Home - Distinctly Colgate - Sustainability - Sustainability News
Sustainability News

Latest Posts

Colgate Takes on Recycling

By Sustainability Office on September 23, 2016
-MaryKathryn McCann ’18

“Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” – an environmentally friendly saying that nearly everyone is familiar with, yet there seems to be a lack of recycling on our campus.

Over the last few years, Colgate has seen decreasing recycling rates. In 2016, during an annual recycling event Recyclemania, Colgate campus was recycling at a rate of 14.45 percent – the lowest average rate since our inaugural year of Recyclemania in 2010.

Townhouse Shed during last years revamp.

Townhouse Shed during last years revamp.

Residents in various dorms and apartments, as well as Colgate’s staff and faculty, were seeing a lack of recycling infrastructure and lack of knowledge about recycling around our campus. 

In an effort to create a community where recycling is not an afterthought but rather an instinct, the Office of Sustainability instituted some infrastructural changes over the last year.

In the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016, the office interns noticed that the recycling and waste sheds by the townhouses had become unorganized. They devised and implemented a plan to revamp the sheds to be specific to recycling, and clearly mark areas for paper to be separated out from bottles, glass and cans .

This weekend, the interns will use this same model to renovate the sheds located around Parker, Newell, and Birch apartments.

Over the last few weeks, new recycling bins containing a separate section for paper, metals/glass/plastic, and landfill waste, were placed in various buildings across campus to promote better recycling habits. Many of these bins are concentrated in the first-year and sophomore residence halls, and will continue to replace old bins over time.

New recycling stations located in residence halls and throughout campus.

New recycling stations located in residence halls and throughout campus.

The office also just piloted its first recycling workshop as a part of the P.E. Passport program in an effort to better inform and engage students around topics of recycling and sustainability.

In order to ensure success for all of these initiatives and increase our recycling rate, it is essential that our students, staff and faculty are knowledgeable about what can and cannot be recycled. Below are some tips to remember while recycling on campus:

  • Separate paper recycling from other recycling
  • Paper products that are put in the refrigerator, freezer, or microwave are NOT recyclable
  • Pizza boxes are recyclable but not the wax paper inside
  • No paper products, bottles or cans with liquid still inside
  • The “Bottles and Cans” bin isn’t only for bottles and cans – plastics labeled #1-7 are all recyclable as well as metal and glass
  • When in doubt throw it out
  • For more information visit our FAQ page or Madison County’s recycling web page.

If we all do our part to separate recyclables and landfill waste, Colgate will become a more sustainable and green campus. Our recycling rates tell a story, be part of the reason we increase them.

Meet the Farmers

By Sustainability Office on September 16, 2016
– Madison Smith ’19

Tuesday, I ventured to Frank Dining Hall for the Meet the Farmers event organized by Chartwells and Steven Holzbaur, sustainability manager in dining services at Colgate.  While at the event I had the chance to meet a handful of the local farmers that partner with Colgate’s Dining Services.

Meet the Farmers event outside of Frank Dinging Hall

Meet the Farmers event outside of Frank Dining Hall

I was able to chat with Common Thread CSA from Madison, Bagel Grove and Brightwaters Farms from Utica, Kriemhild Dairy from Hamilton, and our own community garden. Each of these farms have committed to sustainability for a variety of reasons that I believe are representative of the values we share at Colgate, too.

The farmer from Common Thread looked at sustainability from an educational standpoint. She said, “teaching sustainability leads to more thoughtful students.” Common Thread exemplifies this on their farm by selling local, unprocessed, and fresh produce.  Being transparent and working for food justice is a part of Common Thread’s core mission. They really think about how their food will impact their customers, making sure they are giving people the healthiest options.

The representative from Bagel Grove took a different approach by expressing how taking control of food is an obvious way to be sustainable. To her, a lot of the food that we eat now is like “poison,” so she works to create much more wholesome goods.

Kriemhild also believed that being environmentally friendly means having a responsibility towards the earth which results in a sense of empowerment.

