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 РNovember 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.

May Move Out 2015 – Results

OWU’s Spring 2015 May Move Out focused on getting students to donate reusable items to Goodwill (by placing them in storage pods) while moving out of the dorms. Overall about 19,000 pounds of material was collected by Goodwill throughout the May Move Out period. That is about 9.5 tons of material kept out of the landfill (and close to our estimated 10 ton diversion rate).

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OWU’s Spring 2015 May Move Out focused on getting students to donate reusable items to Goodwill (by placing them in storage pods) while moving out of¬†the dorms. The effort¬†worked well given our goals of diverting stuff from the landfill (and to Goodwill) while clearing the dorms (in preparation for their summer use).

Overall about 19,000 pounds of material was collected by Goodwill throughout the May Move Out period. That is about 9.5 tons of material kept out of the landfill (and close to our estimated 10 ton diversion rate).

Earlier this year, Ohio Wesleyan was awarded $10,000 from the Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow (DKMM) Joint Solid Waste District¬†through the efforts of OWU’s¬†Sustainability Task Force.

Overall, we rate the effort a B with areas of improvement to include promotion and logistics.

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Of the larger items, according to Goodwill, we collected 45 mini refrigerators, 12 bins of textiles, 37 misc. wares, 13 futons, 14 office chairs, 18 rugs, 27 storage containers and a dozen or so misc. chairs.

Our Goodwill partners were very happy with the effort, as were OWU’s Buildings and Grounds and Residential Life staff. In other words, we have a model that can, with some tweaks, work in the future.

With overall success come a series of problems and proposed improvements to consider.


Problem: Promotional efforts did not work as well as possible. This will be a big challenge for May Move Out 2016.

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Michelle Smith pulling a nice bike out of the dumpster. Potential donations were removed from the dumpsters by May Move Out volunteers. When asked, a signficant number of students professed ignorance of the May Move Out effort.

Solutions:

  • Earlier efforts to inform students and RAs, Fraternities and SLUs about the May Move Out effort. Promotion in the last month of classes came at a time when everyone was distracted by many other issues. Consider outreach efforts that will reach students already hit by a barrage of information.
  • Consider a fall and early spring promotional effort with a Goodwill truck with a “May Move Out 2016 (Early!)” banner parked in residential area. Possibly a similar effort mid-spring semester. Allow for early donations (as well as faculty and staff donations) but focus is to raise awareness for the actual May Move Out.
  • Banners for May Move Out on each donation pod. Potential for¬†green balloons floating above pods.
  • Organizations and groups to help with outreach: Tree House, UC 160 Sustainability focused section, spring 2016. Students and courses in Environmental Studies.
  • Brainstorm promotional ideas:
    • Pod Puppies: puppies (from Companion Dogs company?) for end of semester stress relief and promotion of May Move Out
    • Green Week or Earth Day promotion
    • Have a¬†contest (like Greek Week) based on how much you get donated (organize by floor, dorm, SLU, etc.)
    • Swag? Green Week efforts? Social Media?

Problem: Lots of recyclable material, particularly paper and cardboard, in the dumpsters. Part of the problem is the lack of a recycling program in the City of Delaware for businesses and multi-tenant buildings (such as the dorms on campus).

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A May Move Out promotional poster (above) in the dumpster!

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Lots and lots of paper and cardboard in the dumpsters.

Solutions:

  • work with the City of Delaware on this problem
  • investigate dual dumpster / recycling bins
  • improve campus recycling on¬†the residential side of campus, in particular many of the cardboard boxes were from Aramark cleaning materials.

Problem: Limited donation dates and times meant that materials that could have been donated were thrown in dumpsters (for example, over night when the donation pods were locked).

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Donations left by a locked donation pod overnight (above).

Solutions:

  • Have pods placed on campus earlier.
  • With better promotion, students will know to leave donations by the pods if they are locked. Banners: “May Move Out Goodwill Donations. Leave it Here if You’re Not Sure”

Problem: Students have a tendency to toss everything (including potential donations) in the closest dumpster or garbage can.

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Potential donations in a dumpster that was closer to the dorm than the donation pod.

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Potential donations dropped off by the trash can closest to the dorm exit.

