Analyzing Recycling at OWU: Spring 2020

Back when Covid-19 was barely a thing, OWU ES major Ash Moen (’20) and Meg Edwards (’22) literally dug into the stuff OWU students toss in the recycling bins in a systematic manner, collecting data that sheds light on recycling successes and failures.

The presentation Ash created includes the data and recommendations. Covid got in the way of implementing recommendations, but now is the time to rekindle this effort. Students interested in taking on recycling on campus in collaboration with Ed Pullen (ABM) should contact John Krygier or Student Sustainability Coordinator AJ Lashaway.

Click on the image below (or here) to navigate to the data and presentation.

OWU Sustainability Task Force Meeting: Sept 27 @ Noon @ Merrick 201

Dr. Krygier in the OWU ENVS Dunk Tank at the Olentangy River Festival (Sept. 2021)

Our first STF Meeting for the Fall of 2021 is Monday, Sept. 27 @ noon in 201 Merrick Hall.

Organizer: AJ Lashaway

Dr. Krygier/AJ→ OWU Outside update (hopefully MTSO reaches out, call Audubon)(make QR code for groupme)
→ Chimney Swift tower
→ Energy Projects: big and small
→ Bioretention Cells
→ any other sustainability things going on on campus

Ed Pullen→ recycling + waste management on campus

Erin Wolfe→ sustainability in Delaware
→ watershed
→ events OWU students can attend/opportunities available to them

SK (Treehouse) → Green Week, house events outside students can attend/help with

And SO much MORE.

May Move Out ’21

After a year’s pause, due to the COVID, May Move Out is back for 2021.

May Move Out is OWU’s student-created and managed program to keep tons of usable materials out of the landfill each spring.

Volunteers contact Meg Edwards: email or sign up on this spreadsheet.

It’s simple:

Students can easily donate unneeded stuff to Goodwill as they move off-campus.

Mobile storage pods with May Move Out banners are placed around the residential side of campus for ease of donation.

Dump your stuff in the pod and get on your way. It’s that easy.

In previous years we’ve deferred up to 10 tons of reusable stuff.

More info here: http://maymoveout.owu.edu

 

#OWUENVS

In the overwhelming crush of media about the COVID 19 pandemic we don’t want to lose sight of the profound importance of the environment.

#OWUENVS is a collective effort to push environmental news and ideas and advocacy and creative efforts out through social media and other media by students, faculty, and staff in the Environment & Sustainability Program at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Find or create relevant stuff. Anything having to do with the environment anywhere. Links, ideas, videos, maps, photos, music, data, artwork, etc. Focus on the stuff you care about.

Put it out there: use the hashtag or tag #OWUENVS so we can track the effort. Focus on the media you use. On social media, video sites, music sites, whatever. Be creative.

Please let Meg Edwards or  John Krygier or Laurie Anderson know if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions.

This effort is what we make it. It keeps us connected, and it matters.

 

 

New .25 credit Activity Course on Zero Waste! Spring 2019

It took us more than a year but we now are able to offer an ACTV (Activity Course) with sustainability content. This started as a student initiative.

For the spring of 2018, this course will be offered during the first and second module for .25 credit. Thus the course is a great add-on to your normal class load.

Please sign up for the class, and urge others to do so. We can offer additional topics (organic gardening, repair, etc.) in the future if this one flies.

The instructor is Aleks Ilik: he is an OWU grad and happens to be married to Kristina Bogdanov (Art). Aleks runs the Blue House Worm Farm in town and is currently working with students Matt Burke and Peyton Hardesty on a worm composting table at MTSO. One goal for the course is to expand this effort to OWU’s campus.

Chris Fink of HHK is listed as the instructor, but that is only because Aleks is not yet in the OWU system.

Meetings are scheduled Wednesday, noon-1 and Friday 2:10-4pm. Location TBA.

The Activity course will expand this effort, working with AVI and other folks to reduce waste on campus.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

 

Environmental Studies at OWU Update Summer 2017

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the summer of 2017 starts.

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the summer of 2017 starts.

This is a followup to a 2015-2016 update and 2016-2017 update posted on the OWU Environment & Sustainability Blog.

First of all, the Environmental Studies Program is no longer a thin after our proposal for an expanded Environment and Sustainability Program was voted into existence at the May 2017 faculty meeting. The proposal was compiled by a group of faculty, Laurie Anderson, Ellen Arnold, Amy Downing, Chris Fink, and John Krygier, drawing from 5 years of efforts. Additional work on the Environmental Science major was done by Bart Martin.

