This weekend, the UA's annual Family Weekend goes green for the first time in campus history.
As families from all over arrive to visit their UA students, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, along with other financial supporters and organizations, are committed to being as green as possible throughout the event, organizers said.
ASUA is not making any Family Weekend budget cuts, but they are doing some things differently, said interdisciplinary studies sophomore and ASUA Family Weekend Director Lauren Carter. Family Weekend this year was planned with an eye on being ""economically and environmentally friendly,"" she said.
""We sent out e-mails instead of the usual postcards to tell families about the Family Weekend,"" Carter said. The e-mails not only saved paper, but also proved to have a quicker response time than the postcards used to, Carter said.
The themes of the campus-wide events will not only center on families, but also on saving the economy and environment, she said. Recycling bins will be set up around each event in hopes that people will not just toss their recyclable items into the trash.
""In the past, we have had a lot of extra water bottles and t-shirts left over, so this year we chose not to put the date on them so that we can reuse them,"" Carter said. ASUA also searched for shirts that were made of environmentally friendly material, so they selected the American Apparel ""sustainable edition"" T-shirt with organic cotton. This was one splurge that they did make, but ""you get what you pay for,"" she said. The shirts cost a bit more to produce, but Carter said they will last longer because they are better quality than previous Family Weekend shirts.
Brett Ponton, ASUA's administrative chief of staff, said. ""We want people to know that we care about the environment and economy, so we'll be using a lot of recyclable and reusable products.""
""We are being very conservative about what we are spending. In fact, all of the vendors we are using throughout the weekend are all from Tucson; therefore, money will stay within the community,"" Ponton said. ASUA, Arizona Student Unions, the UA Parent and Family Association and Arizona Athletics are all working collaboratively to make sure that most everything sold and used throughout the weekend is directly from the local Tucson area.
ASUA does most of the organizing for the weekend's activities, and the schedule is packed full of events for all audiences. To end the environmentally friendly weekend, Biosphere 2 Sustainability Coordinator Nate Allen will speak for Sunday's send-off brunch about ""going green.""
""We're looking for it to be a weekend full of events that everyone can take part in,"" Carter said.