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.

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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.

Fall 2017 OWU Course on Japanese Literature & the Environment

This course will look at the relationship between Japanese literature and environmental studies. Eco-Literary criticism is a new and growing field in literary studies and one in which Japan plays a significant contributing role.

A Fall 2017 course that can count as an Environmental Studies elective:

Comparative Literature (CMLT) 323 Elegance and Brutality: Topics in Modern Japanese Literature

The course will meet T/R from 2:40 – 4:00. It is a writing option course and meets diversity.

Instructor: Dr. Anne Sokolski

This course will look at the relationship between Japanese literature and environmental studies. Eco-Literary criticism is a new and growing field in literary studies and one in which Japan plays a significant contributing role. Japan is a country known for its sublime beauty as well as its mystifying brutality. It is a small island nation with a rich cultural history but little in the way of natural resources. While the religion of Shintoism and the philosophy of Taoism revere nature, Japan must also often transgress nature for the sake of economic development and global survival. The result is that Japan has both a reverent as well as pragmatic relationship with its environment. Fukushima is a recent example of the consequences of Japan’s industrial development. So how does a modern economically developed country balance its love for nature with its need to exploit it to compete in the global industrial world? These are the questions we will explore in this course as we study eco-literary criticism and the role of Japanese literature in this new field of environmental studies.

Contact Dr. Sokolski for more information.

OWU Travel Learning Course to Costa Rica, Fall 2017

Interested in visiting the tropics? In January? Fall 2017 Travel Course: Geography 347TL: Environmental Alteration, Dr. Amador Rowley

Interested in visiting the tropics? In January?

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Fall 2017 OWU Travel Course

Geography 347TL: Environmental Alteration, Dr. Amador Rowley

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Locations throughout Costa Rica, focusing on a small, coastal town: Bahia Ballena

Assess human impacts on natural environments in Delaware, OH (Fall ‘17) and coastal Costa Rica (Jan. ‘18), putting it into a regional and global context.

Collaborate with Amy Work, OWU Alum (‘04), and her community organization, Geoporter, and work with local citizens in a developing ecotourism region.

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Activities Include:

  • Visiting Palm Oil & Pineapple Plantations
  • Coffee Plantation
  • Coastal Community Mapping Using Drone
  • Biological Nature & Toucan Reserves
  • Visit Bat Sanctuary
  • Testing Water Quality
  • Kayaking through Mangroves

Contact: Dr. Nathan Amador Rowley with any questions (nsamador@owu.edu)

Sustainable Gardening: New OWU .25 Credit Activity Course 2nd Module Spring 2017

OWU students and faculty have initiated an effort to offer sustainability themed quarter credit activity courses beginning in the 2nd module for the spring semester of 2017.

This Activity Course has been postponed to the Fall of 2017! Contact Emily Howald for more information.

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OWU students and faculty have initiated an effort to offer sustainability themed quarter credit activity courses beginning in the 2nd module for the spring semester of 2017. Instead of yoga or bowling (which are both great) you can instead get active digging in the dirt.

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The class is run by staff from the very nearby Seminar Hill Farm, a leading regional organic farm. The class is one part of a strategy to make our campus garden sustainable and productive.

The class meets M and W from 2:30-3:30 in the garden near the old observatory on campus. Please contact Emily Howald for more information. Watch for the course as an option in the near future on Self-Service.

OWU Environmental Studies & Sustainability Progress, Spring 2017

Established and ongoing efforts in environment and sustainability by Ohio Wesleyan students, staff and faculty and off-campus collaborators active during the 2016-17 academic year.

Established and ongoing efforts in environment and sustainability by Ohio Wesleyan students, staff and faculty and off-campus collaborators active during the 2016-17 academic year. 

