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Exploring First-Year Course Options: Branching Out with Sustainability

By Sustainability Office on June 26, 2015

By Lindsey Sagasta ’16 (Buffalo, NY)

Knowing from experience, selecting first-year courses is pretty daunting. By the time you graduate Colgate, you must have completed courses in all of the areas of inquiry to satisfy the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum, but you also need to finish all classes for intended majors and minors. How are you ever going to be able to fit that all in, in just four years!? Okay, take a deep breath. It’s not as difficult as you think.  There is plenty of room for classes outside of these requirements. So when courses are sent out for you to select your preferences, don’t fret. You have plenty of time to get through your checklist, and instead of spending your first semester trying to hit every requirement, or trying to stick to a specific area of study- take the time to explore the variety of courses that Colgate has to offer.

Personally, I decided to become a Biology and Environmental Studies double major after taking a sustainability related course called “Human Impact on the Environment” (now called Earth, Society, and Sustainability- GEOG 121) during my second semester at Colgate. This was definitely not a class that I saw myself taking before coming to Colgate. Unexpectedly, that class uncovered my passion for environmental sustainability. My newly formed motivation for environmental issues led me to the Office of Sustainability internship program.  Soon after, I became one of a handful of Green Raiders, helping Colgate achieve its goal to be carbon neutral by 2019!

Sustainability related courses fit squarely within the liberal arts mission.  Courses focusing on sustainability explore the complexities among, between, and within social, ecological, and economic systems, as well as the mechanisms required to encourage the resilience and health of these systems now and into the future. Approximately 10% of Colgate classes focus on or include sustainability as a major component and 45% of our academic departments offer at least one course focusing on issues of sustainability. Most of the courses that more intensively include sustainability are housed in the major/minor programs: Environmental Geography, Environmental Biology, Environmental Geology, Environmental Economics, Environmental Studies (ENST), Geography, Geology, Biology, and Peace and Conflict Studies.

John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability, believes that every student at Colgate would benefit from taking at least one sustainability-related course in his or her time at Colgate:

Contributing to a healthy, just, and environmentally sustainable future belongs to everyone (regardless of majors and future job titles).  Taking a sustainability-related course at Colgate fosters critical thinking and problem solving while also providing students with the skills, background, and habits of mind to contribute to climate solutions and meet environmental challenges head-on. All of which are increasingly valued by future employers.”

Steve Dickinson, Program Coordinator for Environmental Studies and Sustainability, encourages first-year students to explore the Colgate Liberal Arts while they can:

“Generally, your first year is your first opportunity to explore new things that you might not have had the opportunity to learn about in high school. It’s best to explore earlier rather later when major requirements become the biggest priority. My advice is to find a course that is relevant to your personal interest, but also allows you to become more knowledgeable about environmental stewardship. With an increased knowledge in sustainability, you can become a stronger part of the Colgate community striving toward carbon neutrality in 2019.”

Frank Frey, associate professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, advocates for students to take advantage of a liberal arts university:

“To fully engage with and embrace the liberal arts experience, it is important to break out of the shell of high school experiences that have defined your academic trajectory to date.  Are perceived academic comfort zones real, or are they the byproduct of the particular educational system you came up through?  Is your true academic passion waiting to be discovered?  My most successful students have entered Colgate thinking they were going to pursue a singular path, yet were open to intellectual exploration and testing the limits of their academic chops in a diversity of disciplines during their first year.  Most of these students ended up pursuing paths very different from what they originally envisioned, and now as graduates are enjoying successful careers that they could not begin to imagine when they entered Colgate.”

Further, Professor Frey associates sustainability courses as a strong investment in your future academic growth:

“The philosophy, principles, and practice of sustainability are inextricably linked to the human condition today, and if you are a careful observer and thinker you will find an undercurrent of sustainability in every discipline and every profession.  Coming to understanding this interconnectedness, and also learning how to view the world through the rigorous lens of sustainability thought, is a transformative intellectual experience.  No matter what your interests are at the moment, introducing yourself to what sustainability really is and what it really means is a strong investment in your future academic growth.”

