The Student News Site of University Prep

The Puma Press

The Student News Site of University Prep

The Puma Press

The Student News Site of University Prep

The Puma Press

Green Goals

UPrep works to build a sustainable future

Every year, Earth Day is a reminder that global warming is an imminent threat to our planet. April 22, 2024, was the 54th annual Earth Day, and around the UPrep campus, there are a variety of environmentally friendly technologies and products to increase sustainability.

“We try to source as much as we can from as close to our region as possible,” Commons Cafe co-owner Bryce Lindholm said. “So we’re not shipping products in from Miami, Florida. Everything we buy is as locally sourced as possible.” 

In addition to locally sourced ingredients, the Commons Cafe has eco-friendly bowls and plates. 

 “The reason that they’re used is that they are reusable, bamboo being a renewable resource,” Lindholm said. “It makes good sense to utilize more sustainable products.” 

According to Director of Facilities Robert Thom, the Commons Cafe staff works hard to ensure items are disposed of in the proper receptacles. However, sometimes students make their job harder by ignoring the signage around the compost, trash and recycling bins.

“The staff does particularly well with making sure that items are separated properly,” Thom said. “I think sometimes the students are in too much of a rush to make sure that their articles are going into the proper area…We have signage out next to plenty of containers in the common space. I just think we just have to teach ourselves and teach our students how to be better at understanding what the ramifications are.” 

This school year, students have been putting items in the wrong bins and subsequently contaminating them. “Over the course of the first six months, we had been getting charged additional money from our recycling program because some products are contaminating that bin,” Thom said.

Even though the Commons Cafe is working very hard to be environmentally friendly, according to Thom, ninth grader Orrin Spiess still thinks there is more work that can be done.

“One thing I really wish UPrep would stop doing is selling bottled water,” Spiess said. “Instead we should just put up one of those water bottle refill stations or even just one of those five-gallon jugs that you can use to fill up a reusable glass. That would be so much more sustainable.” 

Felicia Lindholm, co-owner of the Commons Cafe, has been working to remove plastic bottles but has encountered difficulties.

“When we were in COVID, I went really hard every year looking for things that I can get students that are in cans and not in plastic bottles,” Lindholm said. “Every time I delete something like smoothies, which are in plastic bottles, I get people coming back and asking for them.”

To support the school’s increased footprint, the ULab boasts some new eco-friendly additions. 

“We do have solar panels at the ULab building,” Thom said. “That’s something that we don’t have to necessarily look at or maintain. That is just free energy that the building is being provided.”

We do have solar panels at the ULab building. That’s something that we don’t have to necessarily look at or maintain.

— Robert Thom

The Commons Cafe has continually worked to use sustainable ingredients.

The school’s solar panels produce roughly 290.4 kilowatts-hours of power each day on average. This energy is used for many purposes in the ULab, such as lighting. The ULab also has new lighting installed, which is meant to reduce energy consumption.

“With the way the lighting works over at the ULab, they’re all on motion sensors,” Thom said. “The only way those lights come on is when there is activity in the building. So we save a significant amount of energy on that side of the street.”

As UPrep continues to renovate and expand its campus in the future, Thom is still thinking about how the school can become even more sustainable.

“I would assume that the more we do,” Thom said. “whether it be major renovations, that solar panels will always be included.”

About the Contributor
Avi Patel
Avi Patel, Business Manager and Graphics Editor
Avi Patel is the Business Manager and Graphics Editor for the Puma Press. He is a sophomore and this is his second year on staff. He loves writing news stories and op-eds. His favorite part of journalism is providing the community with reliable and accurate information, and sharing stories that students and faculty would not hear otherwise. Outside of journalism, he enjoys playing squash, hiking, and spending time with his family and friends.