Home - Distinctly Colgate - Sustainability - Sustainability News
Sustainability News

Latest Posts


By Sustainability Office on September 21, 2015

Did you know that you can get a FREE home energy assessment through NYSERDA’s Green Jobs Green NY program?  Most certainly, your home is wasting energy and costing you money.  A home energy assessment can help you determine where and how energy and money is being lost while also highlighting cost-effective measures to make your home more comfortable, affordable, and energy efficient.

During this information session we will:

  • walk you through the process of signing up for the home energy assessment
  • uncover typical myths about energy efficiency including windows, furnaces, new house vs. old house, and others.
  • review insulation types (fiberglass, foam, cellulose, and air sealing)
  • preview what equipment or testing is performed during a home energy assessment
  • discuss rebates, grants, and financing opportunities to help offset the cost of implementing energy savings projects

Hope to see you at 7 PM on September 29 (Tuesday) at the Hamilton Public Library.

Please contact John Pumilio, director of sustainability, with any questions.

This event is sponsored by Colgate’s Office of Sustainability.

Office of Sustainability Logo - Samantha Lee

2015 GREEN SUMMIT: Climate Change in Our Time

By Sustainability Office on September 1, 2015

Office of Sustainability Logo - Samantha Lee

On September 17, the Office of Sustainability will be hosting the 15th annual Green Summit.  The title of this year’s event will be Climate Change in Our Time.

As you likely know, the end of 2015 is gearing up to be a momentous year for climate issues globally, nationally, and here on campus.  In June, Pope Francis released his heavily anticipated encyclical on the environment.  In August, the White House finalized the Clean Power Plan, its flagship policy to combat carbon emissions from power plants.  This coming December at the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) in Paris, there are high expectations for a global agreement on emissions reductions.  And here at Colgate, we are in the midst of updating our plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2019. The purpose of this year’s Green Summit is to highlight issues of climate change (at Colgate and beyond) from various faculty perspectives.



The 2015 Green Summit will kickoff at 4:30 p.m. in Golden Auditorium (Little Hall) with a faculty panel discussion.

Panelists for this events include:

  • Adam Burnett, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Geography
  • April Baptiste, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Engda Hagos, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Mark Shiner, University Chaplain and Catholic Campus Minister
  • Peter Klepeis, Professor of Geography

The panel will be moderated by John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability.  We will invite questions/comments from the audience.



At 9:00 p.m., the 2015 Green Summit will conclude with a private showing of Naomi Oreskes’ award-winning documentary, Merchants of Doubt.  The program will take place at the Hamilton Merchants of DoubtMovie Theater.  Seating is limited and tickets will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.  Tickets are FREE and can be picked up in the Ho Science Center room 245 (Steve Dickinson’s office) or in Lathrop Hall room 109M (John Pumilio’s office).

To follow the latest news, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

To submit questions in advance of the forum, use #GateGreenSummit.

The 2015 Green Summit is sponsored by CORE Scientific Perspectives, Environmental Studies, Lampert Institute, Office of Sustainability, Upstate Institute.

**We encourage all Green Summit attendees to attend a special event hosted by the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs.  The event entitled, “Edible Memory: How Tomatoes Became Heirlooms and Apples Became Antiques,” by Dr. Jennifer Jordan, Professor of Sociology and Urban Studies, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee will take place at 7:00 p.m. in 101 Ho Science Center (Meyerhoff Auditorium).

The 2015 Green Summit is sponsored by the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs, the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute, the Upstate Institute, Environmental Studies, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

We look forward to seeing you at our 15th annual Green Summit!

Sustainably Unpacking the Pack for Colgate

By Sustainability Office on July 14, 2015


By: Lindsey Sagasta ’16 (Tonawanda, NY)

Class of 2019: At this point in your life, you have chosen your college, been assigned a roommate, and have registered for your fall semester classes, so what’s next?

Soon, it will be August 23rd and you will be moving into your room at Colgate. Choosing what to bring with you, especially when it’s your first year, can be pretty intimidating. Back-to-school ads have been flowing through your mailboxes, and in every store there is some sort of dorm-room display to remind people of the purchases that need to be made. You might have already experienced a move-in or move-out day for a sibling or friend, and it’s highly probable that you also saw the giant mounds of trash produced by each student moving in. On move-in day, this trash largely consists of packaging that is no longer needed. On move-out day, this trash can be used notebooks, empty pizza boxes, worn out shower shoes, broken electronics, or anything else you don’t want to keep for the summer or the next few years.