Here is a list of courses offered this fall semester for first-years that focus upon or relate to sustainability, as classified in the AASHE STARS report (These are the courses that can be taken right out of high school, there are plenty of other courses that can be taken once pre-requisite courses are fulfilled):

FIRST-YEAR SEMINARS

  • FSEM 120: Dangerous Environments
  • FSEM 122: Acid Rain: Environmental Problem
  • FSEM 124: Global Change and You
  • FSEM 130: Energy and Sustainability
  • FSEM 133: Foodwise
  • FSEM 180: Current Economic Issues
  • FSEM 183: Welcome to the Anthropocene
  • FSEM 186: The Geography of Happiness

BIOLOGY

  • BIOL 101: Topics in Organismal Biology
  • BIOL 181: Evolution, Ecology, and Diversity- (AP BIO coursework recommended for first semester first-years)

ENGLISH

  • ENGL 219: American Literature and the Environment

ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

  • ENST 232: Environmental Justice

GEOGRAPHY

  • GEOG 111: Global Shift: Economy, Society, and Geography
  • GEOG 121: Earth, Society, and Sustainability
  • GEOG 131: Environmental Geography

GEOLOGY

  • GEOL 135: Oceanography

HISTORY

  • HIST 218: The African American Struggle for Freedom and Democracy
  • HIST 228: The Caribbean: Conquest, Colonization, and Self-Determination

PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIES

  • PCON 111: Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies
  • PCON 225: Theories of Peace and Conflict–War, State, and Society

PHILOSOPHY

  • PHIL/ENST 202: Environmental Ethics

POLITICAL SCIENCE

  • POSC 152: Global Peace and War

For a complete list of all sustainability-related courses that could be offered in the future, visit: https://stars.aashe.org/media/uploads/test_cases/2013-14AASHESTARS2.0SustainabilityCourses-FINAL.pdf

Another sustainability-related option for first-year students is the Green Ambassador program that aims to develop a culture of sustainability at Colgate through a student-to-student educational program. Enthusiastic first-year students with all backgrounds of sustainability can be directly connected with the Office of Sustainability staff to create this culture. More information will be coming later this summer, so if you are interested, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or contact the Office of Sustainability (sustainability@colgate.edu)!

For general information about sustainability and how you can help as a new student, check out: http://www.colgate.edu/distinctly-colgate/sustainability/for-students/sustainability-for-new-students.


Recycling and Reusing at Colgate: Frequently Asked Questions

By Sustainability Office on June 23, 2015

by John Pumilio, director of sustainability

I frequently receive calls or emails from concerned individuals asking how to properly recycle or dispose of certain items that are either broken or no longer needed.  Items could be anything from office supplies, furniture, microwaves, coffee pots, computers, monitors, small electronic devices, refrigerators, and almost anything else you can think of that is not part of our normal recycling program or too big to fit in one of our trash bins.  This post will hopefully offer some guidance and give you more direction.

Let’s start with our basic campus recycling program.  Colgate has two stream recycling which means that we need to separate recyclable materials into two different bins:

  1. Paper Recycling.  One bin is for paper and all paper products.  These blue bins are usually identified by having a lid with a slit that facilitates paper recycling.  See image below (bin on left).  This bin is for print and copier paper, newspaper, notebook paper, envelopes, magazines, and catalogs. Pizza boxes, cereal boxes, corrugated cardboard, paper bags, and dry food boxes can also be recycled with paper.
  2. Bottle and Can Recycling.  The other bin is for bottles and cans that are made of plastic, glass, or metal.  These blue bins are usually identified by having a lid with two round holes that facilitates the recycling of bottles and cans.  See image below (bin on right). This bin is for all plastics #1-7, all glass bottles and metal cans, plastic milk and water jugs, yogurt containers, laundry soap and detergent bottles, plastic cups, and plastic grocery bags.

Paper and bottle/can recycling bins are located in every building on campus.  Please take a moment to find and place your recyclables in the proper bin on campus.  Check out Colgate’s Recycling Guide for more detailed information.

slim-jim-containers

Slim Jim recycling containers frequently found around campus.

Okay, that was the easy part.  The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) should guide you on how to properly dispose of other types of items.

Q: What do I do with large electronic devices such as Colgate-owned television sets, computers, monitors, and printers?
A: Call the ITS helpline (x7111).  They will assist you in the proper recycling of your Colgate-owned electronics.

