Archive for the ‘General’ Category
It’s official. We all know that Haverford has a beautiful campus, but it’s nice to know that others do too. Just in time for Arbor Day, the Haverford College Arboretum has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This program recognizes college and university campuses that effectively manage their campus trees, connect with the community to foster healthy urban landscapes and involve the student population with learning opportunities centered on campus, community and forestry efforts.
This national award, however, goes beyond beauty to the ecological benefits of trees. Planting and maintaining trees reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Trees also significantly reduce the amount of energy a campus and community need to generate. Finally, green spaces give students, faculty and staff a setting to relax with others or on their own, ultimately providing a better environment for learning.
Speaking of Arbor Day, mark your calendars for Friday, April 27 at noon and come to Chase Hall where Haverford will mark its 112th annual celebration of this national event by planting the yellow-blooming magnolia, ‘Elizabeth.’
Over the last few years nothing has generated more discussion in Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER) meetings than how to dispose of our food waste.
Let me give you a brief history…
In 2008 CER hired a consultant, Niche Recycling, to do a waste audit to determine how much we were really sending to the landfill. Turns out quite a bit. Food waste alone was running over 4,500 lbs. That’s almost two tons folks!!
To help offset this, CER agreed to compost pre-consumer waste. For 18 months, three times a week, the front end loader picked up pre-consumer waste and composted it.
During this time, CER was working with Niche Recycling to bring in-vessel composting to campus. In-vessel composting officially defined is: “The aerobic decomposition of shredded and mixed organic waste within an enclosed container, where the control systems for material degradation are fully automated”. Sound expensive?? Yup!
CER was not deterred by this fact, we figured where there’s a will, there’s a way. Vendors were brought in to look at the dining center to find out what was feasible. Turns out that the dining center is “old” and would not support a lot of the technology.
So, where are we now?
A year or so ago we went trayless. Studies suggest that going trayless reduces food waste up to 30%. It’s always better to reduce before you recycle.
And, we’re still tracking. Better Together, a Quaker Interfaith Group, collected food waste as part of an awareness initiative. Their findings were astounding. Over 600 lbs per day!
The latest endeavor brings Bryn Mawr College into the mix. Because of consumers demanding greener alternatives to landfills, waste companies are starting to offer programs where they will pick up food waste and take it to composting facilities. On March 19th, 2012 Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges will be working with Republic Waste Services on another trial to see how the two colleges can work together to help solve this issue.
It is with great enthusiasm that I introduce the newest Fund available on Haverford’s campus – The Greening Haverford Fund. Designed as a carbon offset initiative of the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC) in partnership with the Committee of Environmental Responsibility (CER), the Fund will allow Haverford to further engross itself in environmental integration, learning and activism. Support is available to all Haverford College students upon acceptance of their proposal and the scope of Fund is intentionally broad, including (but not limited to) the financing of on- or off-campus initiatives, conferences, workshops, speakers and events related to environmental sustainability.
For more details about the application, please visit our website at: www.haverford.edu/greening_haverford/greening_haverford_fund/. Also, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or ideas you might have. We look forward to receiving our first applications!
I work in Alumni Relations & Annual Giving and meet with alumni regularly. I recently met with Seth Heald ’75 in Washington, D.C. He is passionate about climate change. He forwarded me the following information and links that may be interesting for you.
Here are some links to news about Washington and Lee’s solar project, the largest in Virginia.
This has gotten a lot of press because of Dominion Virginia Power’s attempt to block the project. The press may be more valuable to the climate movement than the reduction in greenhouse gases directly attributable to installing the solar panels. A good example of how a college showing some leadership on an issue can have an impact on the larger community.
by Jonathan Wilson, assistant professor of biology
Editor’s Note: Last semester Jon joined program Chairman Helen White, chemistry professor, and Nikhil Anand, anthropology professor, in the college’s new environmental studies interdisciplinary program which aims to bring students and faculty together to explore the interactions among earth systems, human societies, and local and global environments. This article is taken from the arboretum newsletter.
I’m a new tenure-track faculty member in the Biology Department, and I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I came to Haverford last summer as part of the new Tri-Co (Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore) Environmental Studies program after two years as a geobiology postdoc at the California Institute of Technology. I did my undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University in computer science and Earth and planetary sciences, and at Harvard University wrote my dissertation on the physiology of extinct plants.
My primary area of interest is using mathematical modeling to quantify the trade-offs plants make to maximize carbon dioxide uptake and minimize water loss.
Four Haverford biology majors are working on their senior thesis projects in the lab: Kelsey Capron, Emily Dutrow, Anna Rayne, and Rebecca Tobet. Our current lab projects include: the comparative physiology of leafless ferns, investigating whether leaf fossils faithfully record deep-time environmental change, vascular plant response to simulated herbivory, and the biomechanics and cell wall chemistry of sphenopsid fossils
We will be working closely with the Arboretum staff, which has provided crucial support for plant science in the biology curriculum. As projects develop, you’ll hear more. Stay tuned to this space!
Yesterday student gardeners helped gather the final harvest of the season! We pulled up two full boxes of radishes, some beets, kale, lettuce and chives. We have so many radishes that we are donating some to Haverford’s Dining Services, so look out for the local pink veggie in the DC!
This harvest represents the end of another very successful season in which we produced a variety of crops, increased student involvement in the garden, and provided food for students living in the apartments, including community housing such as Ehaus and Quaker House. In order to celebrate this feat Ehaus will be using the veggies harvested in the weekly Thursday community dinner. Community dinner is open to anyone and takes place at 6:30 in Apartment 15.
