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Earth Day Celebration

Celebrate Earth Day with URecFit and CulinArt at the SMC Campus Center!

We’re all caretakers of the Earth. Learn how to empower others as well as yourself to make a positive impact on the planet.

Become more environmentally friendly by joining URecFit and CulinArt on Thursday, April 20, at noon in the lobby of the SMC Campus Center.

Take Action on Earth Day!

  • Bring in three plastic grocery bags and receive a recycled grocery tote
  • Bring in three water bottles and receive a recycled 25 oz. water bottle
  • Participate in the 5K walk/run and receive a mini herb garden
  • Learn about and sign up for the Green Office Program
  • Enjoy some edible dirt
Julia Wightman Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB Go Green, University Administration, University Life, USGAApril 17, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month

SON’s Voytek Named Employee of the Month

Donors feel appreciated, nursing students feel hydrated, visitors to the Living History Museum feel nostalgic, and colleagues feel like chirping — all thanks to the efforts of Lorrie Voytek.

Voytek, assistant director of development at the School of Nursing, was surprised on March 20 when what she thought was a group picture at the President’s Office with her development colleagues Laurette Hankins, Stacey Conrad, and Cynthia Sikorski turned into an Employee of the Month celebration for her.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, mentioned Voytek’s work at the museum and on sustainability with GreenSON. “I also know getting back to donors is a point of emphasis with you,” he said. “And making sure that the students who benefit from the donors get to meet them and vice versa. I always tell a story about a donor at Northwestern University [Louise Ploner] who enabled me to go to medical school. I’m forever grateful to her, of course. But I never got to meet her. I never got to say thank you. So I particularly understand the importance of doing that, and I’m grateful you do, too.”

As UMB’s March Employee of the Month, Voytek received a plaque and an extra $250 in her next paycheck. Asked about the award later, she shared the plaudits with the development team (“Cynthia, Stacey and Laurette – that is our team”) and explained why she thought the group picture ruse was totally legit.

“We had 81 endowments that were created when the UMB Foundation offered a 50 percent match, which was the most of any of the UMB schools,” Voytek said. “So I thought the president wanted to thank us for that. I remember thinking ‘why isn’t Dean [Jane] Kirschling here?’ Because she is such an integral part of our success. She hand-writes thank you letters, which I think has made a tremendous impression.”

Voytek also is known for going above and beyond. Before the interview the quasi curator gave a tour of SON’s Living History Museum on the second floor just above the main security desk. The state’s only museum dedicated to nursing, it chronicles the continuing story of the profession.

Voytek, who manages the museum docents and gives tours herself, pointed out the wall of history on the left, education in the back, and research on the right. A 1928 “Flossie cap” is on display that was designed from a pattern given the school by Florence Nightingale, Voytek pointed out, adding how they were starched and fluted. “The new nurses like the antiquated instruments like the Texas Instruments calculator,” on the research wall, she added.

She shrugs off praise for her museum work, saying it falls into “other duties as assigned.” Yet that list has been growing in recent years after some cuts in the development staff. Hankins in her nomination said Voytek “has taken on approximately 50 percent of the duties of the other coordinator position, cheerfully becoming our ‘go to’ person for ordering supplies, paying invoices, reimbursing travel expenses, and helping with our many events.”

Voytek insists she’s just doing her part and is privileged to serve the students, staff, and “amazing” leadership at SON. Putting the students in touch with the donors brings her particular delight. “Most of the students are more than happy to do so and are so appreciative,” she said. “It gives you insight into a group of nurses who are going out into the workforce. I feel very comfortable and confident that we’re in good hands.”

One of the ways Voytek has repaid the students is her work with GreenSON, the School’s sustainability organization, which she co-chairs. It was formed soon after she came to the school 4 ½ years ago. With a degree in conservation and resource development, seven years on the conservation committee in her previous development job at the National Aquarium, and working with the Piney Run Nature Center before that as a stay-at-home mom, Voytek found GreenSON to be a natural fit.

“I shared with them a lot of things we were doing at the National Aquarium that we could be doing here. Slowly but surely we have accomplished several initiatives that we’re pleased with.”

The biggest one is the bottle-filling station on the first floor, so students and employees don’t have to bring bottled water. Filtered water has replaced “those big bottled jugs that would kill your back to lift.” Triple station trash cans are planned to separate trash, one for the landfill, one for cans and bottles, and one for paper. Periodic office swaps allow groups to share supplies, cutting costs and helping the environment.

Voytek, who gets off the Metro and sticks fliers in bikes to promote SON’s third annual free bike repair with Joe’s Bike Shop on April 19 to celebrate Earth Week in the School courtyard, admits conservation “has always been a focal point of my life. It’s important to the students, too. The students are asking for it so we should be providing it.”

