October 2014 eNewsletter

Interns Katie Donnelly Moran, Hillary Pan, CJ Blair, and Bea Toizer in a corn maze.

So…. this newsletter is a little late. It was supposed to go out at the end of October. However, I was out in Portland, Oregon networking and learning alongside sustainability officers from across the country at the AASHE conference. I was joined by our very own Sam Hartman and Rick Panfil who enjoyed meeting partners at LUCIDand Bon Apetite along others. Annie Leonard, who you might recognize as the founder of the Story of Stuff and the new executive director of Greenpeace, was the keystone speaker who energetically kicked off the conference.

Annie is an incredible activist who is extremely skilled at communicating sustainability to the masses. She put forth some thought-provoking fodder; most of which can be found on our twitter stream and with the #AASHE2014 hashtag. The conference was filled with incredible presentations from passionate change-makers from across the globe. I left feeling challenged yet inspired by our collective progress and grateful to be working in such an exciting field.

Over fall break, on October 22, we celebrated Campus Sustainability Day virtually by ramping up our social media presence to highlight a few sustainability initiatives. OES collaborated with some other Ohio schools and tweeted about our progress together with a special hashtag (#OhioCSD). The national campaign also included a conversation with leaders; a short video featuring advice for students can be found here.

Also in the month of October, OES took a field trip to local corn maze and pumpkin patch with a few of our interns and a CBSM researcher. We had a great time enjoying the festivities of fall, family, and wacky pumpkin creations and hope you did, too.

This month I am excited ome terrific events (detailed below). I look forward to our next OES Hangout where we’ll connect over some food and discuss what sustains us in our work, how we avoid burnout, and what we’re grateful for. I am also pleased to announce an Oberlin screening of the ground-breaking new documentary, Cowspiracy. Find out more below and I look forward to seeing you!

– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

Bridget presenting at the AASHE 2014 Conference.

News & Announcements:

  • CBSM Online: The community-based social marketing (CBSM) research website is now up and running here. Check out some background on the project. Soon we’ll have bios on our researchers and information and reports on current projects.
  • Seeking Video: OES is looking for students interested in helping to tell our district energy campus sustainability story through video creation. Contact Meghan Riesterer at mriester@oberlin.eduif you are interested in creating a short video (under 3 mins) about our central heating plant and energy systems. IDEA has a campus energy video contest with cash prizes.
  • LaunchU deadline: The LaunchU Accelerator is an intensive, three-week winter term program designed to help participants create the change they want to see in the world through entrepreneurship, broadly defined. Now in its third year, Oberlin’s annual startup accelerator, bootcamp & pitch competition is for current students, faculty and alumni launching or growing all types of ventures, including: Tech Startups, Social Impact Ventures, Arts Organizations, Local Businesses, and Innovative Projects. Participants  will compete for $50,000 in support of their venture in addition to expert coaching and practical support. LaunchU is now accepting applications; the deadline is November 9 at 11:59PM. Email creativity@oberlin.edu with any questions.

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.

November 6Natural Gas and the Environment: Integrating Being a Scientist and an Environmentalist @ 7:30 in King 306: Steve Hamburg, Chief Scientist of the Environmental Defense Fund will briefly discuss the trajectory of his career and involvement with the environment and then examine the complexities of understanding the costs and benefits of developing and using natural gas [calendar]. We’ll have video from the presentation on our YouTube channel shortly.
November 19Cowspiracy Screening @ 7PM in Craig Auditorium (Science Center): Cowspiracy is a new, award-winning feature-length film following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. OES is excited to partner with other groups to show this eye-opening movie.
November 20OES Hangouts @ 5:30PM in Wilder TBA: OES Hangouts are monthly potlucks that welcome anyone & everyone to hang out with the Office of Environmental Sustainability and others interested in sustainability. This month we will discuss what sustains you; gratitude and giving thanks. Bring a vegan dish to share, or simply enjoy provided food and community.
November 20Plant Power: Eating Plant-Based as an Athlete @ 7:30PM in Hallock Auditorium (AJLC): Sam Hartman, vegan weight-lifter and runner, and Bridget Flynn, vegan bodybuilder and athlete, will present their insights into eating plant-based diets as competitive athletes. After sharing their experiences, there will be time all your questions and group dialogue.

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/


This month’s numbers section was inspired by Annie Leonard, author of “The Story of Stuff,” and Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, who spoke at AASHE. With the holiday season approaching, it’s an especially relevant time to consider the full impact of consumer goods, and how the true cost of producing an item may not be reflected in its price. Taking the time to repair or repurpose an item instead of throwing it away and getting a new one saves a tremendous amount of resources.

It takes between 700-2,000 gallons of water to produce a single pound of cotton–about the amount it takes to make 1 t-shirt. For each pound of conventionally-grown cotton produced in the U.S., approximately 1/3 of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers are applied. After harvesting, the cotton is shipped all over to be processed, spun, and woven, and travels anywhere from 5,500 to over 10,000miles in the process, producing an enormous amount of carbon emissions. On the other end of the lifecycle, 85%of clothes and shoes purchased in the U.S. end up in a landfill. In 2010 alone, Americans produced 13.1 million tons of textile waste.


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