Solution:

  • Better promotion of May Move Out effort to encourage students to carry their donations the extra distance to the donation pods
  • Adjust donation pod locations so that donations can be made by all well used dumpsters (see image above). Attempt to get donation pod closer to dorms than the dumpsters.
    • Bashford pod: try to get dumpster and pod closer and facing same direction

Problem: too many nearly unused donation pods near SLUs and Frats.

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Things were very quiet at the donation pods near the SLUs (Small Living Units) and Frats.

Solution: This is actually a good thing, as it means we will probably need fewer donation pods for the Spring 2016 May Move Out (saving some money).

  • Work with Fraternities & SLUs to determine if donation pods are needed and where they should be. Possible that the fraternities and SLUs can organize an effort to get donations to the donation pods near the dorms, rather than have their own donation pod.
  • Revised May Move Out Promotion effort for Fraternities and SLUs

Additional ideas and issues:

  • gloves for volunteers at each pod
  • hours for each pod posted on pod
  • have real estate lock boxes for pod keys (rather than pick up and drop off)
  • encourage¬†volunteers to circulate – don’t have to stay by assigned pod

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OWU Awarded $10k Grant to Fund May Move Out Effort

Wednesday February 11 2015: Ohio Wesleyan was awarded $10,000 from the Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow (DKMM) Joint Solid Waste District for our May Move Out effort for 2015 through the efforts of the Sustainability Task Force.

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Wednesday February 11 2015: Ohio Wesleyan was awarded $10,000 from the¬†Delaware, Knox, Marion, Morrow (DKMM) Joint Solid Waste District for our May Move Out effort for 2015 through the efforts of the Sustainability Task Force. The project, originally developed and implemented by student Sarah D’Alexander in 2012, diverts reusable and recyclable materials from the trash during the student move out at the end of the spring semester. Grant¬†funds will offset costs to OWU for pod rental (for short term storage of reusable and recyclable materials, and transport to our partners at Goodwill Industries) as well as promotional and educational efforts. The Sustainability Task Force (STF) guided the grant proposal, and students in John Krygier’s Geography 360 course (Environmental Geography) as well as Green House SLU members will be working on the project with Goodwill Industries, OWU Buildings and Grounds and OWU Residential Life.


Project Description:

Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) looks to significantly enhance and expand recycling/reuse efforts on our campus among its nearly 1,750 students who bring furnishings, clothing, small appliances and other items to outfit their residence hall living spaces each year. Much of the materials they bring and accumulate over an academic year do not go with them when they leave campus for the summer.

In fact, at the end of each spring semester over a few days, OWU students dump in excess of 43 tons of materials, much of which could be recycled or reused, into garbage dumpsters as they prepare to depart campus. Furniture, lamps, flat screen TVs, clothes, computers ‚Äď usually of high quality and relatively new ‚Äď end up in landfills, particularly as students from outside the state and country find they do not have the resources to move and travel with these items.

Ohio Wesleyan seeks to develop a partnership with Goodwill Industries to divert as many student discards as possible away from the landfill. We seek to build a sustainable model for “May Move Out” (as students move out of campus at the end of spring semester in May) that includes, in addition to significant waste diversion, an educational component whereby OWU students come to understand the significance of the waste they generate and learn to anticipate, plan, and reduce their waste impact. Further, the May Move Out program will engage students from several campus environmental organizations in working with Goodwill, OWU’s Buildings and Grounds, Residential and Campus cleaning staff as well as faculty in the Environmental Studies Program. Therefore, we believe our proposed program will, in addition to significant waste diversion, serve as an important pedagogical and service learning opportunity for our students. The desire to partner with a respected community organization with a shared goal of the reuse of materials, the capacity to handle a sizable addition of inventory for their stores and other enterprises and the desire to work with our students made Goodwill Industries our first choice for an off-campus partner.

The project outlined in this proposal builds on earlier efforts which involved recycling boxes in the residence halls and OWU students and staff sorting through the donated materials to then deliver appropriate materials to community organizations. The current proposed initiative addresses challenges and inadequacies with such previous end of year move out attempts and incorporates a partnership with a community organization that can provide the staffing and expertise needed to most successfully make use of the materials generated.

