Home - Distinctly Colgate - Sustainability - Sustainability News
Sustainability News

Latest Posts

Water Quality Research in Florence, Italy with Professor Tseng

By Sustainability Office on February 21, 2018

-Noah Campbell ‘18

Over winter break, I spent eight days in Italy with Professor Linda Tseng, collecting water samples from historic fountains in Florence, Siena and Assisi, and visiting with water researchers in the area.

Since the summer of 2017, I have been working with Dr. Tseng to analyze the water and sediment quality in Payne Brook and the Hamilton municipal wastewater treatment plant to better understand the relationship between the wastewater plant and the brook. So when she asked me if I would be interested in accompanying her t o Florence, Italy to take samples of the water there for analysis, I enthusiastically agreed to join her.

On January 3rd, I flew to Florence, traveling through Lisbon and Rome. Upon my arrival, I met up with Dr. Tseng and we began to collect samples, first together, then by myself once I had a good grasp of the city’s geography. The main purpose of the trip was to analyze the quality of the drinkable water connected to many famous fountains across the city. Tourists will often fill their water bottles at these spigots, so we hope to determine if the water quality is acceptable or could use improvement. Over the course of the week I essentially walked the entire length of the city to collect samples, traveling through the traditional historic sites as well as some areas which most tourists would not see.

While in Italy, Dr. Tseng and I both traveled to Siena for a day. We took water samples from the Fonte Gaia, the fountain found in the famous main square of the city, the Piazza del Campo. I also traveled by train to Assisi, birthplace of the Franciscan religious movement, to visit a family friend. In doing so, I was able to take water samples from public fountains in the city, which are frequented by religious pilgrims.

Dr. Tseng and I were also able to meet with her colleagues from the University of Florence. These professors conduct similar research to that which I help with on campus, but there are also unexpected differences between American and European research. For instance, there are contaminants we worry about in the United States which are complete non-issues in Europe, as they are banned by the EU, and vice versa. Meeting with these environmental engineers in Italy was a great learning and networking opportunity for me.

I feel exceptionally lucky to have been able to assist with research in Florence and other cities in Italy. I was able to experience one of the most culturally prominent cities in the world, and learned a great deal about international research. I was also able to conduct many aspects of the research on my own, which gave me insight on how to accomplish work independently, particularly in an unfamiliar country. I hope to eventually become an environmental engineer, and working with Dr. Tseng to analyze fresh water has helped me learn more about the profession. I am grateful to Dr. Tseng, the ENST Department, and Colgate University for this incredible opportunity.

Recyclemania Begins Today!

By Sustainability Office on February 5, 2018

-Revee Needham ‘18

          Once again Colgate University is participating in a competition with other colleges and universities to decrease landfill waste and increase recycling rates. We are competing against Hamilton College in Clinton to see who can improve the most from February 5th to March 9th.  Recycling rates are calculated by dividing the recycled weight by total weight of recycled plus landfill waste. For the past two weeks, the staff at Colgate were measuring the amount of recycling and landfill waste we generated in order to have a baseline to compare to.

          Why is this competition and recycling so important? Landfills across the country release 143 million tons of greenhouse gases (Source). Those greenhouse gases contribute to the many effects of climate change. With the staggering amount of trash we are producing, we are running out of land and sending our garbage overseas, with some of it ending up in the ocean (Source). Furthermore, landfills often pose a health risk to workers and the surrounding community, which historically has been poorer people of color who have less political capital to fight the siting (Source).

          While recycling may seem simple and easy to grasp, the recycling infrastructure varies greatly county-to-county and state-to-state. With Colgate drawing in students from 45+ states and over 100 countries, many students arrive with vastly different experiences and knowledge. Thus, it’s incredibly important to learn about what we have here at Colgate upon arrival.

          Check out this guide for the recycling system in Madison County, NY. The main thing to remember is that we have two-stream recycling: one bin for paper and one bin for plastics/glass/cans. Remember to rinse your recyclable bottles or cans of any food residue first, for health and safety reasons for the workers who sort the recycling. To reduce your own waste, you may first want to look at what’s on your plate. Americans throw away 30% of all food and 50% of all produce (Source). Sorting through or even simply keeping a tally of what you throw away can help you to understand what sorts of waste you are producing, and can then reduce.

