|James R. Langabeer||Vice President for Business Affairs|
|Marianella Q. Franklin||Director for Sustainability Programs|
|Dr. Wendy Fowler||Vice Provost for Academic Affairs for Research & Sponsored Projects|
|Sandra Quintanilla||Executive Director for Marketing|
|Jessica Salinas||Executive Director for Community Engagement|
|Dr. Ana Maria Rodriguez||Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs for Undergraduate Studies|
|Dr. Calvin Philips||Associate VP ESS & Dean of Students|
|Travis Hughes||Assistant Director for Wellness & Recreation|
|Dr. Richard Costello||Director for Environmental Health & Safety|
|Marvin Boland||Director for Facilities Planning & Construction|
|Marta Salinas-Hovar||LEED AP/Architect/Project Manager FP&C|
|Chief Roger Stearns||Chief of University Police Department|
|Esequiel Granado||Associate Vice President of Business Affairs, Comptroller|
|Letty Benavidez||Director for Auxiliary Services|
|Oscar Villarreal||Director for Maintenance & Operations|
|Albert Luis||Assistant Director for Maintenance & Operations|
|Anne Toal||Technology Assessment Officer|
|USC Associated Members|
|Martha Jauregui||Manager for Custodial Services|
|Norma Dryer||Director of Materials Management|
|Christopher King||Director of Athletics|
|Dr. Ala Qubbaj||Faculty Representative|
|Raghuveer Puttagunta||Student Government Association (SGA) Representative|
|Jackelin Trevino||Environmental Awareness Club (EAC) Representative|
|Javier Gonzalez||EAC Representative|
|Mary Lou Cano||Staff Senate Representative|
This journey to achieving a sustainable campus is only beginning, but we are taking important steps. Our newest facility in Rio Grande City, the Starr County Upper Level Center, has been designed in accordance with sustainable building design criteria (LEED). The site has tightly designed Limits of Construction and the parking lot was detailed with consideration for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. All exterior light fixtures were specified to comply with International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) standards, and all landscaping was designed to be water efficient. The roof of the building features a highly reflective membrane to reduce solar heat gain, thereby reducing the overall size of the mechanical system. Particular care was also taken to align material building choices with readily available local materials. We will continue implementing sustainable best practices as we move forward with the design of the Fine Arts, Academic, and Performance Center.
Here at the main campus we have also implemented changes to become responsible consumers and reduce our waste production. Purchasing is an integral part of how we can support sustainability. The university is seeking to install an e-purchasing program, SciQuest, which will indicate consumers of “green” products. Each department on campus will be able to choose products and services that are considered eco-friendly with this program. Maintenance & Operations is working closely with the City of Edinburg and City of McAllen to enhance existing recycling programs; in one month, UTPA custodial staff collected six tons of cardboard from the cafeteria alone with the use of a trash compactor. Currently recycling is giving the university an estimated savings of $60,000 annually in cost avoidance, and has reduced our waste production by 24%. This recycling program reduces huge amounts of waste of the university by not paying the city to pick up that waste, and we can all contribute to this effort by wasting less and recycling more. Recycling helps us reach our goal of reducing our carbon footprint.
Around campus we are reducing our consumption of natural resources. The Landscape & Grounds and Health & Wellness departments are working with urban foresters and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to raise awareness and develop nature conservation programs on campus as well as in children’s summer camps. In energy conservation, UTPA has appropriated $100,000 for an energy audit to be conducted by the vendor awarded the energy performance contract; once the audit is conducted, UTPA will fund and implement those projects that afford the greatest energy savings and return on investment (ROI). Also, sub-meters will be installed on campus buildings to conserve energy and improve utility cost allocation by allowing us to record energy usage. Upgrades to the air handler controls in the Engineering building and the three auditoriums at Health and Human Services West contribute to efficiency and savings in cost. Finally, an approximate annual savings of $100,000 has resulted from lighting retrofits of the five most inefficient buildings on campus.
In curriculum, the Engineering department is conducting research in solar energy and now has the hands-on ability to research it thanks to the installation of 24 solar arrays on the roof of the Engineering building. An application has been submitted to AEP for grid interconnection so those researchers will be able to utilize that energy. We can look forward additional solar arrays and a wind turbine that are proposed to be installed these upcoming months at UTPA. The Biology department is researching water and plant quality in the Rio South Texas region. UTPA is proud to have an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, as well as environmental minors in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Environmental Studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Science. A new course catalogue will indicate those courses providing sustainability-related content. These are just a sample of how UTPA is striving to integrate sustainability into our operations, education, and leadership; keep your eyes open for campaigns this year, made and produced by students from the communication department, which promote sustainability. With a vibrant and enthusiastic student life that engages in co-curricular activities such as the Environmental Awareness Club, changes are sure to happen and be long lasting.