University of Memphis Magazine
University of Memphis Photo
Spring 12 Features


Earning His Stripes
Walkin' in Memphis
Class of His Own
Pieces of Home
Blasts from the Past

Make it your Biz
Virtual Symphony
Lambuth Campus enrollment
100 Women
Planting Seeds
Johnson leaves impact
Sherrod's feats
Blending the Blues
'Up-and-down' Career Ride
Planting the seeds for a more sustainable campus

Green initiatives are blossoming at universities across the nation, and the University of Memphis is no exception. The University initiates a variety of green projects each year, and a small portion of students’ tuition goes toward making those green initiatives a reality.

At the start of each semester, students are assessed a $10 Sustainable Campus Fee, also known as the Green Fee. With more than 22,000 students enrolled at the University, the small fee adds up to about $360,000 per year. Initiated by U of M students in 2007, the fee funds various green projects that are selected by the Sustainable Campus Fee Committee, which is comprised of students, faculty and administration. This year it is funding 12 green initiatives.

The U of M students who initiated the Green Fee requested that a portion of the money collected go toward developing a program that gives students the opportunity to learn more about green initiatives through internships that are relevant to students’ majors.

"The Green Internship Program is a huge opportunity for community engagement," said Kathy Tuberville, coordinator of Academic Internships. Green interns are paired with either campus or community supervisors and receive "hands-on" experience with sustainability projects.

student organizations pledge to keep clean one street in the surrounding U of M neighborhood for a semester.
Student organizations pledge to keep clean one street in the surrounding U of M neighborhood for a semester.

Internship opportunities are offered at on-campus locations such as the Campus School, but also in the Memphis community at locations such as International Paper, the Memphis Zoo and the Memphis Botanical Gardens. Thirteen students finished the inaugural Green Internship program in spring of 2011.

Tuberville said that employers participating in the Green Internship Program also have the opportunity to "see student talent at work," which may eventually lead to permanent jobs. She said, too, that the program has the potential to "make the community stronger by everyone working together."

"It’s a win-win situation," she said.

Another project funded by the fee links the University with the surrounding community.

Each semester, U of M students representing organizations such as Greek fraternities, honors societies and religious groups participate in the Green Fee-funded "Adopt-a-Street" program. Students dedicate selected Saturday mornings to cleanup the area between Patterson and Highland streets.

U of M student Shana Guy interned at GrowMemphis as part of a Green Internship program funded by the Sustainable Campus Fee.
The spinning disc in action, which will ultimately help detect concealed weapons or guide helicopters to safety by seeing through kicked up dust and debris.

Each participating organization is assigned a street and sidewalk to clean. That organization is responsible for at least two cleanings and one beautification project each semester. Supplies needed for the cleanup, such as trash bags,
are provided as a result of the fee.

"The program has great benefits for organizations that participate because they get a lot of experience with teamwork and leadership," said "Adopt-a-Street" coordinator Laura Meyer, a second-year medical anthro-pology graduate student. "They learn the value of civic responsibility and taking pride in their University’s community."

Meyer hopes that the Adopt-a-Street program will ultimately "create a sense of place in the University West district."

Besides the Adopt-a-Street and Green Internship Programs, other green initiatives are underway at the U of M. Public service announcements that promote sustainability air on the University’s WUMR 91.7 jazz radio station. The University’s vehicles are being replaced by models that are more efficient. The Tiger Blue Goes Green event each fall showcases the University’s and community’s environmental initiatives. The "TIGUrS" Garden is a demonstration urban garden that exemplifies both environmental and economic sustainability while the off-campus Chucalissa Museum site is home to a sustainable traditional medicinal plant sanctuary.

With more and more green initiatives developing on campus, the future is greener than ever at the University. Visit for more information about the Green Fee initiatives. — by John Stevenson

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Last Updated: 4/12/12