A PDF of this document is available here.
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OWU Sustainability Plan: As a liberal arts institution, Ohio Wesleyan University must be a leader in progressive sustainability initiatives through educational, technical, and social means. The proposed Ohio Wesleyan Sustainability Plan (click for PDF) is intended to invigorate and expand a culture of sustainability that has a positive impact on the environment. Draft of the OWU Sustainability Plan, created by faculty, staff and students, is complete and being revised and vetted. Students in our Sustainability Practicum are currently arranging to move the proposed plan through OWU’s administrative network during the spring of 2017.
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May Move Out: A student-initiated project in collaboration with Goodwill, to defer usable materials from the trash as students move off campus in May. We defer 10 tons of reusable furniture, appliances, clothes, bikes, etc. on average, each May. Students are currently meeting with OWU’s Buildings & Grounds and Residential Life staff to plan for and promote the 2017 May Move Out. Ohio Wesleyan’s May Move Out program was awarded the 2015 Recycling Award from the Keep Delaware County Beautiful Coalition.

Reusable Food Containers in Hamilton Williams Campus Center: A student project initiated in the Fall of 2015 is being expanded during the spring of 2017. A new dishwasher was installed in our campus center in part to provide adequate washing of the containers. Students and campus food service staff are working to improve and expand the program during the Spring of 2017.

Environmental Science Major: A proposal for an Environmental Science major (in addition to our 39 year old Environmental Studies major) will be brought before OWU committees and faculty for consideration and approval during the Spring of 2017.

Environmental Studies Minor in Food Studies: A Food Studies Minor (developed from the Food Course Connection) is in place (a collaboration between Health and Human Kinetics [HHK] and Environmental Studies). Two more minors, Sustainability and Climate Science are being developed.

Living Green Infrastructure Proposal: Students and staff are working on a proposal for a Living Green residence hall option. 1) Develop structural sustainability. 2) Allow students to live more sustainably by reducing their water, energy, and material waste. 3) Include workshop/classroom area for sustainable learning (repair, self-production). 4) Trained RA’s to be sustainable life assistants.

Delaware Foodshed Farm and Food Collaboration: Building on the Food Studies Minor and student interest in gardens, farming and food, OWU faculty in Environmental Studies and HHK are developing a collaboration between Stratford Ecological Center farms and the Methodist School of Ohio farms. Initial efforts will focus on student internships and engagement of OWU in a regional food network. With financial support for staff (donations or grants) campus gardens will be developed. Efforts will focus on the practice of ecologically sound farming, food production, regional food networks and social outreach (building on the existing Cooking Matters Program, organized by Dr. Chris Fink) to engage students and community members in growing food.

Environmental and Sustainability Internships: Eight to ten internships are being offered on a regular basis at Stratford Ecological Center and the City of Delaware. Foci include environmental education, marketing, farming, and sustainability. Additional internships will be available at the Seminary Hill Farm (Methodist Theological School of Ohio) Fall 2017.

Global Environmental Change Collaboration & Travel Learning Course: OWU collaboration with Amy Work (OWU ‘04) and her organization GeoPorter in Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica. Learning and using environmental assessment methods in Delaware, Ohio (Fall 2017) and during a travel learning course trip (Dr. Nathan Amador’s Geography 347) to coastal Costa Rica (January 2018). Goal: to understand how local environmental data is collected and relates to regional and global climate and environmental change.

Chimney Swift Towers: A collaboration between students and OWU Alumni Dick Tuttle (OWU 1973) to build a chimney swift tower on the residential side of campus. Plans have been drawn up and cost estimates provided by a contractor. Funds will be provided by Tuttle. We anticipate construction during the spring or summer of 2017 pending approval from B&G and OWU’s Administration.

Campus Wildlife Habitat Enhancements: Student efforts continue to install and maintain bird houses, feeders and solitary bee houses on campus.

Green Week 2017: Building on a successful week of events in 2016, students are organizing another week of events for the spring of 2017 (the week prior to Earth Day).

