University of Cincinnati Sustainability

•October 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment


Bearcat Recycling


In September 2010, the University of Cincinnati hired 12 student workers to help the school reach its sustainability goals. The Office of Sustainability’s coordinator Shawn Tubb realized the need for student workers for several years, but only received funding from the university this year.

The student workers, known as Sustainability Advocates, worked their first shift at the Cincinnati Bearcat’s home opener against Indiana State on September 11. Every home game at Cincinnati is being worked by the Advocates in an effort to recycle all of the beer bottles and cardboard boxes that would regularly be sent to the landfills. Tubb says that the work used to be done by himself with the help of volunteers and his own friends and family.


Sustainability Advocate on Sept 11


Unfortunately for the “Bearcat Recycling” program at football games, the volunteer work was not recognized by the University of Cincinnati as service work that betters the community. Because of this decision, students could not apply this volunteer work to help with the community service hours required for several university scholarships. After this, it became very difficult to recruit volunteers for the events, and Tubb had to work many nights with little or no help recycling. He says that some nights he would work until three or four in the morning and would “feel guilty leaving without getting all of the recyclables,” but he would be so physically exhausted that he had to stop.

Thanks to the Sustainability Advocates and the leadership of Shawn Tubb, about 2,300 pounds of material was recycled at the event. The group also collected 125 hot dogs and 75 cheeseburgers left over from the football game and donated them to the Drop Inn Center in Over-the-Rhine.

Another program titled “Operation Move-In Recycle” took place at every resident’s hall when incoming freshmen and returning students moved into the dorm rooms. Cardboard boxes that have been thrown out for years is now being recycled by the Sustainability Advocates. Since they could not be everywhere at all times, it was often necessary for them to go dumpster diving for cardboard that had been tossed into dumpsters across campus. By the end of the weekend, over eight tons of cardboard were recycled through this program.

The Sustainability Advocates are doing much more than recycling though. Last May, Tubb started the UC Bike Share. The program is designed to allow students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to rent a bicycle at the Campus Recreation Center for the day free of charge. A mechanic for the program is currently being hired to repair bikes and replace old brakes or other parts that may need work.

Aside from the old projects the Sustainability Advocates are working to improve and build upon, they are working on some projects that are new to this year. The first one is the Sustainability Pledge which is a voluntary pledge by members of the UC community. Students, faculty, staff, or members of the surrounding community can sign the pledge to live a more sustainable life. The pledge asks people to check off the items they already do or are willing to start doing. Some of these items include using CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs, donating used furniture instead of throwing it away, recycling, eating locally, and attending a free sustainability event (including films, lectures, and other events) among other things. The pledge states that by signing it, you agree to share your sustainability efforts with friends, families, and others in the community to help spread the message.

Also on their table, is building a new urban garden for the University of Cincinnati. The group hosted a charrette in which different concepts were discussed at the UC Early Learning Center, the site of the new garden. After a brief overview of the existing conditions and a presentation by UC horticulture professor Susan Trusty, the group of Sustainability Advocates, UC students, professors, and parents of children at the daycare divided into mixed groups to discuss what they wanted from the garden. A general consensus on the garden included blocking the view of the parking lot on the other side of the fence and a meeting area for teachers to talk to students or hold class outside. Ideas discussed include harvesting rain water, creating a fluid design, and teaching the young kids at the UC Early Learning Center the importance of gardening. A ground breaking is scheduled for October 23, 2010 from 10am-3pm with intent to bring volunteers and engage the university students in the project. The UC Early Learning Center is located at 3310 Ruther Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio. Usually parking is very limited and those involved with the garden are encouraged to ride a bike, walk, or take the bus instead of driving.

A full list of events can be seen at and all are free and open to the public. A link to the pledge can also be found on this website.


MPMF.10 Indie Summer Series

•September 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

With MidPoint Music Festival just around the corner (September 23-25), and the Indie Summer Series at a close, it is a great time to review the great summer MidPoint gave everyone this year. The international act, Camera Obscura, kicked off the summer for Cincinnati while local bands like Wussy, Pomegranates, and Why? filled the middle of it. Other national acts like Dawes, Neon Indian, and We Are Scientists helped spice up the usual lineup of bands most of us see.