Although the large amounts of trash produced during move-in and move-out day is highly upsetting to sustainability-minded students, it is actually quite minimal compared to the waste and resources used throughout the year due to inefficient and unsustainable packing. Think about all the energy used for cramming for exams, watching TV, and hanging out late at night with music. Now imagine all of the trash that’s made from snacks, drink containers, and items that you thought would be useful, but have proved otherwise. What you purchase and bring to Colgate will heavily effect your impact as a first-year student on Colgate’s carbon footprint.

So what should you bring?

All over the Internet, there are checklists that were created with first-year college students in mind. Some of these can be overwhelming, some can be a bit excessive, and others too vague. At this point, you need to think about yourself, and what you really think will be necessary at college. It might be helpful to reach out to upperclassmen that you know, or those who have made themselves available to make your transition as easy as possible. Knowing the position that you are in, I am here to help. Below is a list that has been compiled by the Office of Sustainability that advises you on what to bring, leave at home, and consider when you are shopping (it can also be found on the new students section for sustainability). Here I will unpack this information for you, and add more suggestions to avoid the eco-disaster that college dorm rooms can become.

What to bring:

  • Reusable water bottle. Avoid plastic, single-use water bottles. There are plenty of places up-the-hill and down-the-hill that you can refill a reusable bottle, and every time you do refill it, that is one less plastic bottle being made and discarded. If you do end up with a bottle, make sure you recycle it! Check out Klean Kantean, Hydro Flask, and Earth Lust products for some great options.
  • Power strips. Plug electronics into smart, energy-efficient, power strips that you can turn off when you leave the room. Using power strips allows for the avoidance of “vampire energy”, also known as “phantom load”- energy that circulates through devices that are plugged in, even though they are not in use.
  • LED light bulbs. LEDs may be a bit more expensive than tradition incandescent light bulbs, but they will not burnout while you are at Colgate (they have a much longer life!) and a much smaller energy and carbon footprint.
  • Water filter pitcher. Pitchers are another option in case a water fountain isn’t immediately available to fill up your reusable water bottle, but a sink or tap source might be. Although Colgate water doesn’t need to be filtered, if you find peace of mind by doing so, this is a much more cost-effective and sustainable option than one-time use bottled water.
  • Reusable grocery bags. Tote bags can be brought from home, or purchased once you arrive. By opting out of single-use plastic grocery bags, you are eliminating the large amount of chemicals and waste it takes to make the bags, as well as avoiding pollution that can occur by improper disposal.
  • Reusable cutlery/dishes. Reduce waste and pollution from one-time use plastic cutlery or paper plates if you choose to eat food in your room.
  • High-efficiency (HE) detergent. HE detergent results in clean clothes with less waste and pollution. All of Colgate’s washing machines are high-efficiency machines.
  • Green cleaning products. Harsh chemicals and bleaches are bad for the environment and our health. There are several green and sustainable cleaning products such as Method, Ecover, and Seventh Generation.
  • Recycled notebooks. If you have half-filled notebooks – use them again! There’s plenty of paper left to get through another course. This is also a great tip for your entire Colgate career. If you want to avoid paper completely, taking notes on a laptop or tablet is a great option, just check with your professors in each class to make sure its allowed.
  • Bicycle. Although first-years are allowed to have cars on campus, it can be a pain, trust me. Bikes are an awesome alternative. If you can’t bring a bike, you can apply to rent a Green Bike through the Office of Sustainability. The bike will get you where you need to go, and use your power, instead of adding carbon to the atmosphere.
  • Clothes drying rack. Drying racks will eliminate the need for a drying machine and the energy needed to run one. It will also greatly reduce the chance of messing up your favorite clothes!
  • Organic bedding. Organic bedding is free from toxic chemicals and healthier for the planet and you!

Leave at home

  • Printer. There are plenty of places to print for free on campus, so it is not necessary to bring a printer from home. It is also increasingly popular for professors to post all articles online and allow you to use digital versions in class instead of printouts.
  • Car. At Colgate, you will have access to several forms of free and accessible modes of transportation.
  • Bed risers. Bed risers are a waste of plastic since all Colgate beds can be raised to your liking.