Delaware Run Assessment and Restoration: Ongoing project focused on restoring Delaware Run between Sandusky St. and Henry St. Emerging collaboration with stream restoration specialists who propose restoration of the stream and adjacent riparian zone in return for state of Ohio stream credits. Currently waiting on the establishment of an official Ohio stream banking and credit procedure.

Bottled Water Sales Reduction: Student-led efforts to drive down bottled water purchases on campus, including the installation of hydration stations and promotion of reusable water bottles. Bottled water sales have dropped significantly in the last three years. We continue to install hydration stations (filtered water) at key locations as an alternative to bottled water.

Environmental Studies at OWU Update Fall 2016

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the fall 2016 semester starts.

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OWU Faculty member Nathan Amador (left) and Amy Work (OWU 2004, right) and various assistants hone in on a drone during an OWU Travel Learning trip to Costa Rica.

An update on OWU’s Environmental Studies Program as the fall 2016 semester starts.

2015-2016 academic year developments are listed on an earlier post on the OWU Environment & Sustainability Blog.

A few additional developments are worth noting:

Of obvious importance is the proposal for transforming our nearly 40 year old Environmental Studies program into Environmental Sustainability, part of the campus-wide effort to expand enrollment. The proposal was compiled by a group of faculty, Ellen Arnold, Amy Downing, Chris Fink, and John Krygier, drawing from 5 years of efforts by ES faculty, staff and students, including content drawn from:

  • 2012 Environmental Studies Program Self Study
  • 2013 Environmental Studies External Program Review
  • 2014 Proposal – OWU Center for the Environment
  • 2014 Proposal – Sustainability Region
  • 2015 Program Case for Support

The Environmental Sustainability Major, if approved by faculty (the vote should happen at the Monday September 19, 4:30 pm faculty meeting), will have three tracks: Food, Climate, and Sustainability. All will involve a significant amount of applied work, theory-into-practice, and internships.

Collaborative efforts with Chris Fink (HHK) over the past few years fleshed out the Food Track in the proposed new major. Much of this is embodied in the Food Minor, passed at the last faculty meeting in the spring. We are formalizing connections with Stratford Farm and the Seminary Hill Farm south of campus, where we placed a dozen or so interns last academic year.

The addition of Nathan Amador to the faculty was central in solidifying our Climate Track for the proposed major. Nathan and Craig Jackson have led the effort on the Climate front.

Finally, the Sustainability Track in the major is the result of the work of faculty, staff and students over the past decade. In particular, Sean Kinghorn (sustainability coordinator, 2012-14), B&G’s Peter Schantz, Chartwell’s Gene Castelli, staff in Res Life and other folks who helped guide well over 100 student sustainability projects.

Laurie Anderson’s efforts have been central to all three tracks in the proposed program, and sustainability on campus in general.

Recent past Sagan National Colloquiums have also infused our proposal with ideas: Sustainability (2008-09), Food (2012-13), Climate (2013-14), Water (2014-15) and Waste (2015-16). All brought an array of scholars to campus, driving home the point that all these environmental and sustainability issues are of significant importance.

Nathan Amador and student Todd D’Andrea spent several weeks in southern Costa Rica this summer, collaborating with Amy Work (OWU ’04) on what we hope will be a long-term component of the Environmental Sustainability program, looking at the local impacts of global environmental change. Nathan organized and led a travel learning course (Fall 2015) that had students working with Amy over the semester break (2015-16) and we plan to return with another travel learning course in the fall of 2017. More info on Amy’s efforts are here.

Thanks to all who have contributed to our efforts over the years: your work is now part of the Environmental Sustainability proposal.


The Sustainability Task Force (STF) initiated in 2008 has been instrumental in moving sustainability forward on campus. Contact Nathan Amador for the date and time of the next STF meeting (and let him know if you want to be added to the STF mailing list). It is open to all.

