Conservation Council Minutes
Conservation Council Meeting
Science Library Conference Room, Madill Hall
November 15, 2006
In Attendance: Eric Williams-Bergen (chair), Reed Carr, Erin Griffin, Al Schwartz, Ben Dixon, Marcus Sherburne, Rick Scott
Eric announced that Ben would be taking minutes. Eric will begin to distribute these to the group via e-mail, and may also archive them on the Green Pages. Eric indicated the Council will also put documents such as energy audits and new initiatives on the Green Pages.
I. Office Paper
In regards to the Council's desire to see paper purchased for campus use to consist of post-consumer/recycled content:
a. Eric reported that Ruta has provided updated pricing information for paper made with recycled content to Kathy Mullaney. Eric suggested that the Conservation Council put forth a recommendation with the Thelomathesian Society Environmental Conservation Committee to University Adminstration.
b. Al described the history of related previous suggestions put forth in environmental audits done by his classes. He noted, though, that there have been changes in how ordering is done since then. He agreed that a recommendation provided to the Administration should include specifics and details.
c. Eric recommended that the Council should move forward with a recommendation for purchase of paper consisting of post-consumer/recycled content, to include details, information and specific recommendations, to be submitted with Thelmo. It should be submitted this semester so that it can be considered now, and any resultant actions could happen in the spring.
In an effort to improve our recycling rates on campus:
a. Erin announced that the Environmental Action Organization is planning to focus on awareness and education through flyers, etc. They are also looking to do training for Community Assistants. It was indicated that facilities can print the flyers for this effort.
b. When asked about previous utilization of recycling monitors, Marcus indicated that he feels the recycling/sorting process proceeds more smoothly from an access and management perspective without the recycling monitors, but that monitors were helpful for signs and education. The money previously set aside for monitors was returned to the University. Education is the key aspect for participation: It is necessary to focus on the education of staff, faculty, and students. He noted that even Facilities Operations could improve its recycling rates. He suggests "SWAT Teams" could analyze recycling rates in buildings in order to educate the buildings' residents. Marcus will provide his recommendations on how to improve recycling on campus, and he and Eric will collaborate to get these recommendations out to the group.
c. Reid suggested the possibility of volunteers to go around buildings soliciting recyclable waste.
d. Eric suggested the idea of a "recycling tip of the week" to be sent via email and the Green Pages, and possibly The Hill News. Council members should brainstorm recycling education ideas and send them to Eric by email for discussion at future meetings. He will also solicit ideas from fellow students and staff.
e. Eric reported that the Buildings & Grounds committee was also discussing recycling. He noted that a report on campus recycling had been previously produced by Brad Baldwin and others, and it can be found on the Green Pages. Buildings &Grounds should coordinate with the Council so as to avoid duplication of effort. The Council could keep data to keep the report updated and current.
f. Al noted that the report was vital to see how the Council is doing and to help guide further action.
g. Brad Baldwin and M.Shuckers should work with Marcus to create a set of standards for the annual report on SLU's recycling effort.. Eric noted that he can give them editing rights for updating information on the Green Pages.
h. Marcus noted that tracking of recycling data could be done similarly to the fleet data.
IV. Wind/Green Energy
a. Eric inquired if the Council should engage in preparation of a multi-year strategy and ‘white paper' for the usage of green energy by the University. It was suggested that a list of projects related to energy efficiency be produced. It was noted that student involvement in sustainability audits and improvement projects is advantageous.
b. Ben discussed current energy issues on campus, and how our need to increase heating capacity has opened up questions pertaining to our co-generation levels and the possible use of bio-fuels in the future. Such bio-fuels could entail woodchip biomass, switchgrass, or biodiesel. Ben pointed to Middlebury College's commitment to building a biomass woodchip plant, and discussed how sustainable local harvest of wood or other crops could be a source of bio-fuel for SLU. Ben will connect with Al after the Thanksgiving Break regarding the possible involvement of his class in this project involving energy planning/co-generation/bio-fuels.
c. Reid asked what measures are being taken towards energy efficiency. Ben, Rick, and the group discussed present and past efforts. The group agreed that this news needed to get into the public light.
V. Green Guide
a. Thelmo is working to produce a "Green Guide" to be sent out to new incoming students. The idea for the guide came out of Conservation Council last year. Suggestions will include purchase of energy efficient refrigerators and note the availability of compact fluorescent lightbulbs at Brewer Bookstore.
b. Al noted that he will be working with his students on aspects of the University's Environmental Resolution in his class next semester, and he asked if the Council needed data.
c. Eric reported that Lisa Cania offered help from University Communications with publications such as the Green Guide.
VI. Environmental Resolution
a. Eric stated that the Council should take a lead role in implementing the University's Environmental Resolution. The Council will set up a forum with President Sullivan, Vice-President Tom Coakley, and others to discuss their views on the Resolution and how it should be implemented.
b. Ben will set up brainstorming sessions on what the forum could entail. After the sessions a write-up should be done and speakers should be invited. Ben could facilitate the forum. Ben will get the event on the master calendar and notify the First-Year Program. The target time for the forum is in February.
VII. Members Time
a. Ben indicated that many of the activities on campus and activities he has been involved in seem to fit under an umbrella of carbon reduction, and put forth the idea of the University engaging in a carbon reduction initiative.
b. Eric and Al discussed the possibility of Al's classes being involved in determining the Council's Charge and the application of the Environmental Resolution.
c. Rick brought up the analysis done on campus by Sightlines and that he will provide the power point presentation at the next meeting.
d. Eric and Ben will work together to set up Ben to be able to work on the Green Pages.