When buying supplies consider…

  • Energy Star® appliances. Although appliances are not needed in first year rooms, if you happen to need one, Energy Star® rated appliances use 1/3 less energy.
  • Post-consumer recycled content notebooks. There are plenty of notebooks that have been made from recycled content, just read the labels when you go to buy a new one.
  • Renting textbooks or buying used copies. There is no reason to buy a new textbook- by doing a small amount of searching online, you can find cheap used textbooks in great condition, and you can even rent the textbooks from places such as Amazon, Chegg, and the Colgate Bookstore.
  • Coordinating with your roommates to avoid bring duplicate appliances. Always talk to your roommates before hand, this will avoid duplicate purchases and in the end will save you money.
  • Purchasing used furniture from Hamilton yard sales. Local purchases not only help the Hamilton/Colgate community, but will also reduce shipping costs or gas costs to bring it to campus.

Further, you can use an app such as GoodGuide to search, scan, and browse products that are healthy, green, and socially responsible. This app will rate products and companies for their health, environmental, and social impact.

There is also this incredible green dorm checklist– with everything you might need and companies or products listed that are some of the most sustainable options.

Colgate will soon become a user of the TradePal app, where you can look through things that are being locally sold on campus, and can work with the seller on a price!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at lsagasta@colgate.edu. Also, if you haven’t checked out the new students sustainability page mentioned before, I highly advise that you do before August 23rd!

What you bring in your dorm room can have an impact on our carbon footprint; we hope you make the right choices to make it a positive impact. See you in August!

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 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: Can old clothing or textiles be recycled
A: Yes! But first you should always consider donating old clothing to charitable organizations in our area such as Worn Again Clothing, the Rescue Mission, or the Salvation Army. If you have old clothing or textiles that are beyond reuse, then place these items in a clear plastic bag and seal it. Then, set the textile recycling bag next to or on top of your other recyclables or recycling bins. Textiles are one of the least recycled items. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing per year. Thanks for doing your part.

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 visit the Surplus and Salvage and call or e-mail Joanne Vanderwood (ext. 7475; jvanderwood@colgate.edu).  She will help you post your items for reuse or resale at auction.  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: Visit the Salvage and Surplus webpage and e-mail Joanne Vanderwood at jvanderwood@colgate.edu to have your items posted.  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.

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

Get ready for the 13 Days of Green!

By Sustainability Office on March 25, 2015

By Ben Schick ’17

As March comes to a close and Hamilton begins to thaw out of the frozen tundra that has engulfed campus for four months, Colgate prepares for the coming of its annual 13 Days of Green.  13 Days of Green is a campus wide event lasting from April 10-April 22 that aims at raising environmental awareness on campus.  The event offers educational programming, events, and competitions that engage students in sustainability on campus and give them the tools necessary to lead a sustainable lifestyle.

This year’s 13 Days of Green consists of a variety of events that highlight different ways organizations around campus are working to make Colgate more sustainable. The full schedule for the 13 Days of Green will be available on the Colgate mobile app starting next week. However, here are some events to look out for:

  • Ongoing:  Window sticker design competition.  Colgate wastes large amounts of heat every winter due to open windows in residence halls.  Students can help Colgate save heat and energy by designing a window sticker reminding students to keep their windows shut during the winter.  The artist of the winning design will win a gift card to a restaurant in downtown Hamilton.
  • April 11:  Head down to the Community Garden at 1pm to get a tour of the garden and learn about sustainable gardening practices.  Food from Hamilton Whole Foods will be provided.
  • April 14:  Sustainable and local food brownbag.  Led by Environmental Studies Professor April Baptiste and Director of Sustainability John Pumilio, this brown bag will look at Colgate’s initiatives to incorporate sustainably grown and local foods into our dining halls.  We will also explore the emerging local food market network in Hamilton, NY.
  • April 16:  Vegetarian dietician appointments.  Led by the Shaw Wellness center, students have an opportunity to talk one-on-one with a vegetarian dietician to learn how to adopt a nutritious and balanced plant-based diet.  Sign up for a one hour slot from 4-8pm by emailing rhangley@colgate.edu.
  • April 18:  Tree planting with COVE Sidekicks from 1-3pm.  Sidekicks will be celebrating Earth Day by planting saplings at the top of the old ski hill.  There will also be tours of the Darwin Thinking Path and environmentally friendly snacks. All are invited!
  • April 22 (Earth Day):  The 13 Days of Green culminates with the Oak Awards.  Formerly known as the Green Awards, the “Oakies” recognize individuals and groups on campus that have made a positive impact on Colgate’s campus through sustainability-related efforts.  Come join us for the award ceremony and free dinner from Hamilton Whole Foods.  In addition, if you wish to nominate an individual or group for an Oakie, please fill out this form:https://docs.google.com/a/colgate.edu/forms/d/1zaYwaqVmhvylk0CEKCvKMbAqOxiQyHUukiaEI6fzWy0/viewform.

