OES eNewsletter: August 2013

sustainabilityAward“Can you believe classes begin on Tuesday? It’s been a busy summer. The Office of Environmental Sustainability, in conjunction with a variety of campus stakeholders, has been working diligently to plan exciting events, programs, workshops, and more for the upcoming year.

If you are a new student to Oberlin, welcome! You are about to embark on an incredible adventure. Oberlin is a wonderful community that offers tremendous opportunities. There are myriad avenues to get involved at Oberlin — not only in sustainability and social justice, but in music and dance, sports clubs and teams, and research and work, the list goes on.

I am going to make this letter a shorter one, in the hopes that you will go outside and enjoy the tail-end of summer and attend exciting events (like the ones that follow). I would like to highlight two particularly special events this fall semester. The first is the Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson convocation. These two men are riveting speakers and authors with decades of sustainability experience under their belts. Not only do they write eloquently about sustainability topics, but they actually “walk the walk.” Come hear about their last 35 years of research and work on sustainable agriculture and more; I can promise there will be a few laughs, too. This event is free and open to the public. The next event arose out of the need for this community to come together to discuss in-depth how we can mobilize as diverse constituencies to reach our challenging carbon neutrality commitment. Students, faculty, staff, administrators, and maybe even a few trustees will bring their varying interests and perspectives to the table for the From Coal to Carbon Neutrality community workshop. We’d really like as many perspectives as possible to attend this workshop. I encourage all staff, faculty, and students to attend and add your voice. This workshop is scheduled for mid-October; a website will be launched and more details will follow in the upcoming weeks. The future of Oberlin sustainability will be influenced and affected by this session. As always, please contact me if you have any questions.

Have a great kickoff to the semester and I hope to see you all soon!”– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator


News & Announcements:

  • APPA Sustainability Award: Keith Watkins, director of facilities, Bridget Flynn, sustainability coordinator, Tom Piccorelli, assistant vice president for facilities, and Rob Lamppa, former director of sustainability and energy management (pictured above) accepted the Sustainability Award on behalf of Oberlin College. Oberlin was selected by APPA, the association for leadership in educational facilities, as the winner of the sustainability award in the small college category.
  • Work with OES: The Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) is currently hiring a two additional positions for the 2013-14 academic year: Communications Intern & Ecolympics Intern. These competitive positions are a great way to contribute to campus sustainability, gain professional skills, and meet new people. Positions are part-time (5-10 hrs./wk), $9/hr. reporting to the Sustainability Coordinator. See here for position descriptions and how to apply. Applications due September 6.
  • Climate Positive Participant: Oberlin has officially reached participant status with the Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive Development Program. This program aims for city’s to go beyond neutrality to make positive impact on their communities and absorb carbon in the process. Oberlin is the first city in North America to reach participant status, and only the third in the world.  Read more here.
  • Student Transportation: Please visit the student transportation website to see the shuttle schedule for the beginning of the fall semester from the Cleveland Airport to campus. Click here.
  • Hiring for AVP Energy Management and Sustainability: Oberlin College is hiring for the Assistant Vice President of Energy Management and Sustainability. This person will guide sustainability initiatives on campus. If you are an engineer or energy manager, or know someone who is, please consider this outstanding opportunity.

Upcoming Events: For all environmental-related events on campus – check out the Environmental Events Calendar! If you would like it to be shared with you, email Bridget. If you would like one of your events to be added to eNewsletter, please email us.

August 30Green Orientation | AJLC Atrium @ 3:30PM: Green Orientation is a chance to explore all things environmental sustainability on campus. Representatives from OES, the Environmental Studies program, and a variety of student groups will present on their missions and opportunities for engagement. This is a great opportunity to get a layout of the land of Oberlin sustainability.

Johnson House Garden BBQ | Johnson House Garden @ 5:30PM: The Resource Conservation Team (RCT) will be throwing a barbecue at the Johnson House garden. Come have some fun and see the garden.
August 31Johnson House Garden Day of Service @ 9AM-3PM: All are welcome to join the RCT to help build a scarecrow, vertical gardens, and toilet planters!
September 1Free Store opening party @ Free Store (Asia House basement) @ 8PM: Check out the Free Store!

September 7: Styrofoam Collection | City Hall parking lot @ 9:30AM – Noon: Do you have styrofoam packaging left from move-in? Bring it to the city hall parking lot on Saturday and it will be collected for recycling. Packaging Styrofoam #4,5,6 only. Please only molded/packing styrofoam; peanuts can be dropped off at the UPS store for reuse. No styrofoam food containers due to contamination. Read more here. A college drop-off location is in the works, please contact RCT for more details or check the events calendar.

September 9An Evening with Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson | Finney Chapel @ 7:30PM: Wendell Berry, the prominent author of more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and Wes Jackson, author and founder of The Land Institute for sustainable agriculture, will be giving a convocation presentation to the Oberlin community. Wendell and Wes’ presentation will surround the “nature as measure” concept that they have been working on for the last 35 years. Impressive speakers, not to be missed.

For more info and to see a full list of events, please the Events tab on the OES website: http://new.oberlin.edu/office/environmental-sustainability/events/

Here are various data reporting numbers.

807 new students arrived to Oberlin this week. Another2,100 will be moving in this weekend. From June 2012 to May 2013, Oberlin College used 26,484 mWh of electricity. That’s approximately 9.11 mWh per student, which is the equivalent of 5.5 barrels of oil per student, just for electricity.

Did You Know?

  • Republic’s Material Recover Facility in Oberlin underwent massive renovations in the past few months. Oberlin is now able to RECYCLE PLASTICS #1 through #7! They used to only accept #1 and #2. This applies to both City and College collection. Read this for more information or the RCT’s website.
  • Energy use can account for over 30 percent of a company’s operating budget, for Oberlin College that’s a multi-million dollar price tag. Offices in the United States account for 19-20% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is a big chunk considering that the US makes up only 5 percent of the world’s population, but consumes 26% of the world’s energy. Participate in the Green Room or Green Office programs to learn how you can do better.

Green Facts & Tips

  • Wash right: The average washing machine uses about 40 gallons of water per load. When deciding to do laundry, remember to wash a full load — or adjust the water/load size accordingly, but don’t overfill either. Use cold water to wash. Heating water accounts for 90% of the energy use of washing. Cold water cleans just as effectively, as modern soap is designed to work well with cold water. Informational posters will be up in the residence halls soon.
  • Plant a window herb garden: It’s easier than you might think. Plants provide a fresh scent, clean the air, look nice, and provide herbs for you to add to dishes. Learn how here.

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