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Greening Reunion 2016

By Sustainability Office on June 17, 2016

With Reunion drawing in over 2,000 alumni, Colgate University decided to green the event. Preparation for reunion has taken place for a while, and thanks to the Alumni Relations Office, biodegradable utensils and cups were provided for all meals served on Friday June 3rd. We are proud to say this prevented sending plastic waste, that would have otherwise been used, to the landfill where it would have sat for over 500 years! No doubt these materials cost slightly more, but the price was definitely worth it. These biodegradable materials and the food will break down in about half a year (1). In addition, the catering team collected all recyclable materials.

Colgate Reunion’s normal food service providers have supplied biodegradable plates, napkins, and utensils for a few years now, and fortunately, this year, the beverage providers were also able to bring biodegradable cups, completing our quest for the biodegradable reunion event. The only trash generated during the Friday meals were ice cream wrappers from the infamous Byrne Dairy Chipwiches and hand-wipes used during the evening BBQ.

To coordinate the effort for a near Zero Landfill Reunion and to educate alums of our efforts, the Sustainability Office had dedicated student volunteers (pictured below) stationed at all bin areas during Friday’s meal times. These volunteers helped alums with what items were recyclable and what items were biodegradable (On your own, you can differentiate between these two by looking for either a leaf symbol or a normal recycling symbol). You can create your own compost pile of food scraps by following the instructions on http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-compost. On campus, the Colgate Community Garden also runs a compost program that community members can take part in.

We learned from this event and hope to make next year’s reunion even greener! We’d like to thank our volunteer team of students for their time, energy, and passion for this green event.

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Sources:

  1. http://www.ecoproducts.com/compost.html

Applications now open for the 2016-2017 Green Raider Internship Program

By Sustainability Office on June 15, 2016
Our recently graduated Green Raider interns.

Our recently graduated Green Raider interns

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

Qualified interns will work up to 12 hours per week, during both fall (2016) and spring (2017) semesters. Official start date is August 22, 2016. Orientation is mandatory and will begin the morning of August 22nd.  Weekly work schedule is flexible, however, we will have mandatory team meetings once every week.

INTERNSHIP OVERVIEW AND PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES:

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

  • Promote green living practices in each of the residence halls and the larger campus

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

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

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

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

OTHER REQUIREMENTS:

FLEXIBILITY AND OPENNESS TO CHANGE. Successful Green Raiders will be individuals who think critically, are problem solvers, can adapt to change, and who can turn a challenge into an opportunity.

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

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

RECOMMENDED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS and ABILITIES

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

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

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

  • Having the ability to effectively motivate community members to action

  • Possessing strong organizational skills

  • Having very good written and public presentation skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Updated Résumé

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

  • Submit your application through the portal or via email (sdickinson@colgate.edu) by no later than 5:00pm, Friday, July 8, 2016. Successful applicants are expected to begin work on August 22, 2016. Daily work schedule is flexible and contingent on student class schedules, current projects, and scheduled meetings.

  • In order to have the most cohesive team possible, being on campus for the entirety of the academic year is preferred. However, with some current team members going abroad, there may be some flexibility in hiring new Green Raiders who are going abroad.

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


Work Parties are the Best Parties

By Sustainability Office on June 14, 2016

The first work party of the season was a success! This past Tuesday, so many people came out to garden and got right down to work. Students filled our melon patch with watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, and winter squash; we can’t wait to watch them grow through the weeks. Others worked on mulching rows of tomatoes with newspaper and straw to help prevent the spread of weeds and pests. Tires donated from NextDoor Hamilton were beautifully spray painted to be used as decorative planters. During a 10 minute downpour students stayed dry and warm by painting rocks for our flower garden underneath the porch. After all the hard work, students enjoyed a lovely meal of slices, freshly picked salad greens, guacamole, and brownies! The garden looked happy and bright and we can’t wait to share all the future progress.

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We would also like to say a special congratulations to Good Nature Brewery who celebrated their groundbreaking on Tuesday! GNB will be expanding their business by building a brewery, tap room, beer garden, and hop farm surrounding our garden plot. The event was full of friends, family, professionals, and some delicious GNB beer. Construction should start within the week and continue throughout the year. The relationship between the garden and GNB is one we are eagerly excited to grow in the future.

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And with that, the garden is now completely planted! We expect to have our first farm stand this Tuesday, the 14th from 5:30-6:30pm. We will be located on Broad Street, right by the Gamma Phi “Little Blue” house. Our first haul of the season will include some lettuce, spinach, kale, radishes, and herbs! Be sure to come by and take some veggies home for fresh cookin’.