Q: What do I do with small electronic devices such as old cell phones, batteries, compact discs, digital cameras, iPods, cables and cords, printer cartridges, calculators, and other small electronic devices?
A: Bring these items to the second floor of the Coop (in the elevator alcove) or to any one of our 16 locations around campus (download eWaste map here) where they will be recycled safely and conveniently.  Please lend a helping hand and tape both ends of all batteries before placing them in a battery recycling bin.  Members of the Sustainability Office will come around every few weeks to empty the electronic waste bins in your area.  If a bin becomes full and needs more immediate attention, please call x6360 or email us at sustainability@colgate.edu.

Q: Where does our eWaste go?
A: Large electronic devices that are still functional will be reused.  Small electronics are transported to RCR&R in Rochester, NY for proper recycling.  Click here to find out more.

Q: Where can I recycle my personally-owned eWaste?
A: As a Hamilton resident, you can take your electronic waste to the transfer station in Poolville (Cranston Road). They are open from 7:10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will punch your card for each item (punch cards cost $13.50 and contain 5 punches).  As a Madison County resident, you can also take your eWaste free of charge to the Madison-Cortland ARC at 327 Farrier Avenue and Gary’s Auto Parts at 651 Fitch Street, both in Oneida.

Q: What do I do with my spent printer cartridges?
A: Fortunately, W.B. Mason will conveniently collect your old printer cartridges for recycling.  Simply hand it to the W.B. Mason representative the next time they make a delivery to your office area.  A second option is to place the cartridge in one of our eWaste bins located around campus.

Q: I have an item (such as a microwave, refrigerator, lab equipment, furniture, shelving, filing cabinet, etc.) that is no longer needed or wanted.  What do I do with these items?
A: First ask yourself if the item is still useable.  If you think the item still has value and can be reused, then call Joanne Vanderwood in Surplus and Salvage (ext. 7475).  She will oversee the collection of your items for resale and reuse.  If your item is broken or is not salvageable, then you must contact B&G to put in a work order for pickup.  B&G will collect your item(s) for proper disposal.

Q: I have extra office supplies that I no longer need or want.  What can I do with them?
A: Check out our FREE Office Swap spreadsheet.  If you have extra paper clips, folders, lamps, and other items that you think other people at Colgate might need, post it on the site.  Likewise, if you are looking for common items, put in a request before spending money on new items.

Q: What do I do with scrap metal that is no longer needed?
A: Call B&G and put in a work order.  They will come pick it up for recycling!

Q: Do you have links to other resources that explain how to properly recycle at Colgate or at home?
A: Yes!  Check out these additional resources:

Colgate’s Recycling Guide and website
Madison County Solid Waste Department
NYS Electronic Waste Recycling
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) – recycling and composting

Q: I still have an item or questions about recycling, what should I do?
A: Call (x6487) or email (jpumilio@colgate.edu) Colgate’s Director of Sustainability.  I will be glad to help.


Colgate’s Community Garden Partners with Dining Services & Hamilton Food Cupboard

By Sustainability Office on June 22, 2015

Student in the Community Garden

The Colgate Community Garden is once again partnering with Dining Services to bring more local food into the dining facilities at Colgate.  At the beginning of each week, members of the Community Garden sends a list of the fresh vegetables and herbs to Dining Services.  Dining Services then places their order. Veggies and herbs are then harvested by the garden team and transported to Frank Dining Hall that same day.  So far this year, six different varieties of herbs and several early season greens have been utilized in various campus dining events. This partnership will continue as Chartwells takes over Colgate’s Dining Services.

The Colgate Community Garden continues to maintain a close relationship with the Hamilton Food Cupboard.  Approximately half of what is harvested each week at the garden is donated to the Food Cupboard.  Once again in early 2015, Sam Stradling and the folks at the Food Cupboard  started and tended to several different varieties of vegetables in their small heated greenhouse.  These seedlings were donated to the Colgate Community Garden, in exchange for the fresh veggies that will come from the plants later in the season.

Stay tuned for how you can obtain some of the garden’s fresh produce- a summer Farm Stand is in the works!


