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Trees Replace Mowed Lawn on the Colgate Campus

By Sustainability Office on April 30, 2013

2013 Reforestation - PPT Image

On Friday, April 26, about 25 Colgate students and Hamilton Central School students turned out to plant trees southeast of the Old Ski Hill.  The goal of the project is to reforest a portion of a 2.5 acre plot of land that has previously been mowed.  See image above.  The reforestation project was first identified in our 2011 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan as an action item to achieve carbon neutrality by 2019.  Students in the Fall 2011 version of ENST 390 researched the feasibility of this project and worked out many of the logistics.  In the end, black locust was selected because it sequesters carbon at a high rate (over 4,000 lbs of carbon per tree over the life of the tree), it is a nitrogen-fixer helping to make the soil more nutrient rich, and finally the wood is rot-resistant and is often used to build fence posts.  This ensures that the carbon in the wood remains “locked” even after the life of the tree.


Last year, students planted about 500 tress covering about one-acre of the plot.  This year, we planted another 500.

Colgate students paired up with students from Hamilton to form teams.  One member of the team would sink the shovel into the ground and open up a hole.  Another team member would insert the tree’s root system and a third team member would close the hole and pack the earth around the root system.

Besides reducing our campus carbon footprint, this project brings together area children with Colgate students in a fun way.

We are already looking forward to next year’s event!

Saving Energy, Money, and our Environment One Bulb at a Time

By Sustainability Office on April 30, 2013

This article was written by Ellen Rougeux in Colgate’s Grants Office.

I did some research on energy saving light bulbs as the need came up in my office. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, produce 75 percent less heat, and can last up to 10 years before burning out. These qualities also benefit the environment.  According to the U.S. EPA, the annual carbon pollution avoided from switching to CFLs is equivalent to taking 2 million cars off the road.

CFLs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, but produce the same amount of light. The wattage only refers to the energy used, not the amount of light, which is why a lower wattage CFL bulb is still equivalent to the light output of a 100-watt incandescent. Therefore, you can replace your 100-watt incandescent with a 26- or 29-watt compact fluorescent. For a 75-watt incandescent, use a 20-watt CFL; replace a 60-watt incandescent with a 15-watt CFL. As a good rule of thumb, you can convert the wattage from an incandescent to a CFL by dividing it by 4 (see National Geographic article here).

I had heard that Home Depot had the cheapest price (from our trusty sustainability director) so I went to their website and discovered that they did, indeed, have the lowest prices. I checked Staples, W.B. Mason, and Office Max through our Colgate accounts. The comparisons are listed below:

CFL Chart

When purchasing supplies for the office, I need to take other things into consideration. When buying from Staples or OfficeMax, I need to make a minimum order of $50.00 to save shipping costs (and to save frivolous trips for a small amount of items). Colgate does not have an account with Home Depot and I do not know about their delivery costs; that would need to be built into the price. If I went to pick them up at Home Depot myself, I would need to figure in the cost (and environmental cost) of driving the 20+ miles there.

Ultimately, I already had an order going from Staples, which had the best price on other items I was ordering, so I ordered our light bulbs there. For home use, I would definitely buy my bulbs from Home Depot when going to New Hartford or Syracuse for other purposes.

CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, and therefore, need to be properly recycled at the end of their life.  Home Depot, Parry’s and many other stores take CFLs for recycling.  Check out Earth911.com for a recycling facility near you.  Here on campus, simply wrap in a tissue or paper towel and give to your custodian or contact our Sustainability Office (sustainability@colgate.edu; x6487) for proper disposal.

Colgate Recognized by Princeton Review for Green Efforts

By Sustainability Office on April 26, 2013

Once again, Colgate’s sustainability program has been listed in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges.  In the report, Colgate is recognized for its commitment to climate neutrality, energy saving measures, renewable energy systems, green buildings, local food program, and waste management and volunteer efforts.  The guide can be found online by clicking here.


Wearable Art Runway Show (WARS)

By Sustainability Office on April 25, 2013

Information about the Wearable Art runway show
Join the fun this Saturday night (Apr 27) at 5 p.m. in Parker Commons. Students in groups of 2-4 people–one model included– have two hours to design and create their own wearable art dresses/clothing out of recycled materials. At 7:30 p.m. doors will open to audience, and the groups’ designs will be modeled on the runway and the audience will vote for their favorite creation. Food and refreshments from Curtain Call will be served as votes are tallied. The winning team gets a prize and bragging rights!

