Present: Amanda Lavigne, Matthias Nevins, Catherine
Boulatoff, Brad Baldwin, Rick Scott, Louise Gava, Marcus Sherburne, Mary
Kohnstamm, Andrew Skaggs, Molly Parren
Absent: Lindsay Guerin
3.10 p.m. Amanda started the meeting by describing the
objectives and functions of the Conservation Council. Objective of today's
meeting: to discuss "ground policy."
Louise asked Marcus to talk about the campus use plan and
SLU priorities in terms of ground policy (landscaping, pressure from different
groups, different uses...)
3.15. Marcus explained that for in the past 10 years, SLU
has reached a nice "plateau"; with the current fiscal crisis and the attempt to
attain sustainability, the Ground Department is going to meet new challenges.
There is a need to reduce cost, while at the same time be more sustainable
(which, often, means more costly). He addressed several points:
1) First goal (in next
5 years): "be pesticide free" (excluding sport athletic facilities)
use of Round Up, unless the area has a major problem (for example, invasion of
To get rid
of weeds (for improved aesthetics) without using Round Up, without increasing
cost: decrease in labor hours (in summer, ½ students working for the Dept)
SLu has not
purchased any new vehicle for the past 10 years. On any given day, at least 2
vehicles broken down on campus.
2) Use Plan:
* No mows (ties into Johnson Hall). No mow areas save a
considerable amount of money.
* Need to have a "regular campus" (campus needs to look
Hopefully, this will tie in cost saving/ sustainability and
a walking campus. Note: Having a
walking campus is associated with major fund issue. Roads need to be diverted
3) Role within
maintain (not go backwards)
Special occasion (Alumni week-end, graduation...)
For SLU, since the level of maintenance all year round is
high already, there is no major change for special occasions
Mark works with Tom Greene (studies pattern uses of students
for example), and landscape architects, to develop the new master plan for the
university (the last one developed in 1988). The new plan includes more "no mow
areas" and represents a more conservationist approach to landscaping.
As of now, very little contracting; in house snow removal,
mulch bed maintenance, mowing, pruning, vehicle maintenance...
5) Other ideas/topics:
* Birdhouses. Already some in place. Note: importance to
identify an area that will not be used.
* Use of wildflowers to attract butterflies - started
* Beebox - upcoming?
* Joint compost with canton village - to start in a few
years, to be applied on campus
* Asphalt - in summer, will start removing it when/where not
needed. At the same time, need to add more in parking lots.
* biodiesel - currently not enough of a supply. Regulations
require that to have a tank (>2000 gallons) one needs to have fire
suppressants on site (and these are very costly); therefore SLU needs to find a
source of supply on a regular basis (instead of stocking up).
* Fertilizers (synthetic and organic) - upcoming, the use of
synthetic fertilizer will be decreased by 20%. Some areas will not be
fertilized. The Psdt's House will receive organic fertilizer (liquid, through
the irrigation system).
* Water use - upcoming - decrease use by 50%.
* Littering: takes one hour on Friday mornings to pick up by
* Tree maintenance: 2 years ago, SLU went to an "all NY made
trees" (lots of what is growing in Ontario can also be found in this area).
Have an arboretum on campus.
* Electric push mowers (wish), but more expensive.
3.40 p.m. Amanda asked how the Conservation Council could
best help/ contribute.
* Mark: pesticide free: it would be great to find 5
different "pesticide free" universities to talk to (learn from)- note: really
pesticide free, not lip service.
* Brad: encourage students not to throw litter ("drunk
* Mark: stricter policies for vendors and fac. Operators.
(keep off the lawn)
* Molly: students' interest in growing own food (already,
Dana has herb garden), such as raspberry or blueberry bushes. It would have to
be on the outskirt of campus.
* Brad: to post on the Green pages a catching one line story
( "did you know that every Friday morning, .....?)
After thanking Mark for coming and explaining to the council
what his work entailed in such an interesting manner, Amanda adjourned the
meeting (4 p.m. or so).
This grant proposal was submitted to "Brita's Filter for
Good EcoChallenge." The goal was to use
grant monies to develop a semester long bicycle rental program to supplement the
University's existing Green Bikes Program.
While this grant was not accepted, we thank Wesley Norton for his hard
work as the student lead on the grant.
The purpose of this memo,
prepared by the Conservation Council and Carbon Neutrality Working Group, is to
provide information on the financial savings and revenue generating potential
of environmental initiatives including carbon reduction efforts.
memo was prepared for The Recession
Response and Planning Task Group (RRPTG).
This group was appointed by the President with the goal of determining
possible actions to bring our University budget to equilibrium during a time of
economic downfall and budget deficit.
Departments across campus were asked to look critically at their
operations for ways they could help with this deficit.
During the last meeting of the semester, Amanda asked for
feedback from the group to help shape the agenda for the next semester.
All 4 student representatives will be replaced next
semester, due to students traveling abroad.
It was suggested that more time be spent drafting policies
and less time on coordinating activities like the 350 day wood sawing.
Hopefully the Brita Filter for Good grant will be awarded,
and the expansion of the Green Bikes program can be the Council focus for next
The chair thanked the Council members for a productive
semester, and agreed to keep the student representatives who would be traveling
abroad in the spring on the mailing list to keep them up to date on Council
activities and progress throughout next semester.
After discovering that the brief for the RRPTG was due 11/30
(today), Amanda and Louise created the brief over Thanksgiving Break,
distributed a draft for review yesterday, and the Council spent the meeting editing/reviewing/providing
feedback on the draft.