Information about the program has been added to the OWU web pages:


Our proposed OWU Campus Sustainability Plan created by students, staff and faculty over the last few years is just about in its final form and should be heading to the administration this summer.

Sustainability_Plan_OWU_March_2017

Student Emily Howald has spent the year gathering feedback and making adjustments to the plan. The Sustainability Task Force (STF), initiated in 2008, has overseen the development of the plan. Contact Nathan Amador and let him know if you want to be added to the STF mailing list. The STF is open to all.


Student Emily Howald and faculty member John Krygier wrote a paper which is to be published as a chapter in the book Sustainable Communities Design Handbook edited by OWU Alumni Woody Clark (OWU 1967). The book should be published by Elsevier in 2018. The chapter is an overview of OWU’s approach to sustainability, called “Scrappy Sustainability at Ohio Wesleyan University.” Clark was recently presented with an OWU Alumni Distinguish Achievement Award.


The 2017 May Move Out was another success. Students donated tons of items to Goodwill as they moved off campus last month. The event, first held in 2012, is at this point relatively easy to manage and does not cost the University any money (the cost of additional storage pods for donations is offset by the need for fewer trash dumpsters).


Our reusable carryout food container program is also relatively stable after some ups and downs over the last year. We have added drop off locations for the containers, increased their size, and decreased the size of the paper, throw-away containers (thus an incentive to use the reusable containers). Students Izzy Sommerdorf and Sarah Hanes have developed a proposal for making the program even easier for students, and our campus food service, Chartwells, is evaluating their proposal.


Sustainable food on campus has moved forward on several fronts. Our campus food service has recently worked out an agreement to purchase local produce from the Seminary Hill Farm, just south of campus, beginning this fall. This outcome is based on the efforts of student Ellen Sizer.

Student Emily Howald is working on a proposal for quarter-credit OWU Activity courses focused on gardening. Students would work with a skilled gardener in a course held during the first half of the fall semester, and second half of the spring semester, to maintain our campus community garden.

Students Maddie Coalmer and Larynn Cutshaw generated a proposal to plant perennial crops (asparagus, mint, raspberries), which require minimal maintenance, on a few out-of-the-way locations on campus.


Another successful Green Week was held at the end of the 2017 spring semester:


We have expanded the number of hydration stations on campus with a half-dozen new stations being installed this summer. Most of the new hydration stations are in or around athletic facilities on campus. Athletes have tended to be one of the more significant users of bottled water. Student Dominic Orsini wrote a grant and received funding for promotional water bottles. These will be used to promote the new hydration stations to athletes when they move on campus late this summer.


Nathan Amador will take a group of 12 students to Costa Rica as part of a Travel Learning course. This will be the second time the class will travel to Costa Rica. The students will learn environmental data collection and analysis methods, then implement those methods while in Costa Rica over the semester break (January 2018). Amador and the students are working with Amy Work (OWU ’04) and her Geoporter organization. More info on Amy’s efforts are here.


Again, thanks for all the efforts on what has been a great cross-disciplinary collaboration between faculty, students, staff and alumni over the past five years.

May Move Out 2017 is Happening!

As you move off campus please drop off any usable stuff in the May Move Out pods near all of the dorms. All donations go to our local Goodwill. Recycling is also available at the pods.

May Move Out 2017

As you move off campus please drop off any usable stuff in the May Move Out pods near all of the dorms. All donations go to our local Goodwill. Recycling is also available at the pods.

Monday, May 8: noon – 8pm
Tuesday, May 9: noon – 8pm
Wednesday, May 10: 9am – 1pm
Sunday, May 14: 9am-1pm

 

 

OWU’s Mini May Mooove Out, March 22, 2017!

Bring your unwanted stuff and donate to Goodwill during our Mini May Mooove Out event on campus Wednesday, March 22 2017.

Bring your unwanted stuff and donate to Goodwill during our Mini May Mooove Out event on campus Wednesday, March 22 2017. Learn about our big May Move Out effort during the move-out week on campus, May 8 to May 14, 2017.

May Mooooove Out 2017

Monday, May 8: noon – 8pm
Tuesday, May 9: noon – 8pm
Wednesday, May 10: 9am – 1pm
Sunday, May 14: 9am-1pm

More info: https://maymoveout.owu.edu

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OWU Earns “Keep Delaware County Beautiful” Award

Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was honored Dec. 3 with the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition.

mmo_award_2015Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was honored Dec. 3 with the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition. May Move Out is supported with a grant from Delaware Knox Marion Morrow Solid Waste Management District (DKMM SWD). OWU earned the award for helping students to recycle unwanted goods when they left campus for the summer. The “May Move Out” program recycled about 9.5 tons (19,000 pounds) of materials, benefiting Goodwill Industries and keeping reusable items out of area landfills.

