Earth Week At U of Nevada, Reno

UNR's Knowledge Center blends traditional library resources with digital and multimedia tools.

As part of activities focused around sustainability this past week at the University of Nevada, Reno, employees at the school’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center built a 7′ tall and 8′ wide “N,” constructed with 1,580 water bottles collected in the center’s recycling receptacles.

The structure is located in the Knowledge Center’s atrium, where it will remain for several weeks.

During the holiday season, the atrium housed a 9.5′ tree made entirely of old books. Alden Kamaunu, manager of the Knowledge Center’s building operations, constructed the holiday book tree in December 2011, after Knowledge Center Librarian Erin Fisher came up with the idea.

Photo: Nick Crowl, University of Nevada, Reno

The holiday project inspired Kamaunu to do a similar display for Earth Day. “I wanted to do something special for Earth Day, but I wasn’t sure what,” he said. “I had seen a globe constructed of recycled water bottles. But I wanted to do something to make it personal for our campus, so I decided upon the giant Nevada ‘N’.”

Kamaunu used PVC pipe to construct the frame, and campus colleagues Mark Gandolfo and Daniel Fergus illuminated the Nevada “N” with blue LED lights. The lights cast an equivalent of 1,000 watts, while using only 97 watts.

As part of sustainability actions, the University of Nevada, Reno collects and delivers to recycling centers more than 55,000 pounds of aluminum and tin cans, glass bottles, and plastic bottles annually. In 2007, former University President Milt Glick signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), joining more than 600 university and college presidents agreeing to forge a path toward a sustainable future and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Earth Week events at the university focused on topics that included: alternative transportation; waste, recycling, and local foods; alternative energy and water; and the 2nd Annual GREENevada Student Sustainability Summit.