          You can help make Recyclemania the best one yet! The Sustainability Office is hosting workshops about recycling for interested students, faculty, or staff and their respective organization, office, or club. Fill out this form to get started.

Don’t Feed the (Land)Fill: A Sustainability Office Intern’s Experience at a Zero-Waste Conference

By Sustainability Office on December 6, 2017
-Miranda Gilgore ’18

In early November, the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) hosted their 4th annual Students for Zero-Waste Conference in Philadelphia. The conference brought together about 500 students and faculty as well as companies committed to challenging thoughtless, wasteful consumerism.

Sites from the Toxics Tour of Chester, PA.

The conference began on Friday with a discussion of Environmental Justice and a “Toxics Tour” of the astounding number of polluting factories, incinerator, and industrial facilities located in nearby Chester, PA. Chester is in many ways the embodiment of environmental injustice and was therefore a good location for the tour. Among the Chester Water Authority, industrial center, paper mill and paper manufacturer, two chemical plants, empty plots that were formerly home to polluting factories or waste sites, trash substation, power plants (one current, one now turned into office space), and sewer overflow, Chester is perhaps most famously home of the nation’s largest trash incinerator. Despite being the country’s largest trash incinerator, importing trash from the surrounding county, nearby Philadelphia, NY, and NJ, the Covanta trash incinerator lacks many of the pollution controls that other incinerators have. The discussion of environmental justice and the tour were a striking way to start the weekend’s discussion on waste and the hopes of creating a zero-waste future because it showed the consequences of inaction and business as usual: polluted rivers, smelly air, and injustice. On Friday evening, the keynote speaker, Kate Bailey from Eco-Cycle, reminded us to think of zero-waste among other large scale energy saving initiatives.  


Well rested and excited for what the day would bring, I started Saturday off by enjoying a zero-waste breakfast (bulk items with no packaging, real silverware, and compostable bowls for attendees who hadn’t brought their own) and meeting new friends. I attended workshops on reducing on-campus disposable coffee cup usage, conducting a waste audit, and discussing zero-waste across different perspectives. I ate a zero-waste lunch. And I was inspired and encouraged.

Having wanted to go to this conference for the past 3 years because of my interest in zero waste initiatives, finally attending the conference was really a dream come true for me. The conference also fits into the larger picture of my work as an intern for the Office of Sustainability here at Colgate. Given Colgate’s waste problem (more than 850 tons of waste produced so far in 2017 and only a 12% recycling rate), I was eager to see what solutions students at other schools have found to reduce waste. One of the biggest takeaways from the conference is how far a little thoughtfulness can go. Bringing something to the correct recycling bin, packing something in a reusable container instead of a ziplock, not taking a straw to go with your disposable cup isn’t hard, it just takes a little extra thought. Colgate has a long way to go before it hits its 2025 goal of a zero waste campus, but with a little intentionality on all of our parts and a commitment to a just future, I think we can make huge strides.

Sustainability and Greek Life at Colgate – Where We Are and Where We Go from Here

By Sustainability Office on October 13, 2017
-Dana Monz ’18

With roughly one-third of the Colgate student body involved in Greek life, it is important to analyze the various houses’ relationships and actions in accordance with sustainability. While it is easy for individuals to take initiative through incremental actions – such as turning off a light, shorter showers, and recycling, among many others – Greek houses should aim towards collective action and large-scale measures, as they are among some of the largest and most influential groups on campus.

As required by the university, each organization has a “Sustainability Chair” who is responsible for promoting sustainability within their house, implementing sustainable practices, and organizing events within the Greek community. Additionally, throughout the semester, the Sustainability Chairs meet with the Program Coordinator and the Director of Sustainability to discuss action and possible events.

Among the various Greek organizations, there appears to be general measures that each house is practicing. The Sustainability Chairs have articulated that they have two stream recycling (bins for plastics and cans and different bins for paper products), signs communicating what can and cannot be recycled, stickers by the lights reminding individuals to turn them off when the room is vacant, and reusable containers.

While these actions are commendable and helpful initiatives, there remains a lot more that the Greek organizations could be doing in order to be forerunners of sustainability on this campus. For instance, many of the organizations use plastic and Styrofoam cups, paper products, and plastic silverware, thus generating incredible amounts of waste, as well as lack of dialogue about sustainability in their houses and on campus. Not only should the houses work towards reducing their waste, but they should organize and participate in events like Colgate Unplugged and Recyclemania in an effort to take a stance as a large portion of the Colgate community and reduce their carbon footprints.