OWU’s May Move Out effort was initiated by students and continues to engage dozens of student volunteers. Information on the first few years of the program is here.

The Keep Delaware County Beautiful coalition, led by the Delaware General Health District, provides recycling and litter prevention programs and environmental education activities to residents and businesses in Delaware County.

More information on the May Move Out can be found here.

OWU Press Release Here.

Tossing The Trash Habit

Imagine if you will: a world without garbage. No landfills, no dumps, and no garbage trucks driving down the street once a week to pick up bags and bags of trash. It’s a nearly impossible world to imagine, but for the past 3.5 weeks, I have tried to do my part to get a little closer to that world.

letsby Reilly Reynolds (OWU ’16)

Imagine if you will: a world without garbage. No landfills, no dumps, and no garbage trucks driving down the street once a week to pick up bags and bags of trash. It’s a nearly impossible world to imagine, but for the past 3.5 weeks, I have tried to do my part to get a little closer to that world. I delved into the lifestyle modernly known as “zero waste”…or at least I attempted.

I made a plan all those weeks ago to take the steps necessary to reduce my garbage footprint. I made a list of what I would do to toss my trash habit. I would:

  1. Collect all the trash I did make in a mason jar so I could evaluate what I used the most of.
  2. Carry reusable items with me everywhere.
  3. Create DIY products to replace some of my more waste intensive/ less planet friendly products.
  4. Reduce my consumption of packaged/processed foods.

weliveinatrashyworldThe first day of my new lifestyle, I bought a hot chocolate without thinking about the reusable mug I had with me. I gained a paper cup to throw in my mason jar. The second day, I realized that every time my school dining hall charges for a meal, an automatic, unrecyclable receipt prints

We live in a trashy world. As such, I had to get creative. I started saving my receipts, and I crafted a to-do list note pad. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start. At least those tiny slips of glossy paper will have  one more purpose before the landfill gets them.

My goal was to have only accumulated one mason jar of trash by the time the month was up. With three days of the month left, I have filled two jars.

Examining the contents, I see:

  • 2 paper coffee cups
  • 6 single-serving chip bag wrappers
  • 3 granola bar wrappers
  • And various kinds packaging from food, clothing, and assorted day-to-day items

I consider the month a success. iconsiderthemonthI didn’t hit my goal, but I did learn a lot about my consumption patterns, and I made decisions I wouldn’t ordinarily make. I started refusing straws at restaurants, carrying my own take-out containers with me, and sending an email to my school’s dining services director to see if there’s anything we can do about those blasted receipts.

I followed my plan pretty closely. I carried my thermos, travel mug, water bottle, cloth napkin, and silverware with me everywhere, and though it frustrated some baristas and servers, others accepted (and even praised!) my sustainable choices.

My processed food consumption could be improved. Chips are my downfall, but I suppose I will just have to learn to make my own. After all, it turns out I’m okay at making my own things. I crafted natural hair mousse, laundry detergent, a foot scrub, and body moisturizer this month! Once I run out of my current shampoo and conditioner, I’ll try my hand at those too.

Will I continue my zero-waste trend? That’s the plan. We’ll see if I can meet my mason jar goal next month. mason

For me, being zero-waste has become more than a new way of life. It’s also a mission, a challenge. It’s a way to start recognizing the patterns of consumption that we all take for granted every day. It’s a way to make change, and encourage others to ask questions.

Perhaps most importantly, trash stinks for the Earth, and we’re running out of places to put it. So rather than finding a new landfill spot, I propose that we cut our consumption.

Let’s take a hard look at what we buy, why we buy it, and how we can buy it more sustainably. Let’s vote with our wallets.

Let’s write letters to corporate executives and ask for less (or at least more Earth friendly) packaging. Let’s make change, because we can.

In fact, it would be a waste not to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, being zero-waste has become more than a new way of life. It’s also a mission, a challenge. It’s a way to start recognizing the patterns of consumption that we all take for granted every day. It’s a way to make change, and encourage others to ask questions.

Perhaps most importantly, trash stinks for the Earth, and we’re running out of places to put it. So rather than finding a new landfill spot, I propose that we cut our consumption.

Let’s take a hard look at what we buy, why we buy it, and how we can buy it more sustainably. Let’s vote with our wallets. Let’s write letters to corporate executives and ask for less (or at least more Earth friendly) packaging. Let’s make change, because we can.

In fact, it would be a waste not to.