Representatives from the Colgate Community Garden

Representatives from the Colgate Community Garden

Beyond environmental concerns, sustainability fundamentally encompasses social and economic issues.  I asked how partnering with Colgate has benefited their farms and their communities. The Colgate Community Garden appreciates the help from students and community members and feels that they give back by educating Hamilton citizens about sustainable agriculture as well as partnering with the Hamilton Food Cupboard. Bagel Grove was able to gain more business and extend their reach to a broader part of central New York through Colgate – something that can only benefit their customers as they are exposed to simpler foods.

Finally, I introduced the farmers to Colgate’s Project Clean Plate. They loved the idea considering they already do a lot to reduce their own food waste. Brightwaters Farms donates its leftover tomatoes and cucumbers to places like rescue missions and veteran food pantries while the community garden donates half of its produce to the Hamilton Food Cupboard. Bagel Grove turns all of its leftover bagels to bagel chips so that they can still be sold rather than thrown away. Additionally, all of the farms practice regular composting and reuse it in their soils.

The Colgate community shares many of the same values as these farms, such as, composting, waste reduction, and giving back to the community. If we put these values into greater practice, however, we would be a much more sustainable campus overall.

Events like this help remind us where our food comes from and why partnering with the right producers is so important!


Is unsolicited campus mail getting you down? Here’s what you can do!

By Sustainability Office on September 15, 2016

Many individuals on campus are frustrated by the amount of unsolicited mail they receive.  Not only are some of these advertisements and other announcements bothersome, but they also waste heaps of paper, ink, and toner — not to mention the time and money spent printing, delivering, and recycling these announcements.  According to The Center for a New American Dream (whose mission is to advance sustainability by shifting the way we consume), reducing unsolicited mail can have big environmental benefits.  Did you know:

Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal

Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal

  • Americans spend over 8 months of our lives opening junk mail.
  • Over 100 million trees are cut down annually to produce unsolicited mail.  That’s the equivalent of completely deforesting the Adirondacks in only 3 years.
  • 44% of unsolicited mail is never even opened.
  • Only 1 in 5 pieces of junk mail is recycled.
  • Over 5.6 million tons of paper promotions are landfilled each year.
  • Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of unsolicited mail.

It is no wonder so many faculty, staff, and students are unnerved by the amount of unsolicited mail we receive.  But what can you do?  Below are a few tips:

1) Reduce it on campus. Did you know that Colgate has five separate mail distribution lists?

  • Distribution A goes to every employee on campus (~940 mailings)
  • Distribution B goes to every faculty member on campus (~540 mailings)
  • Distribution C goes to every faculty member and administrator (~610 mailings)
  • Distribution D goes to each department (one per department or ~115 mailings)
  • Distribution E goes to each student (~2,900 mailings)

If you are producing mail to be distributed on campus, you can easily change your campus distribution list from mailing list A to mailing list D and save over 800 pieces of mail. Alternatively, if you receive unsolicited campus mail from a campus department or program, contact them with a gentle reminder to switch their distribution list. This small change can significantly reduce the amount of paper used, the associated costs to a department and our university’s carbon footprint.

2) Make it eco-friendly. In the event that you need to produce campus mail, use FSC® Certified paper stock. This will significantly reduce the environmental (and social) impacts of producing your mail by ensuring your products come from responsibly managed forests. You can also opt to use soy-based inks. These environmentally friendly inks are renewable, biodegradable and more easily removed during the recycling process. They often produce a richer pigment quality, as well.

3) Recycle it. When you dispose of your mail, please be sure to recycle it in one of the paper recycling bins located in your building.

4) Cut down on mail from outside marketers.  If you receive campus mail from outside marketers or organizations, try this:

  • Register for the National Do Not Mail List.  This free service is quick and easy and gives you the option to continue to receive mailings of your choice.  DirectMail.com will contact you every six months via e-mail so you can review and update your preferences.  Visit DirectMail.com to register at http://www.directmail.com/mail_preference/.
  • Ask companies to stop sending you catalogs.  If you receive unwanted catalogs or other mail from specific sources, call the toll-free customer service number to request that your name be removed from their mailing list. Also, make your request via e-mail from the company’s website. Have the mailing label handy when you call, or attach a picture of it to your email.  No doubt this takes time, but think of all the time you save by not having to deal with unwanted catalogs that routinely show up on campus.  Also, Catalog Choice offers a free service that sends opt-out requests for individual companies on your behalf.
  • At home, if you receive unwanted mail from credit card companies, call 1-888-OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day.  One short call will remove your name and address from Equifax, TransUnion, Experian and Innovis!

