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March Sustainability Hero Spotlight: The OWOW Center & AHEC Grounds

Hero #1: One World One Water Center

Everyone needs it and housed on the Auraria Campus, the OWOW Center lives it! Of course we're talking about the One World One Water Center: a collaboration between Metropolitan State University of Denver and Denver Botanic Gardens.


The center strives to educate people on water and environmental issues while implementing solutions to address them. You may have seen their educational opportunities like their Water Studies Minor or their Water Studies Certificate available online, too! These programs are interdisciplinary fields of study that provide a holistic and highly interactive program to students from a wide range of co-curricular programs.


In addition to the amazing work on campus like co-crafting the Water Action Plan with the ASCP, OWOW also offers an annual study abroad opportunity abroad in Italy! Students can earn three elective credits through this class taught partly in Rome and partly in Perugia, a picturesque Umbrian town approximately two hours northeast of Italy’s capital through our partner university Università per Stranieri di Perugia! The two week program is open to undergraduate students (from MSU Denver or other universities) as well as non-degree-seeking participants, the course explores Italy’s water history from the aqueducts to the present day. A focus is on Italy’s agricultural (and wine!) heritage, building, and celebrating links between Italy and Colorado. Email msuwateritaly@gmail.com for more info!



OWOW also released their own version of TedTalks called "TomTalks" named after their director, Tom Cech, exploring water and environment with industry experts! They've also recently collaborated with H2O radio to create learning opportunities for students and faculty, explore joint funding ventures, engage wider audiences, and bring attention to important environmental subjects.


Be sure to check out OWOW's April events, such as the American Water Resources Association virtual networking event and "What the Eyes Don't See," a quad-institutional event about the devastating Flint, Michigan water crisis with whistle-blower Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Keep an eye out on their socials for more information about dates, updates, facts, scholarships, and job opportunities!


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Hero #2: AHEC Grounds Department

The AHEC Grounds department worked tirelessly this past year to address leaks in an aging irrigation system and to upgrade irrigation infrastructure. Last summer, irrigation upgrades pursued by the AHEC Grounds team reduced campus water consumption by ~ 8 million gallons, which is more than 10% of our average annual water consumption (70 million gallons)! How did the do it? They updated roughly 50-60% of our campus irrigation system with new controllers that allow the Grounds team to toggle irrigation on and off remotely (vs. manually). The controllers also use predictive analytics and weather sensors to adjust watering needs and scheduling, which further reduces water consumption.

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