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2009 News Releases

Campus Sustainability Day to be October 21

October 14, 2009

Chad Pregracke Chad Pregracke, founder and president of Living Lands & Waters, will speak on October 21 for Campus Sustainability Day.

Longwood University's observance of Campus Sustainability Day, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, will feature a talk by an environmentalist who has been cleaning up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers for more than a decade, the debut of a re-usable "to-go" food container for use in the dining hall, and a webcast of a panel discussion on how institutions are operating energy-efficient campuses despite budget cuts.

Chad Pregracke, founder and president of Living Lands & Waters, a not-for-profit environmental organization that coordinates river cleanups and educational workshops, will speak at 7 p.m. in Molnar Recital Hall in Wygal. The Mississippi River was literally Pregracke's back yard while he was growing up, and he has been picking up garbage from that river since he was a teenager. Living Lands & Waters, founded in 1998 and based in East Moline, Ill., has picked up more than five tons of garbage from America's rivers. Pregracke's goal is "one river and one piece of garbage at a time." A segment on the CBS Sunday Morning Show in October 2007 called him "The Rivers' Garbage Man." He is the co-author of the 2007 book From the Bottom Up: One Man's Crusade to Clean America's Rivers.

Also on Sustainability Day, re-usable to-go food containers, which resemble the containers that restaurants use for patrons' leftovers, will be sold in Dorrill Dining Hall. By purchasing this hard plastic container, which is dishwasher-safe and goes through the same cleaning process as dinnerware in the dining hall, people will reduce the number of disposable containers going to the landfill. Students who buy the container, for use only in the dining hall's Outta Here to-go restaurant, will receive a laminated voucher, similar to the "MVP" cards used by grocery stores, which can be given in exchange for a re-usable container of food. Students rinse and return the to-go containers and are provided a clean re-usable to-go container at no additional cost. The re-usable containers will cost $3.99 each, but in observance of Sustainability Day, students may purchase them for $2 on Oct. 21.

ARAMARK Higher Education, Longwood's dining service company, introduced this container at many of its campuses this fall after a successful pilot program last year. ARAMARK expects it will divert more than two million disposables from landfills during the 2009-10 school year. Baylor University has reduced disposable container usage by 40 percent since implementing the containers in fall 2008.

A webcast of a panel discussion on "Sustainability Strategies for Vibrant Campus Communities" will be shown from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Greenwood Library 147. This is the annual anchor webcast produced by the Society for College and University Planning, which selects a different topic every year for Campus Sustainability Day. The discussion will examine how institutions are finding opportunities in the wake of budget cuts and providing the appropriate campus infrastructure and knowledge to finance, plan, operate and manage low-carbon, energy-efficient campuses.

This is the seventh year for Campus Sustainability Day, which is a nationwide effort, and the second year for Longwood's participation.