Energy committee forming

Energy costs are rising. And to maintain its position as a leader in the conservation field, USM is forming a committee to review its policies to see what can be updated.

“People are thinking in terms of sustainability,” said Dave Early, executive director of Facilities Management. “How to continue our lives without impacting future generations.”

The committee – whose members will include representatives from students, professors, faculty and alumni – will be charged with assessing ways in which USM can conserve its energy use. Projects may include the installation of heat-insulating windows and motion sensor light switches, Early said.

“One of the biggest energy users on campus is lighting,” he said.

The committee will be closely involved with Facilities Management, and it will have up to $600,000 in funds, borrowed by USM, for energy conservation projects – which may cost a decent sum of money in the beginning, Early said, “but it’s going to save us money in the long run.”

The cost for energy has recently forced USM to add a $2 per student surcharge on tuition bills. The surcharge will only last for two years, Early said, but the committee’s projects will help take the cost away.

“It’s costing us money that can be better spent on our educational mission,” he said.

Parking limited and stretched

This summer the Portland City Council, pushed by residents of Chamberlain Avenue near the Portland campus, voted to limit parking along the street to one hour.

Chamberlain residents were tired of not having parking available to them, said John Peverada, Portland parking manager. Under the new policy, residents receive a decal that allows them to park along the street indefinitely, while commuter students are limited to one hour before tickets are issued.

As a way to make it up to students, the council also approved opening Surrenden Street – which runs perpendicular to Chamberlain Avenue – to unrestricted parking along both sides.

More buses for safety

It was in the spotlight last year: the high rate of accidents involving sports teams that travel to events via rental vans.

“There’s been a lot,” said Al Bean, director of Athletics.

ESPN did an investigative report about the same time as members of the Notre Dame swim team were involved in a fatal accident. Even USM athletes were broad sided last year when the van they were driving was pulling out of a rental agency, Bean said.

“We’ve been very, very lucky,” he said. “No one’s ever been hurt.”

But to make sure that the lucky streak continues, the Athletics department is increasing its use of buses to drive athletes to games.

“I think it really decreases the chances,” Bean said.

The University already rents buses during the winter when driving hazards are high, he said, now they will rent buses for most events.

Former USMer is teacher of the year

A second grade teacher from Westbrook is the 2002 Maine Teacher of the Year. The honor bestowed on Peter Lancia was announced last week by Maine Education Commissioner Duke Albanese. Lancia teaches at the Saccarappa (pronounced sock-uh-ROP-uh) School in Westbrook.

Lancia is a Bowdoin College graduate with a master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine. He has been at the Saccarappa School for eleven years. His colleagues nominated him.

The annual selection process begins with 28 nominees. The field was narrowed to ten before the final selection.


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