I commend the Greek organizations for their significant strides towards sustainable actions, but I encourage the Sustainability Chairs and their broader organizations to do more, take initiative, and increase dialogue about the sustainability issues that are meaningful to this campus and imperative to address today.

The Buzz around Colgate’s Apiary

By Sustainability Office on September 13, 2017
-Isabel Dove ’19

In the beginning of the summer, the Colgate Community Garden became home to two beehives. Since their arrival, Colgate’s new honeybees have been buzzing around the Community Garden, producing honey, and pollinating the garden’s crops.

The Office of Sustainability decided to establish an apiary, which is a collection of beehives, on campus in order to help fight against Colony Collapse Disorder, a global issue of declining bee populations, and to give students an opportunity to become actively involved in environmental stewardship.

During the Spring 2017 semester, a Beekeeping Club was founded in order to help take care of the bees. The club’s faculty adviser, Professor Ian Helfant, monitored the hives over the summer while students were off campus. Now that the fall semester is in full swing, the 30+ members of the Beekeeping Club are learning the art of beekeeping and are looking forward to a fun and productive semester. In the next year or two, the Beekeeping Club hopes to expand the apiary as well as harvest and sell honey from the hives.

Members of the Beekeeping Club before conducting a hive inspection.

Along with providing students a unique extracurricular activity, the bees have been contributing to improving the surrounding environment’s ecological health and have been especially helpful to the Colgate Community Garden. According to one of the garden’s summer interns, Camila Loke ‘19, “The flower garden is looking great. The bees love our herb garden and raspberries. They have also been spotted pollinating sweet peas in the community plots.”

Colgate’s apiary presents an exciting opportunity to support local agriculture and learn about how to take care of everybody’s favorite pollinator, so be sure to visit the hives and see what all the buzz is about!


Also ~bee~ sure to follow the Beekeeping Club on Instagram and email idove@colgate.edu if you’re interested in becoming a member!


Why You Should Consider Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)

By Sustainability Office on September 6, 2017
-Revée Needham ’18

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This fall marks the second season in which I have been a member of
Common Thread’s CSA. This guide will explain what CSA is and the numerous benefits of buying a CSA share, along with the specifics of being a member at Common Thread.

What is CSA?

CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture. CSA members buy a “share” of produce, often a full growing season’s worth, typically paying the cost upfront. This benefits farmers by ensuring a steady customer base. CSA members are then committed for the season length, regardless of weather conditions that may impact the crops. In return, members receive fresh and local produce. Most CSAs are vegetable and fruit based, but others may also include dairy products and meat. A CSA enables a much closer relationship between a farmer and the consumer. Across the US, there are estimated to be over 4,000 CSAs.

Why should I choose CSA?

Buying locally provides numerous benefits. Environmentally, the “food miles” for CSA produce, or the distance the food travelled to reach your plate, is very small. Across America, the average distance a food item travels before your home is between 4,000 and 5,000 miles. In contrast, my weekly food miles for picking up my CSA share is less than 11 miles. CSAs cut down on carbon emissions produced in the transportation process. In the Hamilton area, surrounded by so many small farms, it makes sense to support local farmers. According to researchers, around 11% of food-related carbon emissions is due to the transportation. Additionally, the food is all in-season, where the crops are harvested in line with local conditions. Another benefit is simply knowing who produces your food; in the large chain-dominated grocery store culture, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to track where your food comes from. Being a CSA member allows one to support local farmers and to develop a relationship with them. CSAs are a sustainable food option where carbon emissions are lower and many commit to treating the land, the workers, and the consumers fairly.

What has my experience with Common Thread been like?

Common Thread Farm is located about five miles away from Colgate University near Lake Moraine. This farm is run by Wendy and Asher and is committed to producing food grown according to organic practices. They offer a variety of share lengths and sizes. For my own cooking, I purchase a mini share where I receive four items per week. Even cooking a vegetarian diet, I find this size to be plentiful! To reduce costs, you and a friend can split a larger share. Common Thread allows members to pick up their items at the farm or to pick them up at delivery spots for towns further away. I’ve personally enjoyed the variety of produce I’ve encountered. Each week there are different items to choose from and many are local heritage crops that may not be otherwise found in a chain grocery store. They still have fall shares available for any interested students, staff, or community members. Check out their website to learn more and sign up today! If you’re not in the Hamilton area, you can check out https://www.localharvest.org/csa/ to find a CSA near you.

