Sustainable Living Projects

Go Green!The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is currently working with two grants related to sustainability. The first grant, “Bringing Sustainable Environmental Consumer Practices to the Community and the Classroom”, focuses on sustainable living community workshops designed to assist area residents in “going green” to save money and the environment.  These workshops are part of a USDA/Capacity Building Grant to educate people on sustainable living. 

Family and Consumer Sciences' students in Design and Family Relations courses were involved in the preliminary development of workshop materials.  All of the workshops take a holistic approach to environmental issues, featuring presentations on waste (recycling, reducing waste, etc.), water quality (reducing contaminants, storm water runoff, etc.), energy conservation, and indoor air quality.  The grant also provide items such as power strips, compact fluorescent lights, and environmentally friendly cleaners that assist participants in reducing energy consumption and improving indoor air and water quality.

The second grant, “Go Green North Nashville HUD”, is in conjunction with Hands on Nashville. This grant will provide 100 North Nashville homeowners with energy retrofits that range from weather stripping and programmable thermostats to new HVAC units and replacement/storm windows.  Assistant Professor Coordinator, Design Program - Department of Family and Consumer Sciences College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, Sue Ballard de Ruiz , is responsible for educating homeowners on how behavior changes can create an energy cost savings equivalent to the retrofits themselves.


Dream Machine Recycle Rally is a nationwide school recycling program designed to raise awareness among students, about the importance of recycling and encourage them to make recycling part of their everyday lives. The Dream Machine Recycle Rally is part of the broader Dream Machine Recycling Initiative. The machine comes with a full motion video, coupon dispensing for each point, a loyalty card, real time information tracking, and rich consumer and product data.

The Recycle Rally encourages recycling through the following means:

  • Enabling schools to accumulate and redeem rewards points and compete for contest prizes to motivate students and their communities to recycle
  • Providing recycling services free of charge to schools
  • Providing curriculum and tools for schools to educate and promote recycling with students and the community at large
  • As more containers are recycled through this program, PepsiCo makes more donations to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) to support free education in entrepreneurship and small business management for post-9/11 U.S. veterans with disabilities. Since 2010, PepsiCo has contributed $1.5 million to the EBV through Dream Machine recycling efforts

Since its launch in 2010, the Dream Machine Recycle Rally has galvanized schools across the country to help make the planet cleaner and greener through recycling. Nearly 1,000 schools in 34 states nationwide have participated and an estimated 40 million containers – almost two million pounds – have been captured and kept out of landfills since the program's launch.

The Dream Machine in locate in the Floyd Payne Campus Center and Hale Hall on the campus of Tennessee State University.

Dream Machine Recycle Rally is a nationwide school recycling program designed to raise awareness among students, about the importance of recycling and encourage them to make recycling part of their everyday lives.





The Sustainability Department recently purchased a commercial shredder that has the capability of shredding large quantities of papers, reasonable size books, CD’s, DVD’s, and ID cards.  This shredder was purchased to service the faculty, staff, and students of TSU and will also save money by eliminating the outsourcing of our confidential documents.  The Sustainability Department will implement a departmental pick-up schedule to assist with campus recycling needs.







Implemented new ways to save the college money by eliminating surplus items in a timely manner, organizing existing property, and better utilizing available warehouse spaces. Currently, TSU has two warehouses off campus. One is a contracted rental warehouse (under contract until September 2014) and the other is owned by TSU. The goal of the Director is to eliminate the rental warehouse and move all items to the TSU owned warehouse and properly store and dispose of items according to Tennessee Board of Regent (TBR) policy.

The Sustainability Department has spent countless hours eliminating surplus items that have been stored for over 75 years. The results were three fold:

  • the salvageable items were placed on Govdeals.com to be sold. All items sold generated revenue for the campus community;
  • it allowed additional storage space.
  • Items stored in this area will be more easily accessbile to the campus community in the future.
WAREHOUSE warehouse



With every rain, contaminates such as dog poop, lawn chemicals, and oily spills runoff into storm drains. This is called stormwater. Storm drains carry all this pollution directly to local streams, ponds, rivers and waterways without treatment. When stormwater contaminates the water it contaminates the aquatic animals, when land animals eat the aquatic animals it contaminates them also. For this reason, developed land is charged a fee based on the amount of watertight surface area on the property.

The stormwater user fee provides a stable and adequate source of revenue for the stormwater management program that allocates the costs of stormwater services across every stormwater “user” in the Metro Water Service (MWS) stormwater service area through a stormwater user fee (or service charge). The Sustainability Department, in conjunction with the Metro Stormwater Educational Credit Department is working on ways to save the University 20% each month on its monthly stormwater fees.

Savings will be realized by educating students on methods of water conservation. For example, many people allow water to continue running while brushing their teeth. Students will be asked to turn off the water while brushing their teeth and use only water needed to rinse after brushing. Simple savings such as this can be substantial when multiplied over time and implemented with thousands of students on a daily basis.