August 2014 eNewsletter

From the desk of OES:

Have you noticed the sky lately? We’ve been totally in awe of it.

This is always an exciting time of year! A new school year represents new beginnings and a fresh start.  In this September’s OES eNewsletter I want to focus on some of those new beginnings, which can be scary but also exciting at the same time.Through learning and labor, our Oberlin College motto, new beginnings can help us flourish and lead us toward profound growth, personally, academically and professionally.  Embracing the great possibilities that a new school year (or any new beginning) presents is important when striving to contribute to a more sustainable campus and larger sustainable world.

On behalf of the entire Office of Environmental Sustainability, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of the new faces on campus and in the larger Oberlin community.  To our incoming first years and our returning students, we have been anxiously awaiting your arrival and the vibrant life you bring with you to campus.  We have spent the summer preparing for an exciting new school year full of initiatives, programs and events focused on environmental sustainability.  Many of our existing OES programs, such as OES Hangouts, Ecolympics, and the Enterprise CarShare will of course continue, and with your support will continue to grow and evolve.  In addition, new programs, such as Energy Rebates, are beginning developed and we will have more exciting information for you on this in the near future.  As always, we encourage everyone to stop by our OES office located in the Service Building Room 209 to learn more about our efforts and ways you can get involved.

OES is also very excited to welcome and introduce you to our newest addition to the staff, Samuel Hartman.  Sam started August 25th as our Sustainable Energy Technology Fellow.  Sam will play a central role in the development and management of hardware, software and data associated with “Environmental Dashboard,” a novel technological system that provides community residents, faculty, students and facilities personnel with real-time feedback on energy, water, and other environmental conditions in residential, academic, administrative and commercial buildings at the College in the in City of Oberlin.  Sam majored in mathematics and minored in physics at Ball State, then transitioned to IUPUI to continue his education in mathematics, earning a Masters in Industrial Mathematics. More on him below.

Finally, on a very personal note, I want to share some exciting news about my own new beginning. On August 13th my family welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world.  Troy arrived a few weeks earlier than anticipated, but I think he was just anxious to join in our efforts to make this world a more sustainable place!  From a new mother’s perspective, experiencing Troy’s ultimate new beginning in life has given me an enhanced understanding and even more motivation to create a flourishing environment for all of us to live, learn, teach, work, and play.

Enjoy a strong start to a new school year!  And please stop by OES to say “hello” or email us at and keep your eyes on our calendar for events and programs throughout the year.

– Meghan Riesterer, Assistant Vice President of Energy Management & Sustainability

News & Announcements:

  • OES is Hiring: OES is hiring for five positions for the 2014-2015 academic year. Each of the positions are unique and are some of the best paid internships on campus at $9/hr. Learn more by visiting our website here: Applications are due Tuesday, September 2 at 11:59PM.
  • Samuel Hartman joins OES team: This month Samuel Hartman was hired as the new Sustainable Energy Technology Research Fellow. This position continues to support the technology of the Environmental Dashboard, but with an expanded role to interface with Facilities to improve monitoring and metering of energy used on campus. Bio LINK.
  • Solar on Kahn: It finally happened! Photovoltaic solar panels were installed on part of the rooftop racking of Kahn. The 10 kW system was designed and installed by Bold Alternatives. The project was funded through a partnership between the Green EDGE Fund, Bold Alternatives, and Solar Action, LLC. Solar Action is based in the Cleveland area and works with schools, hospitals, universities and municipalities to develop, finance and operate solar projects. In addition to the positive environmental impact, the school benefits by buying discounted solar electricity from Solar Action, about 10% below the rate that is charged by its electric utility provider.

New solar panels on Kahn dorm

  • Community & Culture Fest Volunteers: The Community & Culture Festival celebrates the tremendous diversity, creativity and commitment that make Oberlin the unique town that it is. The event features cultural organizations, local restaurants, arts & crafts, performances and more for a day of fun on Saturday, September 27 from 1-4PM. Volunteers are needed for the event, particularly to ensure the event is zero-waste. Please contact to volunteer to make this day have a good impact on our community and a minimal impact on our earth.