While the 13 Days of Green is a fantastic event that engages students in sustainable living at Colgate, it is by no means the only opportunity students have to get involved in sustainability on campus.  There are countless ways students can immerse themselves in sustainability on campus.  The events, workshops and competitions of the 13 Days of Green is meant to serve as a starting point for students on their road to living a sustainable life now and in the future.  For more information, on how you can get involved beyond the 13 Days, visit colgate.edu/green.

Say Goodbye to Styrofoam

By Sustainability Office on March 17, 2015

By Sara Reese ’16

As members of the Hamilton community, we’ve probably all ordered Dunkin Donuts coffee, thinking nothing of the Styrofoam cup that’s handed to us through the drive-thru window.  And we’ve all probably been to a campus event and been served take-out food on Styrofoam plates.  While the everyday consumer might not consider the type of tableware or cup that they use, the fact is, Styrofoam is harmful to the environment and also our health.  As members of a renowned liberal arts university with one of the most aggressive carbon neutrality dates in higher education, the sustainability of our purchases should always be considered.

Styrofoam is identified as the fifth largest contributor to waste in the environment – occupying an estimated 30% in our nation’s landfills.  Styrofoam is also non-biodegradable, meaning that it will persist in that landfill forever.  An important compound in Styrofoam is Styrene, which was identified as a potential carcinogen and neurotoxin by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) several decades ago.  Additional chemicals found in Styrofoam have been known to leach into food and beverages as it is heated up in the Styrofoam tableware or cup, leading to human ingestion of these chemicals.  According to EPA studies, Styrene is now found in 100 percent of the fat tissues sampled from every U.S. citizen (including children).  Clearly, Styrofoam has negative impacts on our environment and our bodies.

On March 10th, the Colgate University Student Government Association unanimously passed both a resolution and a bill against Styrofoam.  The bill, acting as a change to bylaws pertaining to the Budget Allocation Committee, prohibits BAC-funded student groups from using BAC-funding to purchase Styrofoam.  That means when student groups host events and order pizza and drinks for pickup or delivery, there has to be explicit notice given to the vendor that Styrofoam cups or plates should not be provided.  The resolution informs all Colgate departments and offices that the student body dissuades the use of Styrofoam and suggests action to reduce Styrofoam purchasing.

This bill and resolution builds momentum towards the ultimate action that should be taken – a campus-wide Styrofoam ban and ban within the town of Hamilton itself.  With recyclable and biodegradable options being offered at comparable prices, Styrofoam should not be allowed.  This wouldn’t be an unprecedented action – many cities, counties, and states are already banning Styrofoam, including New York City.  There are also many colleges and universities that have banned Styrofoam on campus.

With Styrofoam now banned from BAC-funded events, I encourage all of us – students, staff, and faculty – to invest in reusable cups and mugs.  Instead of using disposable containers, consider purchasing a reusable container or thermos that can be used over and over.  Making more conscious purchasing decisions can protect our environment and our health.  Let’s say goodbye to Styrofoam.

A Drawback of Less Paper Waste at Colgate

By Sustainability Office on March 16, 2015

Over the past few years, Colgate has made a lot of progress in advancing sustainability on campus.  We have reduced our campus carbon footprint by 34 percent while achieving over $500,000 per year in avoided spending on energy, water, and other precious resources.  Perhaps the most astonishing progress has been in our use of printer and copier paper on campus.  In 2009, the Colgate community collectively purchased over 12.3 million sheets of paper.  If stack up, that would have been taller than three Empire State Buildings in height.

