Home - Distinctly Colgate - Sustainability - Sustainability News
Sustainability News

Latest Posts

Apply Now for this Summer’s Colgate Community Garden Internship

By Sustainability Office on February 28, 2018

-Mak Bridge ’20

In the summer of 2017, I was given the opportunity  to work at the Colgate Community Garden and it was hands down one of the best experiences of my Colgate career. Working in the garden is by no means easy, but it is an incredibly rewarding experience.


Summer Garden Interns Camila Loke ’19 and Mak Bridge ’20 at the Colgate Community Garden

Each summer, two interns are hired to maintain the garden with the help of the garden manager, Beth Roy. I worked roughly 40 hours a week, whether that time be spent weeding, planting, or harvesting for our weekly farm stand. 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.

I grew up on a dairy farm, but still managed to learn so much about vegetable farming and organic practices through my job at the garden. As part of the internship, I was also able to take a course facilitated by John Pumilio who is the Director of the Office of Sustainability at Colgate. Through this course I was able to engage in conversations about sustainability at Colgate with faculty members, while also learning how my role in the community garden plays into sustainability  initiatives on campus.

The Garden Interns engage with the local community through the weekly farm stand

The Colgate Community Garden is searching for interns to hire for the upcoming summer season. I cannot emphasize enough how cool it is to learn and observe first-hand where your food is coming from and how it is produced. Furthermore, Beth is such a great resource and was able to teach me so much in such a short span of time, so there’s no need to worry if you don’t have previous experience with farming or gardening. Don’t miss out on this unique and amazing opportunity!

Apply for this year’s summer internship by sending your resume and one page cover letter to garden manager, Beth Roy (eroy@colgate.edu). The application deadline is March 23. More information.


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.

June Updates at the Garden

By Sustainability Office on July 5, 2016

With the recent rain falls and the rays of sun, the garden is looking very green and luscious! If you haven’t had chance to stop by (which you should definitely do during our open volunteer hours Tuesday 12-2 PM and Thursday 4:30-6:30 PM) and roam through the rows and rows of sprouting veggies, here are some updates! Our lettuce, radishes, kale, and chard are pluggin’ away and giving us lots to share! Snap peas practically popped out overnight this week with some impressive 5-inchers! And we had our first two squash after the wonderful rain!

pic1-min pic2-min

With such a great abundance, we have been harvesting for some very successful farm stands as well as for Chartwells, the dining service at Colgate, and the Food Cupboard located in Hamilton. Through all these sales and donations, we have been meeting many wonderful people and we are so thankful for all their help and the connections we’ve made. We would like to thank all of our farm stand regulars, our generous community plot members for words of encouragement (and delicious donuts!), and Chartwells dining services for supporting local food.


We would also like to give a big shout out to all our weekly volunteers, and namely our volunteer group from the library. Last week, a group of library staff members came down to be out in the sun for a few hours and give us a helping hand. They mulched, weeded, and planted parsley and brussel sprouts! To cool off and relax after their hard work, they sat in the shade and were able to paint some of the most beautiful and unique rocks our garden has ever seen. The garden looked so healthy and lively after they left and we are so grateful for all the time and energy they put in.

pic4-min pic5-min

Our next work party will be Wednesday July 6th from 5-7pm. Come to garden, enjoy good vibes, and eat delicious (and garden-sourced) food! And we are happy to announce that our Farm Stand is officially every Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 in front of Trudy Fitness Center right across from the Sanford Fieldhouse. On rainy days, we’ll be located inside Trudy at the sign-in desk! Hope to see you there! And remember to stay fresh and eat local!


By Sustainability Office on November 16, 2015

solarize cny

2015 Solarize CNY Update (November 16, 2015)

As of today, 28 solar installations have been completed for a total of 285 kW!