Do you have other ideas on how to reduce or eliminate unsolicited mail?  Please share!

Have other questions about recycling on campus?  Visit our FAQ post!

Thanks for doing your part to save resources and reduce waste on campus and at home!

Summer & Fall Green Raider Interns – 2016

By Sustainability Office on September 7, 2016


Take a few moments to get to know our Summer and Fall 2016 Green Raider Interns. Their energy and motivation are bringing many new and exciting things to the Office of Sustainability this year.

Madison Smith


My name is Madison Smith and I am from New Boston, New Hampshire. I plan on double majoring in Environmental Studies and Economics. In my free time, I am very interested in food and cooking, outdoor activities such as hiking, fitness, and reading.


Isabel Dove

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.52.49 AM

My name is Isabel Dove and I am a sophomore from Collegeville, Pennsylvania planning to major in Geology. Along with promoting sustainable lifestyles, I enjoy playing tennis, traveling, and hiking.


Jackson Lucas


I’m Jackson Lucas, a Geology major from Lexington, Kentucky. On campus you can find me working in the Office of Admissions as a student illustrator, cruising around the Ho working in a micropaleontology lab, or climbing at the Angert Family climbing wall on the third floor of the gym! You can also always find me getting brunch or being outside and exploring new places around Madison county with friends. I’m excited to be in working in the Office of Sustainability this year to help make a lasting change within the Colgate community!


Ashlea Raemer

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.56.46 AM

My name is Ashlea Raemer and I am an Environmental Studies and Biology double major from Troy, New York. I spend all my time in Cooley, giving campus tours, watching reality television, crocheting, and showing people pictures of animals that I’ve met recently.


Miranda Gilgore

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.53.03 AM

My name is Miranda Gilgore and I am a junior double majoring in German and Environmental Geography (although that is yet undeclared). I call Scotia, NY home and when I’m not busy with school work or the clubs I am involved with on campus, I like to craft, hang out with friends, and read articles about Germany.


MaryKathryn McCann

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.56.28 AM

My name is MaryKathryn McCann and I am a current junior from Chester, New Jersey. I am majoring in biology and planning on minoring in religion. This is my second year as an intern and I am excited to continue my work with the Green Ambassador program. My interest in sustainability and the environment has stemmed from my childhood. I have worked with local watersheds in their efforts to clean up the headwaters of various rivers and educate the local community. I started this work at the age of eight and it is still one of my favorite activities to do during breaks. Through this work, I have gained an appreciation for the challenging but rewarding task of environmental issues education. At Colgate, I am excited that I get the opportunity to continue with this passion and share it with a different community.


Revee Needham

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.53.47 AM

My name is Revee Needham and I’m from Lakeville, MN. I am majoring in Environmental Studies and Geography and am abroad in Wollongong Australia this semester! On campus, I’m involved in dancing and greek life. I spend my time trying out new vegetarian recipes, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and petting cats.


Seamus Crowley

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.56.06 AM

My name is Seamus Crowley and I am a junior majoring in Geology, and planning on majoring in Environmental Studies, as well. I was born and raised in Aspen, Colorado. Having spent my whole life surrounded by the Rocky Mountains I have acquired a deep appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Living in a location that is exceedingly susceptible to climate change I have learned the importance of living sustainably in order to preserve the natural world. This is my second year as a Green Raider Intern for the Office of Sustainability. I am particularly interested in issues revolving around climate change, recycling practices, and alternative energy sources. I am looking forward to promoting sustainable practices on campus and moving Colgate closer to the goal of carbon neutrality by 2019 throughout this year!


