New, hosted sustainability walking tours come to campus

Tour group on campus

This fall the Office of Sustainability will begin offering three new sustainability walking tours of campus — one per quarter — each designed by a University of Oregon undergraduate.

Each sustainability walking tour features 10-12 stops that showcase the history and connections between the UO’s buildings and infrastructure, academic programs, faculty research and student life. For example, while discussing campus policies and infrastructure designed to support alternative transportation, the tour summarizes the advocacy led by Live-Move, a student club, that resulted in the new East 13th Avenue bikeway. 

In front of the law school, the tour talks about professor Mary Wood’s atmospheric trust scholarship, as well the annual student-run Public Interest Environmental Law Conference and how such environmental values are expressed in the building’s many green features.

The 90-minute tours will be offered once per term, led by Steve Mital, director of the Office of Sustainability, and Cimmeron Gillespie, a program representative. The fall quarter tour will take place Nov. 10 from noon to 1:30 p.m., rain or shine (umbrellas provided). To register for the fall tour or for more information visit the tour website.

Megan Tuck, a junior pursuing degrees in political science and planning, public policy, and management, spent her summer working in the UO’s Sustainability Office. One of her projects was to develop a guided walking tour that shows how sustainability is embedded in UO buildings, landscaping, research, curriculum, student clubs and more. 

Tuck reviewed scores of websites and talked with dozens of people to learn about energy efficiency, alternative transportation, student activism, cutting-edge research and more. She found so much rich content on campus that it could not be functionally compressed into one tour, so she ultimately designed three tours, each unique but also providing a holistic picture of sustainability at the UO.

“Creating the sustainability walking tours was one of the most enjoyable parts of my summer work with the Sustainability Office,” Tuck said. “The University of Oregon has such a wide range of sustainabilityfocused programs, from green infrastructure to student organizations. By highlighting these many features through the walking tours, I hope students, faculty, staff and community members learn more about our efforts and get involved with sustainability on campus.”

Tuck returned to the Office of Sustainability after working there through the Vice President for Finance and Administration’s UOAdmin Internship Program last year. The program connects a diverse group of students each year to projects throughout the finance and administration portfolio.

The students also develop professional and leadership skills as a group. Tuck’s intern work with the sustainability office was so impressive that Mital hired her to work over the summer on the tour development and other projects.

Of Tuck’s work, Mital said, “She clearly has the passion and skills needed to succeed in the green economy. It was a pleasure helping her bring these tours to life.”