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Holiday shut down: give the gift of energy savings this holiday season!

By Sustainability Office on December 15, 2014

LET’S ALL COMPLETE 4 IN 4!
Before you leave for holiday break, complete four small actions in under four minutes to help us save energy and achieve our Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal.

Before you leave for holiday break, don’t forget to:

  1. Unplug. Unplug cell phone chargers, radios, speakers, clocks, printers/copiers, coffee makers!, tea kettles, microwaves and other kitchen appliances.  Many electronic devices continue to drain energy even if they are turned off. This is known as Phantom Load.   According to the U.S. EPA, Phantom Load is responsible for up to 40% of our electricity use!  In fact, a quarter of the energy used by your TV each year is consumed when the TV is off!
  2. Turn off.  What you cannot unplug, turn off!  Turn off computers, monitors, lights, and all electronic devices.
  3. Shut tight.  Close all windows and shut the blinds.
  4. Turn down (the heat).  If you have a controllable office thermostat, lower it to 62 deg F. Please do not set thermostats to a temperature below 58 deg F and check to be sure thermostats remain in “Heat” (NOT “OFF”) position.

Be an energy Grinch this holiday season, do your part to help reduce energy and resource use on campus.

Be an energy Grinch this holiday season.  Shut down and unplug!

Be an energy Grinch this holiday season. Shut down and unplug!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy holidays from Colgate’s Office of Sustainability!


A More Sustainable Sodexo at Colgate University

By Sustainability Office on December 11, 2014

By Emily Adams ‘15, Sodexo sustainability intern & Environmental Geography major and Peace and Conflict Studies minor

I am very passionate about advancing sustainability on campus by sourcing more fresh, local and sustainable foods at Colgate. YUM! For this reason, I was very excited when I became Sodexo’s new sustainability intern on campus. I can’t imagine a more exciting opportunity at this stage in my Colgate experience! Additionally, Sodexo is in the process of hiring a Food Service Manager of Sustainability Programs.  Together, we will be working to make positive changes to the dining services here at Colgate.

Colgate’s Sustainable Food Systems Advisory Group – a group of students, faculty, and staff – in partnership with Sodexo are already working together on exciting new initiatives to make food more sustainable on campus. We are working towards goals of enhanced transparency surrounding the sourcing of our food, larger amounts of local and sustainably grown food, increased interaction with and purchasing from local farmers, and reduced food and overall waste.

Sodexo already sources some local foods.  However, in the past students had no way of knowing which foods were locally produced.  Because it is important to know who is growing our food, we have begun to label local foods throughout our dining facilities. These foods are now being displayed with specific references to the New York town or farm where they are coming from. Additionally, a large map of New York State, which shows where we are obtaining different local foods, now greets students as they enter Frank Dining Hall.

New York Map_opt

Map of foods produced in New York and served in Frank Dining Hall.

In addition to increased labeling, Frank Dining Hall has started a new weekly Farm-to-Table Sunday dinner in which the entire meal consists of only locally sourced foods. In conjunction with this local dinner, the area farmers who source these meals will be highlighted in weekly fact sheets posted alongside the menus. This will increase knowledge about who is growing Colgate’s food and how it is being produced. Stay tuned as we are also working on developing local burger and quesadilla options for the Coop.

Reducing food waste is another important way to advance sustainability in dining services.  For this reason, we will be providing tasting samples of food so that students do not have to take a full portion of a meal to determine whether or not they will eat it. There is also a new “Spotted” reusable mug program where coupons for free 16 oz. hot drinks at any dining location will be rewarded to people seen using reusable mugs on campus.

We are really excited about the future of sustainable dining at Colgate.  By sourcing more local and sustainable foods and by reducing our overall waste, we hope to be able to make significant positive changes in every students’ dining experience while also reducing our ecological and carbon footprints. With your help, we know we can reduce energy usage and waste from production, transportation, and storage; support our local economy; and obtain fresher, more nutrient-rich food.


Managing Colgate’s Forested Lands for Carbon Neutrality

By Sustainability Office on December 10, 2014

Earlier this year, Colgate’s 1,059 acres of forested land received certification from the American Tree Farm System.  This designation confirms Colgate’s long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible forest management.  Certification was a part of Colgate’s larger effort to manage our forests for carbon sequestration.  In 2014, we determined that our forests store 165,491 tons of carbon and sequester an additional 1,578 tons each year.

Click here to read the article by Kellyann Hayes ’16 published in December 2014.

big picture image for the autumn 2008 colgate scene

Colgate manages 1,059 acres of forested lands that sequester over 1,500 tons of carbon each year.


