The Green Gator at Allegheny College

ES Club Minutes 9-9

  • ES Picnic
    • Local Foods – Wednesday 9/16 @ 5:30/6:00 @ Steffee
    • Finalized details to be announced by the ES Department.
  • Tire Collection
    • Crawford County Fairgrounds – Sept 26 @ 9AM-Noon
  • NextGEN College Environmental Activist Conference 2009
    • Yale University – Sept 26
    • $35 for registration, which includes transportation, lodging (in a dorm), and all meals except dinner Saturday night. We would most likely leave Friday morning and would drive back Saturday night or Sunday morning.
    • Please respond to alleghenyesclub@gmail.com if you are interested in attending.
  • French Creek Cleanup
    • Canoeing from 9:30am to 3:30pm
    • Lunch provided on the water and cookout provided by French Creek Valley Conservancy
    • Sign up fast. Space is limited. Free T-Shirt for Participating and Pre-registering.
    • Sign Up
  • Two websites mentioned that we can potentially be involved with:

If you have any questions, feel free to send an email to alleghenyesclub@gmail.com

Floating French Creek

Join the Outing Club this Saturday, September 12, for a thrilling six hour float trip and cookout on French Creek. Here’s your chance to have an awesome day on the river and help beautify your community. Meet n the Lower Wise Center lot at 8:45. Canoeing will last from 9:30 to 3:30 with lunch provided on the water and a cookout provided by the French Creek Valley Conservancy. There is no cost and participants will receive a free t-shirt.

Note from Editor: I had a chance to canoe French Creek this summer and can attest that it’s an easy and enjoying “float” (we saw a number of bald eagles, among other interesting species). More importantly, two free meals and a free t-shirt are the college student’s dream, and if I didn’t have to work the event I’d join myself.

How To Get Unwasted

…posted by Jinnie Templin

So, we’ve all heard of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. They’re practically plastered all over everything these days. Recycling is a great first step, and it’s something we can all do without having to think too hard (because let’s face it, once we’re done with homework and classes, about all we want to do is eat, sleep, and stare in to space, and maybe hang out with a few friends.) And I’m definitely an advocate of recycling. But reusing, and even more so REDUCING, makes an even bigger impact.

Something I didn’t really even realize until I started seeing it mentioned in a few different articles is something called “down-cycling.” Although it sounds like a fun activity involving a bike and a very large hill, it’s not, I swear. Basically, when you recycle that plastic water bottle (didn’t you buy that reusable Sigg yet…?) it can’t be made into another plastic water bottle. Because there are so many different kinds of plastic, it’s harder to sort, and because it’s not as durable as something like, for example, glass, it becomes a lower grade of plastic when it gets recycled. And a lot of those recycled plastic products can’t be recycled again. You know those weird colored park benches made out of that funny looking material (okay, maybe I just think they’re weird colors and funny looking?) Yeah, a lot of those are recycled benches. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a nice park bench, but reducing how much we consume is probably a better option in the long run. (Imagine: a world overrun by recycled park benches because we all insist on continuing to drink out of those annoying plastic bottles because we claim to recycle them after we’re done with them. Not my idea of Utopia.)

When we consume less, less ends up in landfills, and less energy is used to convert materials back into something useful.

So, reducing what we consume is starting to sound like a better idea, eh? My thoughts exactly. And when we do buy things, like that water bottle I’ve been relentlessly pushing you to buy for the last two posts, at least they’re things that are going to last a while and not just get tossed out with next week’s recycling, or even worse, the trash! *GASP* (I just had to get a new Sigg water bottle on Amazon because someone STOLE mine from my house last week. Although, I guess if you’re going to steal something from me, I’m glad you chose to be eco-friendly, but whoever you are, you’re not invited back. It’s still a little bit of a sore subject, just ask my housemates.)

Anyways, REDUCE whenever possible (did you really go to Wal-Mart to buy that or are you just buying it because you can?) REUSE when you have to consume (even those annoying plastic water bottles are good for a few uses) and RECYCLE as much as you can (the moral of this story: stick to cans and bottles of beer instead of plastic party cups!)

I’m off to fill up my brand new water bottle and gather the recycling bins that are still on the curb from last night’s collection!

