The Green Fee: A new fence funded by a new fund

Welcome back Loggers, we hope the break was restful for everyone!

This semester, ASUPS and SAC are partnering to officially launch the green fee! As many people may know, this is the first year our campus has had a green fee, a fund that is comprised of 3 dollars from every student’s fees, which adds up to more than 7,000 dollars! Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 12.16.00 PMLast semester, headed by the ASUPS Director of Sustainability, Kirsten Fahlbusch, we collected applications for those students or student groups interested in using a portion of that money for a sustainability related project that benefits the student body and the university. A total of 7 applications were turned it, proposing ideas that varied from building a garden space in President’s woods, to the winning project, proposed by Robin Hopkins, designing and placing a protective deer fence around the Campus Garden.

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What the beds currently have for protection

This fence will be 5 feet tall, in order to provide shelter and reduce the amount of food being lost every year .They also hope it will help to legitimize the garden and increase the amount of food produced and harvested. As Robin states, he believes that a fence will help give the Garden Club “greater legitimacy and attention that can lead it to new levels of involvement.” Additionally, as an Environmental Policy and Decision Making student and someone involved in SSC, Robin believes a fence is a capital investment “in the campus garden, the garden club, and the urban food production ideas that the student body and the university should support.”

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Robin is not the only one excited about the fence. Our current Garden Club President Annie McCormick says, “a fence will really help with productivity over the summer.” This is great to hear as a student concerned with the outcome of student run initiatives during the months that students aren’t around to maintain them.

A fence like this is a great starting point for the green fee. It addresses an area of campus that hasn’t been used to its full potential, so a green fee allocation will bring awareness to the great resource and space that the garden is, and the dedication of those who manage it (the garden club). Additionally according to the Green Fee Review Committee, this project is a good representation of one of the key green fee ideas : projects for students by students. This doesn’t mean the project is only beneficial for students, as this project will clearly be utilized by more than one class, and one garden club. Finally, the review committee wanted to choose something that could be done before the year was out. This is great because a new group or individual can run a green fee selected project every year. So, if you had an idea that wasn’t chosen or you didn’t have time to submit, fret not, there will be other chances to apply!

As this is the first year of the green fee, there will be kinks to work out. But we are so excited to have this fund available, to allow students to put their ideas into practice.

Interested in being part of Robin’s team to build the fence, contact him at rhopkins@pugetsound.edu . If you have any questions about the green fee, please email Kirsten Fahlbusch at asupsds@pugetsound.edu. If you want to know more about the garden and how to get more involved, email Annie McCormick at amccormick@pugetsound.edu

 

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Student Perspectives: Being Vegan at Puget Sound: how tough is it, really?

As part of this year’s discussion around Loggers Eat Green, it’s great to hear how different students on campus think about eating green. Eating sustainably is different to everyone. In the SUB, one week a month it takes the form of Farm to Table, where Dining services brings local and seasonal ingredients from local farms such as Terra Organics and Tahoma Farms. However, eating local is not the only way students have chosen to be green eaters, and it’s great to see it expressed in different ways.LLG_food_tagline

The club Veggie Might chooses to eat green by encouraging club members to head towards a vegan diet, whether that be Pescetarian, Vegetarian or Vegan. Either way, President Kathryn Papoulias says no matter which step you are at, heading in a vegan direction is inherently sustainable because mass meat production is one of the most unsustainable food markets. This is why she has chosen to be vegan as a method of being a sustainable eater.  Being on campus and having a specialized diet of any kind can be difficult, however, the following tips offer great insight into the great ways Dining Services has encouraged vegetarian and vegan diets, and tips from Veggie Might on making the transition to veganism easier.

The following set of tips was written by President, Senior Kathryn Papoulias a Biology major and Environmental Policy Minor and Alexia Ingerson, a sophomore and Computer Science Major. 