Meetings and discussions with Goodwill Industries and OWU Buildings & Grounds staff, students and faculty, resulted in the May Move Out project concept. The project entails:

  • Placement of 9 storage containers aka pods at selected locations on the Residential side of campus, near garbage dumpsters to allow separation of recyclable and non-recyclable materials at each of the 9 sites.
  • OWU students and Goodwill staff posted at the pods as “Diversion Consultants” to answer questions about what items would be considered waste vs. recyclable/reuse over the 4 day move-out period. We propose to leave some pods open and unmonitored, and will compare contents in those pods to contents in monitored pods to assess the ability of students to self-sort waste from recyclable/reusable materials.
  • Relocation of the pods after the 6 (or are we saying 4 ‚Äď pods open on the weekend?) day student move out period to the Goodwill Industries facility in Delaware, Ohio where contents will be sorted and processed by Goodwill staff. OWU student “Diversion Consultants” may be involved at this stage of the process to assess the collected materials.An educational campaign is required for the proposed project to work. OWU will build on an existing campaign called “Pack it in, Pack it up, Pack it out” to include the option to recycle/reuse. Components of this campaign include:
  • Training of Residential Advisors on Residence Hall floors to understand the May Move Out and resources available to them and students on their floors.
  • Creation of basic recycle/reuse or waste guidelines, on postcards distributed to students with email access to “Consultants” as well as social media messaging. Similar information on posters will be placed near waste areas in residential buildings.
  • Events in the spring semester to raise awareness of the May Move Out campaign to include informational tables in the Campus Center, in Residential Food Service areas, and other locations.

Ohio Wesleyan’s project best fits the Non-Residential Recycling/Waste Reduction Project as defined in the Delaware Knox Marion Morrow Solid Waste Management District (DKMM SWD) 2015 Recycling & Market Development Project Application Handbook. OWU’s request is part of the institution’s larger plan to foster a culture of sustainability on campus as further outlined in item #5 below. Specifically, OWU seeks $10,000 to address priorities of DKMM SWD to foster and encourage collection and reuse of recyclable materials from the campus community.

With the campus drawing students from 46 states (with over 50% from Ohio) and 43 countries, this initiative provides a unique opportunity to reach a broad audience in our recycling educational efforts and hopes to inspire recycling practices in students that will continue after they graduate.

 

Delaware to improve boat access to Olentangy River

The city of Delaware will use a $152,900 state grant to build three access sites to the Olentangy River this year. Two will be in Mingo Park and one on Cherry Street, south of the city-owned recycling buildings.

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Image from¬†“Olentangy River¬†Restoration Efforts Improve Aquatic Life” from the USEPA.

Delaware to improve boat access to Olentangy River

Reblogged from the Columbus Dispatch (Thursday, January 29, 2015)

By Dean Narciso

DELAWARE, Ohio ‚ÄĒ Since Delaware‚Äôs early settlement more than 200 years ago, boats and canoes have been launched from its Olentangy River banks.

With the help of a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, there will now be a safer, easier method of entry than climbing over rocks and along crude paths.

The city will use a $152,900 state grant to build three access sites this year. Two will be in Mingo Park and one on Cherry Street, south of the city-owned recycling buildings.

The Mingo Park access will be on the park’s north and south sides. The north site will include timber stairs and handrails leading to a boat-removal area.

The south site will have a paved parking area and a 55-foot paved path to a launch area.

The Cherry Street site will have a gravel parking lot and a 200-foot gravel trail to the river. That site is intended for both launching and boat removal.

Traffic to the sites will be helped by Preservation Parks of Delaware County, which plans to build an entry point at River Run Preserve, north of the city limits near Delaware Dam. Together, these projects will provide the public access to 7.5 miles of water trail.

‚ÄúOpportunities for our recreational boating community will greatly increase because of these launch sites along the Olentangy River,‚ÄĚ Delaware City Manager Tom Homan said in a news release. ‚Äú Water trails join communities, provide scenic venues for recreation, increase health and well-being and create educational opportunities.‚ÄĚ

Delaware spokesman Lee Yoakum said ‚Äúthe river is not used as much as it could be because access is poor.‚ÄĚ

The new facilities, to open around April 2016, should help the river become as important as the city’s network of road and bike paths, Yoakum said.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs truly the heart of the city. It‚Äôs where Delaware began.‚ÄĚ

Spenser Hickey’s Report on OWU Sustainability

During the Fall semester of 2014 Journalism student Spencer Hickey reviewed the state of Sustainability on OWU’s campus, reviewing its history and current status, interviewing students, staff and faculty, and documenting his work as Special Report: OWU Sustainability.