  • Cayuga: 4 installations, 32.1 kW
  • Cortland: 1 installation, 13.4 kW
  • Madison: 1 installation, 10 kW
  • Onondaga: 10 installations, 96.3 kW
  • Oswego: 12 installations, 133.4 kW

125 contracts signed for a total of 1,084 kW

  • Cayuga: 21 contracts, 160.7 kW
  • Cortland: 25 contracts, 255.6 kW
  • Madison: 25 contracts, 276.3 kW
  • Onondaga: 48 contracts, 355 kW
  • Oswego: 6 contracts, 37 kW

That’s 1,369 kW of new solar coming online in Central New York as a result of the Solarize CNY effort! That’s more than 10% of all the solar that has historically been installed in our region!

Per county totals for installations and signed contracts shows:

  • Cayuga: 193 kW
  • Cortland: 269 kW
  • Madison: 286 kW
  • Onondaga: 451 kW
  • Oswego: 170 kW




2015 Solarize CNY Update (October 20, 2015)

With less than two weeks left in our Solarize CNY campaign, organizers are starting to get a rush of online enrollments and phone calls.  Here is a quick update on the Solarize CNY campaign:

  1. We have about 975 enrollments so far, so we almost to our goal of 1,000+ total enrollments!
  2. 21 residents have already had their systems installed!
  3. 79 residents have signed contracts and are waiting for their installations.
  4. Another 63 residents are currently negotiating or reviewing their proposal.

It’s not too late to enroll in the program and schedule your FREE site assessment.  Here is the link: http://solarizecny.org/



2015 Solarize CNY Original Post (September 8, 2015)

Due to continued interest and ongoing questions regarding the Solarize CNY program, the Office of Sustainability will be hosting an information session specifically for Colgate employees.  The session will take place on September 16 (Wednesday) in the ALANA Cultural Center (Multipurpose Room).  We will be joined by members of Madison County Planning and our local solar installer, CNY Solar, out of Canastota.  Lunch will be provided.

If you have been interested in solar energy but are not sure if it is right for you or where to begin, then now is the time to attend this information session and enroll in the Solarize CNY program.

As a reminder, Solarize CNY is a volume purchasing program that streamlines the process and reduces the cost of installing solar energy for electricity. Through existing federal and state incentives coupled with the bulk purchasing power of the program, residents and small businesses can save up to 64% off the sticker price of a solar PV system. With the Solarize CNY program all permits and paperwork associated with installing the system are taken care of for the participant.

To find out more information and to enroll in the program today, please visit www.solarizecny.org.  To participate, you must enroll in the program by October 31, 2015.

Local Food at Nelson Farms

By Sustainability Office on November 9, 2015

nelson farms 1By: Mackenzie Hargrave ’16 (Environmental Economics Major from Madison, NJ), Sustainable Dining Intern

The Colgate Dining Sustainability team recently visited Nelson Farms to learn about production of local food.  Amanda Hewitt, the head of Product Development guided us around the product development, ingredient storage and processing rooms of the facility. Each room was stocked with expensive equipment that small-scale farmers may find difficulty investing in. She explained how each machine helps clients transform their produce into marketable products, which can then be sold in the attached storefront and other venues across New York State.

Perusing the aisles of the Nelson Farms Country Store you can find any dressing, marinade, jam, nut butter, or coffee that would usually stock your cupboards. However, instead of being brand name products, produced and packaged on a massive scale, these products are all made by small-scale, local farmers, passionate about their product and the communities to which they distribute. As customers who rely heavily on brand name products, we can easily forget that farms surrounding Colgate are producing high quality, fresh produce that may be packaged up into our favorite condiments and available right around the corner.

The entire operation is housed in what looks like a classic country home set right on Rt. 20 between Morrisville and Cazenovia, just a short drive from Colgate. Despite the understated exterior of the building, Nelson Farms, which is not a farm at all, has created a unique and straightforward way for local farmers to bring their products directly to market.

Amanda Hewitt and Kristi Cranwell, Nelson Farms’ Director, have the knowledge and expertise to guide product development through recipe creation, cost-based analysis, regulatory compliance and production. Standing in the ingredient storage room, with our eyes glazing over, Amanda explained the complex chemistry behind ensuring products remain fresh throughout their shelf life. In addition to ensuring the innelsonfarms2gredients maintain the appropriate pH, they must be carefully coded and tracked, according to FDA regulation.

