University of Vermont

Snowy Day

May 2012 Newsletter

In this month's issue:


Earth Week at UVM

Earth Week 2012 had it all! From tours, to workshops, to movies, to art and food there was plenty of green and clean action. The Community Eco-Fair put on by the Vermont Student Environmental Program (VSTEP) kicked off the week and highlighted the local businesses and organizations that consider our environment a priority. Showings of Revenge of the Electric Car, The Future of Food, and Home provided a nice opportunity for visual learning, while the Bike Users Group (BUG) & the Office of Community and Student Relations (OCSR) sponsored a "Dr Your Bike Day" to get people riding. Tours of the new Aiken Center and the recycling facility provided a hands-on opportunity to see the ways UVM is promoting sustainable design and eco-friendly waste management, while workshops provided information on green cleaning, local and organic food, invasive species, and transportation options. Earth Week culminated at UVM with a keynote address by Billy Parish, a leading climate activist organizer.


An Earth Week Investigation

During Earth Week 2012, Office of Sustainability intern Leigh Corrigan hit the campus for her own personal exploration of UVM's Earth Week. 

Vermont's Tree Invaders

On Tuesday, April 17th I started my Earth Week investigation by talking to some forestry students at the Vermont Tree Invaders information table in the Davis Center atrium. I was previously unaware of the threat that Vermont’s (and the rest of the country’s) forests are facing. Two non-native insects, the Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Longhorned Beetle have found their way into the US and are now “hitchhiking” from state to state in firewood. The Emerald Ash borer has already killed more than 25 million ash trees in the Midwest! This one insect has the potential to virtually eliminate all ash species in North America if not stopped. Neither insect has been identified in Vermont but they have been found in the surrounding areas of Massachusetts, New York, and Quebec. One way to stop the spread of these two dangerous insects and protect Vermont’s forests is to use local sources of firewood. It is near impossible to see the pests hiding in your firewood so when camping and travelling, do not bring firewood from home and don’t return home with firewood from another state. A good rule is never move firewood more than 50 miles. Keep the Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Longhorned Beetle out of Vermont! (Thanks to the students of Forestry 235!)

For more information visit: DontMoveFirewood.org

Your Organic Local Options (YOLO)

The UVM Eco Reps and the Campus Kitchen Food Summit teamed up to host a workshop on the tough reality of cooking locally and organically on a college student budget. As most students know, this is no easy task. Organic and local foods tend to have higher prices than conventional options, making it hard for most college students to maintain this type of diet. Yet, as I learned in the Davis Center Rosa Parks room that day, it can be done! Eco reps, Teresa and Robyn, enlightened us that by choosing local food you are not only supporting the Vermont economy, but reducing carbon emissions and conserving energy as well! Some on campus dining options that use local and organic ingredients are Brennan’s and Feel Good.

DumplingsTeresa and Robyn then taught us how to make some delicious dumplings! To make around 100 dumplings costs only $15. The dumplings were stuffed with onion, cabbage, carrots, and kale – all organic and bought locally. The eggs that we used were purchased from the Intervale.

Dumplings are an easy and inexpensive snack – perfect for a college student budget!

Herbalism Workshop

Herbalism is the study and use of medicinal properties of plants and plant extracts. In this workshop led by Sam Hubert, a member of Common Ground and a knowledgeable student of plant based healing medicine, we learned how to make various herbal preparations and the wonderful benefits that they provide. Sam reminded us that there are many rules to remember and safety precautions to take when using herbs. During the workshop, we learned how to make a tincture for natural energy, a salve from oil and beeswax, solar and lunar tea, the purpose of essential oils, and herbal alternatives to bug spray! The tutorial that I found the most interesting was how to make capsules. Capsules allow you to receive the therapeutic benefits of a certain herb with out having to taste the unpleasant plant fragments. During the workshop we filled capsules with Valerian root and Passionflower to make a natural sleep aid. Overall, the herbalism workshop was an informative and fun Earth Week activity. If you want to learn more about herbalism, check out the Environmental Studies course “Therapeutic Herbalism” with Barbara Raab and thanks to Sam for a great workshop!

- Leigh Corrigan


Clean Energy Fund Awards $102K to Four Projects for 2011-2012

Four projects have been approved for funding from the Clean Energy Fund Committee. Nearly $102,000 will be awarded to the selected projects, pulling from the $225,000 generated each year from the Clean Energy Fund (CEF). The Clean Energy Fund assesses UVM undergraduate and graduate students a $10 fee each semester to establish new clean energy projects on and around the UVM campus.

Awarded projects include the following:

  • Clean Greenhouse Energy at Miller Farm: A first phase feasibility and design project will look into compost heat as an agricultural energy source for a combined research and production greenhouse at Miller Research Farm. In combination with the grid-tied 32kW static electric PV system on the Equine Center roof, this project will meet the heating needs as well as address the treatment of wastewater at this facility. Project cost: $23,654. Project timeline: To begin July 1st.
  • CleanSpeed- A Student-developed Zero Emission Vehicle: The student-run Alternative Energy Racing Organization (AERO) will design, build, test, and race of a zero-emissions vehicle for the 2012 Formula Hybrid International Competition. UVM will be represented among a small group of competitors racing in both the hybrid and electric car categories. Upon completion of the race, the car will be used for future research in alternative fuel transportation and smart grid implementation. Project cost:  $38,200. Project timeline: To begin July 1st.
  • Virtualized Desktop Lab at Kalkin Hall: The Virtualized Desktop Lab is a collaborative project involving Enterprise Technology Services and the School of Business. This project is focused on virtualizing one computer lab in Kalkin as a pilot to build the required infrastructure, administrative processes, and to have a demonstrable configuration to show other units on campus. The project drivers include: reducing power consumption, extending the useful life of lab-client equipment, and improve lab image management and deployment. Project cost: $25,000. Project timeline: To begin August 1st.
  • Compost Power for Slade Hall Greenhouse: This project involves composting onsite and providing a source of heat for an existing greenhouse structure at Slade Hall. In addition it will produce organic compost as a byproduct for on-farm use and support student internships on-campus. Project cost: $14,780. Project timeline: To begin July 1st.
     

Summer Clean Energy Fund Projects Underway

Starting at the end of May, five students will take part in a 13-week summer internship program documenting and observing two Clean Energy Fund projects: (1) Equine Center Photovoltaic System and (2) Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Study. The Office of Sustainability received thirty-five applications in response to the internship post, and interviewed eleven candidates.

This summer one intern will be learning about the technical aspects of the Equine Center solar panel project at Miller Farm. Installation will be conducted by Kirk Herander's team at Vermont Solar Engineering, and two interns will be gathering data and learning about analyzing renewable energy potential for the Comprehensive Campus Renewable Energy Feasibility Study, which will be conducted by Clough Harbour & Associates (CHA). Two interns will be our outreach and communications team, producing videos, reports, and communciations materials on both projects. 

The interns will share their experiences via the Office of Sustainability's blog over the summer. Stay tuned to hear their stories. 

 


Sustainability Faculty Fellows Program Wraps Up Third Year

Congratulations go out to the 2011-2012 fellows who completed the Sustainability Faculty Fellows Program this year. The program, which has supported more than 50 faculty members from 20 academic units over three years, engages faculty in a yearlong exploration of sustainability and the scholarship of teaching, learning, collaboration and community building. The program will be recruiting new fellows for 2012-2013 during the start of the fall semester.  If you are interested in the program contact Tarah Rowse at the Office of Sustainability.