March 2016 eNewsletter

From the desk of OES:

This year’s incredible Ecolympics poster designed by Soren Carlson-Donohoe

The month of April tends to be laden with events and this year is no exception. In fact, the Office is organizing more events in April than entire rest of the year combined! April is Earth Month and the time of the year for Oberlin’s Ecolympics! This year, Ecolympics will run from April 8 – 22, ending on Earth Day. Oberlin’s K-12 public schools and all college dorms will be competing to reduce their electricity and water consumption during the two weeks of the competition. In addition to the reduction competition, Oberlin Ecolympics features a community event series that’s sure to please. There are over 25 amazing events scheduled for Ecolympics. I am so excited about what we’ve put together and hope you can join us! See below for a sampling and the Environmental Events Calendaror Ecolympics website calendar for more.

If you thought that was a lot, there’s even more (this isn’t an infomercial)! Next week, Anthony Cortese, a forefather of the campus sustainability, will be visiting campus and giving a public presentation on Monday evening. Tuesday, there will be a panel discussion making connections between personal faith and vegetarian and veganism. Then on Wednesday through Friday, the Global Issues Symposium will take place. The theme of the symposium is Climate Change Consequences: Disruption, Migration, and the Development of Resilient Communities. The opening keynote is Wednesday evening with Dr. Igor Krupnik from the Smithsonian Institution. Thursday features a global policy panel session and student poster reception. On Friday, there will be three panels and a closing reception. I will be serving on Friday’s lunchtime panel and am thrilled to discuss climate resilience and sustainability progress here in Oberlin alongside my fantastic panelists, Sean Hayes of the Oberlin Project, and Cindy Andrews of Oberlin Community Services.While others were relaxing over Spring Break, we’ve been hard at work trying to bring our community the best programming and events to spark sustainability and propel people towards action. I hope you will join us.

– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

News & Announcements:

  • Oberlin Ecolympics: This is no April Fool’s joke, Ecolympics starts in one week! The competition and event series will run from April 8 – 22 and will feature film screenings, guest speakers, a career symposium, lunchtime yoga, rock climbing, field day activities, hair recycling, trivia, and much more. Visit the website for standings and an event calendar or RSVP to events on the Oberlin Sustainability facebook. Events are being added daily and a full schedule will be available next week so keep checking back so you don’t miss anything of the action!
  • Global Issues Symposium: The Global Issues Symposium kicks off April 6 – 8 and features some incredible people, panels, and posters. The symposium and related events, seeks to address both the global urgency of climate change and the possibilities of climate resilient action in communities around the world. This program looks to be as inspiring as it is challenging. The full program can be viewed here, included is a link to RSVP to events.
  • Implementation Plan Update: Since the adoption of the Environmental Policy Implementation Plan in the Fall 2015, the Committee on Environmental Sustainability (CES) has been hard at work taking steps to implement the plan. Priorities include advancements to curriculum, institutionalizing sustainability at the Board level, and orientation for those new to Oberlin College along others. You can read more about the work of the committee this semester in an article published by the Source here.

Upcoming Events:
This month is packed with a plethora of events, including the Global Issues Symposium: Climate Change Consequences:  Disruption, Migration, and the Development of Resilient Communities and Oberlin Ecolympics 2016 running April 8 – 22. For a full view of events visit the Environmental Events calendar:

April 4The Future of Higher Education in a Hotter Time: Presentation and Discussion with Dr. Anthony Cortese @ 7:30PM in Hallock Auditorium – Anthony Cortese is one of the forefathers of the campus sustainability movement. He will be giving a public presentation on climate change the future of higher education.
April 6-8Global Issues Symposium Climate Change Consequences: Disruption, Migration, and the Development of Resilient Communities @ various locations: The symposium and related events, seeks to address both the global urgency of climate change and the possibilities of climate resilient action in communities around the world. Full program can be viewed at:
April 9: Sustainability Careers Symposium @ 9AM – 5:30PM in AJLC: This day-long series of events will bring together current Oberlin students with alumni and other Ohio-local professionals to help students figure out how your academic careers can be translated into successful professional ones. [Calendar] [Facebook]
April 10: AJLC Open House @ 2-4PM in the AJLC: The AJLC Open House is an event for Oberlin, town and college – and anyone! – to come explore the award-winning Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC). Listen to live music, tour the building, sample local food, make art projects, and more. The AJLC is located at 122 Elm Street in Oberlin. [Calendar] [Facebook]
April 13: Triple Divide Film Screening & Discussion @ 6:30-9PM in the Hallock Auditorium (AJLC): Triple Divide is a documentary film by Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman that chronicles hydraulic natural gas fracking in north central Pennsylvania. The film uses science and first-hand interviews to examine impacts on the local environment and human health. The film uncovers the haphazard way that natural gas has been exploited in PA and illustrates through painstaking investigative journalism inadequacies of current safety measures and industry standards. Q&A with the film-makers to follow.
April 14: OES Hangout: Ecolympics Edition @ 4:30PM in Wilder 112: In celebration of Ecolympics, this month’s OES Hangout will be Ecolympics-themed. We will share exciting events, discuss what you can do to reduce your resource consumption for the competition and beyond, and hangout and enjoy some delicious food. Bring a vegan dish to share or come enjoy provided food and community. [Calendar] [Facebook]
April 17Hair Recycling @ 1-3PM in the AJLC: This event is an Oberlin favorite! Need a trim? Free haircuts by volunteer student haircutters. All hair will be donated to help clean up oil spills.
April 21The Sexual Politics of Meat Slideshow and Banquet with Carol Adams @ 7:30PM in Craig Auditorium (Science Center, 119 Woodland St.): Carol Adams will be presenting “The Sexual Politics of Meat Slide Show,” an evolving 1 hour dynamic and challenging presentation that draws upon images of women and animals in contemporary popular culture to discuss oppressive attitudes. It draws upon images that have been sent from around the world and is constantly being updated as it tracks changes, regressions, and reiterations of the sexual politics of meat in popular culture. The Slide Show provides an ecofeminist analysis of the interconnected oppressions of sexism, racism, and speciesism by exploring the way popular culture draws on dominant Western philosophical viewpoints regarding race, gender, and species that further objectification. After the presentation, a banquet and book-signing with Carol. Vegan cheese and crackers and cookies will be served.
April 22Earth Day Lunchtime Yoga @ 12PM in the Philips Multi-Purpose Room (2nd Floor): In celebration of Earth Day 2016 and the conclusion of Ecolympics, come waken your body, connect, and unwind with this special lunchtime yoga session. If you want to release tension, strengthen your mind and body, or just try a yoga for free, this class is for you. Led by Laurie McMillin and Kazim Ali, this program welcomes all in or around the Oberlin community regardless of fitness or yoga experience level.
April 22: Earth Day Field Day @ Wilder Bowl @ 2-3PM: Come play to celebrate the Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES)’s 10 year anniversary. This Earth Day Field Day will consist of fun activities like tug-of-war, pin-the-leaf on the tree, materials toss, hopscotch, and more! We will have delicious cookies and more.

See more events or add yours to the Environmental Events Calendar here:

In light of Oberlin Ecolympics 2016 coming up in one week, let’s take a look back to participation in the competition last year.

Last year during the 3 weeks of Ecolympics 2015, over 200people attended our 38 events. In the dorm competition, 9,744 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity was reduced. That’s enough to power 135 laptop computers for a full year. Meanwhile, the dining co-ops conserved 1,354 kWh. In the dorm water competition, over 56,000 gallons were saved! That’s enough water to fill about 2,300 bathtubs.

The Oberlin Public Schools will be participating in Ecolympics for a third year. Last year, Prospect Elementary upheld their winning title for the second time and took home the prize for greatest reduction in electricity usage, with a 31.3% reduction. The two elementary schools, middle school, and high school together conserved 14,752 kWh, over 5,000 kWh more than the college dorms. Let’s see what we can do this year!

Did you know?
  • The Ecolympics competition generates percentage reductions from a baseline time period before the competition to during the competition. This means you’re competing to reduce against yourself! So regardless of how big or small or new or old your dorm is, you have an equal chance at winning.
  • Because Ecolympics measures electricity and water reduction, seasonal weather changes do not affect Ecolympics results. Dorms are heated with steam which is not part of the competition. So your actions really are what’s at play!

Green Tips

  • Study Together: Instead of studying in your room by yourself, study in a lounge or library with others. That way only one space needs to be lit instead of multiple. Bonus points? Find a space with natural light.
  • Shower less: You heard that right. Taking shorter or fewer showers saves water. Shortening your shower by just 3 minutes saves over 2,500 gallons of water over a year. Want to save more? Turn off the water while you soap up.
  • Get Involved: This month there are ample opportunities to get involved, especially if you’re in Oberlin. Come on out to an event and expand your mind and connect with others. Applying a mindset of sustainability to whatever activity you’re engaged in and building a culture that enacts these principles is more effective than simple actions alone. & You might even have fun!



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