Note from Editor: For some, these editorials offer a nice break from the simple and direct notes found on the rest of the website, and I hope they don’t detract from the usefulness of GreenGator as a tool. While Jinnie’s summer prose are general enough to be universally applicable, we are looking for some campus-specific editorials. Please email me if this interests you at pisoz@allegheny.edu

Student Government Initiatives

On Sundays, a collection of Allegheny Student Government members meet to discuss upcoming events on their agenda. This year, Brett Fuchs created the position “Advisor on Environmental Initiatives” in order to actually deliver on the oft-promised environmental component of his platform. The creation of this website and a number of upcoming events will heavily involve ASG participation, though I assure you that we will provide assistance rather than usurp leadership for any of the existing programs.

I will try to post a summary of any environment-related conversations held at these meetings as a sort of preview of upcoming events. Sometimes, these events will be pending student interest, so it will help if you provide feedback, even as simple as “Let’s do it!” In addition, I will raise any comment you leave to the attention of the ASG president, and usually to the entire group for consideration.

Yesterday, the only issue brought up was bringing Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell of Fuel and the Veggie Van Organization. Josh Tickell first made headlines in 1997 by traveling the country in his Veggie Van, fueled solely on vegetable oil. He has committed his life to educating our public on adopting sustainable and clean energy. Josh and his partner Rebecca’s mission have been followed by the global media. After two books and an award-winning documentary, they have been featured on the Today show, NPR, the Discovery Channel, theLos Angeles Times and Smithsonian Magazine. Josh and Rebecca are available for speaking starting in October 2009. Screenings of FUEL are also available. I also encourage you to check out http://www.veggievan.org/
 

We are currently looking into the costs of bringing these guys to Allegheny, and ideally they would be included in a week of food-related programming that also features Michael Pollan.

French Creek Clean-Up

On Saturday, September 12th, the French Creek Valley Conservancy will be hosting a clean up up French Creek. A $500 cash prize will be awarded for Most Weight, Oldest, and Most Unusual Junk, along with $1,000 to the educational institution with the most participants and $500 to the community group with the most participants. Also, everyone who attends will get a free T-shirt.

Clean up begins at 9:00 a.m. and runs till 3:00 in the afternoon, to be followed by a $10 picnic and live music from Unkle John’s Band.

“Nudging” Environmental Initiatives

Adopted by many campuses across the country in the past year, trayless dining has been shown to reduce food waste by 25-30%. Allegheny College currently produces nearly 1000 pounds of food waste each day. While this food waste is responsibly composted on campus, we can afford to be thoughtful about how much of the food we load on our plates we’ll actually be able to eat. Minimization of energy consumption is a bit tougher to quantify, but reducing the amount of water that must be heated and the number of dishwasher drying cycles should realize significant savings

Other campuses that have converted to trayless dining, such as Brown, Cornell, Lafayette, New York University, University of Florida and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have calculated a single tray requires 1/3 to ½ gallon of heated water for a wash. Since Brooks serves an average of 15,000 meals per week, the College could prevent the use of 5000-7500 gallons of water weekly. In preventing the consumption, we also prevent the discharge of this water, detergents and dishwasher drying agents to the sewage system and, ultimately, our local waters.


A July 2008 study found that 79% of the 92,000 students surveyed in trayless pilot programs supported trayless dining because of the benefits of waste and resource use minimization. To fulfill our commitment to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, the college decided to make the switch and has received only limited negative feedback.

Note from Editor: What factors should be considered when choice editing? 

S.E.A. Minutes 8/31

Before we decide upon an event to put all our efforts into for this semester, we’ve decided to wait for Kelly Boulton, the Sustainability Coordinator, to finish Allegheny’s Climate Action Plan. Once she finishes this, she will let us know what we can work on.
 
NEW NEW NEW  NEW:
Meetings will now be Thursday evenings @ 9pm
Campus Center, room 303 (3rd floor)
 
GOALS TO SHOT FOR!

  • We will work closely with other environmental groups on campus.
  • Organic tie-dyeing event sometime early this semester, if weather permits… seems unlikely.
  • Another idea for an event is to host a vegetarian event, similar to Wing Fest, possibly just incorporating a vegetarian option into Wing Fest in the coming years.
  • We also need to invest the recycling situation in Meadville. It seems like recycling is picked up at some houses, but for other citizens, they must take all their to a drop off location that is far away and doesn’t seem to be in a well known location.

For spring semester when the snow leaves us,

  • Biggest event will be Earth Week, instead of just Earth Day. Events to be considered are tie-dyeing, a movie showing, speaker, and an Eco Fashion Show. 