Fountain Square during MPMF Indie Summer Series

Fountain Square during MPMF Indie Summer Series

While these events are just a teaser of the full festival for many people, I believe it has its own unique place, that is just as vital to the city as the full festival itself. The most important aspect of the Indie Summer Series is the atmosphere it brings. People from all walks of life are there to enjoy the music, food, beer, and people. MPMF costs $39 for an all access pass, while the Indie Summer Series is 100% free. Simply walk onto the square and you’re welcome to enjoy the good times.

The feeling you get when you walk down Vine Street and start hearing the music playing at Seventh Street is surreal. Fountain Square feels so well connected to Downtown Cincinnati. Every national act I saw perform this year (Dawes, Camera Obscura, and We Are Scientists) commented on how much they enjoyed playing there. A few mentioned how they have never played an event like this. Camera Obscura told the crowd how cool it is for the city to have this kind of event for free, and open to the public.



Everyone should be thankful for what Fountain Square has given the city. This is a city that most people were scared to go into less than ten years ago. The amazing strides it has made to make it a livable community are almost unprecedented. None of this would be possible without the event planning at Fountain Square and the sponsors of the events like MPMF Indie Summer Series. I can only hope the Washington Park Redevelopment project currently under way will bring a similar sense of place that fits the unique feel in Over-the-Rhine.


•September 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Labor Day weekend was an interesting one. I finally quit my part-time job of four and half years. Having a long weekend, coupled with freedom from an old job got me very excited about the fun nights ahead of me. Ideas of visiting friends at Purdue and Miami University, watching the WEBN fireworks from the riverfront, and a night of debauchery at a close friend’s apartment in Mt. Adams were all activities I was pursuing in the hours after my final shift.

Before going over to a friend’s party, I went up to my girlfriend’s uncle’s house to visit her family. We were throwing tennis balls for her dog for a while. Perfect weather only made me more excited to pursue the weekend. While sitting in the grass, my girlfriend’s dog gets in a bad fight with her uncle’s dog. The latter is viciously biting and clawing my girlfriend’s dog, so I jump in to intervene. In a rash decision, I reach my hand to pull the larger dog off, when I get bitten hard by the other. I back off for a second before going back in to break them up again.

The second time I successfully pull the other dog away and hold her under her front legs. Small drops of blood are dripping from her mouth as I hold her there until I am sure she has calmed down. As I let her go, I turn to see my girlfriend’s aunt with the garden hose (For future reference, you are supposed to spray them with cold water or blast an air horn in short bursts to break them up. This is knowledge that would have been helpful a minute earlier).

Bitten Hand

Bitten Hand

I go in to wash my hands off and make sure the wound is disinfected. Luckily, both dogs had been vaccinated so I was not too worried. Besides some limping and a small gash in one dog’s chest, they turned out just fine and were best friends that night. Instead of going to my friend’s party, I slept on the couch at my girlfriend’s uncle’s and reapplied bandages as needed. I went to urgent care the next day (Sunday) and got an updated tetanus shot and some amoxicillin to prevent any bacterial infection.

Sunday night I got home late and did not have time to make it down to the river to watch the fireworks, so I casually watched them on Fox 19 while surfing the internet with my one good hand. My girlfriend came over and we watched Top Gun (which is the epitome of cheesy movies) while I fell asleep. Monday was a slow day of grocery shopping to fill my new apartment’s refrigerator and moving in my dresser.

With nothing else to do Monday night, I decided to start this blog. It will be about things in Cincinnati. I do not have a set idea for the content displayed. For a while the posts may seem scattered and discontinuous, but I am confident that I will develop a niche to fall into. If you have any questions or comments, I will gladly accept any constructive criticism. I am not the best story teller, so I’m sorry if this post was not very well written, but I promise the future reviews/news/whatever I post will sound more coherent.