When most people think of eating in college, they think of the infamous “Freshman 15” – I, however, was preoccupied with figuring out if I could eat well. When I came to Puget Sound, I was (and still am) vegan, and I was anxious about being mostly dependent on a cafeteria for my food and not knowing exactly how many options I would have. Over the past four years, many changes have come and gone in the Diner; some changes were great, some less than ideal, and it’s pretty clear to most of the vegan community on campus that we still have a ways to go. With that said, there’s a surprising amount of diversity in meal options for vegans and it’s very easy to have a varied, delicious diet as a vegan on campus! Station to station, here are some tips from Veggie Might, Puget Sound’s Vegan & Vegetarian Club!

Italian: This is one of the less exciting stations for vegans. We can pretty much only eat the pasta with tomato basil sauce, which is nice when you’re in the mood for some basic spaghetti, but can get boring pretty quickly.

Latin American: One of my favorites! This year, the addition of breakfast burritos on weekends was pretty exciting, and the tofu scramble and potatoes are great fillings. They usually have a bag of Daiya (nondairy cheese – great for those of us that are lactose-intolerant or otherwise avoid dairy) hanging out underneath the counter that you can ask for, otherwise there’s Daiya in little containers in the fridges that you can ask them to put in the burrito. DSC_0468

Asian: Though their tofu leaves something to be desired, the pho on the weekend can be made vegan really easily and is a nice change. (Inside scoop: get the veggies on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! Tuesdays and Thursdays is usually when they serve left-over veggies.) Sometimes the fried rice is vegan, but only when it doesn’t have egg in it – ask whoever is working to double-check.

Vegan/Vegetarian: As the name implies, this is usually very dependable for vegan fare. Every once in a while there isn’t a vegan option, which is a bummer, and I always avoid Fridays at lunch when the rest of campus goes crazy over the tortellini. Nutritional yeast is almost always hiding in the corner, and can be added to almost anything! Some personal favorites are on top of pasta and tomato sauce, fries, salads, whatever is at the veg station…you get the picture. Yum!

Grill: Veggie patties and buns are vegan! And whoa are those fries good. Tip: Daiya is awesome if you melt it on top of the curly fries in the microwave!

Chef’s Table: Check if the potatoes in the morning are there – they should be vegan! Unfortunately that’s pretty much the only vegan option ever served at this station.

Soup Station: Maybe the most disappointing spot in the diner for me. You’d think that with Tacoma usually being cold and rainy we’d always have a good veggie soup, but rarely is there a vegetarian option here and it’s almost never vegan. Pretty depressing, especially knowing that soups like minestrone is easily vegan and easy to make.

Deli: The craziest change we’ve seen in the Diner so far is here – as far as we’ve been able to discern, none of the bread served at the deli is vegan this semester. You can ask to get a bagel instead and have a bagel sandwich, as most of the bagels are vegan. Tip: Ask for Field Roast! My favorite is getting a hot sandwich with Field Roast and giving them a little container of Daiya from the fridge to put on the sandwich before it goes in the oven.

Miscellaneous: Besides Daiya, there’s also soy yogurt in the fridge! They’ve starting serving a new brand since last year, and it gets rave reviews from vegans to dairy-eaters alike! DSC_0467The Flying Apron baked goods that are both gluten-free and vegan are generally replaced every Wednesday – try the brownies and maple nut muffins! And down in the Cellar, it’s easy to get a vegan pizza – the crust is vegan, and you can ask for the pizza made either without cheese or with Daiya. Give it a shot sometime!

And thus concludes a whirlwind tour of vegan grub on campus – stop by a Veggie Might meeting if you have any questions on vegan/vegetarian eating! You can also contact us at kpapoulias@pugetsound.edu. Happy eating!

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Students for A Sustainable Campus Says No to Coal Exports

Students for Sustainable Campus has been celebrating this beautiful Fall by working on a whole host of projects relevant to this campus and beyond. In particular, their focus this semester has been saying no to coal exports with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign. The campaign targets a proposed coal terminal that would be built in Longview, Washington in order to ship coal to China from a coal reserve in Montana. Washington Residents and the Beyond Coal campaign have been working for the last couple years in order to remove other possible terminals locations from being so.  For example last year, A proposed terminal in Cherry Point near Bellingham was put on hold due to an overwhelming backlash from the local community. BeyondCoal

SSC students have prioritized the current campaign for the Longview terminal because the trains would be chugging right through Tacoma. As Rick Herron from the Beyond Coal Campaign pointed out, the fight is right here because of how many people in the local are will be affected by the trains. SSC has been working with him since September 26th to get student signatures to show the State Department of Ecology that when they do their Environmental Impact Statement, which is required in order to build the export terminal, they consider every environmental, health and social and economic risk of increasing coal use and exports along the North West Coast.

