April 13, 2010

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 13

Niagara University going green

Photo courtesy of Becoming Green

Photo courtesy of Becoming Green

As public awareness to save planet Earth increases, people are hearing more and more about the three R's: reduce, reuse,and recycle. Now more than ever, it is familiar for us to see celebrities sporting eco-friendly accessories or companies adopting energy-efficient processes. But did you know Niagara University is also joining in the efforts to become green?

Francis Redding, account manager of Unicco at NU, is one person to thank for that. When he began working at NU in October 2009, one of his first steps was to transition the NU campus into becoming more eco-friendly. By November, Unicco had made the decision to convert all of its cleaning products used at NU to Green Seal and EcoLogo Certified solutions.

A local company, Rochester Midland, provides the cleaning products to NU. The products are made of all-natural, sustainable ingredients - some of which include corn, beets, citrus and hydrogen peroxide. In addition to this, the products are 100 percent biodegradable, non-toxic, non-reactive, and non-corrosive. The cleaning chemicals produced by this company are the first to receive a Green-Seal-37 certification.

The Rochester Institute of Technology was one of the first campuses in New York to adopt these products. After proven to be highly successful, the Unicco team took a trip to RIT to gain first-hand insight on how the products worked. Liking what they saw, Unicco put the products to use by late November 2009.

Over Christmas break, Redding and his team were hard at work installing new dispensers around campus and training all the staff in how to efficiently use the products. Redding was pleased by how open his staff was to the new change, as this was one of the first big transformations in years.

The cleaning solutions not only proved to be eco-friendly, but more cost efficient and healthier as well. Most traditional cleaners contain toxic components that pose potential health risks. Unlike these products, the Green Seal solutions contain natural ingredients, which eliminate these risks. Green Seal is safer for employees, faculty, and students on campus.

But it does not stop there. Redding's other big effort in making NU more green is a simple one:recycling. Think of all the countless amounts of paper students collect from their classes and the number of plastic water bottles they go through. Unicco has set up a number of recycling bins around campus. So, instead of throwing these items out - recycle them.

"I try and walk when I can - it's the little things that make a difference," Redding said.

When asked what advice he can give to students to help the efforts in going green, Redding said, "Turn off your computers, lights and television when not in use, and recycle as much as possible." Redding advised communicating with your roommate before moving in to reduce the number of appliances you bring. For instance, sharing a refrigerator and television will drop the amount of energy consumed by 50 percent if you and your roommate each had your own.

Purchasing reusable shopping bags and water bottles to reduce plastic wastes are also ways to go green.

During next semester's new-student orientation, Redding plans on educating incoming freshmen about the importance of becoming eco-friendly.

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