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Spring 2016 Green Thumbs Work Party

By Sustainability Office on June 13, 2016

The rain held off long enough for the first official work party of the 2016 Colgate Community Garden season on May 4.  About 15 people came to check off a list of garden tasks and bid farewell to some of the Class of 2016.

The list of tasks included: planting potatoes, planting seeds in the greenhouse, planting pansies in the vertical palette garden, and laying down mulch in the walkways around the community beds. The group made quick work of the tasks and enjoyed some tasty treats from Hamilton Eatery afterwards.

Before the event ended, several seniors who had a role in the garden over the past years were honored: Brett Christensen, Alex Schaff, Quincy Pierce, Grace Littlefield, and Renee Berger.  Their hard work and dedication to the garden over the past several years has allowed the garden to grow and continue to find success.  We wish them the best as they continue on their journey outside of Colgate!

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Colgate Community Garden Summer Updates

By Sustainability Office on June 1, 2016

The Colgate Community Garden is up and running for the 2016 season! Over the past two weeks, we’ve been getting busy at the Garden to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for the huge plans we have for the summer months ahead. We are so excited to share with you all that is happening here!

 

As the last frost date passed last week, we are busy planting away our tender and very tender veggies! In the ground so far we have potatoes, radishes, lettuce, peas, turnips, carrots, beets, beans, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes, oh my! We have Sam Stradling of the Hamilton Food Cupboard to thank for starting to grow so many of our plants. In the next few weeks we should start seeing some produce and by the end of June we hope to be selling that produce at our Farm Stand! Until then we will be passing our time weeding away…
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Many of our Community Plot Members have started planting in their raised beds and we are seeing some promising results! Pictured is one member’s’ beautiful grid design with some sprouting lettuce and arugula. Also pictured are our potato towers. Layered with dirt and potatoes and lined with hay, these vertical gardens are easy to set-up, maintain, and harvest!

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Additionally, we are eagerly anticipating the groundbreaking for Good Nature Brewery’s new brewery and hops farm next door! To make way for their building and operations we have relocated our shed and are creating a new entrance on what is now the back-end of the Garden. Construction should begin within the next few weeks and we are excited to see the progress!

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As we pull weed after weed in the Garden, we can’t help but think how wonderful it would be to have some more hands! We would love for volunteers to come help with planting, prepping, watering, and harvesting (or just for a tour!) during our Open Hours, every Tuesday from 12-2pm and Thursdays from 4:30-6:30pm. Our first work party is also coming up on June 7th from 5-7pm; food and drinks will be provided for helping hands. We cannot wait to see you all, whether it be gardening, or munching on veggies at the Farm Stand. Happy planting!

 

Signed, Kaitlin and Anika (Pictured, feeling the #heat in the Garden)

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Green Thumbs Hosts 13 Days of Green Event

By Sustainability Office on May 11, 2016
Student and community volunteers help build a new raised bed at the Colgate Community Garden.

Student and community volunteers help build a new raised bed at the Colgate Community Garden.

A group of students gathered at the Colgate Community Garden on April 21st to complete some tasks as part of the 13 Days of Green campus-wide events. More than 10 people came, ready to work, and ready to eat some delicious food after finishing the work.

The main task planned was building another raised garden bed inside the adjacent greenhouse.  The students used their carpentry prowess (and some pretty snazzy new power tools) to put together a 2’ x 20’ x 12” raised bed made of local larch lumber.  They then muscled some topsoil into the greenhouse to fill the bed so it will be ready to plant in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, other people added compost and manure to existing raised beds in the greenhouse to help add fertility to the soil.  Outside the greenhouse, 4 old car tires were spray painted with various designs.  These tires will later become planters for flowers!

When all was said and done, snacks were eaten, water was consumed, and good company was shared.  The crew did a great job on the first official group work day of the 2016 garden season.  Many thanks to all who participated!


Spring Party Waste

By Sustainability Office on April 15, 2016

By Sara Reese ’16 (Environmental biology major from Richmond, VA)

SPW front lineThe annual, and much anticipated, Spring Party Weekend (SPW) is a mere week away. While the weekend is known for its live music, dancing and free food, there are a number of sustainability concerns that stem from the event-filled weekend. One of the main concerns: the great amount of waste.
The waste produced from SPW takes many forms – leftover food, plastic water bottles and beer cans. At a university with such an aggressive climate neutrality commitment, you would expect SPW to be organized to include a sustainable way to address the amount of waste produced at events. There seem to be obvious ways to address these problems with enough forethought and planning.
Leftover food from each event can be arranged to be picked up or dropped off at the Hamilton Food Cupboard. The Hamilton Food Cupboard serves upwards of 200 families in the Hamilton and Madison school districts each month, with leftover food from events playing a role in feeding so many families. Because each SPW event with food is known in advance of the weekend, as well as how much food and the anticipated number of attendees, arrangements for food pickup after each event can easily be made with the Hamilton Food Cupboard. Rather than simply throwing leftover food away and having it go to the landfill, food can be donated to give back to the larger community. The same can also apply to extra plastic water bottles.