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Some of the SSC attendees proudly wearing red.

Just last week, about twelve Students from the club as well as some from the Introductory Environmental policy seminar attended a scoping hearing for the project. The hearing, held by the State Department of Ecology, was an opportunity for those interested in speaking for or against the proposed coal terminal to share their testimonies with the department as part of the State’s required comment period. While this hearing was supposed to be unbiased, the ratio of opposers to supporters clearly favored SSC and their fellow opposers, with 750 beyond coal campaigners and 100 in favor of the terminal.

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beyond coal campaigners showing they felt the current speaker was “a red herring distracting from the real issue”

There is no doubt that SSC is saying no to coal exports, but as president Becca Ebert mentioned, the obvious division of those at the hearing is not always an effective method for success. Personally I am in complete agreement because making two sides means its very difficult to find common ground and solve problems collaboratively. For example, supports wore blue, and opposers wore red, which created a really obvious line between sides. It was very difficult to have a open discussion with individuals from the blue team because of that division. As student and a member of SSC, I think this is important to keep in mind as we continue the beyond coal campaign.

If any readers want to know more about the coal export terminal, there is a great article with all the facts in an issue of the Trail from a couple weeks ago. Also please come visit SSC at their table in the SUB, Tuesdays and Fridays and tell them what you think. SSC will continue to have comment cards available until November 18th. In the spirit of collaboration, remember that filling one out just means you don’t have to oppose coal , you just want the State Department to know all the facts and make an informed decision. All perspectives are important!

Have a splendid halloween loggers, I’ll be keeping my eye out for those who have been environmentally conscious with their costumes ;).

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Student Perspectives: Ocean Intellect on Ocean Acidification

This Post, the first in the Student Perspectives Series, is written by Nick Cochran, A junior, biology major, and president of Ocean Intellect, an ASUPS club. The Student Perspectives Series brings different student group’s projects, goals and perspectives to the Loggers Live Green table, as part of a cross campus sustainability collaboration. 

Current Puget Sound students have began to experience a hand full of sustainability measures available on campus.  Through the Ocean Intellect club, students have been able to become more informed with marine sciences and how we can help the oceans today.  Just a few weeks ago, a PSO trip spearheaded by Ocean Intellect went out to the Washington Coast near Rialto Beach.  Students participated in a beach cleanup sponsored by Surfrider Foundation and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration). Over 200 volunteers joined in for the cause that raised awareness to the ever-rising attack of plastic debris on our beaches. While plastics are a huge concern, the Ocean Intellect community has began to focus more on spreading knowledge about ocean acidification.

 

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach

With the increased consumption of resources within our earth ecosystem today, humankind is facing a broad spectrum of ocean deprivation.  Such subjects at hand can be evaluated within a cycle of natural resource consumption on a global scale.  We must begin to recognize that within the environment that covers 70% of our world, we are starting to witness changes that may shift the next 20 years of natural biodiversity.

Rising carbon dioxide levels, coupled with plastic pollution leaching, are leaving ocean health in an anti equilibrium state.  An ecosystem must fluctuate according to tropic succession, where each level of organismic diversity benefits the other along a nutrient gradient.  High concentrations of carbon dioxide are limiting the natural state of primary shelled organisms, which in turn are suffering from the breakdown of carbonate shells.  Alterations of carbonate structure are the result of irregular chemical reactions of carbon dioxide within the aqueous environment.  With a disturbance so significant, trophic succession develops severe displacement.  This process is beginning to offset ocean organism populations worldwide.

