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I did the 4 Liters Challenge, and so should you!

By Stephen Dickinson on October 22, 2014

Last week, I participated in the 4 Liters Challenge, an awareness campaign created by Dig Deep Water, a non-profit that is dedicated to raising awareness of global water issues and providing water infrastructure to those without quality water. According to Dig Deep, the majority of people in the world live on 4 liters of water every day. This is for all uses, including drinking, cooking, and hygiene. When you consider that the average toilet in the US uses at least 10 liters of water per flush, the majority of the world is getting along with far less water than Americans are.

Fresh, clean water is something almost all of us consider as a part of every day life and often take for granted. Before completing the challenge, I was certainly mindful of water conservation. I keep my showers to under 5 minutes and never leave the water running when I brush my teeth. However, I was blissfully unaware of the sheer volume of water I used.

I made the challenge a little easier on myself by not showering for the day, but ended up using almost half a liter brushing my teeth in the morning! After using so much of my water right off the bat, I decided it was necessary to really buckle down and work hard to conserve what water I had remaining.

I was able to make it through the rest of the day by utilizing water-free hand sanitizer after using the restroom, drinking only when I felt thirsty, and coming up with some creative methods to prepare my dinner. (Pro tip: filling a bowl with water to wash your lettuce works as well as running water from the tap over it.)

After my experience, I would highly recommend that everyone tries this challenge for at least one day. All too often, those with ready access to resources forget about how fortunate they are. I firmly believe that experiencing how someone else lives puts your privilege into perspective.

Job Announcement: Sustainable Dining Coordinator

By Sustainability Office on September 24, 2014

Sustainable Dining Coordinator with Sodexo’s Education Division at Colgate University

Sodexo’s Education Division is pleased to announce a full­-time Sustainable Dining Coordinator at Colgate University. The coordinator will work to advance local and sustainable food purchasing and overall sustainability in dining services at Colgate. This is an exciting opportunity for a qualified candidate to contribute to the growing sustainable food movement in higher education.

The successful candidate will establish a new system for benchmarking and tracking current purchasing practices with the ultimate goal of increasing local, community­-based, and 3rd party certified food purchases. The coordinator will also help to establish short-­ and long­-term goals, complete annual reporting, and work closely with local food producers and campus community members (especially students) to raise awareness of the importance of local and sustainable food choices. The coordinator will also support Sodexo accounts at other Central New York college campuses within a 50-­mile radius of Colgate including Le Moyne College, Utica College, Mohawk Valley Community College, SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica, and SUNY Oneonta. Consequently, this position will require limited travel within Central New York.

Our ideal candidate will be:

  • A self­-starter with stellar communication skills and the ability to effectively manage multiple priorities in a dynamic environment.
  • Experienced in managing food service in an education environment.
  • Able to work independently.
  • Detail oriented and well-­organized.

Desired experience, skills, and abilities include:

  • Three or more years of experience in local and sustainable food-­related issues.
  • Administrative and program management experience.
  • Solid interpersonal skills and the ability to work with a diverse group of people.
  • The ability to accomplish results in designated time frames.
  • Be comfortable working in a fast moving/changing environment and have the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Have the ability to effectively motivate students and community members to action.
  • Ability to travel between schools as needed.

Please send your resume and one-­page cover letter to John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability at Colgate University (jpumilio@colgate.edu; 315­228­6487) no later than Monday, November 3.

Sodexo is the 22nd largest employer worldwide and prides itself with great work­-life balance opportunities. Sodexo is a stable company offering robust benefit packages for its employees. Come join an industry leader and be part of making everyday a better day with Sodexo!

Colgate University is a residential, liberal arts college with 2900 students located in the village of Hamilton in rural Central New York.

Community Garden Open House

By Stephen Dickinson on September 24, 2014

The Colgate Community Garden Team and Green Thumbs are both hard at work preparing for the upcoming Open House at the garden on September 29th from 4:30-6:30 pm.  The new garden is located just south of the Colgate campus on 12B.

The Open House will feature several different activities, aimed for people of all ages:

—Guided tours of the garden

—Free food prepared with garden produce

—Free food catered from Royal India Grill

—Farm stand with garden produce for sale

—Musical performance featuring the Resos from 5:00-6:00pm

—Pumpkin decorating

—Rock painting

—Planting activity- take home a juice-box planters

Colgate vans will be available to transport students and other community members to the garden.  Vans will leave from and return to the Curtis Clock at 4:30pm, 5:30pm, and 6:30pm  Look for the van with a “GARDEN OPEN HOUSE” sign in the window.

We would like to give a special thank you to all administrators who put their time and effort into the relocation process.  We are also proud to report that this year we have harvested nearly 1500 pounds of vegetables. Make sure to keep an eye out for produce on sale at our farm stand in the COOP on Thursdays from 11:30-1:30, and we hope to see you at the Open House!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Beth Roy, garden consultant, at eroy@colgate.edu.

