Campus Committee for Sustainability and Climate Neutrality

Campus Committee for Sustainability and Climate Neutrality

October 25, 2011, 3:30-4:45pm

Student Center Room #242

Present: Kathleen Buckley; Nick De Filippis; Louise Gava; Neil Law; Matthias Nevins; Jon Rosales; Dan Seaman; Rick Scott; Annie Znamierowski

Old Business:

Pepsi Refresh Project (Nick)-General concept; think of idea, submit idea and get people to vote for idea.  With enough votes the idea moves to final voting with ideas with the most votes getting funding.  Four different categories (Arts/Music, Education, Communities, Pepsi Challenge) we'd likely enter under the Education category.  Also, four funding sizes (multiple awards in each); $5K, $10K, $25K and $50K.  Each person gets five votes per day, votes that have higher pull can be purchased.

  • Why?
    1. Another funding source, even if it's not complete funding
    2. Votes needed to win-forces us to build community awareness of project
  • Project ideas:

1.      Hydration station (install another like the one in the SC)

2.      Selling water bottles

3.      Water saving fixtures (show heads, waterless urinals)

4.      Ideas around local food

Faculty Council Questions for Committee Self-Review

Neil explained that committee reports are not being filled out and filed with faculty council at the end of the academic year.  Faculty council is worried about the lack of information and committees having to reinvent the wheel each time the people on the committee change.  Big picture questions are: does the committee need to exist and is the charge accurate?

  • Section one: report on past committee activities, Louise will fill out based on Conservation Council's activity
  • Section two: review of committee charge and authority, talked through as group and Jon will officially submit
    • Considered and decided against asking to add more staff to committee: grants (too small and already focused on sustainability), major gifts (traveling and short staffed this semester)

New Business:

Climate Change Summit Planning
Request for ideas from committee, especially speakers.  Summit will be an annual event (moving to fall semester, September) focusing on climate change, funded by Mellon money, involving all four colleges.  Potential university based training for environmental leadership (student focused) in spring.  Is there a way to integrate CAP and our committee work into summit activities?

  • Ideas:

1.      Evan Goodstein - train people to be leaders in climate movement, do workshop to build momentum in student body

2.      Faculty from all 4 colleges working on county's Climate Action Plan-maybe have them do a presentation or panel

3.      Contemporary Issues Forum-focused on Climate Change/Environment/Sustainability

Offset Guidelines
Jon feels there is a gap in the CAP with regard to the University's feelings on offsets.  He notes we'll have to buy some offsets (2,500 metric tons at last count) and thinks the committee should provide guidance on how to prioritize.  Perhaps we can generate offsets on campus  

  • Louise provided three very different ideas from other schools

1.      Green Mountain College-created a local offset program, partnering with the Central Vermont Public Utility and their ‘cow power program.'  Offsets are generated by methane capture at local CAFO dairies and the offsets are verified and retired by AgRefresh-the utility selected and ‘ate the cost' of third party verification.  The project was selected by the college to phase our RECs and have a site that was generating offsets that was easy for students to visit.

2.      Colgate University-partnered with Patagonia Sur LLC to generate forest based carbon offsets by planting 225,000 native tree species to expand the existing 65,000 acre nature reserve.  This partnership also allows for on-site research by students/professors, exclusive use of the eco-tourism club by alumni and additional offsets for University events (reunion) and University sponsored travel.

3.      College of William and Mary-offset fund where 100% of money goes into on-campus energy efficiency projects.  Target is students/faculty/staff/alumni who might otherwise offset their travel, home-life with another vendor, but with this option can give back to the University.  

  • Jon added that we can also buy offsets on the open market starting in 2013 when California comes online to trade carbon
  • Questions we need to answer:
    • Do we favor on campus or local offsets? Why?
    • How much are we going to offset? Just what we know is unavoidable or more?
    • When do we start, now, in the future, buy offsets for back years?
    • What do we do about the uncertainty of CO2 and forests, sometimes the error in how much a forest uptakes is greater than uptake

§  Biomass boiler; purchasing a local product (theoretically), doesn't have to end at SLU, could be a district heating plant as Ogdensburg is considering

  • Ideas:
    • Weatherization of local homes (Louise has looked into this and will share next meeting); some political hurdles even though it is good PR and economic development
    • Habitat for Humanity working on energy projects in our own theme houses or the local community-liability issues?


Members Time:

Next Wednesday, remembrance and tree planting for Dr. Wangari Muta Maathai (at ESL, both for timber and wildlife)

Emerald Ash Borer-does SLU have a plan for the 202 Ash trees we have on campus, the borer was located just south of the county line and also in Canada.  Very expensive to cut trees once they die and Neil reports it is 100% mortality rate


Next meeting
November 8, 2011, 3:30-5pm
Student Center Room TBA:

  • Louise report on updated GHG data and unavoidable offsets
  • Continue offset conversation?


Nick-update on Pepsi Refresh Grant Proposal process
ideas for Pepsi Refresh Project
Committee self-review, section one; unavoidable offset re-calculation and example of offsets with weatherization of local homes
Committee self-review, section two and submit