Tiger Blue Goes Green News
Adopt a Street - Tiger Blue Goes Green

More Spring 2012 Features:

The Recycling Zone Prototype
Green Intern "Earth Day"
Apple Inc. returns to campus
U of M Earth Day festivities
U of M students adopt a street

U of M students adopt a street; take advantage of green internships

U of M students adopt a street; take advantage of green internships

by John Stevenson

Green initiatives are blossoming at universities across the nation, and the University of Memphis is no exception. The University initiates a variety of green projects each year, and a small portion of students' tuition goes toward making those green initiatives a reality.

At the start of each semester, students are assessed a $10 Sustainable Campus Fee, also known as the Green Fee. With more than 22,000 students enrolled at the University, the small fee adds up to about $360,000 per year. Initiated by U of M students in 2007, the fee funds various green projects that are selected by the Sustainable Campus Fee Committee, which is comprised of students, faculty and administration. This year, it is funding 12 green initiatives.

The U of M students who initiated the Green Fee requested that a portion of the money collected go toward developing a program that gives students the opportunity to learn more about green initiatives through internships that are relevant to students' majors.

“The Green Internship Program is a huge opportunity for community engagement," said Kathy Tuberville, coordinator of Academic Internships. Green interns are paired with either campus or community supervisors and receive "hands-on" experience with sustainability projects.

Internship opportunities are offered at on-campus locations such as the Campus School, but also in the Memphis community at locations such as International Paper, the Memphis Zoo and the Memphis Botanical Gardens. Thirteen students finished the inaugural Green Internship program in spring of 2011.

Tuberville said that employers participating in the Green Internship Program also have the opportunity to "see student talent at work," which may eventually lead to permanent jobs. She said, too, that the program has the potential to "make the community stronger by everyone working together."

"It's a win-win situation," she said.

Another project funded by the fee links the University with the surrounding community.

Each semester, U of M students representing organizations such as Greek fraternities, honors societies and religious groups participate in the Green Fee-funded "Adopt-a-Street" program. Students dedicate selected Saturday mornings to cleanup the area between Patterson and Highland streets.

Each participating organization is assigned a street and sidewalk to clean. That organization is responsible for at least two cleanings and one beautification project each semester. Supplies needed for the cleanup such as trash bags are provided as a result of the fee.

“The program has great benefits for organizations that participate because they get a lot of experience with teamwork and leadership," said "Adopt-a-Street" coordinator Laura Meyer, a second-year medical anthropology graduate student. “They learn the value of civic responsibility and taking pride in their University's community."

Meyer hopes that the Adopt-a-Street program will ultimately "create a sense of place in the University West district."

Besides the Adopt-a-Street and Green Internship Programs, other green initiatives are underway at the U of M. Public service announcements that promote sustainability air on the University's WUMR 91.7 jazz radio station. The University's vehicles are being replaced by models that are more efficient. The Tiger Blue Goes Green event each fall showcases the University's and community's environmental initiatives. The "TIGUrS" Garden is a demonstration urban garden that exemplifies both environmental and economic sustainability while the off-campus Chucalissa Museum site is home to a sustainable traditional medicinal plant sanctuary.

With more and more green initiatives developing on campus, the future is greener than ever at the University. More information about the Green Fee initiatives is available online at http://www.memphis.edu/bluegoesgreen/

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