Sustainability Committee

Campus Committee for Sustainability and Climate Neutrality

CCSCN Meeting Notes
January 27, 2011

As submitted by: Kathleen Buckley

Old Business

Speakers for the Climate Summit in the fall
Louise Gava gave a quick update on planning for the summit. The theme of the climate summit is climate change, sustainability and social change.  Louise said a variety of speakers would be brought in, with a focus on the denial campaign.  The summit will be September 25-27.

The planning committee would like to invite Dr. James Hansen from NASA as keynote speaker since he has been targeted by the denial campaign.  Jon will invite him and/or Dr. Michael Mann at Penn State who has also been targeted by denial groups.  Other speakers include someone from GreenPeace's ExposeExxon campaign, Don Brown from Penn State, and Naomi Oreskes of the University of San Diego, author of Merchants of Doubt.  Other possible speakers include:

  • Jerry Bartlett - local Colton person and provocative speaker
  • Randy Hill and Kirk Fouss - to do a rhetoric workshop on how to engage folks on issues of Climate Change 
  • Carol Gable - a session on fiscally responsible environmental investments
  • Cornell cooperative extension - a speaker on climate, crop failure, and how it affects us on campus
  • Liam Hunt - the presidential candidates and maybe what they she said in the course of the campaign

Others helping plan includes: Sue Powers from Clarkson and Jon Montan from the County Planning Office

Jon thinks addressing the denial campaign is important to focus on for the summit

New business

Meeting times
The meeting times for spring semester are at 2:30 pm on Fridays, every two weeks beginning today

Dan Seaman gave an update on the CAPThe climate action plan will be integrated with the Master Plan.  The CAP and Strategic Map are the two main guiding forces for the Master Plan and the first work plan of the CAP will be derived from work with the Master Plan.  CCSCN will be updated and consulted as the consulting group - Saratoga Associates - develops the Master Plan.  The Master Plan will determine what projects go forward and when.  The plan's horizon is 5- years out, with an annual update. 

Dan gave an overview of the firm selected to do the master plan.  They have associates with expertise in sustainability and residence halls - both central to our mission.  They have received many documents about SLU - drawings, maps, data, etc. - have been downloaded to them.  They may convert our drawings to CAD and use GPS as well so they will be more usable.

A Master Plan advisory committee has been formed with 20 people on the committee.  They will have their first organizational meeting this Tuesday from 10-1.  Dan will report back to this committee after that meeting.  Several other working sessions are scheduled for the month of February with various offices on campus as well.  Saratoga Associates will be on campus the 14th and 15th to meet with various groups.

The suggestion was made that they try to meet with this committee during their time on campus.  They will address the full board on the 24th and sit in on the Building and Grounds in the afternoon.

A charrette will be held on the February 28th and 29th.  They hope to get most of their information in this semester.  The suggestion is to put the events up on SLUWire.

Nick suggested they meet with this committee.

Jon asked if they can they plan in climate neutrality?   Yes, they know they have to use this as a guideline.  Jon then pointed out that our charge and role as a committee is to track what they are doing with regards to climate neutrality and the CAP, and to give them feedback.

Dan said we would be informed with updates and that he will keep us posted.

Energy Conservation Competition
A competition with Hobart William Smith, Colgate, Skidmore, and Hamilton are competing will take place from Feb 13th to March 5th for energy conservation in residence halls, townhouses, and theme cottages.  Louise needs help getting the interest out there and sustaining student interest.  The men's hockey team plays Colgate on the 17th.

Help with publicity is needed (posters/facebook /email/Hill news articles/tabling/etc.). Annie, Matthais, and Nick volunteered to help.

We'll reserve some time at our next meeting to work on this some more.

Guest speakers
Jon will contact Eric Williams-Bergen for the February 10th meeting.
Neil will contact Aileen O'Donoghue will be invited to the February 24th meeting.

GHG Reduction Working Sheet

The Campus Committee on Sustainability and Climate Neutrality (The Sustainability Committee), with the Climate Action Plan Work Plans in mind, decided to carefully consider the sources of greenhouse gas emissions and select the most appropriate means of reduction for each source.  This is a brainstorming and working document.

Estimates of 'unavoidable offsets'

St. Lawrence University will be unable to reach climate neutrality (zero-net greenhouse gas emissions) without using offsets.  This spreadsheet uses 2011 greenhouse gas emissions data to estimate the number of metric tons of offsets the University would need to purchase or generate each year to reach zero emissions.  This spreadsheet also provides a ‘back of the envelope' calculation of the number and cost of using energy efficiency retrofits of North Country homes as an offset.   

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

Sustainability Committee

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The Campus Committee on Sustainability and Climate Neutrality will consider means to move the University toward environmental sustainability and review the University's progress toward this goal and the goal of climate neutrality. Specifically the committee will review and approve revisions to the Climate Action Plan (CAP) and successive Work Plans for the implementation of the CAP.

Campus Committee for Sustainability and Climate Neutrality

Campus Committee for Sustainability and Climate Neutrality


October 11, 2011, 3:30-5:00pm

Student Center Room #336


Old Business

  • Appointing more faculty members to the committee
    • Personally contact people who are interested
    • Less people on the committee, the easier it will be to reach a consensus
    • For research/large projects, form groups with people outside the committee
  • Role of the CCSCN
    • Review and revise the CAP, as well as successive work plans
    • Take on the responsibilities previously held by the Conservation Council (consider means to move SLU towards sustainability)
    • Communicate our efforts to the campus community
    • Seek to educate people about sustainability through classroom curriculum



*Create one statement with three criteria

*2,500 tons of carbon = unavoidable offsets

When will we buy those? Where will the capital for that come from?

*Suggestion: Gradual build cost into budget, avoid shocking the system


LED streetlights

*i.e. Ann Arbor

*Save money in the long term

*Visible commitment to sustainability

*Need cost estimates and savings


Weave climate change into academic life

*College workshop (like the QRC)

*Faculty panel or academic speaker

*Integrate sustainability and climate change into classroom curriculum


Master Plan - driver of what facilities will do

Biomass boiler is not currently on the table

*Need to consider: Return on investment, labor-intensive work, cost-effectiveness compared to natural gas, convenience, and cost of maintenance

*Pilot? Is it possible to have a small biomass boiler to be a demonstration?

*Need to decentralize our campus energy sources

*The time is now, i.e. Ogdensburg

*Heating à 55% GHG emissions (largest sector)

*Local energy (pellets from Massena)


Keep committee small

*Recruit people outside the committee to help with specific projects

*Then report project efforts to committee

Have a short list of goals/efforts and do them well


How will we make decisions?

*First, try to reach a consensus

(Want to work towards a consensus, but also want to be productive and mobile)

*Can't reach a consensus, write both a majority and minority report that will be given to President Fox (executive decision)


*Green initiative buy-in for alumni

Develop a sustainability "wish-list" (donations)

*CCSCN Secretary: Kate Powers


Next meeting

October 25, 2011, 3:30-5:00pm

Student Center Room #242:

**Note room and time change of meeting



  • Aileen O'Donoghue-10-15 minute presentation on LED lighting for campus
  • Discuss Pepsi Refresh Challenge (Nick De Filippis)
  • Discuss the ADK Youth Climate Summit (Louise Gava)
  • Discuss the GHG inventory update presented by Louise Gava
  • If time...Offset discussion
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