Meet the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 Interns!

By Sustainability Office on August 29, 2017

Maggie Dunn ‘19

Maggie Dunn comes to us from Greensboro, North Carolina and is majoring in Environmental Geography with a minor in Philosophy. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, reading, finding new music, cooking, and playing sports. When asked what aspects of sustainability she is most interested in, she replied, “I’m very passionate about water, specifically water conservation, contamination, and ocean health.”


Chaveli Miles ‘19

Chaveli Miles, a passionate Shelburne, Vermonter, first joined us as a Summer 2017 sustainability intern and will be staying on for her first full year with the Office this 2017-2018 academic year. Chaveli enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and following track and field (Usain Bolt is always a fair topic for conversation). Her passions include dogs, coffee, reggae music, the Natural Sciences, and Japanese, Scandinavian, and sustainability-focused interior design.


MaryKathryn McCann ‘18

In a group of already academically diverse students, MaryKathryn McCann, from Chester, New Jersey, stands out above the rest with a major in Biology and a minor in Economics. In her free time, MaryKathryn enjoys going on bike rides, watching sporting events, and going to trivia nights on campus. Her favorite scientific focuses include pharmacological studies and water security.


Seamus Crowley ‘18

Seamus Crowley from Aspen, Colorado, like many of our sustainability interns, majors in Geology and minors in Environmental Studies. He enjoys maintaining an active and engaging lifestyle in his free time, which means running, skiing, and reading are always fair game. As you might guess, Seamus claims environmental advocacy and outdoor sports as some of his greatest passions.


Cecilia Kane ‘20

As one of the youngest of our new interns, Cecilia Kane has not yet declared a major or minor, but has expressed interest in Geography, Spanish, and English as possible fields of study. Cecilia comes to us from Alexandria, Virginia and enjoys playing the piano, practicing photography, painting, and hanging out with her dog and three sisters (specifically in that order). She is passionate about her faith, her family, social justice, and sustainability and the environment.


Chloe Matonis ‘18

Chloe Matonis comes to us from Greenwich, Connecticut and is an Environmental Studies and Chinese double major. In her free time, Chloe likes to spend her time running, reading, cooking, playing ultimate frisbee, and expanding her comedy repertoire. “I am incredibly passionate about environmental protection, of course,” she said. “I would have to say that my ‘hot button’ environmental issue is sustainable agriculture and food security, partially due to the fact that I have been vegetarian since I was 8 years old. I am also very passionate about comedy and making people laugh, which corresponds with my love for languages and meeting new people. I guess all in all, I am a people person looking to help the planet.”


Kimberly Duncan ‘18

Kimberly Duncan, from Charlotte, North Carolina, double majors in Environmental Studies and Studio Art. In her free time, she can usually be found drawing, watching Food Network, working out, eating popcorn, or taking long walks on the beach. Her passions include “communication of environmental issues through visual/artistic aids, environmental education, urban farming, food, my two dogs, and playing volleyball.”


Ashlea Raemer ‘18

Ashlea Raemer comes from Troy, New York and is double majoring in Environmental Studies and Biology. She enjoys crocheting/knitting, shopping second-hand, traipsing around Upstate New York, watching reality TV, and making her own graphic tees. Ashlea proclaims an admirable range of personal passions, including sustainable food systems, conservation, environmental education, naps in the ENST study room, and the search for the perfect french fry.


Isabel Dove ‘19

A Geology major from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, Isabel Dove often loves to hike, play tennis, and knit. She recently took up beekeeping and is president of Colgate’s new Beekeeping Club. Isabel is interested in studying climate change and spent the summer working in a micropaleontology lab. Her passions include learning new things and expanding her horizons by traveling to new places.


Revée Needham ‘18

An Environmental Studies and Geography double major, Revée Needham comes to us from Elko, Minnesota. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, doing yoga, learning to cook new vegan and vegetarian recipes, and laughing at relatable maps. Her interests as they relate to sustainability are often focused on “changing the industrial agricultural system in America to be a more inclusive, diverse, and humane system to the workers, animals, and land. Generally, I’m also interested in making sustainable lifestyles more accessible to all.”