Other ideas on the table:

  • Having plastic bags in the school store optional
  • Making individual recycling boxes for dorm rooms
  • Getting involved with the youth in Meadville
  • An activist fall

Don’t hesitate to hold back your thoughts, ideas, or questions!
 
Maranda Nemeth
S.E.A. Secretary

How to be a Green Machine

…posted by Jinnie Templin

Hey everyone! I’m going to start off with my first post on this blog focusing on small things you can do in the dorm to start living a greener lifestyle. Live off-campus? You’re not off the hook. These tips also apply to you.

1. Swap out your energy sucking incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs, also known as CFLs (they’re those weird looking spirally light bulbs.) You can find them almost everywhere now, including Wal-Mart. They might be a bit more expensive, but they last longer, and they use way less energy. Double whammy!

2. Turn your computer off when you finally decide to hit the hay. Those e-mails (which you might even get forwarded to your phone anyways…), Facebook messages, tweets, and blog updates are still going to be there when you wake up in the morning. And let’s face it, if someone really needed to get a hold of you, they’d call or text you… So save that 6-10 hours of power draining for during the day when you really need it to chip away at that 10 page paper you have due in a few hours (or screw around on Facebook, which is what you’re probably doing instead…)

3. Thirsty? Buy a Brita and a reusable waterbottle. Don’t waste your money on the Aquafina they sell in McKinley’s, it’s just the same filtered water you get out of a Brita, only with a pretty blue label and a plastic bottle you’re probably going to forget to recycle. I have a Brita in my house, and I love it. Personally, I think Brita water tastes better than Aquafina, anyway, and I can refill my waterbottle as many times a day as I want, FOR FREE. So, invest now, and save yourself some cash in the long run.

4. Instead of using plastic and styrofoam disposable plates, cups, and utensils, head out to the Dollar Store and pick yourself up some super cheap glass or cermaic plates and cups. If you’re going to keep using disposables, at least make sure they’re plastic (rather than styrofoam) and recyclable. Buying red plastic party cups for that upcoming bash you’re planning? Have people recycle them instead of throwing them away (or all over your living room) and consider reusing those 12 pong cups… there was just water in them, after all.

5. Probably the easiest thing I’ll say to you: RECYCLE. If you live in a dorm, it takes an extra 30 seconds to run to the trash room and recycle your waste. If you’re really that pressed for time, keep a box in your room, and take it down whenever you have to take down your smelly trash bag. If you’re living in a house, it’s probably even easier. Did you know in the city of Meadville, you don’t even have to separate your recycling? You don’t even have to take off the labels. Just make sure your containers are clean and the lids are off. Check out this article from the Meadville Tribune for more info!

There are about a million other things you can do, too, but we’ll start off with five. Even if you claim to hate the Earth and the Environmentalists trying to protect it, doing these things doesn’t just benefit the planet, they benefit you. They’ll save you money, and you’ll get into the habit of doing these simple things so that when you move into your own house or apartment (if you don’t already live in one) and you have to take responsibility for your utility bills, maybe that time of the month when you dread the mail won’t be quite as dreadful.

Note from Editor: It’d be great to here some suggestions from you guys about other eco-friendly practices. Looking forward to some of the first comments on the GreenGator Site.

Welcome to the Green Gator

Fellow Environmentally Minded Citizens:

Allegheny College Environmental Coalition is a campus website with two distinct goals:

  • To publicize campus events that further environmental goals, even if the nature of the events indirectly improves the relationship between society and the environment, such as community building.
  • To provide an outlet for voicing concerns about the campus’s ecological footprint. We will do our best to consider all suggestions, and by encouraging helpful dialogue, the college will know which steps would receive student support.

Hopefully, we will hear discussion on topics as diverse as vegetarianism, Prius’s, and local currency, to name only a few. The presidents of many of the campus’s environmental groups are contributors to the site, though anyone can comment in the discussion section by registering a Google account. If you are a leader of one of the campus’s environmental groups, please email me and I will grant you authorship permission for the site to keep us all informed. The site is very new, and any feedback about how to improve upon the layout or other features is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Zach Piso
Allegheny Student Government
Environmental Advisor
pisoz@allegheny.edu

Zach Piso is a sophomore majoring in Environmental Studies and Philosophy. He is the founder of this site and an advisor to ASG president Brett Fuchs on environmental issues.