The Colgate Community Garden Finds a Positive Purpose For Beer

By Sustainability Office on June 16, 2015

Slug beer canThe Colgate Community Garden uses organic practices, and this means traditional fertilizers and pesticides are off limits. So sometimes we have to get creative when pests come knocking on our garden gates. Our first pest encounter this season has been the dreaded slug.  These particular slugs have developed a taste for our cabbage and brussels sprout seedlings.  One morning we noticed that our once beautiful, leafy cabbage was getting chewed up.  The culprit had left behind a shimmering, slimy residue- our first hint that slugs were the problem.

Luckily it turns out that in addition to cabbage and brussel sprouts, slugs are also fond of yeast. Some plastic cups of beer planted among the rows of cabbage provides an organic, cheap and easy answer to a slug problem. The slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer, then when they go to get a refreshing drink, they fall into the beer and drown! Not a happy story for the slugs, but effective pest control. Add the fact that cheap beer is easily accessible for free at the end of a semester at Colgate and you’ve got a perfect solution!

Every couple of days we change out the beer and find thirty or forty slugs at a time. After less than a week, our cabbage plants are looking much happier, which in turn makes for a happy garden team!


Applications now open for 2015-16 Green Raider Internship Program

By Sustainability Office on June 4, 2015

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The Sustainability Office is pleased to announce four paid positions for qualified students to implement and manage Colgate’s Green Living Program. This is an exciting opportunity for Colgate students to get hands-on experience putting sustainability and green living practices into action.

Qualified interns will work up to 12 hours per week, during both fall (2015) and spring (2016) semesters. Official start date is August 23, 2014 with arrival/move-in on August 22nd. Orientation is mandatory and will begin the morning of August 24th, but interns will be required to assist with first year move-in day.  Weekly work schedule is flexible, however, we will have mandatory team meetings once every week.

INTERNSHIP OVERVIEW AND PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Green Raiders will model and promote environmentally responsible behavior in on-campus residence halls by inspiring and educating their peers using proven community-based social marketing skills (no prior knowledge necessary). The Sustainability Office will hire enthusiastic, self-motivated, over-achieving students who have demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability.  We look forward to hearing your input on event management and programming throughout the year. The mission of the Green Raider Program is to help lower Colgate’s ecological footprint, reduce energy costs, and increase student understanding of environmental issues that will have lifetime benefits. More specifically, Green Raiders will:

  • Promote green living practices in each of the six first-year residence halls (Andrews, Curtis, East, Gate House, Stillman, West), as well as on the larger campus

  • Be an accessible resource to students on campus with any questions they may have about sustainable living

  • Promote the Green Living Program through the use of blogging, social media, email, and other outlets

  • Plan and execute high-profile campus events that engage and educate students with green living practices

  • Create materials and behavior change programs that inspire and influence first-year residents to practice environmental stewardship

OTHER REQUIREMENTS:

FLEXIBILITY AND OPENNESS TO CHANGE. The Green Raider program is relatively new and we will have to adapt our strategies as the program matures. Successful Green Raiders will be individuals who think critically, are problem solvers, can adapt to change, and who can turn a challenge into an opportunity.

TEAM PLAYER. Be a team player and take advantage of peer-to-peer education, learning the best practices from other Colgate Green Raiders. Successful Green Raiders will bring their own “flair” and innovative ideas to the program, but also know how and when to conform to the better judgment of the team as a whole.

BE A MODEL FOR SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIOR. Green Raiders are expected to practice what they preach and model sustainable living by recycling, practicing energy efficiency and water conservation, using alternative transportation, and practice other sustainable living strategies.

RECOMMENDED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS and ABILITIES

  • Solid interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively and respectfully in a collaborative, culturally diverse work environment

  • Detail-oriented and possessing the ability to accomplish results in designated time frames

  • Being comfortable working in a fast moving/changing environment and having the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously

  • Having the ability to effectively motivate community members to action

  • Possessing strong organizational skills

  • Having very good written and public presentation skills

  • Being computer literate and proficient in the use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other office applications

  • Proficiency with Google Apps (Drive, Calendar, etc.)

