Tag: Green Roots

Sierra Magazine Cites Lawrence University Among Nation’s “Greenest” Colleges

Lawrence University is among the country’s top “green” colleges according to Sierra Magazine’s seventh annual “cool school” rankings released in the September/October edition of the environmental publication.

Hiett-Solar-Panel
Solar panels atop Hiett Hall generated more than 25,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the past year and saved more than 40,000 pounds of carbon emissions.

Lawrence was ranked 53rd nationally in the magazine’s list of 162 institutions, which included just four other Wisconsin colleges (UW-Oshkosh 30th; UW-Stevens Point 58th; UW-Green Bay 98th and Northland College 107th).

In compiling its ranking, Sierra relies on a point scoring system based on goals and achievements in 11 categories: co-curricular, energy supply, food, innovation, planning, purchasing, transportation, waste management, financial investments, water management and instruction/research. Possible points per category varied from 34 (purchasing) to 249 (energy) with a total maximum score of 1,000. Lawrence finished with a total score of 627.19.

The sustainability efforts that helped Lawrence’s ranking include:

• Obtaining 25 percent of all of its food use from local sources.

• 100 percent use of recycled paper on campus for photocopying and letterhead.

• Diverting 35 tons of kitchen waste to the on campus, student-run sustainable garden for composting.

• Generating 25,364 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the past year through solar panels on Hiett Hall , saving more than 40,000 pounds of carbon emissions.

• Initiating a $5 per student, per term sustainability fee, proposed and approved by students, last fall to support proposals for infrastructural changes contributing to the sustainable operation of the university.

• Operating a 120-foot, 50-kilowatt wind turbine at Björklunden, the college’s northern campus in Door County, that provides approximately 30 percent of the lodge’s energy. The turbine eliminates nearly 75 tons of carbon emissions per year and reduces annual electrical costs at the lodge by more than $8,400.

• Recycling more than 319 tons of construction and demolition materials (concrete, steel, wood, cardboard).

•  Reducing water consumption by 27 percent since 2005 (base year).

“It’s always gratifying to be recognized for our sustainability efforts by Sierra Magazine,” said Gregory Griffin, director of the LEED gold-certified Warch Campus Center and longtime member of the University Committee on Environmental Sustainability. “It publicly underscores Lawrence’s commitment to being a more sustainable campus. But we’re certainly not complacent and want to do even better moving forward. A car share program and a partnership with a local biodigester to process post-consumer food waste are two of the new initiatives we’re planning to launch during the upcoming academic year.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Junior Chelsea Johnson Awarded National Udall Scholarship

Chelsea Johnson has been focused on “making a difference”  since arriving on the Lawrence University campus in the fall of 2010.  Her efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Chelsea Johnson ’14

The Lawrence University junior from Avon, Ind., has been named one of only 50 national recipients representing 43 colleges of a $5,000 Udall Scholarship. Selected from among 488 candidates. Johnson was one of only two scholars chosen from a Wisconsin college or university.

Awarded by the Arizona-based Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, the scholarships are awarded to students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.

“I’m interested in the connections between people and their environment and how to make that connection healthier,” said Johnson, an environmental studies and English major. “It’s not just about taking care of the planet, but also about taking care of the people who live on it. The environmental movement has to work on both sides of the equation.”

Co-founder of The Magpie

For the past two years, Johnson has served as president of Greenfire, the campus student environmental organization and is also the current student liaison to the campus’ Green Roots committee. She co-founded the Magpie, a once-a-term, student-run thrift store that collects used clothing and books for resale, with the proceeds used to support various national and international environmental groups.

“The idea behind the Magpie is to raise awareness on the clothing consumption industry, which encourages fast fashion at the expense of the environment and human rights,” said Johnson, who spent the 2012 fall term on the Sea Semester program, which included six weeks living on a sail boat in the Caribbean.

As a freshman, she helped organize a group of student volunteers to help out at local cat shelter and has been active as a “buddy” in Lawrence’s LARY tutoring program.

“Chelsea is both a student and steward of the environment,” said Marcia Bjornerud, professor of geology and Walter Shober Professor of Environmental Studies. “She embodies the new generation of environmental leaders — smart, passionate and pragmatic. We are so pleased that her academic work and activism have been recognized at the national level.”