Dana Chan ‘19

All the way from Manila, Philippines, Dana Chan is a junior planning to double major in Neuroscience and Biology. She often enjoys teaching herself to cook new traditional dishes, reading, drawing, and Skyping her dog back home. She is self proclaimed to be *very* passionate about guinea pigs and her doggo, Garfield. “I also like sleeping and anything about neuroscience,” she says. “In terms of sustainability, the topics that interest me the most are sustainable urban planning and food security.”


Delaney Pals ‘18

Delaney Pals, from Wilmette, Illinois, pursues a major in Geography and minor in Economics. She can often be found outdoors partaking in any number of activities, including skiing, running, hiking, or reading. Accordingly, she is very passionate about the outdoors and all aspects of sustainability.


Matthew Froelich ‘19

Matthew Froelich, from Seminole, Oklahoma, has planned an academic career majoring in Geography and minoring in Economics. In his free time, he enjoys keeping active and outdoorsy with activities such as hiking, skiing, and rock climbing. Apart from enjoying the great outdoors, Matthew loves to take long road trips, play piano, and binge-watch Parks and Rec.


Madison Smith ‘19

Madison Smith comes to us from the quiet streets of New Boston, New Hampshire, and plans to focus her time here at Colgate studying Environmental Studies and Economics. Some of her favorite pastimes include hiking, kayaking, bike riding, working out, reading, and enjoying a good meal. Madison is a passionate defender of sustainable lifestyles and has an interest in many aspects of sustainability; she is a firm defender of animal rights, vegetarian/vegan diets, environmental justice for marginalized groups around the world, and pushing for sustainable, consumer-friendly alternatives in the corporate sphere.


Julia Feikens ‘18

Julia Feikens hails from West Nyack, New York and is majoring in Environmental Geography. She often can be found taking a few laps in the gym pool, enjoying a nature walk on one of Colgate’s many beautiful trails, or sketching the scenery around her. Her greatest passions include marine ecosystems, geography, music, and art.


Dana Monz ‘18

An Environmental Studies major and Political Science minor, Dana Monz joins us this year from North Haven, Connecticut. One of Dana’s greatest passions is the outdoors; during her free time she enjoys running, skiing, enjoying her natural surroundings, and spending time with her dog, Bryce.


Makenna Bridge ‘20

One of our youngest members, Makenna Bridge is a long-time local, hailing from Madison, New York. She plans to focus her studies here at Colgate on a diverse variety of fields of study, with the ultimate goal of double majoring in Spanish and Environmental Studies. In her free time, Mak enjoys spending as much time outdoors as she can manage: hiking, gardening, exploring Colgate’s forests, and spending time with her dog (one of her greatest passions). With regards to sustainability, Mak is interested in environmental conservation and advocacy as well as food and agriculture.


Miranda Gilgore ‘18

Another relative local, Miranda Gilgore joins us from Scotia, New York, where she enjoys getting outside, visiting new places, researching sustainable living practices, and trying out new and exciting recipes. She is pursuing a double major in Environmental Geography and German, which she intends to put to use in exploring her passions, landfill waste management and advocacy.


Shawn Palmer ’20

A sophomore from Skaneateles, NY, Shawn Palmer is in charge of managing the Office of Sustainability’s Green Bikes program. Shawn has not yet declared a major, but is interested in Environmental Studies. Consistent with his positions the Green Bikes intern, Shawn loves to ride all things 2-wheeled and is passionate about the great outdoors.


The Privileged People’s Climate March

By Sustainability Office on May 5, 2017

-Madison Smith ’19

This past weekend, I attended the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C. with fellow Green Raider interns Grace Thomas ’17, Jackson Lucas ’17, Kimberly Duncan ’18, Ashlea Raemer ’18, and Chloe Matonis ’18. The purpose of the march was to bring climate change to the attention of our current administration, and that it is, in fact, real and caused by human activity.

Climate change is not only causing the polar bears to go extinct, but it is a problem that impacts people – specifically the people who are contributing to it the least. As Grace Thomas put it, climate change is a race, a poverty, and a feminist issue. As a result, we want actions to be taken and policy to be created that moves the United States towards renewable every, environmental justice, and puts an emphasis on science.