So why do Lorrie’s SON colleagues “chirp” their praise of her? “I am a birder, I love to go bird-watching,” Voytek says with a wide smile. “They’re always giving me pictures of birds, bird books. We’ll be having lunch outside and I’ll say ‘did you hear that ovenbird?’ since I can identify birds by their sound. So they get a kick out of that and I appreciate that it makes them more aware of their environment.”

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University LifeApril 3, 20170 comments
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Give Your Car a Break – Take the MTA

Public transportation is beneficial in so many ways! Treat yourself to more personal time: on public transport you can read, work, rest, etc.). Taking mass transit instead of driving your car also plays a significant role in reducing our impact on our environment.

Find out about alternative transportation options at UMB.

Environmental Benefits

  • Reduces dependence on foreign oil
  • Reduces carbon emissions
  • Stimulates economic growth and development by creating green jobs

Options in Baltimore

  • Buses
  • Light rail
  • Subway
  • Car and van pools
  • Para-transit services for senior citizens and people with disabilities
  • Water taxis

Quick Facts

  • In 2014, Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transportation – the highest in 58 years.
  • Since 1995, public transit ridership is up 39 percent, outpacing population growth, which is up 21 percent, and vehicle miles traveled, which is up 25 percent.
  • People board public transportation 36 million times each weekday.
  • Public transportation is a $61 billion industry that employs more than 400,000 people.
  • More than 7,200 organizations provide public transportation in the United States.

Benefits to the Public

  • Helps foster a sense of community
  • Encourages people to have a more active lifestyle, particularly if they are walking or cycling to their station or stop
  • Helps reduce injuries and fatalities caused by car accidents
  • Is less stressful than driving: rather than driving in traffic or wasting time looking for an parking spot, passengers can relax and listen to music, play computer games or read a book
  • Less expensive than owning and operating a car
  • Carpooling and public transportation are sustainable; they lessen:
    1. pollution
    2. gasoline consumption
    3. carbon footprint
    4. reliance on rapidly decreasing oil supplies
    5. road congestion

Tips and Facts Provided by:

American Public Transportation Association

Dana Rampolla University LifeFebruary 3, 20170 comments
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Put on a Sweater!

As the cold months approach, we want to be warm and will go to any extreme to get warm, sometimes overlooking simple solutions to our simple problem: sweaters and sweatshirts made from wool, blends, or fleece; slippers; hats; and blankets. Sure, we might feel a little silly layering our outfits or bringing a blanket to school or work; but realistically, this is the most cost-effective and energy efficient solution to solving our cold problem.

While space heaters can sometimes be a practical heating solution, many people who use them end up inflating their heating bills. The reason space heaters are often more expensive to use is because they are often used for “comfort heat” on top of central heating systems and to solve heating inadequacies that can be resolved in more cost-effective ways.

If donning a nice cable-knit sweater does not do it for you, maybe you should look at some environmental issues that might be adding to your chill. There are serious ways to lower your heating bills.

  • Add insulation to attics, basements, crawl spaces, ceilings, and floors to help keep warm air in and cold air out.
  • Caulk around the points where electrical and plumbing lines pass through your house.
  • Lower your thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours to cut your heating bill by five to 15 percent a year.
  • Check out Energy Star for loads of useful tips.

If you are considering using an electric space heater to save money, you will have to lower the heat in other rooms. As the Department of Energy points out, small space heaters can be less expensive to use, in some cases, if you are only heating one room or supplementing heat in one room. Using space heaters to heat more than one room is rarely as efficient as a central heating system, says the Alliance to Save Energy, an advocacy group.

If you do need to use a space heater, do it wisely. Here are some tips:

  • Purchase an energy-efficient, portable one. Check out this recommendation list.
  • Turn down the thermostat while using a space heater.
  • Dress adequately. The more layers you wear, the less you will feel the need to crank up the heat.

Source: Minnesota Chamber of Commerce; Consumer Reports; Paycheck Chronicles

Clare BanksBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, UMB Go Green, University LifeDecember 20, 20161 comment
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Electric Charging Stations

UMB has 10 charging stations on campus for electric cars. Part of ChargePoint, which bills itself as the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, the stations are located in seven garages and are available to faculty, staff, students, and visitors to UMB as part of a U.S. Department of Energy grant.

Partnering with ChargePoint “allows University EV drivers access to EV-specific services such as the real-time status and location of unoccupied charging stations by SMS, email, or smartphone,” according to Tony Green, manager, transportation demand management, Office of Parking and Transportation Services.