An update from the Hamilton Central School ENST 390 group

By Sheila Reagan on April 25, 2013
This spring, as part of our ENST 390 class, we visited Hamilton Central School to work with the high school environmental science class. We first researched different educational approaches for teaching environmental science, searched for different tools and materials, and spoke at length with their teacher, Johanna Bossard. In the end, we chose to focus on water. We took three days to do three different labs that explored water scarcity, watersheds, and water filtration. It was a great opportunity for our group and we hope that the HCS students found it equally fulfilling. If you are interested in working with Hamilton Central School’s Environmental Science class in the future please contact Jia Zheng (2014).
– Carly, Erin, Rachel, Mike, Sam & Jia

ENST 390 students befriend Rogers Environmental Education Center

By Sheila Reagan on April 19, 2013

Written by Elisabeth Muehlemann ’14

Every semester the class ENST 390 is offered focusing either on affecting campus change or affecting change within the community. Students are broken into groups and they work on a semester long project that culminates with a final project detailing what was accomplished and the steps that occurred to make that happen. This semester the focus is on a project that works within the surrounding community, with community partners that range from the Rogers Environmental Center to the Chenango Nursery School. Each group has been expected to work with their community partner to develop a project that accomplishes the goals of the class and the goals of the partner as related to making environmental education approachable and interesting to students.rogvisitorctr

Our partnership has been with the Rogers Environmental Education Center. Rogers once had New York State Funding for programming and infrastructure but that was recently cut, so they have hired a new executive director and formed a board called the Friends of Rogers to create new programming and focus on fund raising. We have been working with the board to develop five lesson plans to begin to revive their environmental education program. Throughout the semester we developed these lesson plans that include: The Water Cycle and Water Pollution, Oneida Land Use, Dirt and Decomposition, Food Web Exploration, and Weathering, Erosion and Their Impact on the Environment. The lessons all contain background information on the subject matter and activities that will enhance the student’s understanding of the materials. Teachers from local school districts will be able to take their students to Rogers and have a Rogers volunteer teach one of the lesson plans to supplement the work that is being done in the classroom.

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Green Bikes “Tune-up” Kicks-off 13 Days of Green

By John Pumilio on April 18, 2013

On Monday, April 8th, the Colgapply-for-your-bike-today-and-quit-pouring-money-into-the-gas-pump-ate University Green Bikes Program hosted a bike tune-up event on the patio outside Donovan’s Pub.  The event kicked off this years’ 13 Days of Green.  A good number of students and faculty stopped by with their bike for repairs or maintenance work.  Guy Mintel, from Guy’s Bike Shop in Madison, NY, helped out.  The most common request was to use the pump to put air in front and rear tires, but there were some chain issues, rusted bits, and old tubes that needed mending as well.

The event was one of several put on by the Colgate University Green Bikes Program within the past year.  As with the other events, bike enthusiasts of all kinds stopped by – whether they were renting one of Colgate’s Green Bikes or not.  Every bike owner at Colgate is encouraged to attend.  Events like the Tune-Up, and the Green Bikes Program in general, aim to help increase bike ridership on campus, as we are continually looking to reduce Colgate’s carbon footprint.  Simply put, the more bike riders there are on campus, the better.  Biking means less cars, less pollution, and better health.  So, get out and ride a bike and help make Colgate more sustainable!

Green Awards recap

By Sheila Reagan on April 12, 2013

resultThis past Wednesday, the annual Green Awards were held to honor and celebrate the myriad sustainable achievements happening on and off campus.  It was wonderful to hear what different groups are doing to make Colgate more sustainable and to promote and educate others on campus about the importance of implementing green initiatives in their daily lives. Colgate has made vast strides in the past few years in terms of its commitment to Sustainability. For example, according to the last Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Colgate has reduced its emission by 20% since 2009.  The commitment to advocacy has also greatly increased, with the creation of the Eco-Reps, who have worked hard to promote sustainability across campus, especially in the freshman dorms.

The following awards were given to students and faculty: the Green Group award went to Green Thumbs, the Research award went to Professor Loranthy, the Advocacy award went to the Eco-Reps (and the Recyclemaniac), the Green Office award went to Outdoor Education, the Lifestyle award went to Evan Chartier, the 1st Year award went to Brett Christensen, and the Evergreen award (the most prestigious) went to Jenna Taylor. Honorary mentions were awarded to John Pumilio, Brian Lemanski, EcoCampus LLC, David Hale and Kimmie Garner.

It was a wonderful and exciting event and is amazing to see how many groups and individuals are contributing to a more sustainable future. Congratulations to all the award winners!


The 13 Days of Green are almost here

By Sheila Reagan on April 5, 2013

Every April Colgate has its annual 13 Days of Green. These 13 days are used to highlight sustainability and the efforts of the Green Groups on campus. This year’s festivities will kick-off this Monday, April 8th. Below you will find a tentative schedule, but be sure to follow us on Twitter (@colgatesstnblty) or like us on Facebook for live updates and information.

April 8th- Green Bikes Tune Up

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