Tag Archive for sustainability

Wesleyan Recognized for Efforts Diverting Food Waste

#THISISWHY

For the second consecutive year, Wesleyan recently was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its work diverting food waste. It is the only educational institution in Connecticut to receive a “Regional Food Recovery Achievement Certificate.”

Wesleyan joined the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2013. Through this program, organizations pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report results. Organizations are encouraged to follow the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy to prioritize their actions to prevent and divert food waste. The hierarchy suggests a range of options, from reducing the volume of surplus food generated and donating extra food to hungry people to composting and landfill incineration.

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Usdan’s food waste, in tons.

“Our efforts have resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of food waste from Usdan that is composted—from 17.63 tons in 2013 to 46.98 tons in 2014,” said Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst. When the program began in March 2013, different bins were installed for disposing of different types of food waste. All food waste coming from meal preparation in the kitchen (called pre-consumer waste) is composted in two large Earth Tubs located near Long Lane Farm, while food waste scraped off diners’ plates (called post-consumer waste) is taken off-site to be composted, due to a lack of capacity on-site.

Students Celebrate Fall with Pumpkin Fest, Long Lane Farm Harvest

Students celebrated fall at the annual Pumpkin Fest Oct. 17.

Students celebrated fall at the annual Pumpkin Fest Oct. 17.

Several students are celebrating the fall season at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm. Farm interns are still harvesting pumpkins, peppers, beets, tomatoes, fresh flowers, thyme and other herbs this October. The student-run organic farm is devoted to allowing students a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture. Long Lane students also seek to foster good relationships with local farmers.

On Oct. 17, the College of the Environment hosted its annual Pumpkin Fest at the farm. Participants received farm tours, free veggie burgers, craft opportunities, face paintings and live music performances. Pumpkins, along with other produce, were sold at the festival.

View photos of Pumpkin Fest and the farm below: (Photos by Olivia Drake, Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19 and Will Barr ’18)

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Long Lane Farm at Wesleyan University, Oct. 8, 2015.

Pumpkins, Peppers Harvested at Long Lane Farm

Pumpkins, peppers, beets, tomatoes and thyme are still growing at Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm this October. The student-run organic farm is devoted to allowing students a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture. In addition to weekly meetings, students run work days every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Long Lane students also seek to foster good relationships with local farmers.

The College of the Environment will host its annual Pumpkin Fest from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 17 at the farm. For more information see this flyer.

Photos of the farm on Oct. 8 and 10 are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake and Will Barr ’18)

Long Lane Farm at Wesleyan University, Oct. 8, 2015.

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Recycle Small Electronics, Bulbs, Disks at New Center

Nestled in a small corner of the Exley lobby, just adjacent to the entrance of the newly-renovated Pi Cafe, is a brand-new electronics and alternative materials recycling center.

Nestled in a small corner of the Exley lobby, just adjacent to the entrance of the newly-renovated Pi Cafe, is a new electronics and alternative materials recycling center. The center was provided by Wesleyan’s Office of Sustainability and is accessible to anyone on campus who wishes to recycle items that cannot be recycled in a traditional manner. The center has spaces for small electronics, inkjet/toner cartridges, lead acid batteries, alkaline batteries, CDs/DVDs, and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

New Solar Array to be Constructed on Campus

Wesleyan has hired Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a Middletown-based solar energy company, to construct a new ground-mounted solar array at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Road. The 750 kW-AC solar PV array will produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of clean renewable energy each year.

Construction will begin in spring 2016, and the project is expected to be completed by Sept. 1, 2016. The array will be set back from the road, and screened by the arboretum along Long Lane.

“We are excited to partner with Greenskies on this project, which will take us closer toward our goal of a carbon neutral campus,” said John Meerts, vice president for finance and administration. “The new solar array will help us reduce costs while increasing our energy self-reliance, together with our two natural gas co-generation facilities.”

“When completed, the PV array has the potential to be a great learning opportunity for students and helps to move our campus in a sustainable direction,” said Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst.