Clare BanksFor B'more, Global & Community Engagement, UMB Go Green, University LifeNovember 3, 20160 comments
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The Power of Volunteers

Pop Farm: A Study in the Power of Volunteers

Pop Farm is a community flower and vegetable garden located just a few blocks west of the UMB BioPark. One year ago there was only endless litter and rusting junk there; now, glorious sunflowers, aromatic herbs, and huge, healthy vegetables are growing in ordered rows, providing food and color for the local community.

About a year ago, a group of volunteers from the AIA (the American Institute of Architects) donated their time to remove trash and junk from what was then an overgrown and abandoned lot that had become a community eyesore.

Late this summer, on a hot, humid August day, a second group of AIA volunteers (Baltimore Chapter and national) returned to perform maintenance and to make several improvements to what has now become a lovely community garden that serves James McHenry Elementary School and the local Poppleton neighborhood.

The 11 AIA volunteers installed a Little Free Library on a mail post that will allow nearby residents to borrow and donate books. Volunteers cut the grass, weeded, trimmed back trees and removed overgrown vegetation. They also helped paint a new, colorful sign that cheerfully announces “Pop Farm” to all visitors walking by.

For those of us repeat AIA volunteers, it was an absolute joy to witness the transformation made possible through the power of the many volunteers over the past year who have made this minor miracle possible.

You Can Help – Get Involved

But then, many hands always make for light work. UMB consists of ~12,500 people, including staff, students, and faculty. Just think of how much more could be accomplished if more of us chose to donate even four hours per year to projects like this!

Please take advantage of any one of the numerous opportunities that our Office of Community Engagement arranges throughout the year. There is no more enjoyable way to invest just a bit of your time to make a huge, measurable difference in the larger community surrounding our UMB campus.

For more info regarding community volunteer opportunities, please contact Bill Joyner at

Photo above, from left to right: Tim Matthews, Zevi Thomas*, Ramiro Solorzano, Mildred Hodge, Anthony Consoli*, Kathleen Lane*, Lillian Dolley, Regina Heard, and Nathan Denies*.  Participants not pictured: Karen Ross, Shelita Masterson, and Bill Joyner.

Those marked with an “*” are members of the AIA Baltimore Chapter; other volunteers are members of the AIA National staff in Washington, D.C.

by Anthony Consoli
UMB Campus Architect & 2016 AIA Baltimore Chapter President

Anthony Consoli Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University LifeOctober 19, 20160 comments
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University Farmers Market

University Farmers Market

The University Farmers Market is open for its 8th season at University Plaza Park on Tuesdays, now through November. Locally grown and sustainably produced foods are available!

In addition, you also can pick up your favorite baked goods, honey, eggs, nuts, plants, flowers, and prepared foods to eat or take home.

The University Farmers Market is looking for volunteers to help throughout the season. If you are interested, contact Justin Graves to learn more.

Justin GravesBikeUMB, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, The UMB Dish, UMB Go Green, University LifeJune 2, 20160 comments
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Energy Conservation

Happy Earth Day! Celebrate this year by conserving energy!

Fact: Walking up two flights of stairs saves 72 kilowatts of energy each trip.
Tip: Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Burn calories, not energy!

Fact: Traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy to produce light, and 90 percent of this energy is wasted as heat.
Tip: Replace your five most frequently used light bulbs to save money and energy!

Fact: As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
Tip: Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible.

Fact: Electronics, chargers, and appliances use energy even when they’re off.
Tip: Unplug to save energy!

Fact: Adjusting your thermostat to the recommended temperature can save 5 to 15 percent on your bill each year.
Tip: Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees during the winter and 78 degrees during the summer.

Fact: Turning off your office lights when not in use saves $160 per year.
Tip: Conserve energy, and turn off the lights.


Sarah RebackBikeUMB, Bulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB Go Green, University LifeApril 22, 20160 comments
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Cut Your Carbon Emissions

Fact: American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic, which adds up to 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.
Tip: Sign up for Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) carpool program!

Fact: Taking public transportation reduces the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually.
Tip: Sign up for one of PTS’s alternate transportation programs!

Fact: Did you know that Americans waste 3.8 millions gallons of fuel every day from idling our vehicles?
Tip: Pledge to turn off your car when you know you’ll be idling for more than 10 seconds.

Fact: By taking one car off the road for one day’s average commute, you can save an estimated 26 lbs of CO2.
Challenge yourself to bike to work or school.

Fact: Studies have shown up to 30 percent of the difference in miles per gallon (MPG) is due to driving habits alone.
Tip: Save more than a ton of CO2 per year by accelerating slowly and smoothly, driving the speed limit, maintaining a steady speed, anticipating your stops and starts, and keeping your tires properly inflated.


Sarah RebackCollaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB Go Green, University LifeApril 21, 20160 comments
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