Big Blue Goes Green: Sustainibility Showcase


Joshua Jennings

The UK Facilities Management’s Office of Sustainability and the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee will sponsor the fourth annual “Big Blue Goes Green: A Sustainability Showcase” on Wednesday Sept. 15.

The event will be held in the Student Center Grand Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and everyone is welcome.

“The purpose of the showcase is to introduce students, faculty, staff and the public to the wide variety of ongoing sustainability-related initiatives on [the UK] campus,” Sustainability Coordinator Shane Tedder said.

More than 45 exhibitors plan to set up booths and to share information about their own sustainability programs taking place around campus and the local community.  Exhibits will consist of student initiatives, campus operations, academic programs, research and campus partners, Tedder said.

Visitors can tour the ballroom engaging in various booths and learning about the programs occurring across campus and Lexington.  While doing so, they will have the opportunity to win prizes and eat a complimentary Kentucky Proud meal provided by the UK Dining Services.  The meal will begin at 11:30 a.m.

In addition to the showcase, Tedder said he will be presenting a workshop called Sustainability 101 at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.  Each session is expected to last 25 minutes and is taking place in the Center Theater of the Student Center.

The four-hour event is filled with free stuff, information and opportunities for visitors to get more involved with various programs, but the events will continue until later.

At 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall, the Student Sustainability Council will host Robert Koester of Ball State University, who will speak about his university’s geothermal program, which leads the nation in its kind.

The lecture, called “Institutionalizing Sustainability: From the Ground Up,” will serve to inspire UK to embrace more sustainable programs.

“We truly hope that…Koester’s lecture will help the sustainability community, administration and facilities management department at UK learn how to face challenges with respect to sustainability,” SSC President Robert Kahne said.

In the past four years of the showcase, three of which were in conjunction with an SSC lecture, organizers have drawn between 500 and 800 people.  This year, they hope to have 1,000 visitors attend the Wednesday events.

People will visit for many different reasons. Tedder said many professors have offered extra credit assignments for their students to attend the workshops.

Regardless of the numbers, the leaders care more about the impact.

“UK is a big place,” Tedder said, “and I hope the campus community, especially the first-year students, can find a sustainability-related project that they want to be involved with.”