Tag Archive for sustainability

Former EPA Chief Headlines Campus Sustainability Conference

alliance-logo-300x233On March 31, Wesleyan hosted #BeTheChange, Connecticut’s annual Campus Sustainability Conference, featuring former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy as the keynote speaker. Organized by the Connecticut Alliance for Campus Sustainability, the theme of the day-long conference was “Engagement and Empowerment around Climate Change: Fostering Inspiration and Action at the Local Level.”

About 150 students, staff and faculty from the state’s public and private colleges attended the conference, which also included workshop sessions on climate and sustainability action; empowerment on campus; engaging in state policy and legislation; engaging in community and municipal action; and engaging at the grassroots level. Several community members, business representatives and government representatives also attended.

McCarthy was appointed EPA chief in 2013 by former President Barack Obama. One landmark of her four-year tenure occurred in 2015 when she signed the Clean Power Plan, setting the first national standards for reducing carbon emissions produced by power plants. Under McCarthy’s direction, the EPA also made strides in curbing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening chemical safety regulations, and protecting water resources.

EPA Recognizes Wesleyan for Reducing, Diverting Food Waste

As part of Wesleyan's sustainability efforts, the Wesleyan Student Association Dining Committee removed all trays from the Usdan Marketplace in 2009. The "traylessness" action is one way Wesleyan has worked to reduce food waste. 

As part of Wesleyan’s sustainability efforts, the Wesleyan Student Association Dining Committee removed all trays from the Usdan Marketplace in 2009. The “traylessness” initiative is one way Wesleyan is working to reduce food waste at the university.

For the third year in a row, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Wesleyan with a Regional Food Recovery Achievement Certificate for its efforts reducing and diverting food waste. Wesleyan is among 26 organizations and institutions to receive the honor in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

This also is the third year Wesleyan has participated in the EPA’s New England Food Recovery Challenge.

“These organizations are showing that protecting the environment, saving money and feeding the hungry can go hand in hand,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It’s true year-round, but especially important to keep in mind during the holidays when family and friends gather to enjoy celebratory meals, that our food should feed people and not landfills.”

According to Wesleyan’s Sustainability Director Jennifer Kleindienst, Wesleyan continues to improve its compost-to-trash ratio is Usdan’s dining facilities. “This is due to a number of factors, the best I can see is improved understanding of what is/isn’t compostable and switching to all compostable disposable products in dining locations,” Kleindienst said. “We’ve been doing a lot to reduce food waste and our compost interns and Eco Facilitators have been busy talking to fellow students about what is/isn’t compostable and how they can play a role.”

Wesleyan Celebrates Installation of Its New Solar Photovoltaic System

City of Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew, Wesleyan President Michael Roth, and former Vice President for Finance and Administration John Meerts participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 1 for Wesleyan's new photo

City of Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew, Wesleyan President Michael Roth, and former Vice President for Finance and Administration John Meerts participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 1 for Wesleyan’s new ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system. Following the ceremony, President Roth and Meerts flipped on the switch that activated the 25-panel system.

On Nov. 1, Wesleyan celebrated the installation of a 750 kW-AC ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system, or solar farm, located near Physical Plant, at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street.

Wesleyan Local Food Co-Op Open to Campus Community

Wesleyan students, staff and faculty may join the Local Food Co-Op. Fresh produce, dairy items, bread and roasted items are delivered to Wesleyan once a week throughout the academic year for pick-up.

Wesleyan students, staff and faculty may join the Local Food Co-Op. Fresh produce, dairy items, bread and roasted items are delivered to Wesleyan once a week throughout the academic year for pick-up.

The student-run Wesleyan Local Food Co-op sources a large variety of fresh foods and distributes them on campus. The co-op offers locally grown produce, fresh dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt, butter and ice cream), meat, eggs, tofu, seitan, preserves, bread and coffee.

eve_coop_2015-0218181028Sign up for the co-op online by Sept. 21 and pay from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 28 in Daniel Family Commons.

The program began solely for students but is now open to staff and faculty participation in the wake of expressed interest. More than 500 members of the Wesleyan community are part of one or more co-ops.

Participants can pick up their shares on Wednesday evenings in the Usdan Multi-Purpose Room on the ground floor and must volunteer once each semester with organization and distribution.

For more information e-mail wesleyanlocalcoop@gmail.com.

Green Team Hosts Mini-Bin Workshop

The Wesleyan Green Team hosted a mini-trash bin talk and workshop Aug. 10 at the Theater Department’s studio building. Dawn Alger, Theater Department administrative assistant and Green Team member led the workshop.

The Wesleyan Green Team hosted a mini-trash bin workshop and discussion Aug. 10 at the Theater Department’s studio building. Dawn Alger, Theater Department administrative assistant and Green Team member (pictured fifth from right, in back) led the workshop. “We’d love to see all staff and faculty members at Wesleyan use mini-bins in place of standard trash cans,” Alger said. “You’ll be surprised to see how little trash you create in a week.”

Mini-bins are small containers that are used in place of standard waste receptacles. They encourage recycling and reduce the number of trash can liners used on campus.

