Oglethorpe launches sustainability initiatives for a cleaner, greener campus

Campus Operations at Oglethorpe University recently enacted several new beautification and sustainability initiatives.

Joining several peer Georgia institutions, Oglethorpe University will be officially recognized as a Tree Campus by the Arbor Day Foundation beginning next academic year. Using the robust framework provided by the foundation, the university will commit to maintaining a healthy, green campus, benefitting both the community and the environment. A committee of students, faculty and staff will be formed to provide input and guide projects.

Campus Operations also recently partnered with Brightly Solutions — a project management program — to create a comprehensive energy management solution for campus. Through this new program, Operations can closely monitor total energy consumption by building, including water, gas, electricity, sewage and waste to find opportunities to reduce energy consumption.

An electric lawnmower on the lawn in front of Lupton Hall

The fully-electric MeanGreen lawnmower

One way the university is achieving this goal is through two new, fully-electric MeanGreen lawn mowers. The mowers are expected to cut operating costs by around $20,000 and will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of regular campus maintenance. Moreover, the new lawnmowers are much quieter — meaning a lot less noise when the grass is being trimmed during the day.

“I’m very excited about the new team we are building with the facilities department and Justin Solsvig in particular,” says Associate Vice President of Operations Lance Knight, “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge and has already made a huge impact to the campus in his short time here.”

Justin Solsvig, Oglethorpe’s new Grounds & Sports Field Manager, has helped spearhead these campus initiatives and many more, including trash and debris cleanup and an irrigation audit to ensure water is being routed effectively. His team also includes Jose Reyes, Joe Villegas and Tanner Wright.

“My hope for the grounds of Oglethorpe is to become a better steward of land by reducing the amounts of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides used on campus,” says Solsvig, “I hope we can continue to become less reliant on fossil fuels by continuing to purchase equipment like our new Mean Green electric mowers and blowers.”

Other projects from Campus Operations include the installation of picnic tables throughout campus with solar-powered umbrellas that can be used for device charging and a small community garden installed by the Turner Lynch Campus Center.

“I hope we can continue to improve the campus every day and continue to give students outdoor spaces they can enjoy,” says Solsvig.

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