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As thousands of Big Orange faithful return to the University of Tennessee this fall, they can add a new color to their tailgate: green.

To kick off the Make Orange Green Week environmental awareness program, UT is encouraging fans to take simple steps to make their tailgate party more environmentally friendly.

“Tailgating is a huge part of game day at UT, and we want our fans to know that they can very easily make a big difference on campus by ‘greening’ their tailgate,” said Sarah Surak, public relations manager for UT’s Facilities Services Department.

Saturday marks the beginning of Make Orange Green Week at UT. The week will feature a number of programs for UT students, faculty and staff to learn more about the university’s environmental efforts.

One of the best ways to “green” a tailgate is to recycle, Surak said. This year, UT is placing special recycling containers throughout the major tailgating areas of campus for use by fans.

Green tailgating also is happening this weekend on a large scale. This Saturday, UT will host thousands of students and their families at the annual Family Weekend tailgate party in Circle Park. This year’s event will be “zero-waste” thanks to help from Buddy’s Bar-B-Q and All Occasions Rentals.

Food will be served on compostable paper plates, and attendees will eat with reusable silverware instead of throwaway plastic ware. Student volunteers will help those in attendance separate recyclable and compostable materials from trash.

Other Make Orange Green Week events include:

– Light Bulb Exchange, 5 to 7 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, Massey and Greve Halls. Residents of Massey and Greve who have standard light bulbs they may have brought from home can trade them — for free — for more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. The program, which takes place in all residence halls over the beginning of the semester, saved nearly 100,000 kilowatt hours of energy last year alone.

– “Lunch and Learn” discussion series, 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, University Center Room 221. UT environmental experts from the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment will discuss topics from campus historic preservation to green building and alternative fuels.

– “The Inconvenient Truth About Climate Change” presentation, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Alumni Memorial Building Room 32. A trained presenter with The Climate Project will talk about the basic science and realities of climate change.

Make Orange Green is UT’s environmental awareness initiative. The program is designed to spread the word about UT’s environmental efforts and encourage faculty, staff and students to take part.

For a complete schedule of Make Orange Green Week, as well as a listing of green tailgating tips, visit the Make Orange Green Web site at http://environment.utk.edu/.

Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)
Sarah Surak (864-974-2415, ssurak@utk.edu)