Traveling Green While Saving Green

By Sustainability Office on September 23, 2014

By Adam Berk ’15

If you were to ask the average Colgate student which aspects of campus contributed the most to our carbon footprint, you would probably receive a variety of answers: heating, electricity, water usage, and possibly even paper usage. Some, however, might tell you that transportation to and from Colgate is one of the largest greenhouse gas-emitting sources of the university—and they would be right. In fact, while the burning of fossil fuels for water and space heating has the largest impact, emissions from air travel closely trails behind, and with the inclusion those from commuting and ground travel, transportation as a whole is the largest producer of greenhouse gases at Colgate.

Emissions Graph

As one would expect, most of us need to travel—whether it be outside or inside of the village of Hamilton—so the question becomes: what can we do to abate our transportation emissions?

Biking is always a fun and healthy option for getting from place to place fuel-free, and if you don’t have your own bicycle, you can rent one for only $15 a month from our Green Bikes program! Or, if you’re fortunate enough to own an electric vehicle, you can bring it to campus and take advantage of our new EV charging station. For further trips, the Colgate Student Travel Agency provides discounts for daily bus trips to Utica and New York City, as well as a shuttle service to the Syracuse Airport during busy travel periods. You can, of course, also employ the several other options offered—taxis, zipcar rentals, and on-demand shuttles to name a few—by various offices and departments. And if none of these options appeal to you, you can always take advantage of the real-time ridesharing service provided by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Air travel, needless to say, is sometimes an unfortunate necessity, but recent steps taken by the Federal Aviation Administration shows hints of a promising and greener future. Their Destination 2025 plan seeks to “transform the Nation’s aviation system by 2025,” partly by providing renewable and more effective fuels for the majority of commercial aircrafts (as opposed to the usual leaded gasoline) by 2018. Furthermore, the Aviation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan promises to arrive at “carbon-neutral growth for U.S. commercial aviation by 2020” through improvements in technology, air traffic management, policies, practices, and, again, alternative fuels. This is projected to result in a reduction of 90-115 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of 209-267 barrels of oil. Under these directives, the administration’s CLEEN (Continuous Lower Emissions, Energy, and Noise) program, launched in 2010, seeks to “accelerate development and commercial deployment of environmentally promising aircraft technologies and sustainable alternative fuels” and implement these technologies beginning in 2015. With this program, the FAA is hoping to reduce fuel burn—and consequently energy consumption and carbon emissions—by at least 33%.

With our increasingly globalized world, it is unlikely that we are going to see momentous changes in our travel habits anytime soon, but we can make minor changes to our individual behavior that together make a major impact. And certainly, ambitious technological innovations that may seem like a dream are closer than we might think.


Community Garden Update

By Sustainability Office on September 1, 2014

Garden Open House 2014The past few weeks at the Colgate Community Garden have been busy and jam packed with projects and events.  On the evening of Thursday, August 21 we held an open house for Colgate faculty and staff.  We gave tours to visitors who were also able to explore the garden, eat cookies, and purchase vegetables at a farm stand packed with produce picked that afternoon.

The next morning we were graced with a visit from first year volunteers participating in a pre-orienation program led by the Cove.  For two hours they helped us add on to the main pathway of the garden and weed the flower bed.  They also painted some of the rocks that line the pathway of the flower bed.  We look forward to adding more art into the space as more visitors drop by. The Community Garden team was happy to see so many new faces around the garden, and with the arrival of students for the coming semester we look forward to seeing many more visitors!

Colgate’s Sustainability Program Receives National Recognition

By Sustainability Office on August 29, 2014

Last month, Colgate’s sustainability program received two prestigious recognitions.  On August 13 (lucky number!), Colgate received a perfect sustainability score from the Princeton Review.  As a result, we were recognized us as one of only 24 schools (out of 861 evaluated) to make their Green Honor Roll!

Colgate made the Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll in 2014.

Colgate made the Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll in 2014.

The second recognition came from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  Colgate was one of 62 institutions (out of 494 registrations) to receive a “Gold” rating on AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS).  STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Colgate received a "Gold" rating from AASHE in 2014.

Colgate received a “Gold” rating from AASHE in 2014.

Congratulations to the entire Colgate community for all you do to support our sustainability program.

Join the fun at the Garden

By Sustainability Office on August 2, 2014

If you have been following our blog, then you know that Colgate’s Community Garden has a new location.  This spring, we moved from College Street (near the Newell Apartments) to Broad Street, just south of the Townhouses and Community Hospital.  The garden team including interns Alex Schaff ‘16 and Quincy Pierce ‘16 and our garden manager, Beth Roy, have literally built the garden from the ground up!  The team tilled the field, built a compost bin, formed garden rows, weeded, planted seedlings, and are now harvesting our first vegetables (including zucchini, squash, peas, cucumbers, and spinach).

The garden team is working closely with the Hamilton Food Cupboard and Hamilton Central Schools to grow, share, and donate food.  We also offer fresh produce from our garden through a farm stand at 104 Broad Street every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.

