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UAlbany Welcomes Students to a Sustainable Lifestyle

Environmental sustainability focus of two residence halls, renovated dining hall

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



Move-in Day at UAlbany

The University at Albany welcomes the class of 2013.

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 27, 2009) -- The University at Albany welcomed back students with new sustainable lifestyle choices, including the opening of two sustainability-themed residence halls and a renovated Indian Quad Dining Hall featuring locally grown food and other healthy options. Both are designed to educate and promote an atmosphere of environmental consciousness and healthy living practices across the campus as part of the University’s continuing "UAlbany Green Scene" efforts.

"I am glad to see our students enthusiastically supporting and advancing the University's environmental sustainability initiatives," said President George M. Philip. "Operating in an environmentally accountable manner is a priority for the entire campus community."

Students living in the sustainability-themed residences, located in Tuscarora Hall on Indian Quad and Hamilton Hall on Colonial Quad, will learn about sustainable living, help raise awareness among the student body about the importance of environmental conservation, and model best practices towards sustainability. Prior to the fall semester, students signed contracts agreeing to calculate their carbon footprint, initiate sustainability-themed programming for faculty, staff and students, and attend meetings of the campus group UAlbany Students for Sustainability.

Residents will work directly with the University’s Office of Environmental Sustainability and the Task Force on Environmental Sustainability to implement and promote campus-wide "green" programs, including recycling and energy campaigns. Students are also encouraged to incorporate conservation efforts into their daily routines, including reducing electricity use, conserving water and recycling, and to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Opening of new Indian Quad dining hall at UAlbany

President George M. Philip is presented with a ceremonial spatula by UAlbany senior Bill Jaremko, member of the Albany Student Dining Advisory Committee, at the opening of the newly-renovated Indian Quad Dining Hall. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

To complement students' healthy and sustainable living, the newly-renovated Indian Quad Dining Hall offers a variety of fresh, locally-grown foods, including grass-fed beef, produce and cage-free eggs, which will be prepared and cooked-to-order to meet the needs of the 'millennial student.' Students are also encouraged to create their own meals, interact with staff to produce personalized meals and enjoy meals prepared in exhibition cooking displays. In a typical year, Chartwells, UAlbany's food service provider, purchases as much as $60,000 per semester in local produce. Most popular with students are New York apples, with about a ton consumed each week in University dining rooms.

The renovated facility also boasts large screen monitors for viewing demonstration cooking exhibitions and menu information, a Mongolian Grill for personalized entrees and grilled sandwiches, an in-house bakery and pantry for students to prepare their own snacks and light meals.

"Our students play a vital role in campus sustainability initiatives," said Mary Ellen Mallia, Director of Environmental Sustainability. "They bring fresh ideas and energy to our green efforts and we are proud of their willingness to have a major, positive impact on our planet."

Renovations to the dining hall included the installation of enhanced building controls and systems, energy-efficient heating and lighting, double-paned windows and improved insulation. Indian Quad is also a tray-free dining hall this year which is expected to reduce food waste by 30 percent, and use less water and energy. All of the University's dining halls are now trayless.

In addition to improvements at the dining hall, the Indian Quad residence hall was renovated with new windows, interior walls, bathrooms, elevator, lighting, meeting and study rooms. Other campus-wide improvements include almost two acres of new roofing on the Fine Arts and Social Sciences buildings on the academic podium and on Tuscarora, Montauk, Mahican, Fulton, Irving, and Anthony Halls on the residence quads.

UAlbany is enrolling one of its most academically accomplished and ethnically diverse freshman classes in recent history, featuring an average high school GPA of 91, 140 Honors College students, and nearly one-third students of color. From a record 22,286 applications, the University is enrolling 2,250 freshmen. For the fall semester, UAlbany is enrolling about 12,800 undergraduate and 4,900 graduate students.

The 2009-2010 academic year also marks ten years of competing at the NCAA Division I level for the University at Albany Great Danes. UAlbany’s 19 sports teams have earned  37 conference championships and appeared in 15 NCAA tournaments since 1999. Nearly 50 percent of the current UAlbany student-athletes hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

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