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.

September 22: An American Icon: Preserving Utah’s Red Rock Canyonlands @ AJLC Hallock Auditorium @7:30PM: Clayton Daughenbaugh, conservation organizer with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, will be giving a multi-media presentation about Utah’s canyonlands and how the public can advocate for their protection.
September 24Paper Shred @ Hales Parking Lot @ 10AM-2PM: The College will offer free paper shredding on this day. A truck will be on site to do the shredding and will take the paper for recycling after the event.
September 27: Community & Culture Fest @ Tappan Square @ 1-4PM: Oberlin’s annual Community and Culture Festival is a celebration of diversity with activities for all ages, featuring free food from around the world, samples from Oberlin’s restaurants, and live performances. This will be a zero-waste event. [website] [calendar]
Saturdays through October 25th: Oberlin Farmers Market @ 9AM-1PM: The farmer’s market is a great place to find an array of local produce, products, neighbors, farmers, live music, and friends. It is located at in the parking lot near Oberlin Public Library and City Hall (69-85 South Main Street) in Oberlin.

For more info and to see a full list of events, please the Events tab on the OES website:

As nations across the world are challenged with meeting rising demands, the need for a constant supply of inexpensive and reliable sources of energy has increased. The need to transition away from the fossil fuels we have long been dependent on while still meeting growing global demands has required major innovation, but has been met with a wealth of creativity. The tide is turning towards renewable energy, and in July, 100% of new energy generating capacity in the U.S. was from renewable sources!

July saw the completion of several solar, wind, and hydropower projects that added 405MW of energy generating capacity to the grid, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The largest of these projects, the Panhandle Wind Farm project in Carson County, Texas, added 218MW of capacity, and is expected to produce enough energy to power 64,000homes. The company behind this wind project, E.ON Climate and Renewables, calculated that producing this energy with wind power instead of fossil fuels avoids approximately 482,000 metric tons per year of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking approximately 101,474 cars off the road!

Did you know?
  • The new Athletics Complex project is using 6,775 tons of reclaimed concrete for the sub-base of the field. That’s equivalent to about 1,130 adult male African elephants.
  • Oberlin has a CarShare program with three vehicles around campus for rental. The program has continued to grow in popularity and the College is now looking at adding a fourth vehicle! As long as you have a valid licence and are 18 years old, you can utilize the programs — students, faculty, staff, and community members! Learn more here.
  • Oberlin College’s first mobile app was developed by Office of Environmental Sustainability intern, Parker Oka-Wong. The app highlights sustainability-related places of interest on campus. Find it on the App Store or iTunes here:

Green Tips

  • Oberlin Recycling and Waste Disposal: Whether you’re new to Oberlin or returning for another great year, get yourself (re)acquainted withproper disposal of waste and unwanted items. Recycling at Oberlin is single stream! Cans, glass, paper, paperboard, and plastics labeled #1-#7 can be placed in recycling bins withblue liners. Cardboard should NOT be recycled alongside other recyclable materials and instead must be flattened and placed in designated cardboard dumpsters (located inside most dorms). Many dorms have acompost program that will get up and running soon! Gently used articles of clothing, and any unwanted household/school suppliescan be donated to the Free Store in the basement of Asia House. Dead batteries can be dropped off at Wilder front desk, Phillips Gym, and Facilities Operations (in the Service Building) for recycling.Computer/cell phone batteries, old electronic devices, and empty ink cartridges, can be recycled by the Technology Store in Mudd Level A. Compact florescent lightbulbs (CFLs) can be dropped off at Oberlin City Hall (85 S. Main St.),  and Watson Hardware (26 S Main St.). If all else fails, trash (landfill material) can be placed in bins with green liners. 
  • The Free Store is Your Best Friend: Whether you realize that you forgot to pack something you definitely need, or you break/misplace an essential item later on in the school year, check out the Free Store located in the basement of Asia House before you run out and buy something new. Chances are, they’ll have what you need, it’s free, and way less wasteful! They’re open 7-9pm Monday thru Thursday and 1-3pm on Saturdays. 

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