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Colgate Celebrates Earth Day With 13 Days of Green Programming

By Sustainability Office on April 10, 2019

Everyone’s favorite time of year is now upon us. 13 Days of Green begins this Wednesday April, 10th and we are excited! This year marks Colgate University’s 10th annual 13th Days of Green, a tradition where the Office of Sustainability hosts programming throughout the 13 days leading up to and including Earth Day.

The first Earth Day in 1970 grew out of the counterculture energy that pervaded America and served as a response to physical environmental harms such as air and water pollution. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy and sustainable environment in coast to coast rallies. This was an important moment in the environmental movement because it represented groups coming together to fight for shared values. In 1990, Earth Day went global, and activists mobilized to lift environmental issues onto the world stage.

Today, Earth Day is now the largest secular observance in the world, as it is celebrated by more than a billion people every year. The day represents decades of activists fighting for change, transboundary solidarity, collective demand for action, and hope for the future. University and college students have always been at the forefront of the environmental movement, so it was only fitting that 10 years ago, Colgate University launched 13 Days of Green in an attempt to do its part and be part of national and global action.

This year, there are many exciting events planned for the 13 Days of Green. Highlights include the Kickoff Celebration on April 10th, the Green Summit and Oak Awards on April 11th, the Day of Service on April 20th, and the Carbon Neutrality Celebration on April 22nd. All of these events are geared towards engaging the student body in environmental action and awareness, as well as bringing a sense of excitement about sustainably to the campus climate. The full 13 Days of Green Calendar can be found here.

Water Research Trip to Italy

By Sustainability Office on April 7, 2019

By: Matt Chistolini ’21

Over the 2019 winter break, I spent ten days with Professor Tseng exploring the water climate in Italy.  On our sojourn, Professor Tseng and I traveled together across the geographic spine of the country. Our journey started in the northern city of Florence and we traveled down the country to the port city of Naples. Along the way, we collected samples from public water fountains, met with colleagues from several Italian universities, and explored the wonderful world of Italian food and culture.

I started conducting research with Professor Tseng after taking her core water class in the spring of 2018. The class opened my eyes to the plastic water system endemic and motivated me to raise the further question as to what environmental impacts this might have. In the fall semester, with the constructive guidance of Professor Tseng, I conducted an experiment to understand on a deeper level how hydrophobic chemicals (particularly how personal care products and pharmaceuticals) bond to plastic strands. Working on this experiment was thrilling and motivated me to continue working on this project this coming summer. This summer, thanks to many of Professor Tseng’s connections in Italy and our information-gathering trip over winter break, I hope to continue this project in Ancona, Italy as I explore some connections between microplastics and wastewater.  

Our journey started at the baggage gate in the Florence airport, gratefully meeting after hours of flight delays. Soon after, we settled in Florence for the night, and the next day I began gathering samples at public fountains scattered throughout the city.

I was provided with a map of the fountains, and from there it was a treasure hunt to collect water at each location. Not only did I enjoy traveling across the city in this manner, but I also gained a deeper understanding and appreciation than what would have been possible as a tourist. The fountains were located in both heavily trafficked parts of the city and more residential parts.  

The main aim of obtaining water from public fountains in Italy is to understand historical patterns of the quality of the drinking water. Professor Tseng has been running this experiment annually for several years, hoping to observe and catalog any trends in the chemicals present in the public Italian fountains. This experiment aims to provide a metric for understanding water contamination in Florence.

The main aim of obtaining water from public fountains in Italy is to understand historical patterns of the quality of the drinking water. Professor Tseng has been running this experiment annually for several years, hoping to observe and catalog any trends in the chemicals present in the public Italian fountains. This experiment aims to provide a metric for understanding water contamination in Florence.

After collecting all the samples we needed from Florence, we took the Frecciarossa to Ancona where we met up with several academic colleagues who study microplastics at the Marche Polytechnic University. It was inspiring to learn about all of their different projects relating to microplastics and how the European and mainly Italian educational system works closely with companies to research and develop new technologies. It was shocking to hear from Professor Francesco Fatone, the project leader in Ancona, that almost no basic research was being conducted in the engineering department of Marche Polytechnic University. While in Ancona, our visit overlapped with the University’s recent shipment of Antarctic sea creatures. It was extremely exciting to see in person creatures that had never left the Antarctic climate.

Once we had finished learning about the projects that the Francesco Fatone’s team were involved with we headed back north to Bologna to spend the weekend. Bologna was an absolutely beautiful city, rich in history and art and quickly became one of the highlights of the entire trip. Over the weekend I visited several churches and a myriad of museums ranging from modern to very historic.

Our final stop on the journey was to the southern city of Naples to visit several professors and graduate students at the University of Naples. This university was an excellent opportunity to meet even more scientists interested in the wastewater and natural water systems. As the University of Naples is much larger than Marche Polytechnic University, I had the privilege to learn about many more projects with a much broader scope of focus of water issue.

I am incredibly thankful to Professor Tseng, the ENST Department and Colgate University for making this trip possible. I was able to take so much of what I learned in Italy over those ten days and bring it back to Colgate. I am beyond grateful for all of the opportunities I had to learn from professors and graduates students. One of the biggest takeaways from the entire trip was learning about the importance of international collaborations and how to develop professional academic networks. I had never explored this learning outcome prior to this trip but with this new found knowledge I hope to continue developing these skills as I explore water-related issues further.

Apply for Summer 2019 Internships with the Office of Sustainability and Community Garden

By Sustainability Office on April 3, 2019

The Office of Sustainability is pleased to announce that applications are now open for paid internship positions with the Office and the Community Garden.

The Office of Sustainability is hiring interns for the summer of 2019 to work on a wide range of projects to advance sustainability at Colgate. This is an exciting opportunity for Colgate students to get hands-on experience putting sustainability into action, working to support the Program Coordinator and Director of Sustainability. The internship requires up to 40 hours per week, starting in late May 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.

“The summer Sustainability internship has many components to it, which makes it even more fun and exciting,” says summer ’18 intern Luvna Dhawka. “I had the opportunity to participate in the Foundations of Sustainability course for staff led by John Pumilio, the Director of the Office of Sustainability, who really drove the point home that somebody, somewhere has to act differently for change to happen, and it might as well just be me. Another aspect of the internship that I really enjoyed was managing a vegetable plot with the other interns at the Colgate Community garden where we would volunteer for an hour every week – a nice break from office work and ideal to enjoy the beautiful summer weather of Hamilton.”

To apply for this position, please email your resume and cover letter to pgramlich@colgate.edu by April 14th. More information about the position and application is available on the portal.

The Colgate Community Garden is hiring two interns starting in early/mid May 2019 until mid/late-August 2019. 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 community 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. 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.

According to former Garden intern Mak Bridge ’20, “I loved being able to see the entire agricultural process from start to finish. Working at the garden is one of the only opportunities students have to get involved with agriculture, and as Colgate is set in such a rural environment, I think it really helps to give the interns a sense of place.”

To apply to be a Garden intern, please email your resume and cover letter to eroy@colgate.edu by April 14th. More information about the position and application is available on the portal.