Campus groups pursue green projects

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Rice boasts a large number of student environmental groups working on a range of environmental issues, each with a different mission and focus. We compiled information on just some of the groups for the coming months, many which are working specifically to make Rice more environmentally friendly.

Rice Environmental Society

Rice Environmental Society is an organization that brings together all of the leaders of campus environmental groups. This group works on marketing what these other groups are currently doing. In addition, it manages funding for sustainable efforts across campus. Anyone can fill out a funding proposal form for an idea. In the past, RES funded Coffeehouse’s “25 cents off deal” when you bring your own mug to minimize waste. It recently started a sustainable athletics committee to promote green awareness within Rice Athletics, including future plans for a sustainability conference in the spring. RES also plans to place recycling bins in Willy’s Pub and offer more urban agriculture volunteer positions.

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Texans for Climate Change Action

Texans for Climate Change Action focuses on fighting climate change in Texas. This year, its main projects will focus on engagement with the Houston city government and local politics, especially a Houston City Council proposal urging the city to adopt more sustainable policy measures and to take a stand against climate change. TFCCA will also host a panel involving Rice professors, Houston government officials, and members of the private sector that will focus on Houston’s response to Hurricane Harvey and climate change. On Rice’s campus itself, TFCCA hopes to collaborate more with the SA and other clubs.

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Baker Environmental Committee

The Baker Environmental Committee is committed to planning several events to increase environmental awareness. It is planning a subsidized farmer’s market trip, a “Bee Aware”ness Picnic in Hermann Park, and documentary movie nights. In addition to these events, the committee will maintain the Baker butterfly garden.

Brown Environmental Committee

The Brown Environmental Committee has four core projects this semester: container gardening for vegetables and herbs; hanging systems for the quad railings for flowers; succulents, other low management plants, indoor gardening systems, and lessons on how to garden in one’s dorm; and tower landscaping. Tower landscaping would include color in the plants surrounding Brown tower. The committee is currently finishing its proposal for these projects and should get started on implementation in the spring.

SA Environmental Committee

The SA Environmental Committee’s mission is to mobilize green efforts at Rice by pinpointing areas of improvement and working with both the administration and student organizations to propel the university towards a higher standard in sustainability. This year, it has two big projects. One is making a university sustainability audit more accessible to students and organizations in order to highlight target areas. The other is post-consumer composting, a project in conjunction with Rice Urban Agriculture and Environmental Club. Individual members also have exciting projects such as combatting the overuse of air conditioning in academic buildings, looking into making Rice more pollinator-friendly, improving the sprinklers, and organizing a program for helping people decrease clutter in their lifestyles and live a less-consumerist and more sustainable life.

Rice Urbanists

The Rice Urbanists works specifically on urban issues, such as urban planning, transportation, and inequality. This upcoming month it will host an event in partnership with Real Food Revolution about food deserts with an environmental justice professor from Texas Southern University. It will also conduct a survey of the student body later this semester on campus transportation.

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Real Food Revolution

Real Food Revolution has its semi-annual event coming up November 4. Farm-to-Fork is a dinner that showcases local food, with a menu chosen and prepared by one of Rice’s chefs. In addition to the meal, the event also includes presentations on food sustainability, and RFR invites discussion leaders, usually owners of local business or sustainable organizations, to talk about topics of sustainability at each dinner table. There will also be raffles, prizes, and goodie bags given out at the end. Some of RFR’s smaller plans include volunteering with the Houston Food Bank, organizing trips to farmer’s markets and community organizations, and working with Rice Urbanists on the food deserts event.

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Rice Oceans Club

Rice Oceans Club aims to increase volunteering and teaching opportunities for its members with raising awareness about the importance of oceans within the Rice community. It wants its members to not only understand the importance of marine ecosystems, but also apply that knowledge to the larger Houston community. Each year, the club hosts study breaks and behind-the-scene tours of the Houston Zoo aquarium.

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