The first of many campus sustainability initiatives will kick off during Valparaiso University’s Earth Week 2011.

As part of an effort to create a more environmentally friendly campus – in addition to more environmentally sustainable homes for campus community members – Valpo will celebrate Earth Week with the theme “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Relearn,” beginning Monday, April 18, and continuing through Thursday, April 21.

Because Earth Day takes place on Good Friday, April 22, when classes are not in session and the University community prepares to celebrate Easter Weekend, Valpo will recognize Earth Day on Wednesday, April 20.

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Events and programs throughout the week will help to re-educate campus about what can and should be recycled while encouraging people to recycle more and to be more diligent about recycling electronics on campus.

Events and programs include the following:

• Goodwill boxes will be placed in major buildings on campus throughout the week, including outside the Campus Café in the Harre Union – where clothing, household items and electronics can be donated – and also in University residence halls.

• Dining Services encourages all to take advantage of the Refill Program, in which students, faculty, and staff may use their own container of up to 32 ounces to purchase fountain drinks and coffee for 99 cents. All refills with the same container also cost only 99 cents.

• The University will celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 20, with cake at lunch at Founders Table in the Harre Union.

• At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, in the Hearth Room at the Harre Union, student groups SALT, Earthtones, VISA, and SIFE will present Save the Dunes President Jeanette Neagu, who will speak about protecting the Indiana Dunes and the Lake Michigan Watershed.

• On Thursday, April 21, the University will house a Creative Recycling truck on campus as well as bins in residence halls. The truck will be located in Lot 33 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. west of Brown Field. Electronics and batteries can be dropped off there to be recycled. Students can drop off recyclable electronics and batteries in bins located in the residence halls until 1 p.m. that day.

• Also, look for “Did You Know” posters on flat-panel video screens across campus throughout the week to learn about Valpo’s sustainability efforts.

These and other efforts are only the beginning as Valparaiso University strives to become even more environmentally conscious. The efforts are linked to the University’s recently adopted Strategic Plan that calls for Valpo to comply with best practices in regard to environmental sustainability.

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