Attending Orientation in Arizona

As a Udall Scholar, Johnson will participate in a four-day Scholar Orientation Aug. 7-11 in Tucson, Ariz., where she will meet with environmental policymakers and community leaders as well as other scholarship winners and program alumni.

“I’ll be around a lot of really smart people, which will be great,” Johnson said of the upcoming orientation.  “It’s really an honor and a blessing to be awarded this scholarship. I’m grateful for all the communities at Lawrence that have supported me in all my various projects. I look forward to giving back to those communities in the future.”

Johnson is Lawrence’s fifth Udall Scholarship recipient in the program’s 17-year history, joining Hava Blair (2012), Stephen Rogness (2003), Gustavo Setrini (2001) and Jacob Brenner (1999).

Founded in 1992, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation is one of five federal foundations established by Congress. Among the missions of the foundation is to increase awareness of the importance of the nation’s natural resources, foster a greater recognition and understanding of the role of the environment, public lands and resources in the development of the United States and identify critical environmental issues.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Lawrence Places 19th Nationally in 2012 Recyclemania Competition

A concerted campus-wide effort to reduce its waste production helped Lawrence University finish 19th among 339 schools in the recently completed 2012 national RecycleMania competition’s per capita classic division.

In this category, schools compete to see which can collect the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard and bottles and cans on a per-person basis.

Lawrence was the division’s top finisher among 13 Wisconsin colleges with an average of 37.82 pounds of recyclables per person. The college also had a recycling rate of just over 29 percent of its overall waste generation (126th nationally). Union College won the per capita category’s national title with an average of 61.79 pounds per person.

“We’re doing well against some stiff competition and we’re using that competition to affect some positive changes on campus,” said Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and current chair of Lawrence’s Green Roots sustainability committee. Some are highly visible ones, like the new outdoor recycling bins around campus and the new single-stream posters in all of the residence halls. Others are more behind the scenes, like evaluating our collection schedule.”

RecycleMania was first conducted in 2001 between Miami University and Ohio University. The 2012 competition included 605 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada.

In addition to the per capita classics division, schools also can participate in three other categories:

Grand Champion, which combined trash and core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation

Waste Minimization, which measured the least amount of municipal solid waste (recyclables and trash) per person.

•  Gorilla Prize, which calculated the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles and cans during the 10-week competition, regardless of campus population.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Extreme Ice Survey Project Focus of Lawrence Presentation

Acclaimed photographer  James Balog, who has chronicled the natural environment for three decades for National Geographic, discusses his climate change project “The Extreme Ice Survey” Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center.

Combining art and science, Balog creates innovative, dynamic and sometimes shocking interpretations of the world’s fast-changing landscapes, plants and animals. In 2005, Balog founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) to document the impact of global climate change.

The  most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted, the EIS employed 27 time-lapse cameras at remote sites in Greenland, Iceland, Nepal, Alaska, and the Rocky Mountains, recording nearly one million photographs that reveal the extraordinary ongoing retreat of glaciers and ice sheets, and providing visual evidence vital to scientists studying glacier dynamics.

National Geographic showcased this work in the June 2007 and June 2010 issues and the EIS project was the focus of the 2009 NOVA documentary “Extreme Ice.”  It also was the subject of the feature-length documentary, “Chasing Ice,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year.

Balog’s appearance is co-sponsored by Green Roots, the Fox Cities Book Festival, and Renewegy.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

 

Lawrence Earns Energy Rebate for Björklunden Wind Turbine

Mark Breseman '78, director of Björklunden (far left), and former Lawrence President Rik Warch, current chair of the Björklunden Advisory Committee, accept a rebate check from Bill Plamann, energy advisor for Focus on Energy, and Kevin Pitts, account management consultant for Wisconsin Public Service (far right).

Lawrence University recently received a $200,000 rebate from Wisconsin Focus on Energy and Wisconsin Public Service for a 120-foot tall, 50-kilowatt turbine installed at Björklunden, the college’s 425-acre “northern campus” outside Baileys Harbor. Lawrence’s first investment in wind energy, the $400,000 turbine is expected to generate enough electricity to cover nearly one-half of the electrical needs of the 37,000-square-foot lodge on the estate.