  • Having the ability to maintain a productive and healthy work/life balance

  • Knowledge of design and publicity, as well as associated design programs is helpful

  • Experience using social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, is helpful

The Office of Sustainability is particularly interested in applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and are interested in using their work in sustainability to support their academic and professional objectives.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Updated Résumé

  • One-page cover letter explaining why you are interested in becoming a Colgate Green Raider and why you believe you will be a valuable addition to our team

  • Submit your application through the portal or via email (sdickinson@colgate.edu) by no later than 5:00pm, Friday, July 17, 2015. Successful applicants are expected to begin work on August 23, 2015. Daily work schedule is flexible and contingent on student class schedules, current projects, and scheduled meetings.

  • In order to have the most cohesive team possible, being on campus for the entirety of the academic year is preferred. However, two students will be hired for only the spring 2016 semester to compensate for current interns going abroad.

  • In order to be considered for the position, applicants must complete the Colgate Green Certification Program (link) by July 18th.

Contact Steve Dickinson (phone 315.228.6360; email sdickinson@colgate.edu) for additional information or follow-up questions.


Greenhouse Recovering Project 2015

By Sustainability Office on May 27, 2015

Student under greenhouse plastic

It was 6:00am on Monday, May 4 and the sun was just peeking above the horizon.  Most of Colgate was still sound asleep…but the garden team was busy at work with the final major project on their To Do list since the garden relocation began in 2014. The greenhouse that is a part of the Colgate Community Garden’s new location was finally get the facelift it needed.
A crew of about 15 students, faculty and staff were led by local farmers Brendan O’Connor and Colin Nevison in replacing the cover of the garden’s greenhouse.  The old cover was made of a white plastic, common in businesses such as Snyders Nursery, the previous owner of the greenhouse. But for the community garden’s operations, a clear plastic covering will be more effective. The clear plastic will allow more light to penetrate, raising temperatures within and allowing the community garden to extend their growing season both earlier in the spring and later into the fall.

The crew of volunteers and workers were able to take off the old cover and install the new one in about 5 hours.  The effects of the new cover are already evident- the temperatures inside the greenhouse are significantly higher and spring greens are growing nicely!
Thank you to all who helped with this latest garden project.  We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

Greenhouse with new covering


The hidden environmental impacts of the fashion industry

By Sustainability Office on April 28, 2015

By Grace Dennis ’15

Few shoppers consider sustainability when purchasing new clothing but surprisingly the fashion industry has a major environmental impact. From production to transport to disposal fashion is the third most polluting industry after oil and agriculture. The impact of clothing begins with the production of fabric materials. Growing natural fibers is incredibly resource-intensive, with cotton alone responsible for a quarter of the pesticides used in the United States. Textile dyeing, which is responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution, also adds to the industry’s environmental impact. Factory-made clothing is extremely inefficient with fabric usage. For each garment produced 15-20% of the fabric is thrown away as scraps. With 1 billion garments coming out of China alone each year, that’s a lot of wasted material.

With the growth of fast fashion and cheap clothing retailers like Forever 21 and H&M society has begun to see clothing as disposable. New wardrobes can be easily bought to follow changing trends and torn clothing can be discarded instead of repaired and worn again. This growing disposable mindset of fashion has lead to the major increase of perfectly good clothing in landfills. In fact, the average American throws away 68 pounds of unwanted clothing each year. Currently only 15% of discarded clothing in the United States is sold in thrift and consignment shops, like Goodwill. As clothing becomes cheaper to buy new, the perceived resale value of unwanted clothes has decreased considerably. Cheap clothing also removes the need to buy used clothing at discounted prices. Only 12-15% of Americans shop at resale shops, creating a major gap in the circle of reuse.

Many clothing companies have acknowledged the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and have begun working towards more sustainable practices. Sustainably harvested fibers, waterless dye processes, and zero-waste manufacturing are all being tested out by many clothing brands. Consumer involvement is also a vital step in decreasing the environmental impact of the fashion industry. A movement away from the disposable mindset of clothing will help address the massive amount of waste created by discarded clothing. Quality of materials and construction should be highly valued and clothing should be seen as an investment. Higher quality garments will last much longer before fading or ripping. Consumers will also be more likely to repair a piece of clothing if they see it as a quality investment.