Colgate’s Document Services Receives Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)® Chain-of-Custody Certification

By Sustainability Office on December 3, 2014

Congratulations to Colgate’s Document Services for completing an extensive Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)® chain-of-custody sustainability audit. FSC® is an international organization that promotes responsible management of our world’s forests. The audit was led by the Printers Green Resource LLC InGreen Group, who is FSC is certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Rainforest Alliance is an accredited certifying body that can provide FSC certification and is widely regarded as the “Gold Standard” of forest certification programs.  FSC’s chain-of-custody certification verifies Document Service’s high-level commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible business practices.

In the words of Kip Manwarren, Interim Director of Document Services, “I am excited that Colgate University Document & Mail Services is supporting both responsible forestry and the sustainability efforts of Colgate University through FSC chain-of-custody certification. Offering FSC certified printed documents reflects positively on Document Services and the way we do business. We take our part in conserving the forests of the world very seriously and are committed to doing our share to preserve the world’s natural resources. We are proud of our environmental record and will continue to pursue additional venues to lessen our impact on the environment.

Located on the lower level of O’Connor Campus Center (Coop), Document Services provides copying and offset printing services as well as type and graphic design for students, faculty, staff, and administration. Products offered include; booklets, flyers, brochures, announcements, stationery, business cards, distributions, tickets, invitations, course packets, post cards and more. Document Services also provides assistance with copyright clearance and produces course packets which are available through the Colgate Bookstore. As an FSC certified printer, Document Services can add the FSC mark to any qualifying job to show that the piece was produced on responsibly sourced paper. If desired, the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal can also be added to the FSC trade marks.  Both logos identify Document Service’s and Colgate University’s commitment to environmental stewardship and are valued by people everywhere who receive your documents!

Colgate Document Services Receives Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance Certification.

Colgate Document Services receives Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance Certification.


Inspiration, Alumni, & Sustainability in Portland, OR

By John Pumilio on November 28, 2014

I am still energized from my recent west coast visit to Portland, Oregon.  Steve Dickinson ’13, sustainability office program assistant, Katie Williams ’15, Geography and History double major, and I where in town for the annual higher education sustainability conference (AASHE 2014).  The conference attracted over 2,000 sustainability practitioners from across the country and beyond.  The sustainability movement in higher education has exploded over the past few years. Amazing progress has been made in areas of climate action planning, local and sustainable food procurement, alternative transportation, renewable energy, recycling and composting, water conservation, land use, and social justice issues.  The highlight of the conference was connecting with other Colgate graduates who are now doing incredible work in the field of sustainability.  Dr. Lisa Cleckner ’86 is the director of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  Caitlin Steele ’01 is the Director of Sustainability & Energy at San Francisco State University.  Jessica Prata ’05 is now the Assistant Vice President of Environmental Stewardship at Columbia University.  And, Adam Costello ’10 is the Sustainability Fellow to the SUNY Office of Sustainability & Research Foundation.

Since 2009, Colgate’s sustainability program has gained national recognition and we are widely viewed as a national leader in sustainability in higher education.  Katie and I were at the conference to present on Colgate’s Campus Master Plan and our institutional commitment to carbon neutrality by 2019.  Katie represents Colgate very well and did a fantastic job during our presentation and fielding questions from the audience.  Perhaps she will be a future star in the growing field of sustainability professionals.  Our session was well-attended and generated significant discussion.

The highlight of my trip was meeting with the Alumni Club of Portland in a warm and cozy downtown Portland restaurant.  A huge thank you to Richard Beck ’71 and Ginny Haines ’72 for all their work organizing the group.  The atmosphere was perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations I had with many of our devoted alumni and parents of current students.  Of course, we discussed my favorite topic – sustainability!  But I also had the chance to connect with a few of our alumni on a deeper level.  I learned about the life, work, and interests of alumni living in Portland.  I heard fascinating personal stories of roads traveled since Colgate.  We were all also impressed by Richard’s impassioned work on the West Coast Electric Highway—an impressive network of electric vehicle charging stations that run through Washington and Oregon and into California. Katie, Steve, and I shared our Colgate experience and why advancing sustainability is so important at Colgate and beyond.

I returned from Portland feeling motivated and privileged that I have the opportunity to collaborate with so many incredible Colgate alumni.  Thank you to Laura Masse and Tim McEvoy ’13, Assistant Directors of Alumni Relations, for making this trip possible.


Colgate ditches the switch

By Sustainability Office on November 21, 2014

The Colgate Sustainability Office co-hosted the event “Ditch the Switch” with SGA on November 14th 2014 in Parker Commons.  The event was created in order to promote energy reduction in the form of turning off lights, using power strips, and unplugging electronics when they are not in use. “Ditch the Switch” also built awareness about the two events going on around campus to reduce our environmental impact. This event was therefore a culminating event between CCN (Campus Conservation Nationals) and the Broad Street Challenge both working towards the reduction of water, energy, and the environmental education.