The new solar PV array will work in collaboration with two existing natural gas co-generation facilities on the Wesleyan campus and will supply power directly to the university’s existing microgrid. The plan also calls for several campus buildings that are not currently part of the microgrid system to be tied into the network. Read more about Wesleyan’s microgrid here.

Wesleyan currently has three solar arrays on campus: at the Freeman Athletic Center (about 200 kW), at 19 Fountain (7.2 kW), and on the Admission building (about 3 kW).

Wesleyan awarded the project to Greenskies after a competitive bidding process. Wesleyan and Greenskies will enter into a power-purchase agreement, where Greenskies will design, develop, finance, own and maintain the solar installation for the next 20 years at no cost to the university while Wesleyan agrees to purchase 100 percent of the electricity produced at the site at a significantly discounted rate.

Long Lane Farm Interns Sell Produce at North End Farmers Market

Connor Brennan ’18 and Tony Strack ’18 sold produce from Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm Aug. 21 at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Brennan spent the summer working as an intern for the student run organic farm, which provides students with a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture.  The produce grown on Long Lane also is donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry and served to students in Usdan University Center.

Connor Brennan ’18 and Tony Strack ’18 sold produce from Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm Aug. 21 at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Brennan spent the summer working as an intern for the student-run organic farm, which provides students with a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture.
The produce grown on Long Lane also is donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry and served to students in Usdan University Center.

Ben Daley ’18 and Seamus Edson ’18 provided musical entertainment during the North End Farmers Market. Ben also was a summer Long Lane Farm intern.

Ben Daley ’18 and Seamus Edson ’18 provided musical entertainment during the North End Farmers Market. Daley also was a summer Long Lane Farm intern.

Wesleyan Green Team Brainstorms Sustainability Measures

Wesleyan's Green Team focuses on making Wesleyan more environmentally friendly. (Photo Laurie Kenney)

Wesleyan’s Green Team focuses on making Wesleyan more environmentally friendly. (Photos by Laurie Kenney)

On July 31, nine Green Team members and a liaison from the sustainability office met outside the Allbritton Center to discuss their goals for the coming year. The Green Team focuses on finding simple measures that all Wesleyan offices can enact to conserve resources.

Anita Deeg-Carlin, administrative assistant for the Physics Department, who initiated the formation of the team in 2014, led the meeting. The team’s hope this year is to focus on small, practical steps that can spark interest and change among other community members. Anika Dane, administrative assistant in molecular biology and biochemistry, suggested the team look into the DEEP’s adopt-a-park program. The team also hopes to link up with wellness efforts and encourage employees to do a trash pick up during their fitness walks.

The group noted the importance of evaluating the progress they have made over the past year, and decided to conduct reviews of their own offices together as a group. This will help them identify areas that might need improvement.

The team also works with Olga Bookas, director of purchasing, on identifying sustainable products. The Green Team has tried to determine what disposable kitchen products have the lowest footprint. This question does not have a simple answer, and was turned over to Ruby Lang ’17 this summer, in an internship funded by the College of the Environment. Jen Kleindienst, sustainability director and liaison to the Green Team, shared some of the results so far.

“We have to be aware of a product’s entire life cycle,” Kleindienst said. “For example, a ceramic cup has to be used about 15 times before it is considered more sustainable than using disposable cups.” Kleindienst also explained the relatively new reusable Eco-to-Go food container program at Wesleyan.

Roslyn Carrier-Brault, administrative assistant in chemistry, raised the question of what to do with the lost and found items that accumulate in many offices over the course of an academic year. Kleindienst pointed out that the “Waste Not” collection and tag sale on 44 Brainerd Ave. is a great destination for these forgotten items, as well as Wesleyan’s Freecycle list.

Members of Wesleyan's Green Team: (back row, l to r) Blanch Meslin, Dawn Alger, Anika Dane, Anita Deeg-Carlin, Roslyn Carrier-Brault; (front row, l to r) Liz Tinker, Olga Bookas, Valerie Marinelli, Jayana Mitchell.