The resources and information that Amanda, Kristi and the rest of the team at Nelson Farms can provide to farmers opens up opportunities for them to increase their business and take a stake in the local economy. Given the number of mouths Colgate Dining Services feeds daily, we have the potential to provide a massive demand for local products, like those sold at Nelson Farms.

on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NelsonFarmsCountryStore

website:   www.nelsonfarms.org

Nelson Farms is located at 3261 Us Route 20, Cazenovia, NY 13035


Celebrating Food Day at Colgate

By Sustainability Office on October 18, 2015

By: Ana Roman ’16 (Environmental Geography Major from Harrison, NY), Sustainable Dining Intern

food day 2015

Every October 24th, thousands of Americans come together for Food Day in an effort to solve food-related issues both locally and nationally. Food Day calls individuals to celebrate food and urges people to make positive changes in their own diets as well as push for initiatives to improve food policies on a wide variety of scales.

This year’s Food Day theme is “Toward a Greener Diet,” and Colgate will be celebrating by honoring our local food partners throughout the week leading up to the 24th. Come join Colgate’s sustainable dining team as we invite our local partners for meet and greets where students and faculty can lunch and learn as we support local businesses that share our sustainability goals.

  • Tuesday October 20: Utica Coffee Roasters from 11:30-1:00 pm at the Coop
  • Wednesday October 21: Flour and Salt Bakery from 9:00-10:00 am at Hieber Café
  • Thursday October 22:  Common Thread Farm from 11:30-1:00 pm at Frank Dining Hall
  • Friday October 23: Utica Bread from 9:00-10:00 am at Hieber Café    

          Stop by for a chance to win prizes at select meet and greets.

campus crunch 2015On Thursday, October 22nd Colgate will join campuses throughout the state to take the New York Campus Crunch. Local apples will be distributed at Frank Dining Hall, The Coop, and Hieber Café for a “collective crunch” at 1pm. Come out to support New York apples and the orchards and farms our food is grown on. http://finys.org/our-projects/new-york-campus-crunch

Happy Food Day!

Please contact Deborah Hanson, Marketing and Sustainability Manager for Colgate Dining Services, with any questions.

I Support Local: More Complicated Than It Seems

By Sustainability Office on September 22, 2015

By Missy Velez ’16 (Environmental Studies Major from Baltimore, MD)

downtown hamiltonThe benefit of buying local goods, mostly produce, has, of late, been questioned. This is because what the term “supporting local” means is not fully understood, and the phrase has become something in and of itself, losing its meaning. In the context of “supporting local,” it is important to keep in mind the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. Local doesn’t need to be only segregated to the agricultural sector, and nor should it be. There are problems with the term “supporting local,” but perhaps that’s because it has been oversimplified to a bumper sticker- type slogan.

Part of the problem with the phrase “supporting local” is that is has come to mainly address buying produces from local farms, which may not actually have the environmental and health benefits that we assume it does. It has also come to conflate local farms with sustainable, organic, and small farms. Local farms can be those things, but they can also be large-scale enterprises, guilty of mistreating workers and animals and engaging in environmentally irresponsible business practices. Because of this conflation, it is no longer clear that the term “buying local” does not directly mean buying organic or buying goods from small farms. Buying from your local farm, in face of the quickly diminishing number of American farmers, can be a great thing-it helps to sustain a key part of our nation’s identity and economy. This being said, what if the farm doesn’t use sustainable practices? Yes, it’s great to be able to buy eggs from just 5 miles away, and this does mean buying local, but what if the hens are kept in cramped conditions? Sustainable interests like buying from small farms and buying from local farms can conflict with each other in the context of supporting agriculture, which contributes to the conflict surrounding what exactly “supporting local” means.

There are significant barriers to “supporting local” when you look at it from a primarily agricultural aspect. Buying local goods in an effort to support small-scale businesses and farms that struggle to compete in an increasingly globalized economy is a great part of supporting local communities. However, while buying local does fit within the idea of “supporting local,” it should not define the phrase. This ideological mix-up causes the issues related with buying local goods to cross over into the ideas behind supporting local communities, decreasing the legitimacy of the support local movement. Instead, buying local goods should be seen as an action that can be a great step to supporting local communities, but doesn’t define it.

