December 2012 Newsletter
In this month's issue:
- Bye Bye Bottled Water
- Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study
- Clean Energy Fund Ideas Call
- CEF-Funded Climate Action Seminar Concludes
- Envisioning Environment
- Book shelf
Celebrating success! On December 5, 2012 at lunchtime on the last day of classes, UVM celebrated the end of bottled water sales on campus with a Bottled Water Retirement Party, unveiling a sculpture entitled "Inherently Unstable and Prone to Collapse: A Monument to Waste" (see the news release). UVM Art Department faculty member Beth Haggart teamed up with art students and a wide range of UVM and community members to create an arch built of used plastic beverage bottles for the event, which featured speakers, games, taste tests, and discounted water bottles. The event attracted media attention, including a December 12 editorial in the Boston Globe, Kicking the bottled-water habit and articles in the Burlington Free Press, WAMC radio, and Vermont Public Radio.
The student voice in this decision rang clear, with presentations at the party by former and current VSTEP leaders Mikayla McDonald (’10) and Ilana Copel (’13), and quotations in several articles. Kudos to students of VSTEP for their perseverance over many years!
Bottled water sales end January 1, 2013. To find a nearby bottle-filling station or learn more, visit http://www.uvm.edu/bottledwater.
Photo by Sally McCay
On November 13 Clough, Harbour & Associates (CHA) presented the results of the Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study (CCREFS) to the Clean Energy Fund (CEF) Committee. The CCREFS was a CEF funded project conducted by CHA in partnership with Facilites Design & Construction, Physical Plant, Campus Master Planning, Capital Planning, the Office of Sustainability, and CEF summer interns.
The CEF Call for Ideas was open October 1 through November 16 — over 40 great ideas were submitted by UVM faculty, staff, and students, including solar-powered bike shelters (submitted by BUG and the TRC), hybrid streetlights powered by wind, and renewable energy cold storage. People also participated by voting and commenting on ideas. Check out the list of innovative ideas and see which projects garnered the most votes. The deadline for commenting and voting on ideas was November 30, 2012. The CEF Committee, comprised of six UVM students, as well as faculty and staff, will review the ideas over the coming months and issue funding in the spring. The Clean Energy Fund is a student initiative that generates $225,000/year from student fees to implement renewable energy projects on campus.
The Climate Action Seminar concluded on December 3 with presentations by four local carbon offset projects. After a semester learning about local climate adaptation and mitigation strategies and policy in Vermont and around the country, students were asked to evaluate the carbon offset projects, and consider under what criteria UVM should purchase offsets. Carbon offsets may be one mechanism the University uses to meet its carbon neutrality goals. The Climate Action seminar was free and open to the public every Monday this semester at 4pm, and was well attended by students, staff, faculty and community members. The Climate Action seminar was funded by the Clean Energy Fund and the Environmental Program, and was offered as a 1-credit class in the Environmental Studies department.
A cross-college faculty group charged with conducting an inventory and evaluation of environmental education and research at UVM will report back their findings and recommendations to President Sullivan on December 20. The group, co-chaired by Professor Stephanie Kaza and Professor Beverley Wemple, has completed a series of seven public forums aimed at gathering information and ideas as the committee identifies ways to improve our effectiveness and transform the study of the environment at UVM. Check out the Envisioning Environment at UVM webpages for more information on the goals, process, memos, group members, and forums.
Looking to do some reading on sustainability? Check out the Office of Sustainability book list. Books cover social, economic, and environmental themes, delving into everything from agriculture to waste to energy. Check out our virtual book shelf on Amazon's Shelfari.