Although having 200,000 people march from our nation’s Capitol to the White House is both powerful and well-intentioned, it is important to acknowledge how such events can perpetuate the under-representation of the marginalized groups mentioned above. While marching, I noticed an overall lack of diversity amongst the crowds of people. At the same time, I realized how much of a privilege it is to be able to travel eight hours, stay in comfortable accommodations, and fight for something that I believe so much in, yet does not directly impact me. Many Americans who are feeling the burdens of sea-level rise, poor hazardous waste management, and government ignorance (for example, the people of Flint, Michigan), do not have the resources to travel all the way to where their government officials are located in order to tell their stories and hopefully catalyze change.

I, and the rest of the Office of Sustainability interns, had an incredible time marching for climate action and hope to participate in more events in the future. For those who missed the march but still want to fight against climate change may contact their senators and other government officials, stay up to date on current events and policies, and spread the word. Most importantly, we need to bring Colgate’s Carbon Neutrality pledge to the forefront of campus, rather than relying on offsets, by reducing activities that lead to emissions and demanding eco-friendly buildings from administrators. At the same time, it is important for us to keep our privilege at the forefront of our activism and to remember that we are fighting for all humans, not just in the U.S., but across the globe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Colgate Continues Commitment to Sustainability through AASHE

By Sustainability Office on April 20, 2017

What is AASHE?

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. To further its mission of empowering higher education to lead the sustainability transformation, AASHE provides resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model sustainability in all areas, from governance and operations to education and research.

AASHE defines sustainability in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations.  AASHE is a member-driven, independent 501(c)(3).


Colgate University has recently renewed its membership in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to further campus efforts toward building a healthy and just world.

Colgate University first joined AASHE in 2009 and, through membership, has received continued support in advancing its sustainability initiatives throughout the institution and in the community.

“Over the years, AASHE has been a great partner to Colgate,” Colgate Director of Sustainability, John Pumilio, stated. “Their publications, network, and weekly newsletter provides up-to-date and relevant information. The fact that all Colgate community members have access to their resources adds tremendous value to our work here on campus.”

AASHE enables higher education institutions to meet their sustainability goals by providing specialized resources, professional development, and a network of peer support.  Membership covers every individual at an institution, so the entire campus community can take advantage of member benefits.

AASHE hosts the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a comprehensive campus sustainability rating system that enables institutions to measure their progress and learn from others. In Colgate’s most recent assessment, the university received a STARS Gold rating. With STARS as a roadmap, institutions can select meaningful and appropriate pathways to sustainability while conserving valuable resources, combating global warming, and building healthier communities.

Additionally, Colgate’s AASHE membership and STARS report have provided numerous avenues for engaged scholarship. Just this academic year, ENST 241 and CORE 128S A have incorporated projects related to the report into the curriculum as a way for students to get exposure to sustainability and climate action planning in the classroom.

AASHE is also one of two supporting organizations for the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Colgate signed this commitment in 2009, pledging to be carbon neutral by our bicentennial in 2019. Over 860 presidents and chancellors so far have committed to lead their institutions to climate neutrality as soon as possible.

“AASHE counts on the support of progressive institutions like Colgate University to fulfill its mission of facilitating leadership to transform our planet,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “As the gateways to knowledge, higher education institutions have a unique opportunity to make sustainability part of everyone’s agenda.”

Resources available to you through AASHE:

AASHE e-Newsletters
The AASHE Bulletin is a weekly publication that delivers the latest in campus sustainability news, resources, opportunities, events, and jobs and internships. AASHE Announcements is a monthly publication that highlights news, events and important information about AASHE and its members. STARS Update is a periodic publication designed to keep participants up-to-date on the latest STARS technical developments, publications, deadlines, tips and tools.

Online Resources
AASHE’s Campus Sustainability Hub is an online resource library that provides access to 6,000+ valuable resources for campus sustainability practitioners, enabling AASHE members to share and learn about all aspects of sustainability in higher education. Resources are organized by sustainability topic (e.g., curriculum, public engagement, energy, investment) and content type (e.g., academic program, case study, conference presentation, photograph).

Professional Development
AASHE presents or co-sponsors workshops and webinars throughout the year, as well as an annual conference that serves as the largest stage in North America for higher education sustainability practitioners to take advantage of face-to-face networking in a collaborative environment. These events offer opportunities to connect with our colleagues at regional, national and international levels to share resources. As members, we receive discounts on registration for all AASHE events. Check this listing for upcoming events.