Grace Thomas

My name is Grace Thomas and I am from the Finger Lakes region in Canandaigua, New York. I am a double major in environmental studies and biology. On campus I am an intern for Yes Means Yes, a member of Gamma Phi Beta and have served on executive board for The Vagina Monologues an vegetarian club.

My name is Grace Thomas and I am from the Finger Lakes region in Canandaigua, New York. I am a double major in environmental studies and biology. On campus, I am an intern for Yes Means Yes, a member of Gamma Phi Beta and have served on the executive board for The Vagina Monologues and vegetarian club.


Fiona Adjei Boateng

My name is Fiona and I am from Ghana. I’m a sophomore at Colgate University and still exploring Colgate’s liberal arts options. I decided to get into Colgate’s sustainability because I believe that everybody has a role to play in preserving our environment. I love to take walks, cook and write fiction novels in my free time.

My name is Fiona and I am from Ghana. I’m a sophomore at Colgate University and still exploring Colgate’s liberal arts options. I decided to get into Colgate’s sustainability because I believe that everybody has a role to play in preserving our environment.
I love to take walks, cook and write fiction novels in my free time.


Anna McHugh

Anna McHugh is a major in environmental studies and a minor in education studies from Philadelphia, PA. She is a senior and has been involved in the sustainability office for two years. She also has been a staff member of Colgate's Outdoor Education and loves being outside. She spent the summer working for an urban farm in Philadelphia and hiking in the Adirondacks.

My name is Anna McHugh, and I am a senior from Philadelphia , PA majoring in environmental studies and minoring in education studies. I have been involved with the Sustainability Office for two years and have also been a staff member of Colgate’s Outdoor Education. I love being outside, I spent the summer working for an urban farm in Philadelphia and hiking in the Adirondacks.


Dan Pacheco

My name is Dan and I am beginning my final year at Colgate University, completing a major in philosophy. My extra-curriculars on campus (besides sustainability, of course!) include North Broad Street Tutoring (a COVE group), and Theta Chi Fraternity. I also love reading and watching sports. My favorite book is the Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, and my favorite sports team is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

My name is Dan and I am beginning my final year at Colgate University, completing a major in philosophy. My extracurriculars on campus (besides sustainability, of course!) include North Broad Street Tutoring (a COVE group), and Theta Chi Fraternity. I also love reading and watching sports. My favorite book is the Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, and my favorite sports team is the Minnesota Timberwolves.


Julia Feikens

My name is Julia Feikens and I'm from West Nyack, NY. I'm a junior majoring in Environmental Geography with an expected minor in Anthropology. On campus, I'm a member of Delta Delta Delta, the Swinging Gates, and the Colgate Sushi Society. I enjoy swimming, singing, fishing, and bring outdoors. My main passions in sustainability are food distribution and species protection.

My name is Julia Feikens and I’m from West Nyack, NY. I’m a junior majoring in Environmental Geography with an expected minor in Anthropology. On campus, I’m a member of Delta Delta Delta, the Swinging Gates, and the Colgate Sushi Society. I enjoy swimming, singing, fishing, and bring outdoors. My main passions in sustainability are food distribution and species protection.


Ben Schick

My name is Ben Schick. I am a Senior from Potomac, MD studying Economics and Environmental Studies. In my free time I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee.

My name is Ben Schick. I am a Senior from Potomac, MD studying Economics and Environmental Studies. In my free time, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee.


Dominic Wilkins

My name is Dominic and I am a Senior studying Religion and Environmental Studies. I am a part of the Link Staff this year, and I am also on the swimming and diving team.

My name is Dominic and I am a senior studying Religion and Environmental Studies. I am a part of the Link Staff this year, and I am also on the swimming and diving team.



Case-Geyer Library’s Newest Editions

By Sustainability Office on September 1, 2016

If you’ve been to Case-Geyer this semester, you may have noticed something new – and no, we’re not talking about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Elkay Water Bottle Refill Station

New Elkay Water Bottle Refill Station located in Case-Geyer Library

Four state-of-the-art Elkay water refill stations have been added to the  traditional drinking  fountains on the first, third, fourth and fifth floors of Case-Geyer. These new filtered water stations have automatic sensors that make it easy for community members to quickly refill a reusable water bottle.

