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“Generation E” Lives Green on Fl College Campuses

December 28, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. - Green is one of the bright school colors at several colleges and universities in Florida, as students and schools work to reduce their carbon footprints and energy use. In a new report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), present-day college students have been dubbed "Generation E," for their commitment to living "greener" on ecology, clean energy, and social equity.

The University of Central Florida was recognized in the report because students have started what they call a "recycle police," roving on game days to "Green Your Game" by monitoring recycle bins, picking up trash and encouraging other students to recycle.

Lisa Kiperstock is president of the 500-member UCF Student Sustainability Alliance, which runs the project.

"You look around campus after the game ends, usually it will be trashed. You know, what kind of impact is this making on the environment? And, you know we're reducing how much is going into our landfills, we're increasing the amount of things that are being recycled, and reducing the impact so much by doing this program."

Kiperstock says the students have nearly tripled the amount of recycling on game days since 2007 when the program began, just working on the central campus.

She says the teams of students lead by example and try to make recycling fun by giving out prizes, both to those already recycling, and those who have to be encouraged to join the "green team."

"It's really effective to have students talking to other students. I explain to them the importance of recycling and keeping our campus clean, and they usually come and help me out or get interested in the program."

Kiperstock says UCF was also recognized for a student-invented biofuel reactor system that can produce 60 gallons of biodiesel every two days, using vegetable oil from nearby restaurants. She says these projects are part of a growing trend on campus.

"Right now, there's this big trend toward environmentalism, sustainability and being quote unquote, green. It's not too hard, everyone's already wearing tie dye and shirts that say recycle, and everyone kind of knows what's going on."

She says the student alliance wants to expand the program campus-wide,and she says they also grow an organic garden and encourage students to do their part in reducing their impact on the environment.

Aside from UCF, Florida schools mentioned in the report include the University of Florida, Stetson University, and Palm Beach University.

The "Generation E" report is online at www.nwf.org

Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL