From the desk of OES:
I feel like I always start these saying that there is a lot going on. This month is an exception, in the sense that there is even moregoing on than usual. Oberlin Ecolympics 2017 kicks off this Friday, April 14. During this time, college dorms and co-ops and the city schools will compete to reduce their electricity and water use. At the same time, faculty/staff offices will be encouraged to reduce their consumption AND everyone is invited to the community events series. There will be approximately 30 events during the three-weeks of Ecolympics!
Tomorrow Remember the Bees will kick off Ecolympics with a concert at 7pm in Tappan Square. On Monday, there will be an Ecolympics OES Hangout followed up a student environmental activism panel and conversation featuring 10 Oberlin College organizations. Wednesday we take over the Apollo for a screening of Before the Flood. And that’s only a selection in the first few days. We have a terrific line-up of events. I am excited to see you at many of the incredible programs offered this month!
At the same time as Ecolympics, there will also be two marches with Oberlin representation. Demonstrations are planned on two consecutive weekends this month. On Earth Day, the March for Science will take place in Cleveland, DC, and other cities across the country. Then the very next weekend, the People’s Climate March will take place in DC with a nearby satellite march in Cleveland on April 29. Scholarships are available for those who would like to attend. Check out this form: here or this facebook post with more information.
With Earth Day coming up and all of the events around it, I find it’s a good time to reflect, appreciate, and participate. Take a moment to gaze at the beauty of the flowers opening their faces on campus and all around you. Appreciate the resources available to us and all the work that goes into supporting our lives. Go to events with your friends. Get involved in efforts. Participate. Jane Goodall says “you cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
News & Announcements:
- Ecolympics 2017: Oberlin Ecolympics 2017 will take place April 14 – May 5! College residences will compete to reduce water and electricity in the first two weeks, and the city school will compete the next two weeks. Throughout the entire three-week competition, there will be an array of exciting events, including film screenings, DIY workshops, speakers, panels, and more! Students, sign up here to pledge your participation and check out the website with standings and events here.
- Faculty and Staff Invited to Participate in Ecolympics: While the Ecolympics events series has always been open to all, this year faculty and staff are invited to participate in the competitive component of Ecolympics. To get involved, all you have to do is fill out this Google Form: https://goo.gl/forms/h0Y16yspXMb5pzrF2 with the behaviors you will adopt during Ecolympics. Individuals will be entered to win prizes AND the office with the highest commitments per staff # will win a GRAND PRIZE! We hope you will participate by reducing your environmental footprint and therefore Oberlin College’s during the competition.
- STARS: The Office of Environmental Sustainability submitted our updated Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS) Report to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The report, nearly 300 pages long, is in the review process. After review by AASHE staff and corrections made by OES, the report will be public. We are excited for years of data collection to be made available! The report will show where Oberlin College stands on a comprehensive measures of institutional sustainability. Data was collected from 153 contributors. Thank you to everyone who participated! Fingers crossed that next month we will have a STARS rating and a public report.
- Visitors: We hosted the President of Bethany College as well as the Director of Development for Special Projects for a tour highlighting some of Oberlin’s unique sustainability features. We visited the solar array as well as the Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC). The visitors also learned about our Committee on Environmental Sustainability and STARS.
- Denison Student Summit: A small group of Oberlin students traveled to Denison University for a student summit representing the Ohio 5 schools. The event kicked off with an energetic presentation by the Yes Men. There were presentations from each school on their progress, followed discussion. The event closed with a presentation by activist, Madonna Thunderhawk, who most recently resisted the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.
- Interim VP of Finance Named: Last week, Alan Norton was named the Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration at Oberlin College. The Office of Environmental Sustainability reports to this position. We look forward to meeting Alan and thank Mike for all of his leadership and support.
- EnviroAlums Fellowship: Oberlin College EnviroAlums is excited to announce that we are accepting applications for summer 2017 Fellowships. The Fellowship financially supports Oberlin students who seek to gain real-world experience in sustainability internships. Up to $3,000 per internship is available. Applications for summer 2017 are due April 17th. Apply here: https://new.oberlin.edu/office/alumni-affiliate-groups/enviro-alums/fellowship.dot
- Greenscene: If you’re looking for a job, internship, event, or sustainability-related discussion, the local Oberlin Greenscene listserv is a good place for updates. You can subscribe by emailing email@example.com with NO SUBJECT and only the following command in the body (delete your signature if you have one): subscribe greenscene
For a full view of events visit the Environmental Events calendar: http://new.oberlin.edu/office/environmental-sustainability/events/Ecolympics 2017 starts on April 14th! Here is a mere sampling of some of the awesome community events taking place during this years competition:
April 17th: OES Hangout: Ecolympics Edition from 4:30PM-5:30PM @ Wilder 115: Join the OES and friends for this month’s OES Hangout! We will be sharing delicious vegan fare and discussing Ecolympics. Hope you can join us!
April 17th: Sustainability and Environmental Activism at Oberlin from 7:00pm-8:30pm @ Wilder 101: With so much environmental action demanding our attention today, it can be hard to even know where to start or which direction to head in. This event is a chance for students all across campus to come talk about what their clubs or organizations are doing to promote sustainability and environmental justice, in the hopes of creating opportunities for collaboration and support, as well as to inform students looking for ways to take action about how they can get involved! Representatives from various sustainability or environmental justice related organizations will be present. All are welcome to come share ideas, frustrations, questions, and answers!
April 18th: Slow Train Sustainability Trivia from 9-10:30pm @ The Slow Train Cafe: Come enjoy a conservation and sustainability-themed trivia night at Slow Train as part of the Ecolympics kick-off! Get drinks, snacks, and prizes provided by Slow Train and the Office of Environmental Sustainability. Teams sign up at 8:30 and trivia starts at 9, but get there early for a seat!
April 19th: Before the Flood from 7-9pm @ The Apollo Theater: From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award®-winning actor, environmental activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent the disruption of life on our planet. DiCaprio says “this documentary shows how interconnected the fate of all humanity is — but also the power we all possess as individuals to build a better future for our planet.” This event is sponsored by POWER, Interfaith Light and Power, Oberlin College Office of Environmental Sustainability, and many more. This event is part of Oberlin Ecolympics and is free and open to the public.
April 19th: Wilder Night! presented by the SIC (feat. the RCT, Planned Parenthood, HIV Peer Testers, the Comix Collective, PRSM, and others) from 9-11pm @ Wilder Main: A collaboration between many groups featuring a bunch of awesome events/activities, including: Free haircuts*, Free STI testing, Free HIV testing, Zine making, interactive consent workshops, opiate overdose prevention training, lotion-making, tarot card readings, pizza, and snacks.
April 20th: Perceptions of Environmental Injustices Among Black Americans: A Talk by Dr. Christie Parris from 4:30-5:30PM in King 323: In the United States, there is a great deal of environmental injustice. Previous research indicates that communities of color and poor communities are more likely to be exposed to environmental burdens, while white and middle- and upper-class neighborhoods are more likely to experience environmental benefits. Although there is substantial research on general justice evaluations, there is a lack of information regarding how specific individual-level racial and environmental factors influence evaluations of environmental injustices. This presentation explores these evaluations within the context of the Black community.
April 24th: Truth to Power: Writing Science to Your Representatives from 7-8:30pm @ Science Center Bent Corridor: Harnessing the monumental energy of the recent Science March on D.C., we are providing an opportunity for students and faculty to gather to communicate directly with government officials about important science-related issues. Five work stations, each with a designated topic—climate change, funding for basic science research, science and policy, fracking and healthcare, and Great Lakes Funding—will be set up in the Science Center’s Bent Corridor. Each table will hold the appropriate resources for students to: 1) view and discuss translations of technical writing for a general audience, 2) acquire information and instruction on effective communication styles, and 3) create a mail-ready postcard or letter to send to legislators.
May 1: Racing Extinction from 7-8:30PM @ Hallock Auditorium (AJLC): Racing Extinction is a film about the Anthropogenic mass extinction of species occurring on Earth. Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) teams up with artists, activists, scientists, and more to expose the world to the issues of endangered species and mass extinctions with never before seen images in this beautiful film. Free & all are welcome!
See more events or add yours to the Environmental Events Calendar here: http://new.oberlin.edu/office/environmental-sustainability/events/
As we gear up for #OCecolympics2017, here’s a look at the resource conservation achieved in a past competition, in numbers:
In 2015, the dorms saved a total of 9,744 kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough electricity to power 135 laptop computers for a full year. Harkness topped the charts in dorm electricity conservation, with a 30.4% reduction in electricity use. Fairchild won the co-op kitchen electricity conservation competition, with a 10.1% reduction. Together, the dining co-ops conserved 1,354 kWh. Dorms and co-op kitchens combined saved a total of 11,098 kWh of electricity,
The water conservation competition was a wild success! The dorms reduced their consumption by over 56,000 gallons, enough water to fill about 2,300 bathtubs. Johnson House was the clear frontrunner, managing an impressive 56.9% reduction in their water usage! That reduction in water usage means that an estimated 457 pounds of CO2 were not released into the air!
This year was the 2nd year that the Oberlin Public Schools participated in the Ecolympics competition, and Prospect Elementary upheld their title and once again 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. Oberlin College students, take note!
- Be a Resource Saving Superstar: Ecolympics is the perfect time to go ham with conservation, or to practice skills that will help you reduce resource consumption during the competition and beyond! Your individual actions make a real difference. Turning off the lights when you leave a room, working in communal spaces and areas with natural light, taking shorter, more temperate showers and turning off the faucet when you are washing, brushing, or shaving are all easy ways to make a big difference!
- Give a Sh*t for the Environment: Ecolympics also means it’s time for the AJLC’s annual Poop Campaign! During the Ecolympics competition, give a sh*t for the environment by using the bathroom in the AJLC. The Living Machine filters waste water from all the toilets in the building and recycles it so it can be used in the toilets again! Using the bathroom in the AJLC not only reduces water consumption, the winner of the Poop Campaign will receive an awesome prize!
Check out our list of How You Can Reduce for more Ecolympics conservation tips.