2009 SRC Outstanding PSO Award

Chapter Involvement

University of Colorado Denver
School of Architecture and Planning
Masters Program Urban and Regional Planning
American Planning Association
Colorado Student Chapter
Project: Green Committee contributions to APA Colorado Chapter Conference

Read about the PSO's winning project (pdf)

Description of activities:

Green Committee boothThe University of Colorado Denver (UCD) American Planning Association Student Green Committee was born from discussions among several students as to the whereabouts of recycling bins in the College of Architecture and Planning's (CAP) main building. If these students couldn't figure out the building's recycling system, then it was likely others couldn't either. 

In January of 2008, during the monthly APA Student Chapter meeting, it was unanimously decided a Green Committee needed to be formed to address issues related to sustainability. As word of the formation of the APA Student Green Committee spread, membership grew as well as the group's tasks with five very active members, and a total of 10 affiliate members. 

The APA Student Green Committee has not only worked to reorganize the building's recycling system, but is also collaborating with the UCD Campus Council of Sustainability and Auraria's Sustainable Campus Program. Some of the projects in the works are to reduce University/ campus greenhouse gas emissions and implement a green purchasing policy for UCD. 

Seeking to expand its reach beyond the campus, the APA Student Green Committee began working with the Colorado State APA chapter to green the organization's conferences. Successes of the Green Committee start with the greater awareness by conference goers of sustainable measures, and the implementation of recycling solutions at the conference. On campus they have increased sustainable representation, bettered recycling services, and created strong partnerships University wide. The Green Committee is continuing to work closely with students and faculty in the UCD College of Architecture and Planning, the UCD Campus Council on Sustainability, Auraria Sustainable Campus Program, and the Colorado Chapter of APA.

Description of the planning process, implementation, and level of success

In January 2008 members of the Green Committee attended a meeting with APA Colorado Breckenridge local host committee members, the Beaver Creek Resort staff, and local non-profit representatives to go over conference items that could be sustainably infused. The Green Committee researched ideas, cost, benefits, and drafted a green initiatives proposal that was handed over to the Local Host Committee for review. Ideas included making the conference paperless, utilizing USB ports to disseminate materials, recycling and composting, purchasing local foods, and providing a shuttle bus from Denver to Breckenridge. Coordination with the Local Host Committee was maintained through the 2008 Conference in September. An educational campaign was also created to inform attendees on recycling, reduction and the importance of shopping and eating locally.

Outcomes were the presence of recycling bins, reduction of dinnerware use, the minimization of paper, the infusion of eco-friendly, more functional welcome/ incentive gifts for those who carpooled, or brought their own water bottles and coffee cups, people carpooling and biking to the conference. 

While the goal of creating a zero waste conference was not realized, the ball was set in motion for conferences to come, and the Green Committee gained a lesson in democratic conference planning on a budget. From the Conference Survey it was found that these efforts did not go unrecognized, and are, in fact, in greater demand for conferences to come by attendees. There are now plans to make this better for next year's conference. Next steps will be the creation of a “How To” manual to document the successes & struggles of this endeavor, as well as system to measure the amount of waste, green house gas emissions, and abatement offsets.

Contact for more information on this project:

Elisha Bartlett
MURP Green Committee Chair
Master's Candidate in Urban & Regional Planning
University of Colorado at Denver