Students worked last spring as part of a water harvesting class offered by the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. (Photo: Grant McCormick/UA Planning, Design and Construction)
Students worked last spring as part of a water harvesting class offered by the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. (Photo: Grant McCormick/UA Planning, Design and Construction)

New Map Visualizes UA's Campuswide Sustainability Efforts

The project was designed to illustrate the UA's expansive campuswide sustainability projects, programs and features in an accessible and centralized way.
March 8, 2017
The Highland Parking Garage Basin and Open Space Project incorporates passive water harvesting features in landscape design. (Photo: Grant McCormick/UA Planning, Design and Construction)
The Highland Parking Garage Basin and Open Space Project incorporates passive water harvesting features in landscape design. (Photo: Grant McCormick/UA Planning, Design and Construction)
Students led the Cochise Hall Water Harvesting Project, which led to rainwater harvesting basins being installed at UA residence halls. (Photo: Grant McCormick/UA Planning, Design and Construction)
Students led the Cochise Hall Water Harvesting Project, which led to rainwater harvesting basins being installed at UA residence halls. (Photo: Grant McCormick/UA Planning, Design and Construction)

Used cell phones can be deposited at the eMedia Recycling Bin at the University of Arizona's Student Union Memorial Center.

Rainwater is harvested for reuse by infiltration basins at locations throughout campus.

Solar panels and water harvesting basins have been installed at places such as the Sixth Street and Arbol De La Vida Residence Halls — which are among the sites that host sustainability-oriented programming.

Those are examples of the more than 600 projects, programs and features presented on a new web-based map. Launched to illustrate the UA's expansive campuswide sustainability efforts in an accessible and centralized way, the map visualizes efforts meant to reduce energy and water consumption and aid in waste diversion and recycling.

"This map application leverages the power of location to tell a rich story about UA sustainability accomplishments and directions," said Grant McCormick, the Enterprise GIS manager for Planning, Design and Construction.

In addition to Enterprise GIS, other partners are the UA Information Technology Student Advisory Board, which provided funding; the Office of Sustainability; and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Communications and Cyber Technologies division.

The newly launched beta version of the site is available at https://sustainabilitymap.arizona.edu/. A feedback tool is included on the site, allowing visitors to suggest changes and additions.

"We have a large, diverse and growing array of sustainability efforts at UA, and we hope this web map will help students, campus visitors, faculty, staff and the public better explore our strengths as a university in sustainability," said Ben Champion, director of the UA Office of Sustainability.

The UA has taken a comprehensive approach to sustainability through education, awareness, and applied work and research. The full range of efforts on campus and at affiliated sites beyond the UA's immediate boundaries include Compost Cats food waste collection sites; the availability of educational materials, including brochures and manuals; energy-efficient equipment and materials; research and internships associated with sustainability; and the design and construction of built environments that employ sustainable features.

With the addition of new initiatives and projects, the Office of Sustainability will make updates to the map. For now, the team is pursuing Green Fund support to support future development of the site.

"This project is a real step forward in terms of what's being done, and has unlimited potential to grow," said James Wadsworth, a graduate student in the UA Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, and the lead student supporting the site's development.

Wadsworth said he and his collaborators hope that students, employees and community members will use the map also to connect and identify ways to collaborate on projects.

"This could become one of the best university sustainability web maps in the country," he said. "Sustainability and being 'green' are important to students. This map shows how much the UA is contributing to making the world a greener place."