Colgate employees purchased over 12.3 million sheets of paper in 2009.

Colgate employees purchased over 12.3 million sheets of paper in 2009.


Last year, Colgate purchased less than 3.6 million sheets of paper.  That’s a 71 percent reduction in paper use or a savings of 8.7 million sheets of paper.  That’s the approximate equivalent of 550 trees saved per year!


Colgate employees purchased less than 3.6 million sheets of paper in 2014.  That's a 71% reduction compared to 2009.

Colgate employees purchased less than 3.6 million sheets of paper in 2014. That’s a 71% reduction compared to 2009.

What has led to this reduction in paper consumption?  Certainly, digital technologies and an increased awareness of printing only when necessary have contributed.  We also set campus printers to double-sided printing a few years back and installed print-release stations that eliminates most accidental or otherwise unclaimed print jobs.

A few years ago, a few of our more environmentally and cost-conscious employees began collecting perfectly good “scrap” paper from other departments.  Instead of purchasing new paper, they would simply “recycle” this used paper with printing on only one side by running it through their own printers.  According to Roxanne Benson, who has been working in Outdoor Education for the past 8 years, she has never purchased new printer paper.  She has always been able to collect old paper from other departments.  Recently, however, Roxanne’s stockpile of paper has been running low.  When she contacted all her “usual suspects” for a new supply, she was dismayed to discover they had none to spare.  They thought Roxanne’s practice of reusing paper was such a good one that they began doing the same.  While this best practice may be good for Colgate and for our environment, it means hard times for our more sustainably-minded community members.  Chin up, Roxanne, and thank you for helping to advance sustainability at Colgate!

Colgate Community Garden Plot Program Launches

By Sustainability Office on March 13, 2015


The Colgate Community Garden is now accepting applications for its 2015 Garden Plot Program. This is an exciting opportunity for individuals in the community to be able to tend their own garden plot within the Colgate Community Garden. The garden team hopes for the Colgate Community Garden to become a place where community members can come together to enjoy learning about gardening and sustainable living.

Each of the garden plots offered are approximately 4 ft. W x 8 ft. L x 10 in. H.  Plots are constructed using rot-resistant, untreated lumber.  Program participants will have access to the garden and garden tools but must provide their own seeds and plants.  A $25 annual fee per plot and $5 annual refundable deposit is required for use of one of the garden plots. A Garden Plot Agreement must also be signed by participants, showing agreement to following the rules and guidelines established by the Colgate Community Garden.

Community Garden Plot space is limited and applications will be accepted first-come, first-served. For more information about this program or to apply for a garden plot,  please contact Community Garden Manager Beth Roy (eroy@colgate.edu, 315-335-1433).


Colgate hosts TEDxManhattan Viewing Event

By Sustainability Office on March 11, 2015
By Sara Reese ’16
rsz_img_5616-1On Saturday, March 7th, roughly 40 Colgate University students gathered in the LOJ, a historically environmentally and outdoor-themed housing residence on Broad Street, to watch the 2015 TEDxManhattan (and enjoy Chipotle) for much of the snowy afternoon.  This year’s event was entitled “Changing the Way We Eat” and included talks from educators, nonprofit workers, farmers, and many others not only engaged in the conversation of access to high quality, healthy, sustainable food, but also personally acting to bring that access to all Americans.
With Colgate’s food contract opening up, the TEDxManhattan event was a reflection of much of the buzz that has been generated around food at Colgate recently.  The Sodexo focus groups, food service committee, and dining survey have all reflected a desire for more sustainable, local, and healthy options at the dining locations here at Colgate.
Per the recommendations of the Sustainability Food Systems working group, Sodexo recently hired a Food Service Manager of Sustainability, Deb Hanson, who is working to provide more sustainable, local foods and transparency in terms of where our food comes from.
The TEDxManhattan event provided some food-for-thought (literally) for thinking about food transparency and how food can impact our health and environment, and brought together the global issue of food justice and the local food discussion that is occurring here at Colgate.
You can follow the embedded links to learn more about the TEDxManhattan event or Deb Hanson.