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During the Fall semester of 2014 Journalism student Spencer Hickey reviewed the state of Sustainability on OWU’s campus, reviewing its history and current status, interviewing students, staff and faculty, and documenting his work as Special Report: OWU Sustainability.

OWU’s¬†Sustainability Task Force¬†(Facebook here) is actively addressing many of the issues in Hickey’s report, and a Spring 2015 practicum (Geography 499) will review and address the issues as part of the process of creating a campus-wide sustainability plan.

 

Ohio Wesleyan’s Community Garden

The Ohio Wesleyan Community Garden is a student initiated project, run by OWU students, faculty and Chartwells (campus dining services).

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The Ohio Wesleyan Community Garden is a student initiated project, run by OWU students, faculty and Chartwells (campus dining services).

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We are always in need for volunteers and “taste testers.” Please come visit us! We are located behind the old observatory.

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More information and many pictures can be found at:

This season’s plantings with additional fascinating details can be found at What’s In the Garden.

Contact: Susannah Waxman: sewaxman@owu.edu

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Cooking Matters @ OWU’s Human Health & Kinetics

A team of OWU students, trained as nutrition and/or culinary educators, teach a course for adults in the city of Delaware who are at risk for food insecurity. The participants enroll in a 6-week course led by the students, highlighting nutritional, budgeting/shopping, and food preparation tips and tricks: all to help participants find ways to more effectively feed their family healthful meals on a budget.

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Dr. Chris Fink, in the Department of Health and Human Kinetics (HHK), heads up the Cooking Matters program at Ohio Wesleyan.

A team of OWU students, trained as nutrition and/or culinary educators, teach a course for adults in the city of Delaware who are at risk for food insecurity. The participants enroll in a 6-week course led by the students, highlighting nutritional, budgeting/shopping, and food preparation tips and tricks: all to help participants find ways to more effectively feed their family healthful meals on a budget.

Images are from the first Cooking Matters class, held on October 21, 2014.

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Cooking Matters¬†is also a hunger easement program, as participants receive a bag of groceries to re-create each week’s recipes at home, for their families. Inherently, this program addresses food waste as well, with a focus on¬†how to re-use ingredients in various meals.

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Cooking Matters arose out of the Department of Health and Human Kinetics relationship with Local Matters in Columbus, a direct partner of Share Our Strength, a national non-profit who developed the Cooking Matters curriculum. Ohio Wesleyan is now a satellite partner of this program, required to report outcomes, participation, etc. back to Share Our Strength.

As a health promotion program, Cooking Matters works perfectly in the HHK curriculum, as it allows participation in program planning and program delivery, as well as assessment, and to address one of the larger health issues in the Delaware community at the same time.

Contact Dr. Fink in the Department of Health and Human Kinetics for more information.

New Course: Sustainability Plan Practicum: Spring 2014

Dr. John Krygier, Director of Environmental Studies and Professor of Geography, is offering a practicum (Geography 499) focused on researching and creating a draft Sustainability Plan for Ohio Wesleyan University during the Spring semester, 2015.

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Dr. John Krygier, Director of Environmental Studies and Professor of Geography, is offering a practicum (Geography 499) focused on researching and creating a draft Sustainability Plan for Ohio Wesleyan University during the Spring semester, 2015.

Students will be working with faculty and staff on the Sustainability Task Force (STF) as well as using professional and academic sources to create the draft plan.

Rock Jones has expressed interest in having OWU sign the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This Commitment involves many of the issues that would be included in a sustainability plan for campus.

The course is scheduled for Tu/Th 10-11:50 but will leave open the option to arrange a different meeting time, depending on who takes the course.

For more information, contact Dr. Krygier.

Living on Campus: The Tree House

SLUs (small living units) offer opportunities for a small group of OWU students interested in particular topics and issues to create a small community and live together in a themed house. The environmentally themed SLU, the Tree House, is a great place for environmentally minded sophomores, juniors, and seniors to live.

Treehouse

SLUs (small living units) offer opportunities for a small group of OWU students interested in particular topics and issues to create a small community and live together in a themed house. The environmentally themed SLU, the Tree House, is a great place for environmentally minded sophomores, juniors, and seniors to live.  Live in a tight-knit, green community with people who care about making a positive impact on our world.

More information on small living units and OWU housing: http://reslife.owu.edu/livingInASLU.php