Plastic water bottles are everywhere during SPW, including on the floors at events, on lawns and in trash cans rather than in recycling bins. Realistically, we cannot expect every student to find a recycling bin and put their empty water bottle in it, but there are a number of actions that can be taken to make recycling at SPW more prominent. First, recycling bins are often hard to come by. I can remember looking around the field house at one year’s main concert event and seeing trashcans and no recycling bins. With no recycling bins, students don’t even have the option to make sure their plastic water bottles don’t end up in the landfill. Buildings and Grounds and SPW volunteers could play a large role in the recycling of plastic water bottles at SPW events by ensuring that recycling bins are present and that plastic water bottles get picked up off of the ground and placed into recycling bins, rather than the trash can.

The topic of beer cans, and kegs as a sustainable alternative, has been a longstanding discussion at Colgate, and SPW is always a time that highlights how much beer can waste is produced. While aluminum beer cans are recyclable, getting the cans into recycling bins after large events presents a huge obstacle, just as with plastic water bottles. According to New Belgium Brewing Company’s sustainability page, kegs are reused an average of 29 times and can be completely recycled at the end of their life, as they are made of stainless steel. The life of a keg can be as long as 20 years. However, it is important to note that kegs would still require a cup to drink out of, likely Solo® cups. This means that students would still be accountable for getting recyclable solo cups into recycling bins, rather than trash cans. For me, there doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut answer as to whether beer cans or kegs would be more sustainable on a college campus. Because kegs are recyclable and the cases that beer cans come in are not, kegs may have a leg up, despite the prevalent use of Solo® cups to drink out of them.

In light of Colgate’s climate neutrality goal of 2019, SPW should be viewed as an opportunity to introduce sustainability into Colgate parties and major events. Planning in advance can help reduce the amount of food and plastic water bottle waste from SPW, and continuing the discussion of whether kegs should be banned is important to understanding how drinking and the SPW tradition at Colgate can be aligned with Colgate’s sustainability commitments.

(This article was originally published in the Maroon News)


Why your Mondays should be meatless

By Sustainability Office on March 2, 2016

By Seamus Crowley ’18 (Geology and Environmental Geography Major from Aspen, CO)

Chances are that you have probably heard the phrase “Meatless Monday” from a friend or from someone tabling in dining areas across campus. It sounds simple: don’t eat meat on Mondays. But why are you being encouraged to avoid meat one alliterative day a week? The fact is that the advocacy for going meat-free weekly has much wider implications than just your diet for that day.

Meat, as it is produced in extraordinary mass quantities today, has some pretty significant adverse effects on the environment. The business of maintaining livestock and producing meat for consumers all around the world has become an immense operation that has been continually increasing in size over time. In fact, 30% of the world’s land is devoted to supporting livestock such as cows, chickens, and pigs1. That has a tremendous negative impact on the Earth’s environment, as nearly 300 million tons of meat are produced each year globally1. On such a grand scale of production, the industry around meat creates two major impacts that directly harm our natural environment, among a slew of many others that are more localized in nature.

First, livestock in such large numbers create a significant portion of the greenhouse gases that are currently driving detrimental climate change across the globe. Livestock is currently responsible for 18% of the total emitted greenhouse gases across the planet, including 37% of the world’s Methane2. The high levels of Methane are additionally troubling due to the fact that Methane is 28-36 times more potent as a warming gas than Carbon Dioxide3. Meat production as a whole is enormously injurious to the stability of the climate.

Secondly, the production of meat uses exorbitant amounts of our planet’s available water resources. The production of any food requires a significant amount of water before it can be consumed; but meat, in all of its varieties, puts a particularly large strain on water resources. Cattle require drinking water and the feed grown for them requires irrigation water, resulting in 1,840 gallons of water being used to produce a single pound of beef for consumption4. While meats such as chicken necessitate less water than beef to create the same amount, it is still takes nearly 13 times more water than is needed to make 1 pound of vegetables5. So while water resources are already under duress across the world, meat production is further sinking the Earth’s population into a water crisis.

So next time it’s Monday and you’re wondering what to grab for lunch, consider skipping the meat for the day, or longer if you feel so inclined. By opting for the plate of veggies instead of the hamburger, you can take one small, but important step toward helping the environment, by protecting our climate and conserving water resources.

  1. http://science.time.com/2013/12/16/the-triple-whopper-environmental-impact-of-global-meat-production/
  2. https://woods.stanford.edu/environmental-venture-projects/consequences-increased-global-meat-consumption-global-environment
  3. http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gwps.html
  4. http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about-us/why-meatless/

Announcing the 2016 Sustainability Summer Internship!