This project was a result of a May 2016 SGA proposal spearheaded by Roxanne Maduro ’17, Nick Mather ’16 and Ben Campbell ’16.  They specifically requested the installation of these new stations and their proposal focused on the waste reduction and environmental benefits of these devices. These stations deliver free, purified water to students while eliminating the production, delivery, and disposal of one-time-use plastic water bottles.  Stations such as these have already replaced the equivalent of over 4 billion plastic water bottles, according to the Elkay website.  

The proposal also highlighted the essential role the stations could play in encouraging sustainable behavior and showcasing sustainable living at Colgate.

The proposal was passed unanimously by the SGA on May 7th, 2016, and the implementation process began over the summer.  The project was paid for entirely by the Sustainability Fund, created by the 2008 class gift that continues to be  supported and replenished with donations. This fund has supported a number of other sustainability projects on campus such as the 8-acre willow field,the Green Bikes program, and new recycling stations throughout our buildings.

Be on the lookout for more refillable water stations at Colgate. The campus goal is to install them in all new buildings and major renovations.

Each station tracks the number of plastic bottles replaced and serves as a wonderful reminder that seemingly small, daily actions can have a profound impact on the environment.

Have you tried these stations yet?  Tell us what you think!

An Ongoing Dialogue: Foundations of Sustainability

By Sustainability Office on August 26, 2016
-Dan Pacheco ’17
Foundations of Sustainability Participants

Foundations of Sustainability Participants

Campus may have seemed a little quieter over the summer, but Colgate’s efforts to promote sustainability didn’t slow down.

For the second straight summer, the Office of Sustainability organized a six-week discussion group titled Foundations of Sustainability.

Each week, 20 individuals including Colgate faculty, staff, and students representing over a dozen departments on campus, came ready to discuss sustainability-related issues on campus and beyond. Weekly topics included an exploration of food systems, water, energy, recycling and waste management, climate change, and green buildings. The group reflected on the ecological, economic, social, and health impacts of our choices on a national scale and here at Colgate University and how individual daily choices can lead to a more sustainable future.

Each week, participants completed a few short readings before class in order to prepare for the discussions.  This created energetic dialogue among the participants about the human impact on our planet, and inspired environmentally ethical thoughts and actions here at Colgate.

Many participants were impacted by the course and motivated to take action.

“I’ve already made small but substantive changes in my habits, specifically due to this class.  And I plan on making more. Step by step, I’m on a path of making changes, when two months ago it wasn’t really on my horizon,” one participant stated in a follow-up survey.

“I should not be discouraged that my individual actions toward sustainability seem small.  I’m now more optimistic that my actions can have a ripple effect on others,” a second participant responded when asked about the most valuable takeaway from the course.

It is these types of conversations and actions, among students, faculty, and staff, that are an integral part of Colgate’s continued effort to form a more engaged community and a more sustainable campus.

The Foundations of Sustainability course is part of a new Sustainability Passport Program that will be rolled out this fall.  As part of this new initiative, employees can voluntarily choose to participate in a suite of sustainability-focused educational programs. The Sustainability Passport Program is intended to raise knowledge, awareness, and action that further support our campus sustainability and carbon neutrality goals.

Stay tuned throughout the fall semester for more information!

Open Farm Day Reports

By Sustainability Office on August 1, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 4.02.58 PM

This weekend, the garden interns attended Open Farm Day in upstate NY. Open Farm Day is an annual event where farms in the NY area open their doors to the public for tours, information, and produce sale. Interns toured a few local farms, and here are their reports:

Common Thread CSA

Common Thread CSA, located in Hamilton, NY is a Community Supported Agriculture program. Residents of Hamilton and communities as far as Utica own shares of the farm, providing them with fresh produce once a week. They, in turn, support the farm financially. On our visit, we learned about some of their methods to increase the sustainability of their operation. Raised beds, for example, allow for more water traction and more food grown in a smaller amount of space. Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 4.03.11 PMAdditionally, by rotating their crops every season, they avoid depleting the soil of its resources, giving them soil time to replenish itself each season. Common Thread also uses their own compost, irritates with a spring-fed pool, and only uses organic pesticides when they are absolutely necessary.

