Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions.
Please do not hesitate to give us a call if your question is not answered here. You can scroll down to read the entire list, or click on the question for a direct link.
What is "Sustainability"?
What does the Office of Sustainability actually do?
Why aren't we (insert idea, item, action, or product)?
What is SustainTECH?
What do the three leaves in the SustainTECH logo mean?
Does Texas Tech have a recycling center?
WHAT IS "SUSTAINABILITY"?
It's "being green", right? Yes, it is, but in a fiscally and socially responsible way.
Sustainability is a fundamental philosophy melding three responsibilities – Economic, Social, and Environmental. At its core, Sustainability is summed up pretty well as, "Do what you can, with what you have, and for the right reasons." In organization-speak that means making efficient, effective use of resources in a fiscally sound, socially responsible, and environmentally positive manner.
Sounds simple, right? In concept, yes. In application, especially with an entity the size of Texas Tech University, it can be a daunting challenge. Some sustainability efforts are simple - Turn off the lights when you leave the room, throw your recyclables in the proper container. Others can be a logistical, operational, or financial nightmare – How you divert product waste from the landfill when there's no place for the diverted product to be sent? Where will the university come up with the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars needed to implement a newer, more sustainable technology or process?
WHAT DOES THE OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY ACTUALLY DO?
A lot of what we do is to get the word out. Beginning early in 2013 plans were implemented to dramatically improve the Office of Sustainability's visibility on campus, within the Lubbock community, and online. With the improvement in local and online presence we can better promote sustainability efforts at Texas Tech, our hopes being to make sustainability such a common part of the Texas Tech ethos that it takes on a life of its own.
The Office of Sustainability also researches ways to make the campus more efficient and less wasteful, to help us be a better host to campus residents and employees, and to be a better neighbor to the Lubbock community. This could include anything from the spark of an idea found online to a new process or product discovered at a trade show, and everything in between. In other words part of our job is to keep our eyes open for new, more efficient, more effective, less harmful, and generally better ways of doing things at Texas Tech University.
Finally, we try to be a campus-wide coordinator for academic sustainability needs. Past sustainability efforts have been localized, each department, office, or organization working towards sustainability goals, but doing so on their own. We are trying to change that, and to be the Go To source for campus-wide sustainability information and coordination. The Office of Sustainability is always on the lookout for a resource in search of a need, or vice versa. If you have either, please call! We would love to be part of helping you find a solution.
WHY AREN'T WE...?
Why isn't Texas Tech doing (insert process, idea, product, technology, or philosophy here)? The answer? We would love to! Unfortunately real life can serve up budgetary, regulatory, or logistics challenge that keep us from doing all the things we want, or need, to do. Sometimes it means repairing what we have even though it's not as efficient as a newer, but much more expensive, technology. Or it could mean a focus on things which lack pop-culture or social media interests, but which have far more positive effects on campus sustainability goals.
"Isn't that just an excuse to not worry about sustainability?" No, not at all. Quite the opposite. True sustainability takes careful thought, planning, and organization. Sometimes that means setting aside "the way we've always done it" and re-thinking everyday tasks - stepping back, taking a deep breath, looking at things from a new perspective, and finding ways to use resources in newer, more efficient ways. That's what Texas Tech is doing now. And it's beginning to show.
As part of a renewed commitment to sustainability, Texas Tech has reviewed, revised, and sometimes completely discarded practices, procedures, and policies in lieu of newer, better, more efficient operational philosophies. In the Operations Division, for example, new construction and major remodels are now designed and developed to LEED guidelines. That takes additional time and resources during the planning and construction stages, but the up-front investment pays lifelong dividends once buildings are in place. Another example is the Campus Recycling Center operated by Housing Services. The center takes a lot of time, money, and effort to operate, much of it dependent on student and volunteer help, but in return several hundred tons of materials are diverted from the landfill each year. Proceeds from sellable materials are used to fund scholarships.
WHAT IS SustainTECH?
SustainTECH is a unifying identity for the coordination and promotion of University sustainability efforts in a uniquely Texas Tech way. SustainTECH combines our hard work into a large, visible, and more accessible public entity that is easily found and widely recognized. In short, it's a way for all of us to join up, help each other, and get the word out!
Any office, organization, or entity on campus can be a SustainTECH partner. It's easy. The more partners we have, the larger SustainTECH becomes. That growth translates to a greater presence within the campus community, Lubbock in general, and on web search engines and social media outlets. That means we get more recognition for our efforts! It also gives a central point for those interested in sustainability at Texas Tech to begin their search. Visit the SustainTECH page for more information.
WHAT DO THE THREE LEAVES IN THE SustainTECH LOGO MEAN
The three leaves above the "S" in SustainTECH signify the three responsibilities; Fiscal, Social, and Environmental. The colors-red, black, and green-tie our Red Raider spirit to our sustainability commitment.
DOES TEXAS TECH HAVE A RECYCLING CENTER?
You bet we do! The recycling center is operated by Housing Services and is located on the north side of the Physical Plant annex. You will find a list of accepted items, contact information, a map, and more on their web page.