Coral reef deprivation is being recorded as another primary concern to biologist.  Coral develop a symbiotic relationship to algal zooxanthellae, which provide coral pigmentation and photosynthetic energy.  Coral can become stressed by increasing pH, which results from carbon dioxide “hot spots”.  The coral then release the symbiotic algae leaving the corals white or “bleached”.  Coral populations then begin to suffer increased fragility, lower growth rates, and more so death.  Research of oceans worldwide has provided evidence that corals may surfer bleaching at higher rates as carbon concentrations begin to increase.  Some propose the idea that we may never be able to return corals to natural levels.  Protection agencies have began to culture coral growth in laboratories in hopes of one day returning species into the wild.  For now, we are in a waiting process of research and environmental policy development.

From Surfrider’s Ocean Ecosystem campaign

As research continues to provide evidence to carbon dioxide pollution, we can begin to bring life back into the oceans with our reduction of primary consumption.  Although such a task may seem lofty, if individuals take the time reduce the amount of carbon and plastic consumption, we can make change.  Joining environmental groups such as Surfrider or Puget Soundkeeper Alliance can help citizen engagement in Washington State.  Our collective efforts can help to preserve the beauty we have here along our coasts and inland territories.  Here at Puget Sound, we can strive to keep sustainable efforts by being green. As a student population we can continue to become educated on such topics that will be a huge concern as we make our way into the future.

 

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Orientation and move-in sustainability successes

Welcome back to Campus loggers!

Can anyone believe we have already been back on campus for a month, I can’t. Before we get too knee deep in all the exciting projects we are working on this year, we wanted to talk about how successful sustainability during move-in went! This year Sustainability Services really amped their game up to reduce landfill waste during both freshman and upperclassmen move-in. They created waste stations for different types of recyclable products, including areas for cardboard and styrofoam, both of which are used A LOT during move -in. 20130903_090931 copy

 

These stations would have been useless if not for students taking full advantage of them. Overall, Freshman recycled 3.67 tons of commingled (paper, plastic cans), styrofoam and cardboard, while upperclassmen 4.545 tons of the same three. In total thats 8.251 tons of recycling, a quarter of a ton increase from last year’s move-in. From a student perspective, this makes me really proud that my fellow students are taking advantage of these opportunities. From a department perspective, it’s really great when students take something you work hard on seriously because it shows its all worth it! We can still do better with every day recycling but any time we reduce the amount of recyclables going to the landfill is positive!

 

Secondly, orientation had great new water bottles ! As part of the Why Bottled Water Campaign, ASUPS and SAC bought and gave loggers live green Nalgenes to all freshmen to help encourage reducing our campus use of one use plastic water bottles.Tap-That-Poster

Every time I see that flash of red on campus, I know the water bottles was a great addition to our campaign. Keep filling up those bottles with tap water, even from the Res Hall bathroom sinks, hint: Tacoma has great clean water! Stay tuned for more water accessible water bottle filling stations around campus to make using your Nalgenes easier :)

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Sustainability Highlights from 2012-2013 Academic Year

Sustainability Highlights:

  • Live Green Challenge, a competition between Resident Halls to reduce waste and increase recycling from October to November. Collectively, all Resident Halls increased the volume of recycling. Congratulations to Sewlangster who won the Live Green Recycling competition between Resident Halls.
  • Sustainability in the Diner:
    • Composting in the Diner, Puget Sound is partnering with the City of Tacoma Parts 3Environmental Services on a pilot “InSinkErator” project in The Diner dish room.  An InSinkErator is similar to a large, commercial garbage disposal except it is designed for effective pre- and post-consumer food waste processing.  City of Tacoma waste treatment facilities have been designed to convert pre- and post-consumer waste via the waste water system into Tagro fertilizer.
    • Farm to Table, the Dining and Conference Services (DCS) partnered with Tahoma Tahoma Farms family with tractorFarms this past year to provide local and seasonal produce almost every month this past year. DCS collaborated with Students for a Sustainable Campus in an effort to educate students and campus community members about the benefits of buying local. In the past, DCS has featured tomatoes, beets, winter squash, and kale depending on the season availability.
  • Capacity Building in SAC Outreach:
    • Communication, SAC Outreach created new Loggers Live Green Facebook page and blog to promote sustainability events and projects throughout campus.
    • New Loggers Eat Green Logo, SAC Outreach created a new logo Loggers Eat LLG_food_taglineGreen to encompass all of the effort in the Diner to provide local and sustainable produce.
    • Graduation Fair Green Pledge, graduating seniors have the opportunity to pledge and account sustainability as they enter a career by signing a pledge and wearing a pin upon graduation.
  • ASUPS Sustainability Efforts:
    • Green Fee, ASUPS in collaboration with SAC developed a Green Fee where students will contribute $3 to create a pool of money for students to apply for grants to create projects to promote sustainability on campus.
    • ASUPS Director of Sustainability Position, ASUPS introduce a new sustainability liaison position that will next year represent and promote sustainability within ASUPS programs. The Director, Sadie Boyle, will work directly will help manage the Green Fee.
  • Why Bottled Water Campaign, the Why Bottled Water campaign is a partnership Tap That Posterof Students for a Sustainable Campus (SSC), Associated Students of University of Puget Sound (ASUPS), Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC), and Puget Sound’s Dining and Conference Services who together are working to decrease the number of single-use plastic water bottles sold in the Diner.
  • Earth Week, Puget Sound participated in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day in a week of events. The week began with SSC’s biannual Student Market that featured an array of handmade crafts and baked goods all created by students. Next, SAC celebrated the range of sustainability accomplishments on campus in the Earth Day Showcase where President Ronald Thomas spoke on behalf of Loggers Live Green.  All week long a range of events promoted living sustainably fromthe E-Waste campaign IMG_20130425_151918that collected electronics, to SSC and Ocean Intellect’s joint Earth Economics and Sound Keepers Presentation and documentary. Additionally, the Diner led two successful cooking demonstrations that taught students and faculty the ease of making homemade ricotta and mozzarella cheese, as well as grilling local and seasonal food.
  • New Greek Sustainability Council, Greek life created the new Greek Sustainability Council this spring that organized the first ever full Greek life event, Thrift Shop for a Cause. The GSC collected items from all the Greek houses and from others unaffiliated to install low-flow showerheads in the Greek houses. The GSC is currently creating bylaws to continue to work on sustainability into next fall.
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Why Bottled Water Campaign’s Plastic Jellyfish Sculpture

Stude20130422_115653nts for a Sustainable Campus and Dining Conference Services partnered to present the water bottle sculpture as part of the Why Bottled Water campaign on campus. The water bottle sculpture is designed to provide an estimate of how much plastic waste students produce on a daily basis. The sculpture contains approximately half of the ~ 65 water bottles used by students on a daily basis. Plastic waste is contaminating all areas of our planet, most prominently the marine environment. The jellyfish and barnacles in the sculpture provide an example of how plastic is becoming a large part of marine environments. Plastic may never entirely decompose, therefore it is crucial that we move away from our reliance on one use plastic bottles.

Artwork done by Chloe Boulay

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The Princeton Review’s 2013 Green Colleges Guide Salutes Puget Sound

Excerpt from recent press release celebrating the new recognition: University of Puget Sound is one of the 322 most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company published its 2013 The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges today.

The free, downloadable guide says that at Puget Sound “green isn’t just a color, but a way of life.” The campus has involved students, staff, and faculty in sustainability on multiple fronts, ranging from what is taught in class, to travel and food programs, to recycling, to constructing environmentally certified buildings, to educational events, to commitments to nationwide climate awareness programs.

“We are truly pleased to recommend University of Puget Sound, along with all of the fine schools in this book, to the many students seeking colleges that practice and promote environmentally-responsible choices and practices,” said Robert Franek, publisher for The Princeton Review. Franek said his company’s recent survey indicated significant interest among college applicants in attending “green” colleges.

“Among 9,955 college applicants who participated in our 2013 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ 62 percent said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” Franek said.