When a piece of clothing is discarded there are two main ways to keep it out of a landfill:

  • Recycling- clothing that is too worn or stained can be taken to a textile recycling center to be remade into new fabric
  • Donation or consignment- still wearable pieces can be donated to thrift stores like Goodwill or resold at consignment shops or online retailers

In order to complete the circle of recycling more shoppers need to purchase used clothing. Used clothing stores today are much more upscale than many people imagine. Chains like Second Time Around, which has stores in 12 states, and the online retailer tradesy.com specialize in reselling brand name clothing for a fraction of the original price. These new resale stores simplify the shopping experience by eliminating the need to sift through racks and racks of clothes to find quality pieces.

While sustainability may not be a major consideration when purchasing clothing, simple measures can be taken to decrease the impact our clothing choices have on the environment. Shoppers should consider sustainable brands and used clothing stores when making purchases. Many rips can be easily repaired at home or by a tailor, greatly extending the life of a piece of clothing. Finally, unwanted clothing should always be recycled, donated, or resold to ensure it stays out of landfills.


Can drinking beer help the environment?

By Sustainability Office on April 22, 2015

By Katherine Schultz ’15

Due to kegs not being allowed at Colgate, there is a ridiculous amount of beer cans consumed on campus. It is important to understand the benefits and accessibility of recycling in Hamilton, and the positive economic, social, and environmental impacts recycling can have.

Aluminum cans have the ability to be “good for the environment” if properly recycled because they have the ability to save energy, time, money, and natural resources. Unlike plastic bags, which endanger marine life and trash the planet, aluminum cans are 100% recyclable and there is no limit to how many times they can be recycled. Over 100 billion aluminum cans are sold in the United States each year, but less than half are recycled. This means that we are wasting about 1.5 million tons of aluminum worldwide, which contributes to emissions of carbon dioxide, and sulfur and nitrogen oxide during the smelting process. Mining for aluminum can disrupt the land, affect the environment, and create health problems for those exposed to toxins.

Recycling aluminum saves about 90% of the energy needed to make the aluminum because it is more energy efficient to make products from existing aluminum to than to create the aluminum needed for new products. According to the Container Recycling Institute, creating a new can is equivalent to powering a laptop for 11 hours. Additionally, recycling one pound of aluminum (about 33 cans) can save about 7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. Overall, the recycling of aluminum uses less energy, less raw materials, sends fewer materials to landfills, and is cost effective.

If Colgate students want to recycle cans in Hamilton, cans can be brought to Caz Cans at 2352 State Rt. 12B, and Price Chopper. Both of these locations are accessible, but nevertheless if students are feeling lazy and do not want to drive their cans to these locations, if the cans are separated from the plastic cups used, Madison County has a recycling facility that accepts and recycles cans to benefit their center.

 

Sources:

http://environment.about.com/od/recycling/a/The-Benefits-Of-Aluminum-Recycling-Why-Recycle-Aluminum.htm

http://myzerowaste.com/articles/food/why-recycle-tins-and-cans/

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/importance-recycling-aluminum-cans-79304.html


Update on Sodexo Sustainability

By Sustainability Office on April 15, 2015

083Since the hire of Food Service Manager of Sustainability Programs at Colgate, Deb Hanson, enhancing the sustainability of foods at dining locations on campus has been in full swing. Most recently, the sustainability team has developed a database of all the local foods Sodexo is currently purchasing and looking for ways and partnerships to increase the percentage of local foods we are buying. Hanson has been regularly speaking with Colgate’s food suppliers to keep them updated on our sustainability goals and discover new opportunities for local and sustainable foods. Hanson and sustainability intern, Emily Adams, took a trip to Purdy & Sons foods in Sherburne, NY to meet with suppliers Dan and Vicki Purdy to discuss our sustainability goals, and were given a tour of their meat processing facility. The Purdys’ shared their process of sourcing local meats, produce, and dairy products and their own personal goals of supporting the local economy. Buying locally requires advanced planning and commitments, as unlike buying from large global corporations, food cannot just be ordered and expected to magically show up at Frank’s doors within a few days. Rather, the Purdys have to have an idea of how much product they will require over the year and inform local farmers to raise certain numbers of cattle or acres of corn, for example, they should be growing. The Purdy’s goal is to work with small local farmers and link them with universities and businesses, as these institutions, such as Sodexo at Colgate, cannot buy directly from local producers without having a third party certify them. The Purdy’s next gave the Sodexo sustainability team a tour of the meat facility, where we were able to see workers carefully hand-rolling sausages and full carcasses of local meat hanging in the coolers waiting to be transformed into ground beef for Colgate’s local burgers. Continuously working with local suppliers and maintaining close relationships with them is something the Sodexo sustainability team believes is important as we continue to expand our local food purchasing.