Product and Service Discounts
AASHE business and nonprofit members offer exclusive product and service discounts for institutional members.

STARS Registration Discount
As a member, our institution receives a reduced fee for participating in AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Publicity and Recognition
We can submit news, opportunities, resources, events, and job postings to the AASHE Bulletin (be sure to read the submission guidelines first). The Bulletin informs more than 9,000 subscribers in the campus sustainability community.

Professional Awards
Our campus can submit applications for any of the AASHE Sustainability Awards, in the categories of Campus Sustainability Achievement, Campus Sustainability Research and Student Sustainability Leadership.

Campus Sustainability Perspectives Blog
AASHE’s Campus Sustainability Perspectives blog features opinions and reports by staff and guests related to campus sustainability. You can read the blog, comment on posts and request to submit your own items as a guest blogger. There is also a chronological archive page and a comprehensive list of other blogs related to campus sustainability.

AASHE Member Logo
We can post the AASHE Member Logo on our website to emphasize our commitment to sustainability. The logo may also be used on any signage, reports, brochures, and publicity or display materials. Be sure to read the usage guidelines before publishing.

Governance, Councils, Committees
Anyone from our campus is welcome to submit for consideration to serve on AASHE’s Board of Directors, Advisory Council, STARS Steering Committee, or STARS Technical Advisors.

Individual Member Accounts
To access member-only pages on AASHE’s website and take advantage of member benefits, individuals must first create their own account. To create an individual account, go to the register page and complete a user profile using your campus email address. After you receive an email with your password, go to the login page, enter your email address (username) and new password, and you will have access to the entirety of online resources.

If you have any questions about AASHE or our benefits as a member, email membership@aashe.org. Again, every individual at Colgate can take advantage of these membership benefits from AASHE, so be sure to set up an account and get started today!

Sustainability for the Lazy

By Sustainability Office on April 2, 2017
-Delaney Pals ’18

A common preconceived notion is that one has to make great sacrifices in their life in order to be sustainable. However, there are many little things you can do each day that will help make a big difference, without having to drastically change your lifestyle, or even leave your couch! The list below highlights easy things you can do to help the environment:

  • (Red)Meatless Monday: By cutting just one meal of red meat out of your diet, you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. You can decrease it even further by making that meal completely vegetarian. According to The Guardian, “red meat requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions.”
  • Bring a reusable mug/cup with you: Many departments on campus have free tea/coffee/cocoa and hot water, so save the $2.50 and the disposable cup by bringing your own!

    Image retrieved from http://www.chargerbulletin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/carbon-footprint.jpg

  • Decrease your use of K-Cups: K-Cups are not recyclable in typical recycling collections and they end up in landfills. Reports indicate that the number of K-Cups sold in 2014 could circle the globe 10.5 times. If cutting K-Cups out completely is not an option, you can collect them and recycle at the International Office or buy a reusable K-Cup.
  • Keep your windows closed when the heat is on: Even though opening the window might make it feel cooler inside, the heater will keep cranking heat to keep the room at the temperature to which the thermostat is set. So a more environmentally friendly option is to turn down the thermostat instead of opening your window. Cuddle up in a blanket if you’re still cold!
  • Wash clothes on the brights or cold setting: Households that switch to cold water save 1600 pounds of CO2 emissions per year.3 These emissions come from heating the water used to wash clothes, so switching to cold water (which is shown to be as effective in washing clothes given our efficient detergents) helps you reduce these emissions. To save even more energy – and help your clothes last longer – avoid putting your clothes in the dryer and instead use a drying rack.
  • Use your energy-efficient dishwasher: Studies have shown that hand washing dishes uses 27 gallons of water on average and 2.5 kW hours to heat the water (for 12 place settings), whereas an energy-efficient dishwasher only uses 4 gallons of water and 1 kW hour of energy per load.  So load up your dishwasher, not only saving you time and energy, but also helping the environment!
  • Bring reusable bags to Price Chopper: And recycle your old non-reusable bags there as well!

Check out this list from the UN Sustainable Development Goals to learn about more easy things you can do each day to decrease your carbon footprint and help the environment without dramatically altering your lifestyle. If every person implements some of these minor changes in their lives, together we can make a big difference.