Members of Wesleyan’s Green Team: (back row, l to r) Blanch Meslin, Dawn Alger, Anika Dane, Anita Deeg-Carlin, Roslyn Carrier-Brault; (front row, l to r) Liz Tinker, Olga Bookas, Valerie Marinelli, Jayana Mitchell.

Liz Tinker, administrative assistant in English, requested ideas for potential “green minute” topics for the next meeting. The green minute is a short Green Team presentation at monthly Academic Affairs meetings that offers easy tips and tricks for reducing waste. Dawn Alger, administrative assistant in Theater, suggested having a catchy slogan, for example, “One Less”, to use as a theme for the semester that would encourage community members to use one less of any item that is inherently wasteful each day. Jayana Mitchell, accounting specialist in Chemistry, pointed out that reminder signs created by Blanche Meslin, administrative assistant for Biology, last year were effective in encouraging department members to “BYO” and should continue to be spread around campus.

Deeg-Carlin brought up the overlap of the goals of the Office of Equity and Inclusion with those of the Sustainability Office, and emphasized the importance of capitalizing on Wesleyan’s rich diversity as a resource for learning about more aspects of sustainability.

Valerie Marinelli wrapped up the meeting by suggesting the team shares their goals for 2015-16 with Provost Joyce Jacobsen and the Office of Academic Affairs. Academic Affairs has been supportive of the Green Team since its beginning in 2014.

Students Explore Sustainable Landscaping at WILD WestCo

Heather Whittemore ’17, who is working on campus this summer, enjoys occasional strolls through the WestCo. courtyard. “I like to check out what’s blooming,” she said.

Heather Whittemore ’17 enjoys strolling through the WestCo. courtyard. “I like to check out what’s blooming,” she said.

In 2011, the student organization WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan), created WILD WestCo, a .75 acre sustainable landscaping initiative in the West College Courtyard. WILD Wes developed a landscape design and implementation plan following a permacultural ethic.

Today, the courtyard features more than 40 shrubs, dozens of fruit trees, two rain gardens, a rainwater catchment system, multiple wood chip pathways lined in rye, clover and buckwheat, a seating area, compost area and hundreds of perennials that draw birds, insects and other wildlife.

The landscape requires minimal resources and maintenance.

As a member of WILD Wes, Heather Whittemore ’17 frequents the courtyard daily throughout the summer.

“I’m really into flowers and gardening. Usually I am into more traditional gardening, but WestCo is really cool because it’s designed using permaculture principles that are much more sustainable and ecological than traditional gardening methods and design, which is important to me as an environmental studies major,” she said.

Photos of the courtyard on July 7 are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

Wesleyan's summer campus, July 2015. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS '08)

California poppy is native to the United States and is the official state flower of California.

Packer ’15 Creates Online Community to Unify Collegiate Sustainability Movement

Brent Packer '15 is the founder of Potlux, which is on track to be the first online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are effectively aggregated and shared.

Brent Packer ’15 is the founder of Potlux, which is on track to be the first online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are effectively aggregated and shared. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY
In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Brent Packer from the Class of 2015. 

Q: Brent, where are you from and what are you majoring in?

A: I was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Growing up nearby Amish farms and having tortoises, dogs and a semi-domesticated duck scampering around my house piqued my environmental interests. At Wesleyan, I’m a member of the College of the Environment with a double major in economics and environmental studies.

Q: You are the founder of Potlux, an online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are aggregated and shared. What is the community’s mission?

A: Our mission is to accelerate global environmental progress by unifying the collegiate sustainability movement. View our pitchdeck online.

Q: When did you come up with the idea for Potlux? When did you begin the project?

Co-Op Provides Local, Sustainable Food Options

The student-run Wesleyan Local Food Co-op sources a large variety of fresh local foods, including Long Lane Farm produce, and distributes them on campus. Besides produce, the co-op distributes fresh dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt and butter), meat, eggs, tofu, seitan, granola, bread and coffee, all locally grown, roasted or made.

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 pick up shares Wednesday evenings in Usdan and help once each semester with organization and distribution. For more information e-mail wesleyanlocalcoop@gmail.com.

Photos of the Co-op in February are below: (Photos by Aviva Hirsch ’16)

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