This October, the University of Maine is taking part in the first-ever Sustainability Month, which celebrates sustainable lifestyles and promotes sustainable choices on the UMaine campus.
UMaine is one of the most sustainable institutions in the state of Maine, and through the campus’ efforts UMaine has cut down on its carbon emissions as well as focusing on local industries such as local farms to provide resources.
The UMaine community is dedicated to observing the three main aspects of sustainability: environmental, social and economic. Through the events over the span of Sustainability Month, the UMaine community will encourage the comprehension and observation of these three aspects. The efforts, such as outreach, of the UMaine community are already working towards social sustainability. The University of Maine System is working hard through combined efforts to reach environmental and economically sustainable practices.
Over the course of the month of October, UMaine will be observing Sustainability Month through various events on campus. Throughout the month, the Mitchell Lecture series will be hosting lectures on sustainability and how to execute goals for sustainable practices.
In the past year, the university announced that the University of Maine System trustees had authorized spending up to $5.7 million to advance the negotiations of a long-term energy contract that would shift the UMaine Orono campus away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources.
Many of UMaine’s undergraduate and graduate departments are dedicated to sustainability as well. The university has, over the past couple of months, been awarded various grants to supplement research on sustainable practices such as offshore wind turbine development.
In the past, UMaine has been ranked among the nation’s top sustainable colleges by the Princeton Review. In 2018, UMaine received a score of 96, meaning that the campus was mostly sustainable and is making good progress toward being a fully sustainable campus.
The UMaine campus is encouraging the community to participate in sustainable activities throughout the month of October. The Rainbow Resource Center will be holding a “Mx. UMaine Drag Pageant” and will be offering a session before the drag pageant to participate in putting together a drag outfit made out of recycled materials and donated clothes. This activity and event is meant to show that the UMaine community can hold events that are sustainable and that have a minor carbon footprint.
UMaine will also be holding a Game-Day Recycling challenge at the home football game on Friday, Oct. 12. The Office of Sustainability will have sorting tables at the Alfond Arena and the Alfond and Satellite lots. Students attending the football game are encouraged to bring their recyclables to help the university compete against other schools for the most recycled waste.
The UMaine community has shown over the years that they are dedicated to sustainability, from student advocacy groups to efforts by the administration to make the campus more eco-friendly. Although it is up to the state and the federal government to reach decisions to ensure our longevity in the face of climate change, each member of the community that can integrate sustainability into their lifestyle is making a difference.