Students in my Spring 2015 and Spring 2016 Sustainability Practicum not only managed a bevy of ongoing sustainability projects on campus, they also developed a 40 page overview (Spring 2015) of past and present sustainability that was reformed (Spring 2016) into a proposed OWU Sustainability Plan in collaboration with the STF. We also consulted with OWU alumni who work in the field of sustainability.


Finally, last academic year, Jim Peoples, Nick Crane (now at the University of Wyoming) and I managed the Luce Foundation funded initiative on Sustainability in Asia and the West, with a focus on waste and discard studies. This effort, a collaboration between OWU’s East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies Programs, moves forward with an implementation grant we are currently writing. Obviously this effort will sync nicely with the proposed Environmental Sustainability Program. It also corresponds nicely with the development of a Global Studies Center on campus, headed up by Jeremy Baskes, and part of the GLCA’s Global Crossroads program.


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.

OWU Food Minor & Association for the Study of Food & Society

The September 2016 Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) includes information about OWU’s new Food Minor. It is worth taking a look at the newsletter and also the ASFS organization to get a sense of the breadth of ideas and topics within the emerging field of food studies / food and society.

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Dr. Chris Fink passed along a link to the September 2016 Newsletter of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) which includes information about OWU’s new Food Minor (detailed in an earlier post).

It is worth taking a look at the newsletter and also the ASFS organization to get a sense of the breadth of ideas and topics within the emerging field of food studies / food and society.

 

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For more information about OWU’s new Food Minor please contact Dr. Fink or Dr. Anderson.

 

OWU Food Minor Approved for Fall of 2016

Ohio Wesleyan Faculty approved a minor in Food Studies beginning the fall of 2016. The minor is being facilitated by the Health and Human Kinetics Department and Environmental Studies Program.

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Ohio Wesleyan Faculty approved a minor in Food Studies beginning the fall of 2016. The minor is being facilitated by the Health and Human Kinetics Department and Environmental Studies Program. We are calling the new minor a Mentored Minor as the program has a significant amount of engaged work (at least two semesters of internships or independent study)

Details about the Food minor are in the 2016-2017 OWU Catalog, and are listed below. Please contact Dr. Christopher Fink, Dr. Laurie Anderson, or Dr. John Krygier for more information.

Food Studies Mentored Minor

The Food Studies mentored minor is overseen collaboratively by the OWU Department of Health & Human Kinetics and the Environmental Studies Program, and views food from a multidisciplinary perspective. We recognize the importance of food as biological fuel, as a natural resource with problems of abundance and scarcity, as a focus of celebration, as a human obsession, as a cultural expression, as a multi-billion dollar industry, and as an interaction with the global environment through agriculture and waste disposal. By studying food across a range of disciplines, students in this minor will improve their ability to investigate, debate, and solve some of the most important problems affecting the human condition in the 21st century, including food scarcity, malnutrition, obesity, preserving cultural heritage in a global society, and feeding people in a world of 7 billion and more.

Requirements

To complete the mentored minor, a student must:

  • Identify an owu faculty member associated with the Food Studies minor to serve as their mentor
  • Create A proposal, in collaboration with their mentor, to the food studies faculty contacts, outlining courses and projects that fit with their specific interests in food.
  • Complete 5.5 units of coursework, consisting of:
    • 3 units of courses selected from the list below, 1 unit from each of 3 different departments.
    • The 0.5 unit interdisciplinary Food Seminar (after completion of at least 1 full unit food course)
    • 2 project-based units (Independent Study, Directed Readings, Internship).

Courses

The following are the courses that can be used for the 3 non-seminar and non-project courses required in the minor. As a reminder, students must take the 0.5 unit Interdisciplinary Food Seminar (INT 300.6 – Interdisciplinary Food Seminar), and select three other courses, representing three different departments. They must complete at least 1 full unit of coursework from this list before enrolling in the Food Seminar. The Food Seminar will be offered in alternating years.