The next step for Common Thread is a loan or donation system that would provide local, healthy food to refugees in Utica. It is important to Common Thread that everyone has access to affordable, healthy food, and they are working on making that possible in our area. We love to see local farmers working towards a bigger cause.

Drover Hill Farm

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 4.03.27 PMOur next stop was Drover Hill Farm, located in Earlville, NY. Drover Hill is one of the only pasture-raised cattle farms in the area. Cows that are not raised on grass are often fed grains and supplements to speed up their growth. This diet is unhealthy for the cows as their bodies were not built to digest these products as well. Pasture-fed cows, such as those at Drover produce healthier, leaner meats, as well as a production cycle that benefits the environment, as less energy goes into growing grass than grain.

Drover Hill was also home to many award-winning cows, bred for their straight backs, foot and leg structure, as well as many other categories. Open Farm Day participants were also given the chance to name their three new calves; we suggested Larry, Moe, and Curly!

Fruit of the Fungi

The next farm of the day was a little out of the ordinary as it was a farm dedicated to growing fungi, specifically mushrooms! Fruit of the Fungi, also located in Earlville, was a peaceful 15-minute drive from Drover Hill.

The farm is split into two operations: mushrooms produced from logs and those from incubation. Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 4.09.23 PMThe process to grow shiitake mushrooms in logs is a long but very interesting journey. First, a fresh log of hardwood, usually maple or oak, must be found. It’s important that the log is a hardwood because the bark needs to be tough and hardy so it will stay on for a long period of time. One inch holes are drilled and inserted with shiitake mycelium which comes from cultures they grow and sawdust.
Cheese wax is used to close up the holes and any other cuts in the bark to prevent the sawdust from drying out. After a year, the mycelium has developed enough and the logs are submerged into cold water for about 24 hours. The drastic temperature difference causes the shiitake mushr
ooms to grow. The logs usually last about 5-7 years but as they get older, fewer mushrooms will be produced.

The farm also has a small incubation room where they are able to grow a larger variety of species as well as produce mushrooms year round. Other perks to the incubator are the quick return in the number of mushrooms (2-3 months) and the fact that fewer variables will affect the growth.

Sawdust is compacted into blocks in which mycelium is added. The blocks are then sealed in bags and holes are popped in them to control the airflow. The temperature in the coolers range from 65-95 degrees in order to prevent contamination.  The types which they had during our visit were lion’s mane (Image 1) which has a seafood-like flavor, golden oyster (Image 2), shelf (Image 3) and shiitake mushrooms (Image 4.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shelf mushrooms are very similar to the ones you may find on the forest floor but because of how fibrous they can be they are usually eaten dry or crushed into powder. The shiitake mushroom aren’t placed in bags as they would cause the mushrooms to become deformed. You must spray them with water since they lose moisture more quickly. They respond well to movement so bouncing the blocks around causes mushrooms to grow.

Johnston’s Honeybee Farm

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 4.04.40 PMThis small, family run apiary is located in Eaton, NY. Johnston started his operations after working on a commercial farm as a young man. After retirement, he decided to continue his passion for working with bees and started his own business. The bee business isn’t a painless one. Johnston spoke about getting stung up to 200 times a day. Yet, his respect and care for the bees were clear. Often times, he wore nothing but a face-net when out in the hives, knowing that his bare hands and skin would make him interact with the bees more carefully and gently.

We were able to see the honey extraction process, as the wax coating was melted off a tray, and the honey then spun in a centrifuge which sent the honey down to a holding cell. Raw honey is run through sieves to remove impurities such as wax and some pollen. The honey can then be sold as a solid. Additionally, some honey is headed to exactly 137 degrees in order to make it a liquid, which is what you may be used to in the supermarket. The liquid honey tastes much sweeter, but the raw honey has a special thickness and grain to it that we loved. Fun fact: the taste and appearance of honey can vary significantly based on the flowers the bees have access to pollinating!

