June 2011 Archives

Print Sprint: Let the Games Begin!

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Streamlining printing processes and reducing excess printing were identified by Facilities Services’ SAGE Ambassadors as priority goals for greening the Young Building, and so, inspired by March Madness, the Print Sprint Tournament was born! The aim of this friendly competition was to reduce the amount of paper used in the building by reducing copies and printouts. While it was unrealistic to expect everyone to forego these practices completely, the Print Sprint helped increase awareness of participants’ actions.

print sprint bracket - blog.jpg Print Sprint Rules.jpg

Young Building occupants enthusiastically partook in the Print Sprint Tournament this past spring. Participants were divided into eight randomly selected teams and collaborated to come up with creative team names, such as “The Team Formerly Known as Prints.” There was much talk in the hallways of Young and over email—mostly about strategies for reducing printouts and copies.

Each team competed against their daily pairings in a single-elimination style tournament. The tournament lasted three days and only the winners of each day’s match up advanced to the next round. The daily winners were the teams that produced fewer printouts and copies than their opponent. Participants were responsible for keeping track of their own paper use and reporting daily tallies on the score board.

Participants worked to overcome obstacles, such as meetings outside of the Young building. Kimberlyn Davis limited her printing, despite meeting with outside vendors. “At first, everyone seemed somewhat surprised when I asked them to share an agenda,” she said, “but once I explained the Print Sprint to them, their eyes lit up and they expressed interest in bringing the idea back to their office.” Teams worked together to remind one another of their goal to reduce printouts and copies. For Arleta Porter, the Print Sprint built awareness. “It was the first time I consciously thought about double-sided printing,” she said, “and now I plan to double-side print whenever possible.”

The winning team, TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, in U of C fashion), enjoyed a catered lunch from Fig Catering, as well as bragging rights.

If interested in coordinating a Print Sprint in your office or department, contact Katie.

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Print Sprint Lunch - Jim.jpgJim Cook, member of the winning TANSTAAFL team, decides which delicious treat to try. print sprint lunch - kim & mark.jpgKimberlyn Davis and Mark Carlson celebrate their victory.

Greening convocation

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Convocation, taking place this Saturday, June 11th, is always an event to remember, but this year, UChicago’s 507th convocation will be even more memorable. How so? Graduation just got greener!

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This spring, UChicago Students Against Bottled Water has been collaborating with the Office of Special Events to provide graduates and their friends and family an alternative to bottled water. As a result of these efforts, eight 125 gallon water tanks will be stationed throughout the Quad, allowing the University to reduce its bottled water consumption by 15,000 compared to last spring’s convocation.

Finally, the University took greening convocation one step further by printing the recently revamped diplomas on 100% recycled paper. We can imagine that these hard-earned diplomas were made from graduates’ hundreds of paper drafts recycled over their UChicago academic careers.

Unfortunately, there has been an increase in ‘involuntary bicycle recycling’ (i.e. bicycle theft) this spring in and around the University. Several recycles bicycles are among those that have been ‘involuntarily recycled.’ In order to ensure that this does not happen to your bicycle, we’d like to remind you to be sure to properly lock it at all times.

What does a properly locked bicycle look like? Please see below for detailed locking procedures.

Proper locking procedure for standard bicycle: When locking the bike with the u-lock, include the frame and the front wheel and attach to the bike rack. Give the bike lock or chain a tug after locking, to ensure that it is secure.


Proper locking procedure for a tandem bicycle: The tandem bike is locked using two u-locks. Use the first u-lock to secure either the front or back wheel to the frame of the bike. Use the second u-lock to secure the remaining wheel to the frame of the bike and the bike rack. Give each bike lock a tug after locking, to ensure that it is secure.

Thanks, and safe cycling!

Picture courtesy of CDOT

UChicago buildings go social

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I’m on Facebook, my boss is on LinkedIn, my friend is on Twitter, and Searle Chemistry Laboratory is on Dashboard! Yes, it is true; the social networking craze has officially spread to buildings at the University of Chicago. Searle Laboratory is the first building installed with a Lucid Building Dashboard© energy monitoring system. And while you can in fact find a few juicy pictures of Searle on its Dashboard profile, the most interesting and important part of the Dashboard is its interactive display of real-time energy consumption.

At any time during the day or night—or if you just need a quick study break—you can go on Searle’s Dashboard profile to view the electricity, natural gas, and chilled water consumption of the recently renovated LEED Gold building. It is especially fun to stalk these areas of Searle, as they collectively comprise over 75% of the building’s energy use. For added media sensation, you can examine Searle’s energy data across multiple time scales and according to different unit equivalents, like gallons of gasoline, tons of carbon, or plain old cash money.


The Searle Dashboard is part of a wider University initiative to install energy monitoring systems in all campus buildings that will help track greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The University is currently considering three different systems and anticipates eventual campus-wide installation.

Searle’s Dashboard can be viewed the old fashioned way in the lobby of the building, as well as from wherever you and your laptop, smart phone, or tablet happen to be. So go friend Searle today!