From left to right: Beth Roy, Quincy Pierce '16, Alex Schaff '16, and Prof. Christopher Henke

From left to right: Beth Roy, Quincy Pierce ’16, Alex Schaff ’16, and Prof. Christopher Henke at the new garden.

The garden team has been thrilled with all of the support and enthusiasm from community members throughout this summer.  A lot of new faces have stopped by to attend work parties, movie nights, and volunteer hours.  Others stop by to care for their own personal raised bed garden.

So, please, stop by to get your hands dirty or just to say hello and get a tour of the garden. All are welcome!  Check the Colgate Calendar for upcoming events.  Also, volunteer hours are on Monday and Friday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. and on Wednesday from 4:00-5:00 p.m.

For more information, email communitygarden@colgate.edu.

Apply to be a garden intern!

By Sustainability Office on July 31, 2014

photo 3(3)

Hours per Week: 6 hrs during fall semester

Job Description:
The Sustainability Office is offering a paid Garden Internship to a qualified student starting in late-August 2014 until November 2014 (the end of the growing season). The garden intern will help manage and promote the one-half acre vegetable/herb garden and greenhouse on campus. This is a physically demanding, yet very rewarding job. Work includes exposure to outdoor elements (e.g., heat, sun, rain, etc.). The student intern is expected to coordinate and organize volunteers and student work parties. The Garden Intern will report directly to our garden manager (Beth Roy) and work in close collaboration with another garden intern and other Colgate students, faculty, and staff. The student intern will gain life-long skills and knowledge in harvesting and maintaining a garden, organizing events, and supervising volunteer workers.

Required Skills and Experience

Key Responsibilities:

  • Work with garden manager (Beth Roy) to plan and manage the garden during the fall season. Specific tasks may include preparing soil, cultivating, planting, weeding, and harvesting.

  • Organize and supervise volunteer work parties.

  • Coordinate with Green Thumbs presidents to schedule a weekly time for volunteer work parties (usually for harvest, the day before pick-up), and be at the garden during those scheduled times to supervise those work parties.

  • Provide continuity for work on the garden throughout the 2013 growing season.

  • Prepare for and run a weekly Farm Stand to sell produce from the garden.

Recommended Qualifications and Skills:

  • Strong work ethic and self-motivated.

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Preference will be given to those with experience and firsthand knowledge in farming and/or gardening with vegetable crops; though previous garden experience is not required.

  • Experience organizing and supervising the work of others.

  • Tolerance for hard work and exposure to outdoor elements.

  • Excitement about promoting local farming and local food production

Work Requirements and Benefits
The garden internship position is rewarding but demanding work that involves physical exertion and exposure to the outdoor elements.

Starting Hourly Rate: Fall semester – $8.50/hour (estimated because Financial Aid determines pay rate)

Supervisor: Beth Roy, Garden Manager

Key Contacts: John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability; Christopher Henke, Associate Professor and faculty advisor to the garden; Beth Roy, Colgate Community Garden Consultant

To apply, send a resume and one page cover letter to the Garden Manager, Beth Roy (eroy@colgate.edu) and fill out an application on the Colgate Portal.

The application deadline is August 15. Employment will begin on or around August 25.

Ben Rich ’99 visits Colgate to recharge his motorcycle

By Sustainability Office on July 23, 2014

On Wednesday of last week, Ben Rich ’99, made a surprise return to Colgate. He was on his way home to New Jersey from Rochester, NY.  But that’s not all.  Ben was on the final leg of an extended road trip that took him south through the mountains of North Carolina, then out to St. Louis, Chicago, and Cleveland on an electric motorcycle!  Ben was on the road helping to promote a new movie featuring his 2013 cross country road trip called Kick Gas (click here to view the website and movie trailer).

Ben Rich '99 charging his electric motorcycle at Colgate.

Ben Rich ’99 charging his electric motorcycle at Colgate.

As Ben was planning his trip, he found Colgate’s recently installed electric vehicle charging station on Plugshare.com and decided to stop by to “refuel.”  This gave him about 90 minutes to have lunch with members of the Sustainability Office and explore campus.

When Ben is not riding his electric motorcycle to far away places, he teaches physics at the Montclair Kimberley Academy and is a semi-professional swing dancer.  Find Ben on Facebook to follow these and his other upcoming adventures (hint: Harley Davidson recently contacted Ben inviting him to test drive their new electric model!).

Community garden hosts first farm stand of the summer

By Sustainability Office on July 17, 2014


We held our first fabulous farm stand of the season on the evening of Tuesday, July 15th! The Colgate Community Garden Team as a whole would like to give a huge thanks to everyone who stopped by our stand on the porch of 104 Broad to take a taste of our chocolate chip zucchini bread and buy a few fresh veggies and herbs.  We are extremely grateful to have the privilege to connect the community to fresh produce from our garden.  The farm stand selection included zucchini, squash, peppers, radishes, peas, exactly one cucumber, and a few bunches of herbs.  We are happy to report every piece of produce sold.  Again, thank you to those who stopped by and gave their support.  We are looking forward to having community members over to the garden this fall to help harvest! Happy gardening!