Red Gate Farm

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 4.04.51 PMOur last stop of the day was Red Gate Farm, which has been around for 16 years. This dairy farm is home to 360 cows, who are milked twice a day. The rest of their days are filled with grass grazing and milk production. Red Gate also used an underground tunnel to move the cows from pasture to milking room without putting them in danger of traffic and busy streets. At the end of our visit, we enjoyed some incredible salted butter, cream, and buttermilk products made right at the farm!

Local Food Benefits: The Basics

By Sustainability Office on August 1, 2016

The mission of the Community Garden is multilayered. We aim to serve as an educational space providing student interns and campus community members first-hand opportunities to learn about gardening and small-scale agriculture. Through this education, we aim to raise awareness of local food production, sustainable agriculture, and the campus food cycle. In addition to our educational component we want to help support students by allowing them to have easier access to local food options through our student-run farm stand on campus. And finally, because all of our actions have an impact on larger communities, the CCG serves as a place of interaction and positive engagement that further strengthens the bond between the Colgate community and with our Hamilton neighbors.

But why promote locally grown food or a knowledge of gardening?

Working at the garden, just this summer, we have often heard the question at our farm stands, “Why should I buy my produce here?” With Price Chopper open 24/7, holding a wide selection of reliable produce, it is sometimes hard to imagine why eating locally grown food is better for you and your environment. Here are some reasons that may convince you…

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 3.39.20 PM


Local foods have been loosely defined as food that is sourced from a 100-250 mile radius from one’s home. Eating local guarantees you more flavorful and natural tasting foods. Produce and animal-based products grown in local farms are a lot less likely to contain biochemical substances that are normally used at larger factory farming corporations to help maximize product output and their profit. Not only are these chemicals destructive to earth and water systems, but they also change the natural taste and appearance of many naturally delicious herbs and veggies.

Transportation and Emission “costs”

The average American meal  travels 1500 miles to get to your plate. Food that is grown only a few miles away from you may travel thousands of miles for processing and packing, only to return back to where it started in the first place (See: How Far Does Your Food Travel to get to Your Plate?) To explain this idea more, check out this article by Alan Durning, that explains the environmental, political, economic, and cultural impacts that a cup of coffee creates before it makes it to your table.

Meanwhile, food from the Colgate Community Garden and other local farms such as Common Thread CSA travels only a handful of miles. Not only does this save monetary costs for both the producer and the consumer, but it also reduces emissions in transportation and factories.  


When food travels overseas or cross-country, producers are not only contributing to carbon emissions but also wasting tons of plastic and non-biodegradable materials on packaging. Food must also stay fresh after all those days and in order to do this, numerous chemicals are added to our food to make sure they appear ‘fresh’.

Waste can also come from the type of foods we choose to eat. In fact, it matters just as much as to how the food is produced. For example, beef requires around 20x more land and water, yet emits 20x more greenhouse emissions while only producing a relatively small amount of calories and protein. We are what we eat, and what we eat has a profound impact on the planet in ways we are hardly aware of.

Knowledge of Growing Methods

When you shop local, you often have the chance to ask the farmer directly what their growing methods are. Do they practice organic methods? What pesticides do they use? How do they treat their animals? The answers to these questions may be important to you and you won’t always get them by shopping at the supermarket. Many laws are in place to protect big corporations from having to share all their methods of growing and raising livestock. Most local farmers have gotten in the business because they believe in their methods and love to share them. Ask us how we grow at the next farm stand!

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 3.41.10 PM

Passing the baton

By sharing sustainable and organic gardening methods to students and community members, as well as sharing a contagious enthusiasm for eating local food, we hope to spread the practice to new adults, and future consumers. In his article, Why Bother, Michael Pollan shares reasons for why it is important to plant your own garden. Besides all the aforementioned benefits, Pollan argues that having your own garden and source of food slowly starts to dismantle our learned dependency on corporations.

