face it... Research and Reeducate
MSU faculty and students are researching some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges. With more than 47,000 students 10,000 employees and a network of more than 400,000 alumni, the opportunity to educate others and make an impact locally and globally is at our fingertips. Learn more on Be Spartan Green Research and Reeducate page.
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Research and Reeducate
Instructor and Research Operations and Safety Coordinator in the Department of Physiology, Vance Kincaid II, maintains a laundry list of accomplishments on his sustainability report card.
Sustainability Champ 2010, advocate for bringing RecycleMania 2011 to campus, member of the original sustainability committee and co-creator of the Green Certification Program, Vance describes himself as someone who is constantly advocating for change on campus “unapologetically.”
“I would call myself a local advocate,” he said after stating that he can often be seen pulling recyclable materials out of the garbage.
Growing up on a farm in the Kalamazoo area, Vance was raised in an environment where he was always conscious about waste, but he said that his motivation for advocacy began once he came to MSU.
“It really kicked in when I came to physiology; I helped create a recycling center in Giltner where we recycled the basic stuff, white paper, newspaper, etc. When we came to BPS 10 years later, we created our own recycling initiative in the dock space. Literally everything flows down to that room.”
The recycling dock area is a collective space filled with materials to be collected for the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center. The dock space now hosts a large variety of materials from plastics and paper to wood and clothing, and looks like a small scale version of the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center.
Vance’s effort to establish a space for recycling in the building and advocating for behavioral changes in his colleagues has resulted in a higher recycling rate in the BPS building. Between July 2009 and June 2010 BPS recycled more than they landfilled.
“It costs more to landfill than to recycle,” he said. “And when you landfill something there’s no return.”
Recycling materials on campus not only makes MSU more eco-friendly, but also yields an economic return for the university.
Recently, Vance has worked with Recycling Center Staff to recycle Polyfoam. Made from recycled grocery and garbage bags, Polyfoam is a #4 plastic that is durable and can be cut and shaped.
“Anything Styrofoam was being used for is now being replaced by this multifunctional Polyfoam.”
In the Biomedicial and Physical Sciences Building, Polyfoam, is used in packaging and is being recycled at a rate of about one full dumpster per week.
Overall, Vance believes that as individuals we have a responsibility to change the way we think about waste.
“Clearly we can’t sustain a lifestyle when we are polluting the ground, water and air,” he said, “After all who wants to drink contaminated water, breathe polluted air and eat contaminated food? It all comes back to the basics.”
Research and Reeducate
Dr. Joydeep Mitra is working to come up with incentives for faculty to conserve energy on campus.
“I have always been an advocate of conservation,” he said with a wide smile.
Dr. Mitra, an associate professor, is researching smart meter technology, a technology that may prove to revolutionize the way Michigan State University thinks about energy.
Current electrical meters measure the amount of energy used over a unit of time but not when energy is being used. This makes it more difficult to understand just how much energy you are consuming.
The ability to record the time of use of electricity provides incentive to energy consumers. The cost of using energy is different throughout the day. With the current system the inability to measure specific times of energy usage makes the price uniform, but with the implementation of smart meter technology consumers would have the incentive of using energy when the price is cheaper.
Helping people to understand their impact on energy usage at the university is a huge step to lessen MSU’s ecological footprint. As an example, Mitra pointed out that equipment in science labs on campus use a lot of energy and that being able to monitor the energy used in real time would make a significant impact on how users view their impact.
Mitra says that in his lab he turns off all the equipment unless absolutely needed according to his principle of “practice before you preach.”
“I do it in every possible way,” he said explaining that he has been interested in energy since he was an undergraduate. “We Americans generate too much waste.”
By turning off his lights when leaving his office, recycling water and milk containers Mitra makes a difference in his everyday life, but it is his research that truly sets him apart and demonstrates his contribution to being Spartan green.
Research and Reeducate
How does Amol Pavangadkar, multi-media expert and Communications Arts & Sciences instructor, teach students about environmental stewardship? Simple, he leads by example.
Pavangadkar, like many instructors balances teaching obligations with developing new projects and proposals and looking for funding. He also knows how important it is to help students prepare for a "green" future. As a result environmental stewardship is incorporated into his classes through simple actions.
Because Pavangadkar's classes work with specialized production equipment, he shows students how to use simple steps to manage power use. Additionally, all assignments and grading are done electronically to minimize paper consumption.
Should you visit his office, you will see a nearly paperless office, with his reusable water bottle perched on his desk. He also takes advantage of the natural light in his space to work.
By incorporating simple acts into his lectures,Pavangadkar'sis teaching his students about environmental stewardship andhow to incorporate it into their lives and their future professions.
Return to the Face It Home Page or Check out other featured Spartans.
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