2018 Sustainability News

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has made the Sierra’s Top 100 Cool Schools list.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley ranked 95th of 269 colleges on Sierra’s Top 100 Cool Schools list, ahead of UT Austin, UT Arlington, and UT Dallas. The Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental group in the United States, ranks four-year colleges and universities on their sustainability initiatives in hopes to raise environmental standards on campus and guide colleges in their commitment to environmentalism.

Read More about how 2018 Sustainable Campus Index also recognized UTRGV as a top performer, ranking third in diversity and affordability, fifth in public engagement, and tying for fourth in water operations.

UTRGV Strikes Gold  - University earns high honors on national sustainability assessment 
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is the first in the UT System and one of only three universities in Texas to earn “Gold” status for its sustainability initiatives. The designation is awarded by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS).


UTRGV recognized as Bee Campus USA and joins 50 universities nationwide in protecting pollinators. 


UTRGV is building a strong commitment to sustainability
Franklin said getting the message out is a collaborative effort, and her office works with all the deans and department chairs. “We work also with research,” she said. “Sustainability is all divisions.” Veronica Solis, a UTRGV graduate who works part time at the Office of Sustainability, said sustainability is a critical topic, one everyone should be aware of. “We try to show different departments and different offices at UTRGV how they can incorporate – or actually are already incorporating – sustainability in their everyday practices.” Solis was part of the team that conducted the assessment that earned the university's recent gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. “The university, mostly every department, every office, was already doing these things. It was just a matter of documenting it,” Solis said. “They were really surprised at how it related to sustainability.” 

Students organize diabetes fair:
Oscar Cazcares, president of the UTRGV American Medical Student Association chapter, said the health fair’s aim was to reach low-income residents who may not have access to medical care. Twenty agencies and businesses participated to administer glucose level tests, vision screening, check blood pressure and distribute diabetes prevention information. “(Our goal is) to tell people, ‘Check yourself, exercise, and eat well,’” Cazcares said.

Brownsville Native Lands Internship at Sea Turtle Inc.
New interns hit the ground running in late March after a week of in-house training. A typical eight-hour shift at STI’s new South Padre Island turtle-rescue facility, which held its grand opening in February, includes prepping turtle food, manning the gift shop, interacting with visitors and giving public presentations. Parra said he especially enjoys fielding questions from little kids and teaching them what they can do to help the turtles.

Engineering students help local businesses save money with sustainability:
The South Texas Industrial Assessment Center, housed in the UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science, sends undergraduate and graduate students to local manufacturers to assess operations and find ways the businesses can save energy and streamline processes. “We try to reduce their energy consumption, their waste, in order for them to increase profits,” said Raul Barbosa, a UTRGV senior majoring in mechanical engineering and accounting. The center is funded by a $1.25 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Congratulations Alex Racelis
Dr. Alex Racelis, UTRGV assistant professor in the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences (SEEMS), is one of 15 food and water security researchers in the world named as 2018-19 Public Engagement Fellows by the Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute of The American Association for the Advancement of Science.