My name is Leigh Corrigan and I am the Vermont Campus Sustainability Network Communications Intern at the Office of Sustainability this fall. A few weeks ago on a rainy September 20th I attended the Vermont Campus Sustainability Network’s fall meeting, where the conversation was anything but dreary. If you are unfamiliar with the network, VCSN meets twice a year to facilitate networking and communication amongst sustainability coordinators at Vermont’s institutions of higher education.
This fall’s meeting was hosted by Bennington College in southern Vermont and had various representatives from Middlebury, Goddard College, Green Mountain College, Champlain College, Marlboro College; we at UVM, and Bennington attend. Discussions ranged from green revolving funds with Richard Donnelly from Efficiency Vermont, to the upcoming AASHE Conference (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) and everything in between. Talks included analyzing climate action plan implementation strategies and guidance on how to achieve these goals. As well as, personal challenges and projects each individual campus was currently working on.
Furthermore, we were lucky enough to tour Bennington’s state of the art CAPA building. CAPA stands for the Center for the Advancement of Public Action. It consists of three interconnected buildings differing in function from five-star residential accommodations to student lounges with oversized plush chairs. The building’s exterior was entirely covered in marble. Our tour guide, Holly Anderson, informed us that the marble was quarried in Rutland and then sent to Washington, DC to be used in various projects. The marble was then reclaimed and collected from the project waste and shipped back to Bennington to use for the CAPA exterior. In addition to the residential accommodations and student lounges, the building had two design labs or teaching spaces. These rooms were non-directional, allowing any direction for teaching and discussing between students. All the lighting was LED or CFL and a modern, natural design approach was felt throughout the entire building
As a student, I never reflected on how much time and effort went on behind the scenes of our Colleges and Universities to further sustainability and reduce our impact on the environment. I left Bennington College feeling both inspired and enlightened. The VCSN meeting was a successful information exchange and sharing of ideas for all who participated. I wish everyone who I met that day the best of luck achieving their goals this fall and look forward to seeing you again in the spring.