk lamp with a more energy efficient compact florescent lamp, filled a reusable water bottle, packed a lunch in reusable containers and sorted recyclable materials. Melodie Hough, assistant to the university registrar, participated in the mystery challenge for her team.

“Even though I knew this information,” she said, “it really drove home how quick and easy it is to make these changes at work and home.”

The Student Success TEAM Olympics concluded with a closing ceremony featuring a soup lunch. Participants were asked to bring their own soup bowl and spoon to reduce waste created by disposable bowls. Jeff Severin, director of the Center for Sustainability, commended Student Success during the luncheon for their efforts to green KU during the week and throughout the year.

“This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about environmental concerns on campus,” Severin said. “To me, sustainability is all about coming together to create a better future, and the TEAM Olympics is a great example of the spirit of teamwork on campus.”

Hough agreed that adding a green component to the games was important.

“I felt this year’s “going green” message was very meaningful,” she said. “Teaming up with office Olympics gets the message out in a fun environment.”

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