From the desk of OES:
Over 300 people attended Ecolympics events and even more were engaged through the energy competition in the college dorms and the city schools. The top participants win incredible prizes — a new bicycle, anyone? Congratuations to Kaia Austin and Sam Horne for each attending 8 events during the competition! Ecolympics brought guest speakers to talk about food issues, transportation in Cleveland, and medieval environmentalethics; it featured eye-opening documentaries about food and water issues; we participated in DIY projects like toothpaste making, hair cutting, and postcard creating. Overall, Ecolympics 2015 was a success! People thought about energy use and the implications of it, joined together for educational and engaging events, and celebrated the beauty that comes with the springtime. See the Numbers section below for the calculated savings from the competition.In addition to Ecolympics, Oberlin was able to share our sustainability successes with various entities during April. Sean Hayes, the Executive Director of the Oberlin Project, and I presented at a pre-conference workshop with cities and colleges across the Midwest at GreenTown Kent. I also had the chance to speak at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) on Earth Day to encourage and challenge them. Meghan Riesterer, AVP of Energy Management and Sustainability, spoke in Pennsylvania at an architectural firm interested in sustainability. Sam Hartman, Sustainable Energy Technology Research Fellow, traveled to Toledo to provide technical assistance to a group interested in rolling out Environmental Dashboards into all of the city schools in the city! As I emphasized in last month’s eNewsletter, although Oberlin is a small place and OES only has a staff of 2.5, we influence individuals and organizations across the globe; now that’s pretty exciting!
News & Announcements:
- Schools Ecolympics: Congratulations to Prospect Elementary for another win in this year’s Ecolympics competition in both water and electricity! Langston Middle School created a gorgeous mural for Ecolympics using recycled materials (see below). There was also an awesome float in the Big Parade celebrating Ecolympics!
- Earth Day: Earth Day was on April 22 this year. On this day, Bridget Flynn, SustainabilityCoordinator, was the keynote speaker for Earth Day at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) where she shared Oberlin’s sustainability successes and challenged NEOMED to take action on sustainability. In the evening, Kim Foreman from EnvironmentalHealth Watch in Cleveland joined us at Oberlin to discuss Environmental Racism, Health, and Justice: Working on the Ground in Cleveland.
- IDEA Publishes Article: Meghan Riesterer, AVP of Energy Management and Sustainability, wrote an article about Oberlin’s sustainability story, transformation, and collaboration for the International District Energy Association (IDEA)’s District Energy Magazine. It can be accessed online.
- Oberlin’s Story at Greentown Kent: Oberlin was featured as a case study panelist in GreenTown hosted at Kent State University April 13th and 14th. Bridget Flynn and Sean Hayes, Executive Director of the Oberlin Project presented at a workshop for city administrators and university staff about town/gown collaboration alongside Case Western/University Circle and Kent.
- Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges: Oberlin College was ranked highly on the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges at #35.
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.May 12: OES Hangout: End of the Year Edition @ 5:30 in Wilder 211: Come take a study break with the OES and celebrate all that’s been accomplished this year! We’ll be hanging out in Wilder with plenty of delicious vegan snacks, so come on by! OES Hangouts are monthly potlucks that welcome anyone & everyone to hang out with the Office of Environmental Sustainability and others interested in sustainability. Bring a vegan dish to share, or simply enjoy provided food and community.
May 23: 2.27 MW Solar Array Tour @ 11:30AM Meeting in front of Philips: As part of Commencement/Reunion Weekend, Bridget Flynn will led a walking tour out to Oberlin’s large solar array. On the walk to the array, participants will have a chance to ask any questions about sustainability at Oberlin.
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 the results of the #OCEcolympics2015 competition, in numbers.
- The Office of Environmental Sustainability was founded in 2006 — which is the same time the Committee on Environmental Sustainability was created.
- The City of Oberlin is considering a Complete Streets Resolution! Complete Streets means designing streets with all users of all abilities and modalities in mind. During the first reading of the resolution on Monday night, all City Council members were in favor. We hope to see this resolution pass (two more readings are required).
- The Big Swap: As the end of the semester draws near, and you’re packing your things up, don’t throw things you don’t want anymore in the trash! Just because you don’t want or need something anymore doesn’t mean someone else can’t put it to use. In the coming weeks, the RCT will be placing boxes in each dorm and co-op where you can place unwanted clothes, school supplies, and dorm furnishings. The RCT will collect these boxes and make everything available (for free!) in Wilder Main during finals week! All unclaimed items will be sorted and donated or taken to the Free Store.
- Eat Local: The Oberlin Farmers Market opened for the season on May 2nd! The Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 9am to 1pm in front of the Public Library, and features fresh, local food, and live music. Check out their website here for more information.