Mini-bins are small containers that are used in place of standard waste receptacles. They encourage recycling and reduce the number of trash can liners used on campus. Pictured are workshop participants Jordan Nyberg, program and events coordinator for the Office of Admission and Laura McQueeney, administrative assistant for the Office of Admission.

Wesleyan’s Campus Boasts Natural Landscapes, Meadows, Wildflowers

Wesleyan’s campus is home to 89 acres of natural areas. These meadow areas are only mowed once a year and are home to wildflowers, native grasses and provide food and homes for wildlife. As part of the Wesleyan Sustainability Grounds Initiatives, the university is in the process of expanding no-mow areas across campus.

Hundreds of lupines grow in a meadow near Physical Plant on Long Lane. Hundreds of lupines grow in a meadow near Physical Plant on Long Lane.

Hundreds of lupines grow in a meadow near Physical Plant on Long Lane.

Siry Speaks on Energy and Modern Architecture

As part of Wesleyan’s Earth Month celebration, the College of the Environment presented a talk on “Energy and Modern Architecture 1935-2015” April 7. Joe Siry, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities and processor of art and art history, led the discussion.

As part of Wesleyan’s Earth Month celebration, the College of the Environment presented a talk on “Energy and Modern Architecture 1935-2015” April 7. Joe Siry, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities and processor of art and art history, led the discussion.

Siry teaches the history of modern architecture and urbanism at Wesleyan. His current book in progress is titled “Before Sustainability: Air Conditioning and Modern Architecture 1890-1970.”Siry teaches the history of modern architecture and urbanism at Wesleyan. His current book in progress is titled “Before Sustainability: Air Conditioning and Modern Architecture 1890-1970.”

Siry teaches the history of modern architecture and urbanism at Wesleyan. His current book in progress is titled “Before Sustainability: Air Conditioning and Modern Architecture 1890-1970.”

Siry traced the history of ideas about energy usage in architecture, especially those related to air condition from the era of the Great Depression, to the first efforts of energy conservation after World War II, the redirection of architecture following the energy crises of the 1970s and the contemporary idea of zero-energy buildings.

Siry traced the history of ideas about energy usage in architecture, especially those related to air condition from the era of the Great Depression, to the first efforts of energy conservation after World War II, the redirection of architecture following the energy crises of the 1970s and the contemporary idea of zero-energy buildings.

New Solar Farm, Panels Help Generate Electricity on Campus

Solar panels on the Office of Admission were installed in 2009.

Solar panels on the Office of Admission were installed in 2009. Construction on a new solar farm will begin May 2016 near the rugby field on Long Lane. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

This month, Wesleyan is celebrating its progress toward a sustainable campus and is about to embark on an exciting new project – the creation of a solar farm that will supply 1.2 million kilowatt hours of clean renewable energy each year and expand the university’s use of solar energy by six-fold.

“The solar farm will be a highly visible sign of our progress, but our commitment to sustainability is embedded in everything we do,” said Jennifer Kleindienst, sustainability director at Wesleyan.

Energy use has the greatest impact on Wesleyan’s carbon footprint, and efficiency and conservation programs, as well as expansion of renewable energy sources are all a part of the university’s strategy. Preparations for construction of a solar photovoltaic (PV) “farm” will begin in May, and it is expected to be operational by the fall. The solar farm will be located on the south end of Wesleyan’s Long Lane property near the rugby field.

Solar panels were installed on a student residence on Fountain Avenue in October 2008

Solar panels were installed on a student residence on 19 Fountain Avenue in October 2008.

The new solar farm, which will be owned and operated by the local company Greenskies, will produce about 5 percent of Wesleyan’s annual electric consumption, complementing the three existing solar arrays on campus at the Office of Admission, the Freeman Athletic Center, and 19 Fountain Avenue. When the array becomes operational, Wesleyan will be generating 92 percent of its power needs through natural gas co-generation and solar.

Wesleyan received its first solar panels in October 2008. Thirty-two solar panels were installed on the rooftop of a new senior house on Fountain Avenue. The entire house is Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR certified.

In September 2009 John Nordeman ’99 and Matthew Rudey ’99, co-owners of renewable energy company Just Energy (JE), installed panels on the Office of Admission. Wesleyan has a contract with JE to purchase all the electricity the system produces for the next 10 years. The Admissions building uses about 110,000 kWh annually. The panels create electricity at a maximum output of 3 kW and will produce about 3,000 kW hours annually towards that annual usage.

The solar roof mounted array at Freeman Athletic Center consists of 330 panels, each capable of making 280 watts of electrical energy. In sum, the arrays are expected to make approximately 200,000 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, or about 7 million kWh over their 35 year life span.

The solar roof mounted array at Freeman Athletic Center consists of 330 panels, each capable of making 280 watts of electrical energy. The system was installed in December 2011.

The solar roof mounted array at Freeman Athletic Center consists of 330 panels, each capable of making 280 watts of electrical energy. In sum, the arrays are expected to make approximately 200,000 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, or about 7 million kWh over their 35 year life span.