Saturday, November 19, 2016

STF Fall Progress and Plans

After half of a semester of coordination and planning, the BSOS Sustainability Task Force (STF) is well on its way to making UMD a greener campus. We have several ambitious projects to accomplish this year, and we are ready to get them started. This blog post outlines our plan for the rest of the semester.

One of our primary projects is to move forward on a solar-powered charging station. Last year, the task force was awarded a grant through the Sustainability Fund to build a solar-powered charging station on campus. While we have already secured the funds, this semester we are finalizing design and location plans for the station.  In the spring, we will continue to work with faculty and students in the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering to build the station and determine its location. We hope to have the solar-powered charging station completed and charging cell phones and computers by the end of next semester.

Soon, the STF's Solar-Powered Charging Station will be ready to charge cell phones and computers in need of energy.  
(Image source:

Each year, we aim to submit a new grant proposal to continue the progress of the STF.  This year, we will again apply to the university’s Sustainability Fund.  We plan to request funding for an energy-monitoring program to be implemented in BSOS buildings. The equipment we intend to use measures the energy consumption of individual electrical sockets, allowing for local (individual site) tracking. After running a trial project in select BSOS offices, the ultimate plan is to measure energy consumption across all BSOS offices, with the hope that more informed energy-users will be motivated to take on more sustainable practices.  Focusing on “local” usage will potentially enable greater ownership over energy-consumption than building-level tracking allows. Through this project, we can measure whether or not BSOS offices are achieving the metrics outlined in the BSOS Sustainability Plan, and encourage employees to reduce their energy consumption by sharing tracked energy data.  Tracking and comparing individual office energy usage can demonstrate that more sustainable practices really do make a difference in energy consumption.

The BSOS Sustainability Plan was drafted in 2013, and was the first of its kind at the college level here at UMD.  Stay tuned for more STF updates related to the Sustainability Plan!

Lastly, the task force is reaching out to other environmentally-focused organizations on campus to form partnerships. We have already been in contact with the School of Public Policy Environmental Council and the Student Sustainability Committee to try to work together to tackle sustainability at the University of Maryland. If you are a member of an organization that is interested in teaming up with the Task Force, please c
ontact the BSOS Sustainability Task Force Advisor, Adriane Michaelis, at

We look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of our projects!

Author: Paige Rodrigues