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RU Receives National Award for Sustainability Project

RADFORD – Radford University has won a national award for its sustainability efforts toward making the university among the greenest campuses in the Commonwealth.

GQ Upcycles!, sponsored by the university’s Governor’s Quad residential halls, was named the National Educational Program for the month of December 2008 by The National Association of College and University Residence Halls, Inc. The project taught quad residents how to recycle what would normally be useless or outdated objects and make them creative gifts. To advertise the program, publicity was printed on outdated newspapers and fliers in stands across campus.

Angela Ward, assistant director and area coordinator of Residential Life, spearheaded the project. Ward said, “Being recognized by the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and NACURH is a great honor for our staff.  It shows that they are providing unique and creative programming that is meeting the needs of our on-campus population.  In addition, they are setting an example for schools around the country as to how to incorporate sustainability efforts into their everyday activities within the residence halls.”

RU SustainabilitySome of the projects included making bracelets out of soda can tops, pendants using green tea cans, neckties to create wallets and coin purses, and cardboard gingerbread ornaments.

Several projects were considered for the four-night workshop but staff believed it was most important that projects reflected the residents’ interests in each of the residential halls on the quad. Those buildings house students of specific majors including the College of Science and Technology and College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In September, President Penelope W. Kyle announced the creation of a Sustainability Steering Committee to assist RU in reducing its carbon footprint and utility costs. Dean of Students Trae Cotton says projects such as GQ Upcycles! enhance the campus’ reputation as a conservation leader.

“Students have learned that recycling goes beyond just separating paper and plastic and sorting them in containers,” Cotton said. “Recycling is really a lens through which we look at our world.”

Ward and her staff are exploring whether the program could become a weekly or biweekly event, inviting students and staff to participate.

Jan. 29, 2009
Contact: Bonnie Roberts Erickson (; 540-831-5324)

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