By Sustainability Office on February 2, 2016

Office of Sustainability Logo - Samantha Lee

JOB DESCRIPTION

The Sustainability Office is pleased to announce a paid position for three students who will serve as assistants to the Director of Sustainability for 10 weeks during summer 2016.  This is an exciting opportunity for Colgate students to get hands-on experience putting sustainability into action. Requires up to 40 hours per week, starting the week of May 16th and ending in early August.  Work schedules are flexible and will allow for vacation time, however a total of 10 weeks of work during the summer is required.

Each sustainability assistant will report to the Sustainability Program Assistant  and support the activities of Colgate’s Office of Sustainability.  Summer 2016 tasks may include, but are not limited to:

  • Green Raider Program.  Student interns will help refine a training and outreach program designed to promote sustainable living on Colgate’s campus.
  • Novel programming. In order to further the mission of sustainability, the summer
  • Creative Writing and Video Production. Interns will craft creative writing pieces and video blog entries for the Sustainability Office blog
  • Social media.  Interns will post comments and events to our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • Green Bikes.  Sustainability interns will help to manage our bike rental program.
  • Community Garden.  On occasion sustainability assistants will spend time helping in Colgate’s Community Vegetable Garden.

QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE

The ideal Sustainability Intern:

  • has solid interpersonal skills and has the ability to work effectively and respectfully in a collaborative, culturally diverse work environment.
  • is detail-oriented and possess the ability to accomplish results in designated time frames.
  • is comfortable working in a fast-moving/changing environment and be able  to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • has the ability to effectively motivate community members to action.
  • possess strong organizational skills.
  • has excellent writing skills.
  • is computer literate and is proficient in the use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Google Drive applications.
  • has the ability to maintain a productive and healthy work/life balance.

Must be capable of working up to 40 hours per week.

The Sustainability Office is particularly interested in applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and are interested in using their work in sustainability to support their academic and professional objectives. Most often, summer interns continue with their work during the academic year.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Interested candidates should send their resume and one-page cover letter to the Program Coordinator of Sustainability, Steve Dickinson.  The cover letter should explain why you’re interested in sustainability at Colgate and specify the candidate’s personal and/or academic qualifications. These positions will be open until filled.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Please contact Steve Dickinson, with any further questions. Steve is available by phone at 315.228.6360 or by email at sdickinson@colgate.edu.

More information about Colgate’s sustainability efforts are  found online at www.colgate.edu/green.


Announcing the 2016 Spring/Summer Garden Internship

By Sustainability Office on February 1, 2016

Department: Sustainability Office
Hours per Week: 6 hrs in spring; 40 hrs in summer

Job Description:
The Sustainability Office is offering two paid Garden Internship positions to students starting in late-April 2016 until late-August 2016. Garden interns will help manage and promote the organic community vegetable/herb garden on campus. This is a physically demanding, yet very rewarding job. Work includes long days and exposure to outdoor elements (e.g., heat, sun, rain, etc.). The student interns are expected to coordinate and organize volunteers and student work parties, as well as carry out an independent garden project from conception to completion. The Garden Interns will report directly to garden manager Beth Roy, and should expect weekly or bi-weekly progress meetings as well as an end of season performance review. Interns will work in close collaboration with other Colgate students, faculty, and staff to plan and manage the garden. The student interns will gain life-long skills and knowledge in planting and maintaining an organic 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 spring and summer seasons. Specific tasks include preparing soil, cultivating, planting, weeding, and harvesting.
● Organize and supervise volunteer work parties.
● Coordinate with Green Thumbs presidents to schedule a weekly time for volunteer work parties, and be at the garden during those scheduled times to supervise those work parties.
● Manage an individual garden project, from conception to completion.
● Provide continuity for work on the garden throughout the 2016 growing season.

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
Student interns will begin planning for the garden in late-March and will begin field work in late-April, working 6 hours per week. In May interns will begin to work 40 hours per week until the internship ends in August—the exact starting and ending dates will be set in consultation with Beth Roy. The two interns will also be able to take two weeks (non-overlapping) of vacation during the summer; again, this schedule will be set in consultation with Beth Roy.

To apply, send resume and one page cover letter to garden manager, Beth Roy (eroy@colgate.edu). The application deadline is March 18.

Starting Hourly Rate: spring semester – $9.30 (estimated because Financial Aid determines pay rate); summer – $10.00
Supervisor: Beth Roy, Garden Manager
Key Contacts: John Pumilio, Director of Sustainability; Christopher Henke, Associate Professor, Director of Upstate Institute and faculty advisor to the garden; Beth Roy, Colgate Community Garden Consultant

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