But let’s look at supporting local at its core meaning, which is engaging with the people, businesses and lifestyles that make up our communities. It means keeping a tie with the happenings in our towns, keeping the people down the block or a few miles away in mind, and therefore keeping communities together. Supporting local doesn’t have to mean buying your Swiss chard on the Village Green, although that too has its place. Maybe it can mean telling your professor how much you enjoyed your discussion in class, saying hey to a stranger instead of avoiding their gaze as you pass them walking into town, or thanking a custodian for keeping your favorite study spot clean. Creating diverse, resilient and united communities is an essential part of increasing social sustainability, so let’s question how we can “support local” as Colgate students and, even further, as Hamilton community members.


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

Colgate Community Garden Summer Programs

By Sustainability Office on July 27, 2015

Article by Beth Roy, manager, Colgate Community Garden

The Colgate Community Garden team has been hard at work this summer in our new location just south of the Colgate Townhouses on route 12B.  The garden is thriving, and there are several events in July and August that we would like to share with you.

Come to the garden for a tour or to lend a helping hand! One of the members of the garden team will be there to greet you.

  • When: Mondays 5:00-7:00 p.m.; Fridays 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Purchase fresh, organically grown produce from the Community Garden each week at the Farm Stand.

  • Where: 104 Broad Street (through August; will move to the COOP once the semester begins)
  • When: Tuesdays from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Interested in gardening but don’t have a lot of space to garden where you live?  Interested in being a part of the Colgate Community Garden?  The garden has a community plot program where you can rent a space in the garden each year for a small fee.

Think it’s too late in the year to start a garden?  Think again!  We will supply you with the information you need to plant a successful fall garden.  Individual and group applicants both encouraged.  This could be a great opportunity for your campus group to come together to learn about growing your own food!

If interested, please contact garden manager Beth Roy (eroy@colgate.edu).


We hope to see you soon!

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, 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.

You will also see new recycling stations appear in more locations around campus.  Like the ones pictured below.  These stations work nicely in helping to promote recycling on campus.

Colgate Campus Standard Recycling Bin

Colgate Custom-made Recycling Bin


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: Can I recycle common food and beverage items such as drinking cups (plastic or paper or coffee), plastic utensils, napkins, clam shells, straws, plastic wrapping, or unattached bottle caps?
A: No.  They should all be placed in the trash.  This is hard to do for many people who care about recycling but we need to keep our recycling streams as clean as possible.  As a general rule, “when in doubt, leave it out!”  As a best practice, reattach bottle caps to the container, then recycle.

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.  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.  Large and small electronics that are no longer usable 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. on Wednesday and Saturday.  You will need a punch card to recycle electronics (punch cards cost $13.50 and contain 5 punches).  Call 315.691.5700 with any questions.  As a Madison County resident, you can also take your eWaste free of charge to Lojo Technologies at 634 Birchwood Drive (off of Stone Street) in Oneida.  Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Call 315.363.3014 with any questions.

Q: What do I do with my spent printer cartridges?
A: Fortunately, Staples will conveniently collect your old printer cartridges for recycling.  Simply hand it to the Staples 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: How can I properly dispose of old medications and prescription drugs?
A: Madison County periodically schedules disposal events for old medications.  Check the Madison County recycling website to see if an event is being planned.  Also, some pharmacies are also offering take-back programs.  Check with your local pharmacy to see if they offer this important service.  If no disposal events are being planned near you, then throw the drugs in your household trash.  Never flush them down the toilet unless the label directly instructs you to do this.  Check out the FDA website for more specific information.

Q: Can I recycle Styrofoam?
A: As a matter of fact, yes!  Madison County recently implemented a pilot program for Styrofoam recycling.  You can take any foam packaging or clean egg containers to the ReUse Store on the east side of Buyea Road at Madison County landfill and recycling center in the Town of Lincoln.  Styrofoam (not including foam cups, packing peanuts, or heavily soiled materials) will be accepted during regular operating hours (Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.).  For more information contact Mary Bartlett, county recycling coordinator, at 1-800-721-2208 or see this article.

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.