  • BIOL 122 – Organisms and their Environment (Anderson, Downing, Hankison, Johnson, Kelly, Reichard)
  • BOMI 103 – Biology of Cultivated Plants (Murray)
  • BOMI 106 – Enology (summer only) (Goldstein)
  • BOMI 107 – Food (summer only) (Wolverton)
  • BOMI 233 – Ecology and the Human Future (Anderson)
  • CMLT 110 – Myth, Legend, and Folklore of the European Continent (Merkel)
  • ENG 145 – Reading: The Global Kitchen (Comorau)
  • GEOG 499 – Sustainability Practicum (Krygier)
  • HHK 114 – Personal Health (Fink, Busch)
  • HHK 270 – Sport and Exercise Nutrition (Fink, Staff)
  • HHK 347 – Special Topics in HHK: A Qualitative Inquiry (Fink)
  • HHK 300.8 (0.5 unit) – Health Program Planning (Fink) and HHK 300.9 (0.5 unit) – Health Education Instructional Methods (Fink)
  • PHIL 250 – Environmental Ethics (Stone-Mediatore)
  • PSYC 262 – Health Psychology (DiLillo)
  • SOAN 111 – Cultural Anthropology (Howard, Peoples)
  • SOAN 347 – Health, Illness, Disability and Dying (Howard)
  • SOAN 367 – Human Ecology (Peoples)
  • ZOOL 101 – Human Biology (Kelly)
  • ZOOL 325 – Human Physiology (Kelly)
  • ZOOL 335 – Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology (Kelly)

Mentors

A current list of mentors can be obtained from the faculty contacts for this minor, Dr. Laurie Anderson (Botany/Microbiology), and Dr. Christopher Fink (Health & Human Kinetics). Faculty mentors will oversee the development of proposals from students, and may also serve as the faculty supervisors of independent studies, directed readings, or apprenticeships.

Food Studies Mentored Minor Faculty Contacts

Dr. Christopher fink (Health & Human kinetics) and Dr. Laurie Anderson (Botany/Microbiology)

 

Farm / Food / Environmental / Sustainability Internships at Stratford and Methodist Theological School of Ohio

Ohio Wesleyan is offering several internships at two locations for the Fall 2016 semester. Opportunities are at the Stratford Ecological Center and the Seminary Hill Farm, part of the Methodist Theological School. Both are just south of OWU’s campus.

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Ohio Wesleyan is offering several internships at two locations for the Fall 2016 semester. Opportunities are at the Stratford Ecological Center and the Seminary Hill Farm, part of the Methodist Theological School. Both are just south of OWU’s campus.

Opportunities at the Stratford Ecological Center are detailed in the flyer below (click for PDF).

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Opportunities at the Seminary Hill Farm, part of the Methodist Theological School of Ohio are detailed in the flyer below (click for PDF).

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The internships can count towards your Environmental Studies independent study requirement (for ES majors). They will also count towards the proposed Food Minor (to be voted on by faculty later this month). Yes we have transportation options for carless interns. Yes I will accept a bushel of rutabagas you grow as part of the internship.

Choices for Sustainable Living Course | Stratford Ecological Center | Oct 1 – Nov 19, 2015

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Earth Institute Course: Choices for Sustainable Living
When: October 1 – November 19, 2015: Thursdays 6:30pm-8pm
Location: Stratford Ecological Center
Cost: $30

Choices for Sustainable Living discussion course is part of a series developed by the Northwest Earth Institute in Portland, Oregon. The series is promoted by Simply Living in Columbus, Ohio. Their aim is to educate and motivate people to live more simply and sustainable in their lives. This course provides participants a powerful opportunity to explore sustainability more deeply and learn its unique meaning from individual, societal and global perspectives. We are excited to offer this updated eight week course, including introduction, for up to twelve people. The course is participant led with no right or wrong answers, providing an opportunity for open discussion. The $30 fee covers the postage and cost of the hard-copy book.

If interested in attending, let John Krygier know and maybe we can arrange ride-sharing.