“You begin to see that growing even a little of your own food is, as Wendell Berry pointed out 30 years ago, one of those solutions that, instead of begetting a new set of problems–the way “solutions” like ethanol or nuclear power inevitably do–actually beget other solutions, and not only of the kind that save carbon. Still more valuable are the habits of mind that growing a little of your own food can yield. You quickly learn that you need not be dependent on specialists to provide for yourself–that your body is still good for something and may actually be enlisted in its own support. If the experts are right, if both oil and time are running out, these are skills and habits of mind we’re all very soon going to need” (Pollan).  

When we break from our dependency on these structures, we find that it is easier, healthier, and more rewarding in so many ways. Hopefully, these initiatives help to spark a larger movement that engages our leaders to research and experiment with new approaches on how to eat and live in a more local and sustainable manner.


We would be remiss if we left out the community aspect of local food production. You will be surprised how many amazing people you will meet at farm stands, gardens, or even just your next door neighbor whose shovel you borrow! We are so thankful for the many community members that make our garden possible and for all the students who have supported our garden by choosing to eat locally.

“At least in this one corner of your yard and life, you will have begun to heal the split between what you think and what you do, to commingle your identities as consumer and producer and citizen. Chances are, your garden will re-engage you with your neighbors, for you will have produce to give away and the need to borrow their tools. You will have reduced the power of the cheap-energy mind by personally overcoming its most debilitating weakness: its helplessness and the fact that it can’t do much of anything that doesn’t involve division or subtraction… The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world” (Pollan).

And with that, start planting! Check out local farms in your area! Or come join us in the Colgate Garden. We are always looking for volunteers; our open hours are Tuesdays from 12-2pm and Thursdays 4:30-6:30pm.

Our next work party will be on August 3rd from 5-7. Come to the garden, meet new people, and eat good food! Our farm stand continues to be outside of Trudy Fitness Center on Broad Street, Tuesdays 4:30-6:30pm. If raining, we will be inside the fitness center near the check-in desk.

Now hiring garden interns!

By Sustainability Office on July 20, 2016


Department: Sustainability Office
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 mid/late-August 2016 until November 2016 (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 other garden interns 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, and be at the garden during those scheduled times to supervise the work parties.
• Provide continuity for work on the garden throughout the 2016 growing season.
• Prepare for and help 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 5. Employment will begin on or around August 15.

June Updates at the Garden

By Sustainability Office on July 5, 2016

With the recent rain falls and the rays of sun, the garden is looking very green and luscious! If you haven’t had chance to stop by (which you should definitely do during our open volunteer hours Tuesday 12-2 PM and Thursday 4:30-6:30 PM) and roam through the rows and rows of sprouting veggies, here are some updates! Our lettuce, radishes, kale, and chard are pluggin’ away and giving us lots to share! Snap peas practically popped out overnight this week with some impressive 5-inchers! And we had our first two squash after the wonderful rain!

pic1-min pic2-min

With such a great abundance, we have been harvesting for some very successful farm stands as well as for Chartwells, the dining service at Colgate, and the Food Cupboard located in Hamilton. Through all these sales and donations, we have been meeting many wonderful people and we are so thankful for all their help and the connections we’ve made. We would like to thank all of our farm stand regulars, our generous community plot members for words of encouragement (and delicious donuts!), and Chartwells dining services for supporting local food.


We would also like to give a big shout out to all our weekly volunteers, and namely our volunteer group from the library. Last week, a group of library staff members came down to be out in the sun for a few hours and give us a helping hand. They mulched, weeded, and planted parsley and brussel sprouts! To cool off and relax after their hard work, they sat in the shade and were able to paint some of the most beautiful and unique rocks our garden has ever seen. The garden looked so healthy and lively after they left and we are so grateful for all the time and energy they put in.

pic4-min pic5-min

Our next work party will be Wednesday July 6th from 5-7pm. Come to garden, enjoy good vibes, and eat delicious (and garden-sourced) food! And we are happy to announce that our Farm Stand is officially every Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 in front of Trudy Fitness Center right across from the Sanford Fieldhouse. On rainy days, we’ll be located inside Trudy at the sign-in desk! Hope to see you there! And remember to stay fresh and eat local!