Recently, the Colgate Sodexo team also signed the Taste NY Pledge which is an agreement to increase the use of New York grown and produced products in our dining locations to at least 10% of total procurement. This pledge also states an agreement to educate and maintain staff’s knowledge about the quality, importance and impact of New York’s locally grown and produced products, to highlight seasonal ingredients, and to note whenever possible, the names of the farms or local companies products are coming from. Sodexo is working to improve transparency of our local items by updating a board of local items in Frank daily, introducing item identifiers in the food lines, and having farmer profiles featured on the dining hall tablets. Frank is also planning for a Local Food Showcase “Get Local New York” where some local suppliers will feature their products and speak with students about how they produce their food. Frank is also planning a coffee sampling event in order to choose a new fair trade sustainable coffee to be implemented across dining locations. Sodexo is also preparing for Earth Day by joining Colgate’s 13 Days of Green. Frank will be preparing a special all-local meal for Earth Day, will be requesting students to make commitments to being more environmentally friendly through the “I Commit” campaign, and will be having another Weigh-the-Waste event to demonstrate the amount of food wasted daily in the dining hall


A costly convenience: Keurig K-Cups

By Sustainability Office on April 6, 2015

By Lindsey Sagasta ’16

It’s easy to see how convenient Keurig machines are for the average college student vying for that extra 10 minutes of sleep or studying, however, the waste associated with the K-cups goes largely unnoticed, and that’s a problem. In the past few years, there has been a large amount of attention drawn to the waste generated by Keurig K-cups, and many protests have sprung up in response to the unsustainable products. At the forefront of this movement is the “Kill the K Cup” campaign. If you haven’t seen the viral video– I strongly suggest you to check it out as well as KillTheKCup.org.Picture1

This recent backlash and attention to the matter has even spurred the creator of the Keurig machine to speak out about the unfolding disaster. According to a Buzzfeed article based off of an interview with The Atlantic, John Sylvan regrets creating the device because of the waste associated with the single-use cups (which are not recyclable or biodegradable). In fact, it was calculated that if each pod that ended up in a landfill in 2014 was lined up, the Earth could be circled an estimated 10.5 times- maybe even more.

The vision Sylvan first had of the pod-based coffee machine was solely for offices, and now, almost one in three American homes is in possession of one, with many more similar pod-requiring appliances in the works (a Keurig for jello shots,  Coca-Cola: “Keurig Cold”, Campbells: Keurig Soups). And although subsets of Keurig, such as Keurig Green Mountain, have announced their commitment to a fully recyclable version of a K-cup by 2020, Sylvan is skeptical of their success. Sylvan told The Atlantic “No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” largely because of the requirements of the machine’s brewing process.

Until the manufacturers of the cups can address their wrongdoings- there are things that K-Cup users can do to make a difference, and for some, Keurig is willing to assist you.

  • In the “Grounds to Grow On” program, customers using Keurig machines at their offices are able to “collect each brewed pack and return it to our disposal partner.” Left over grounds are collected for compost and use in a variety of agricultural applications, while the packs are given to Covanta Energy to gather energy from the waste.
  • Some environmentally conscious K-Cup lovers have taken to creative and practical ways of reusing the cups.
  • One nifty YouTube user has created a great tutorial on how to repack k-cups for her Keurig machine- using the plastic cups up to for or five times before sending them to the landfill AND composting leftover coffee grounds! (Also mentioning the “My K-Cup” option to reducing waste or using your own coffee)

Stay up to date with KillTheKCup.org if you want to learn more about current efforts to reduce waste and other sustainability issues regarding single-serve items. On campus, you can reduce coffee waste by refilling your coffee mugs at places such as the Coop, Hieber Café, or Frank.

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