OES eNewsletter: September 2013

“Over the past few months it has become increasingly obvious to me that some people don’t know the scope of work that the Office of Environmental Sustainability conducts. I want to remedy this and give you a sense of our mission, some of the projects we are involved in, and what we offer. In short, the Office of Environmental Sustainability does a lot — that’s why this newsletter is a couple days tardy.

This year the OES will employ seven students to work on a variety of initiatives from Ecolympics to CBSM (community-based social marketing) research to the Green Room Program and green purchasing; I will post all the next hires in next month’s edition. We advise projects with ENVS 101 groups in conjunction with the Dashboard monitoring and the campus sustainability map mobile app (to be released later this year). The Office sits on and helps advise and administer the Committee on Environmental Sustainability, which is currently revising the College’s comprehensive Environmental Policy. We report to various entities like AASHE, STARSACUPCC, and the EPA. OES was instrumental in securing the agreement for the 2.27 MW solar array located north of the athletic fields. The Office also works on implementing various efficiency projects, like the massive indoor and outdoor lighting project that has occurred over the last couple years and is almost complete; by the end of this project, 2 million square feet of campus, 6 parking lots, and nearly all outdoor lighting will have been upgraded (bulbs and ballasts) to be more efficient. We help facilitate transportation initiatives, like bike infrastructure, safer, more complete streets, and local transportation options. In addition, the Office helps both support and propel zero waste initiatives — like managing the zero waste aspect of this past week’s Community & Culture Fest. The Office of Environmental Sustainability also provides a connection between the College and City of Oberlin and other colleges and universities. Further, we issue this monthly eNewsletter, administer the GreenScene listserv, hold a variety of events throughout the year, like Green Orientation, film screenings, and coordinating Ecolympics. 

This is just a sampling of the everyday work that OES conducts to further sustainability on Oberlin’s campus. I hope you will find issues or projects you are excited about and get plugged in. If you ever have any questions about projects, programs, volunteer opportunities, etc. please don’t hesitate to contact me. “

Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

News & Announcements:

  • PowerShift 2013: If you are interested in attending a national convergence of young people fighting for climate justice, a bus will be available from Oberlin. PowerShift 2013 offers a weekend of speakers, workshops, music, and more in Pittsburgh the weekend of October 18-21. Group registration was partially funded so it will cost only $20 for the weekend! Contact Zia Kandler orJacob Firman to reserve your seat on the bus.
  • AASHE Student Research Award: The CBSM Research Group at Oberlin College is a finalist for AASHE’s Student Research on Campus Sustainability Award. Daniella Mostow ’14, Alex Deeter ’12, and Aaron Kozloff ’12 in consultation with the Office of Environmental Sustainability and Professor of Psychology, Cindy Frantz, wrote a compelling report on their research on student sustainability behaviors. Daniella, Aaron, and Bridget Flynn will be presenting at this year’s AASHE Conference in Nashville, TN October 6th to 9th.
  • Local Shuttle: The local shuttle that was piloted last semester is continuing this semester! You can catch the shuttle from Wilder on Fridays and Saturdays from 3:00-7:00PM from the AOS stop behind Wilder Hall on a loop to Walmart, DrugMart/Johnny’s, and IGA. Learn more on theOberlin Student Transportation page here.
  • Central Heating Plant Upgrade: Oberlin College’s coal-fired power plant will be undergoing major renovations beginning on October 14. This season marks Oberlin College’s last season to be heated with coal. To read more about this transition and what it means for you, see 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.

October 5Green Energy Tour Ohio | Multiple locations throughout Oberlin @10AM-3PM: Oberlin is taking part in the 11th Annual Green Energy Ohio Tour. The tour will kick off at the Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC), followed by Trail Magic, the Oberlin College SpearPoint Solar Array, and OMLPS for lunch and tours. Discounts will be available at local restaurants. Contact Sharon Pearson at spearson@oberlinproject.org for full schedule and more information.

October 8Green Corps Info Session @ 7PM | Wilder 315: Claire Miller ’07 is coming to campus to talk about how she got her career started in community organizing. Right after Oberlin, Claire did Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. Green Corp’s mission is to train organizers, provide field support for today’s critical environmental campaigns, and graduate activists who possess the skills to fight and win tomorrow’s environmental and social change battles.

October 10Jonathon Safron Foer Virtual Visit @ 3PM-4PM: Join acclaimed author, Jonathon Safron Foer, and fellow students and faculty/staff for an engaging presentation and Q&A about Eating Animals.

October 29OES Hangouts: Halloween Potluck @ 6PM | AJLC 102: Come hang out with OES and other sustainability-minded students and community members for this monthly networking potluck. There will be cider, autumn-y treats, and great conversation. Meet others, talk about great work you are doing, or just come to show off a great dish or eat your friends’ culinary creations.

November 2From Coal to Carbon Neutrality Workshop@ 1PM-4PM | Science Center: If there’s one sustainability-related event you attend this whole year, let it be this one. The purpose of this event is to bring together the college community — faculty, staff, students, administration — to have conversations and generate ideas and projects to address how we can mobilize as a community to reach our carbon neutrality goals. There will be music performances and super snacks provided. [College Calendar | Facebook Event]

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/

Numbers:
Here are various data reporting numbers.

Oberlin’s Building Dashboard was first developed and displayed in 2000 at the AJLC. Since the AJLC served as the hub of research and development, there are 197sensors that collect data in that building. The technology was expanded in 2004. Now all 27 dorms, 2administrative buildings, Cox and Bosworth, and all Union Street houses are monitored on the Dashboard for a total of 56 buildings. Electricity data is collected for the system every 1 minute, which is 1,440 times per day, 525,949 times per year.

Did You Know?

  • Republic’s Material Recover Facility in Oberlin underwent massive renovations last year and is now reopened! Oberlin is now able to RECYCLE PLASTICS #1 through #7 as well as cartons! 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.
  • The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)released a report last week that stated humans have “unequivocally” induced climate change. The term unequivocal is the term for the highest level of certainly in science, which means scientists worldwide by-and-large agree that climate change is happening and humans are causing it. The report also gives projections for future consequences given current emission levels (summary article version here).

Green Facts & Tips

  • Bring Your Own (BYO_): Bring your own reusable cups, plates, bowls, utensils and the like to work, restaurants, in your car, etc. This is a great way to reduce waste. Instead of using a paper (or even worse Styrofoam) cup for your coffee, bring your own mug. At DeCafe and the Science Center cart on campus, as well as a variety of retailers, you get a discount for doing so! If you eat on campus, use the Dascomb to-go containers. It seems like a small act, but think of all the coffees or take-out containers you use in a year; it adds up! For example: there are 4 BILLION paper cups thrown in landfills each year from Starbucks alone. 
  • Do It Yourself: Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Projects can be both economical and environmental — and fun! There are some great resources on the internet for re-purposing projects. Earth911 has a greatdatabase for such projects. Their websitehas great ideas for reuse projects and where to go to recycle different items. Check out this great resource!
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