Sustainability Staff at Ditch the Switch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When students walked into the venue, they were asked to sign a pledge to reduce their energy, and additionally took pictures in front of a fun backdrop. Within the Parker Commons we turned off all of the lights, hence the name, “Ditch the Switch” and used glow sticks for lighting. Through the event we hoped to promote the reduction of energy and water consumption around campus, and make students aware that they can do small efforts to help the environment. Thanks to everyone who came out!


Climate Action at Colgate

By John Pumilio on November 8, 2014

Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the synthesis report of their 2014 Fifth Assessment Report (AR5).  The release of this major new United Nations report is the most troubling and scientifically conclusive report yet.  For me, the 100+ page report can be boiled down to three simple and profound scientific realities.

First, we must limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels or we will suffer from “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”  Temperatures have already risen 0.8 degrees Celsius.

Second, limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius gives us a remaining carbon budget of about 1 trillion tons.  That may sound like a lot, but given our current rate of burning fossil fuels, we have less than 30 years to wean ourselves off of coal and oil.  Since severe climate impacts are already upon us, the passing years promise to bring greater catastrophes and human suffering with every increased ton of carbon burned.

Third, the world’s major energy companies have several trillion tons of known fossil fuel carbon waiting in reserves.  These companies are valued on their known reserves and they have every intention of burning all of it.  To make matters worse, these companies are spending an addition $600 billion annually in search of new sources of coal and oil.  If these reserves are burned, we will be putting ourselves and our children and grandchildren in a very perilous situation.

2011-2015 Climate Action Plan Wedges Graph to Carbon Neutrality

2011-2015 Climate Action Plan.

As one of America’s top higher education institutions, Colgate University places great value on scientific research and integrity.  Our commitment to carbon neutrality by 2019 confirms our institution’s belief in the overwhelming and conclusive science behind climate change (see specific text of ACUPCC).  It is also Colgate University’s mission to educate and prepare students for civic life and work in the 21st Century (see the 13 Goals of a Colgate Education approved by the Academic Affairs Board in 2010).  In order to achieve this mission, we must not only educate all students on the science, impacts, and possible solutions to climate change, but we must also continue to reduce and eventually eliminate all carbon emissions associated with our campus operations.

Achieving this shared goal will not be easy, but it must be done.

Right now, faculty, staff, and students on Colgate’s Sustainability Council are working to develop our road-map to carbon neutrality by 2019.  We need your help.  Please comment below or share any ideas you have with the chair of the Sustainability Council, Catherine Cardelus (ccardelus@colgate.edu) or director of sustainability, John Pumilio (jpumilio@colgate.edu).


Ready for Solar Energy in Central New York?

By John Pumilio on November 2, 2014

A few weeks ago, I attended the CNY Solar Summit in East Syracuse.  The event attracted state and local policy-makers, government officials, industry and community leaders, business owners, installers, homeowners, and curious New Yorkers from every walk of life.  The excitement throughout the day was palpable.  With good reason.  Solar energy in New York is poised to explode.  The NY-Sun initiative, launched in 2012, has created one of the greatest solar market opportunities in the country.  The response has been impressive.  Over the past two years, solar energy in New York grew by 316 megawatts—enough to power about 32,000 homes—eclipsing all installations from the previous decade combined.  Large manufacturers are also taking notice.  Last month, SolarCity, one of the leading solar companies in the world, announced plans to build a 1.2 million square-foot ‘Gigafactory’ in Buffalo.  Not only will this create thousands of new jobs but the manufacturing plant will turn out solar PV arrays at an attractive price using low-cost, carbon-free hydroelectricity from Niagara Falls.

Solar energy is already in our backyard.  You may remember that in 2012 and 2013 we initiated the Solarize Madison project.  By streamlining the installation process and through volume purchasing, we were able to reduce the cost of residential solar installations.  This first-of-a-kind project in New York resulted in over 40 solar installations on Madison County homes including the solar thermal installation on Creative Arts House (100 Broad Street).  The program is now being replicated in over a dozen other New York communities including Syracuse.

While Madison County’s solarize program has concluded, solar energy in New York is just getting started.  The NY-Sun initiative provides a convenient website to explore your options.  I often talk with local homeowners who are waiting on the sidelines for the technology to improve or for costs to come down.  My advice is to explore the option now—while the incentives are right and the cost is low.  If you determine that it makes sense for you now, then get in the game!

You can start the process by contacting a certified installer through the NY-Sun program for residents and small businesses.  The installer will work directly with you to evaluate your options and right-size your system.  The installer will also assist with all NY-Sun and NYSERDA paperwork, including financing options.

Do you think solar energy is right for you?  Share your thoughts on renewable and solar energy in New York. Visit us on Facebook, follow our Twitter feed, email us at sustainability@colgate.edu or comment on this blog post.


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!).

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