Notes and comments will be incorporated by Louise and
Amanda, and will be sent to the RRPTG chair Erika Barthelmess by 4:30 today.
The meeting began with a brief Member's Time discussion
surrounding how to better communicate environmentally oriented activities, etc.
Suggestions by the group:
Using the White Board in the Student Center
Passing on word to profs who teach Intro classes
Using a more focused email chain and asking
participants to pass it on to toher groups they are associated with
Next, attention turned to a discussion relating the draft
policies we have on the table (anti-idling and grounds) to a request made by
the Recession Task Force (RTF) for information from the Climate Neutrality
Working Group (CNWG).
During the CNWG meeting, the rep from the RTF expressed that
the submission of a "brief", outlining some suggestions to reduce the working
budget for the University that were also in line with carbon reduction, would
be a good way to keep climate planning "on the radar" during budget adjustments
over the short term.
The CNWG suggested that the existing draft of the short-term
Work Plan associated with the CAP could be used as a basis for this
"brief". Louise, Amanda, Brad, and Rick
volunteered as members of the CNWG to tighten up the Work Plan, and in doing so
create the "brief" to be submitted to the RTF.
As all 4 volunteers are members of CC, and because CC is currently
working on the language for policy proposals that would be very relevant to
both documents, it was decided that this issue would be brought to the CC
meeting for discussion.
The "brief" represents the closest deadline for submission,
and so became the focus of discussion.
Amanda outlined some different possibilities for document organization
to make the types of suggestions/recommendations, etc. that should be included
in this submission more clear:
The Work Plan is broken down by "strategy", and
these could be used to organize our suggestions:
Another way to ensure that we will get a broad
spectrum of ideas on the table is to break them down by economic category,
which might be more appropriate for this document:
Upfront capital cost with an estimated payback
Energy use monitoring system (Existing report,
Thelmo resolution, and data available - Louise)
Biomass boiler (Work Plan, report, $ - Louise)
No upfront cost
Policy change w/ estimated savings ($ and carbon)
Upfront cost w/payback period
Vehicle purchasing: alternative "fuel" (Jordan
G. SYE research project - data available - Amanda)
No upfront cost
Vehicle purchasing: more efficient fossil fuel
(Jordan G. SYE research project - data available - Amanda)
Policy creation with estimated savings
Upfront cost w/payback period
Grounds: perennials vs annuals (policy language
No upfront cost
Anti-idling (policy language CC)
Following through on existing investments:
Continuing the conversation about the biomass
boiler (and geothermal systems?) b/c we already spent $ on the assessment, if
we don't it will be $ "lost" (Work Plan draft, report, data, $ - Louise, Ben
Actually budgeting for the renovations suggested
by the ESCO energy audit - otherwise the $ spent on the audit will be $ "lost" (Work
Plan draft, report, data, $ - Louise, Ben D.)
**These types of ideas will already be mentioned by AdminOps, but perhaps
we want to reinforce their importance from a climate neutrality perspective,
Creating a directed giving initiative for
"sustainability" projects - if we can find some data to show that this will
actually draw ADDITIONAL givers/investor into the mix, while still keeping
things very flexible (because sustainability is a very vague word and can
really be applied to almost any project) (No current info)
Finding some data to show that carbon planning
will draw tuition-paying students to the university if we actually DO what we
say (i.e. honor our commitments) and not Greenwash (No current info)
Pay for laundry
Pay for parking
Directed student tuition hike w/ caveats
relating the expenditure on sustainability to include economic benefits as well
(Paul Smith's model?) i.e. students buy 3 electric "gators" and a charging
station that can be operated using "human power" and these vehicles get charged
by exercise machines at the gym, displacing x gallons of fuel per year, x $
paid out, and x tons of carbon released
**This is not a good example - other suggestions?
BIG picture - reduce energy use, reduce carbon,
reduce $ spent
4 day work week (Louise baseline data? - Amanda
Audience: Recession Task Force - they will review and
incorporate into their report to the Pres.
We need input and comments from everyone on this
framework for the "brief" - have we captured everything in a clear, logical
way? Are we leaving things out that
should be in there?
We need other suggestions on specific examples
for some of these categories of suggestions
We need to gather all of the information that we
already have and do the best we can with it - time is very short
Reports (biomass boiler, geothermal, ESCO prelim
estimates, CAP Work Plan draft/summary from ‘08/'09, Jordan G. SYE, energy
monitoring system Thelmo res + report + online reports w/data, ...???)
Environmental Action Plan (Green Pages)
Idea Connect info for justification
Statement of Principles (CAP?)
Research on directed giving for sustainability
Research on attracting tuition-paying students
with a comprehensive sustainability/climate action plan in place
We need to volunteer to take the lead on
individual "sections" of the brief as outlined above - we will all be sharing
info, but someone needs to pull each section together so we have a draft that
the entire group can review
Amanda will write up notes, try to collect info in a common
spot for all to access, will coordinate work on different sections by
volunteers, and will assign sections if no one volunteers.
By next meeting 11/30 - the day we get back from break - we
should have a solid framework, all of the info, and a sense of who will tackle
what. This leaves us approximately one
week to write (approx .5 pages each) and 1 week to condense, edit, and vet to
the CNWG before submission.
Our time line is very short (Dec 10? - Amanda is confirming
due date with the RTF), so we get what we get, but with a little bit of work we
should be able to pull something together.