The guide notes the impressive work by the Puget Sound Sustainability Advisory Committee, which focuses on consumption, curriculum, climate, and public outreach. The committee reduces waste on campus through recycling and composting and through sponsorship of zero-waste events such as LogJam, Spring Lu’au, and an electronic waste collection drive.

SAC also has started an innovative program of appointing “Green Advocates” to every residence hall to encourage peer-to-peer education about sustainable living. Several other campus groups also initiate “green” measures. When students moved in on campus last fall, Sustainability Services diverted 5.5 tons of cardboard, almost 2 tons of comingled material, and 155 pounds of Styrofoam. When students move out this May, the  Community Involvement and Action Center will run Operation S.A.V.E., which collects and donates to charity everything that students leave behind.

Read more by clicking here.

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Check Out the Thrift Shop for a Cause Event on May 4th

This Saturday, May 4th from 11am-4pm in the Rotunda there will be a Thrift Shop event on campus to raise money for the new Greek Sustainability Committee! We have been collecting items from all the greek houses and from others unaffiliated and will be pricing things for around 1-5 dollars. Some items we have collected include desk lamps, mens and women’s clothes, stuffed animals, books, text books and shoes. We will have free food at the event, and will have music and other entertainment as well. The Harlequins will be doing a set at noon.

Make sure you don’t miss this event! All proceeds will go towards reducing water waste in the Puget Sound community and any unsold items will be donated to goodwill. Come support the Greek Sustainability Council, and if you have any questions email us at upsgsc@gmail.com

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Sustainability in Residence Life

Excerpt by Jenni Chadick, Assistant Director of Residence Life

Last Friday marks the end of Earth Week at Puget Sound, a week of programming and awareness around sustainability initiatives at Puget Sound. This, along with our recent naming as one of 322 “Green Colleges” (according to the Princeton Review) provides a great opportunity to share our top five strategies in Residence Life to make our living facilities more earth friendly.

5) the Live Green Challenge

Started in 2009, and revamped in 2012, the Live Green Challenge is an inter-hall competition to increase the amount of recycling and reduce the amount of trash produced by each residential community. The Residence Hall Association (RHA) tracks the amount of recycling collected each week, and compares this to a benchmark calculated the month prior. Whichever hall increases their amount of recycling wins! Aimed to educating students on sustainability on campus, this program is a great introduction for new students to the way to recycle at Puget Sound, and in Tacoma. This year’s winning team: Sewlangster – the portmanteau for Seward, Langlow, and Regester halls.

4) the Live Green House

As part of both an institutional and residential commitment to sustainability,  the Live Green House is a LEED Gold housing option for five lucky students. The house, a complete retrofit of an older home owned by the university, was completed in 2008. Some features include: 100% recycled particle board cabinetry, 55% recycled flooring, 50% post consumer recycled paint on all walls, solar power panels, ultra high efficiency HVAC system with no ozone-depleting refrigerants, Energy Star-rated appliances, low flow toilets and shower heads, a compost bin, and rain barrels to collect water for irrigation.  The residents of the Live Green House are supported and encouraged to participate in various campus initiatives around sustainability, and in 2011 the residents of the Live Green House purchased a composter that can be utilized by any residents living in the 50+ campus houses.

The Live Green House is a LEED Gold certified housing option for 5 lucky students

The Live Green House is a LEED Gold certified housing option for 5 lucky students

3)  Operation SAVE

In partnership with our Community Involvement and Action Center (CIAC) Operation SAVE (Sharing Abundance through Volunteer Efforts) Residence Life has helped students donate gently used items to community organizations during move out. Students often have too many items to pack, bring home, or utilize over the summer that those in the community can benefit from. For over 15 years this program has provided students a way to get rid of their stuff in a convenient way that benefits the community, AND diverts items from the waste stream. Prior to its inception, many students would simply throw away the clothes, small electronics, mirrors, or lamps they could not haul away. Donating items to be reused is an area of sustainability Residence Life cares deeply about, and is an often overlooked area of the “recycling” brand. Our students have been generous with this program, and in 2012 over 600 60-lb bags of items were donated to charity.

To read more click here to visit the Residence Life Blog.

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