With the end of this season the Student Garden is beginning to look forward to many exciting things in the spring. We are planning to build a cold frame over one of the raised beds to extend the growing season and to expand the garden by planting an orchard and building a few more raised beds. We are also exploring options to get honeybees on Haverford’s campus! And as always we are looking for new ideas from anyone and everyone!
Isaac Ellman and Ruben Land pick lettuce.
There is no all-conclusive vision of a sustainable future. The term “sustainable,” by itself, carries extensively different definitions depending on whom you ask. However, despite these discrepancies, one incontestable necessity toward an environmentally conscious future is collaboration. Haverford College took a mighty step in this direction last Friday by holding its first ever Sustainability Summit.
This conference, hosted by the Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CER) in conjunction with the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (CPGC), brought together on-campus environmental actors including students, staff and faculty. The purpose of the Summit was first and foremost to foster holistic lines of communication and to enable utmost learning and efficiency within our environmental missions. For while technology and its innovation greatly advance our community toward a future of sustainability, it is real discussion, communication and collaboration that serve as the foundation for environmental change. The Summit succeeded in acting as a bridge between inspired idealism and real solutions.
The discussions began with presentations on past and current initiatives, including but not limited to: CER’s Green Office Program and Devereux Bike Sale; Facilities Management’s locational survey for Photovoltaic Panel installation; E-Haus’s community vegetarian meal provision; Institutional Advancement’s funding of Environmental Studies Department faculty; and the waste reduction mission of the Better Together Campaign. Looking forward, future plans included: an HCA Orchard; electric vehicle-charging stations; a Haverford Garden educational workshop; a Fair Trade sale; a carbon offsetting program; and enhanced composting and recycling systems. Needless to say, it was an exciting meeting filled with enthused ideas, lively discussion and collaborative solutions. More tangibly, the Summit produced a petition stating our vested interest in a Haverford College Presidential candidate who places a primary focus on sustainability.
The impetus for, and main topic of, the Sustainability Summit was achievement through efficient communication. While this initial Summit was not open to the entirety of the Haverford community, this does not signify any sort of organizational isolation. The new CER website (www.haverford.edu/greening_haverford/cer/) and GO! Board subforum are spaces of virtual environmental discussion where issues, ideas, plans and general inquiries are encouraged. Please help in planning a pathway toward a sustainable future.
- Steve Griffith ’12
While cruising the Sierra Club’s website a couple weeks ago I came across Ecofont. I’m sure a lot of environmental types out there are saying “where have you been?” While I consider myself an environmental type, I’m a new member of the Sierra Club where this article was featured.
Ecofont is a software program developed by the Dutch. The software prints fonts with holes to save ink toner and reduce printing costs, supposedly up to 50% depending on who’s reporting. When typing, it literally looks like Swiss Cheese. When printing, however, the ink bleeds and you can’t tell the difference from traditional fonts.
Of course I wanted to test this out. Before downloading the free version I did a little checking. It appears that Ecofont has been around for years and has won several awards. It’s also been reviewed by quite a few national and international publications, all generally giving it the thumbs up.
I start typing away, and yes, it looks a little strange. I printed out my document; no holes! Wow, they could be onto something here. Of course it’s difficult to test unless you do a lot of printing and know what you spend on ink. I figure I’ll use it until my free trial runs out.
Try it for yourself at: www.ecofont.com/
Composting food waste at Haverford has been a hot topic for the last few years. The Dining Center, our biggest waste producer, throws out about a 1,000 lbs of food a day! Wow!! Considering we’re only 1100 students, that’s significant. Students are really getting in on the action about bringing awareness about food waste. Better Together, a new interfaith social justice club that is organizing a year-long direct action campaign that seeks to reduce food, water and electronic waste at Haverford, recently weighed the post-consumer waste from the DC. They figured that each student wasted about 140z per person. This is all post-consumer, we haven’t even started talking about pre-consumer… Hopefully in the next couple years we’ll be able to do in-vessel composting at the DC.
Students in the Haverford College Apartments (HCA), have also been hot on the composting topic. With the installation of the student vegetable garden and adding fruit production next year, the need for soil amendment is growing (pun intended). We’ve had slightly better success here. Over the last few years we have been adding composters for students to recycle their kitchen and garden waste. We just added a fourth Mantis ComposT-Twin, which work great for us as they hold a lot of material (25 cubic feet). They also have a dual chamber which allows students to fill one side while the other side “cooks.”
Faculty have also gotten the composting bug. Taking a ride around campus the other day I counted 4 composting containers outside faculty housing. I’ve also gotten requests for us to supply containers which, of course, I oblige in any way I can. We recently added two Compost Wizards behind a faculty apartment house, with the hope that we can get more faculty in the composting habit.
While not food waste, I did want to mention Grounds and Arboretum. Recently I had to calculate how much “yard waste” we compost for our Green House Gas emissions report. Haverford recycles between 95-98% of its green waste. That breaks down to 4,500 cubic feet of woodchips, 31,500 cubic feet of leaves and 21,600 cubic feet of general garden waste. Woodchips are aged and used for mulch while the leaves and green material are composted down and used on the community gardens.
While I know I’m getting long winded here I did want to mention how tough it is to educate people, especially on a large scale, on the proper way to compost. Teaching students and faculty that you can’t fill the container all the way up, and that you have to add a carbon source can sometimes be draining. On the flip side however, CER student Siena M. does a great job on spreading the word. Kudos to Siena.
Next step, Vermicomposting