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KNOXVILLE — A report released today by the National Wildlife Federation highlights the environmental efforts of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as an example of “best practices” for college campuses nationwide.

Titled “Higher Education in a Warming World: The Business Case for Climate Leadership on Campus,” the report brings together top examples of environmental work on college and university campuses.

“UT Knoxville’s leadership on environmental and climate issues is becoming one of our hallmarks,” said Jan Simek, UT Knoxville interim chancellor. “This report helps solidify that fact.”

Three specific UT Knoxville initiatives were highlighted in the NWF report:

– Green Power Purchase: UT Knoxville was the first campus in Tennessee to purchase Green Power, and is one of the largest purchasers in the state and in the Southeast region.
– Light Bulb Exchange: Each fall, students living in campus residence halls have the chance to exchange standard light bulbs for energy-efficient and money-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs.
– Environmental Stewardship Fund: In addition to the UT Knoxville student environmental fee — the first of its kind in the state — alumni, faculty and staff can donate to a fund that also is used to underwrite campus environmental efforts.

By reducing overall energy consumption and using power sources other than coal-fired power plants, these UT Knoxville environmental efforts help reduce the amount carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

“Make Orange Green is about taking a comprehensive approach to making UT Knoxville an environmentally friendly campus,” said Sarah Surak, public relations manager in UT Facilities Services. “An organization as large as ours can have a huge environmental impact even with basic changes.”

UT Knoxville is the only campus in the state of Tennessee highlighted in the NWF report, and is one of only three Southeastern Conference schools mentioned.

The NWF report adds to recent achievements for the Make Orange Green program. UT Knoxville recently became the first university in the U.S. certified by the Green Seal organization as a green cleaning campus.

In addition, UT Knoxville has announced that all new campus construction will be built to LEED guidelines, and the campus is a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Change Commitment.

The NWF report is available online at

More information about the Make Orange Green program is available at


Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409,
Sarah Surak (865-974-7780,