An independent study project undertaken by Steve Schnorr ’10 was the impetus for the turbine, which became operational in  early December.

“This project was only possible thanks to a massive collaborative effort by students, faculty, alumni, staff, the development office and facility services,” said Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and Stephen Edward Scarff professor of International Affairs and current chair of the campus’ Green Roots initiative. “It’s a fantastic symbol of our long-term commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.

Getting “Greener”: Lawrence’s Second Solar Array Installed on Hiett Hall

Lawrence’s utility bill and carbon footprint both will  get a little smaller thanks to the recent installation of a 20-kilowatt solar panel on the roof of Hiett Hall. Through the efforts of Green Roots to secure funding for the project, approximately $65,000 of the solar panel array’s $77,000 cost was covered by grants and rebates from WE Energies, Wisconsin Focus on Energy and Solar Innovations Inc.

Solar panel on Hiett Hall

The estimated payback on the project’s initial investment is approximately six years with an expected useful life span of the panels of 30-40 years.

The Hiett Hall installation is the second solar panel array on campus. Lawrence first tapped the sun’s rays in 2010 with a 2.92-kilowatt solar unit on the roof of Youngchild Hall. That panel, which was installed primarily as an educational tool for environmental studies courses, already has generated more than 4,700 kilowatt hours of electricity while reducing the college’s carbon dioxide production by nearly five tons.

Sierra Club Ranks Lawrence University Among America’s “Greenest” Colleges

Concerted sustainability efforts landed Lawrence University 44th on the Sierra Club’s fifth annual “cool school” rankings of the country’s top “green” colleges in the September/October edition of the environmental organization’s magazine. The ranking was an improvement of 62 places over 2010’s 106th ranking.

Lawrence was one of only three Wisconsin colleges — Northland College was 22nd and the University of Wisconsin-Madison 77th — to be included in the magazine’s list of 118 institutions. According to the magazine, surveys were distributed to 940 schools nationally.

In compiling its ranking, Sierra Club used a maximum 100-point scoring system based on goals and achievements in 10 categories: energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments, and a catch-all called “other initiatives.” With a maximum score of 10 points in each category, Lawrence finished with a composite score of 61.91, up from 57.5 a year ago.

Assisting Lawrence’s jump in the rankings:

• A five percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the past year — and a 41 percent reduction since 2002 — through energy efficiency changes.

• A 100 percent use of recycled paper on campus for photocopying and letterhead.

• A 15 percent commitment of the campus food budget on locally (within 100 miles) produced foodstuffs.

• The diversion of 30 tons of kitchen waste to the student-run sustainable garden on campus for composting.

• A total of 12,000 pounds of electronic waste collected and recycled in the campus’ first “e-sweep” last May.

• A first-place finish in the 2011 Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability’s “Campus Energy Challenge” with an overall energy reduction of 12.86 percent.

• A 10th-place finish in the 2011 Recyclemania national recycling competition (per capita category) with an average of 39.15 pounds per person.

“We should all be incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made this year, but we’re not planning to rest in 44th place,” said Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and Stephen Edward Scarff Professor of International Affairs and current chair of Lawrence’s Green Roots initiative. “We have some really exciting projects in store for 2011-12, including wind power at Bjorklunden and outdoor recycling on campus. I’d like to see us take over the top spot for Wisconsin schools in next year’s rankings and continue to move toward the top of the national list.”

The University of Washington jumped from fourth in 2010 to first in the 2011 rankings, edging Green Mountain College, last year’s top-ranked school, with total scores of 81.2 and 81.1, respectively.

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries.

Environmental Efforts Earn Lawrence University Inclusion on National “Green” Guide

Lawrence University is one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review.

The national education services company selected Lawrence for its new resource for college applicants, “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges.

Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, the “Guide to 286 Green Colleges” is a comprehensive guidebook focused solely on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.

The guide profiles the nation’s most environmentally-responsible campuses and highlights each institution’s ecological commitment based on several criteria, including the USGBC’s LEED green building certification program, use of renewable energy resources, formal sustainability committees and recycling and conservation programs.

Lawrence was cited in the guide for its Green Roots program, a two-year-long environmental initiative launched in 2008 designed to establish a framework to develop institutional policies and procedures to promote environmental awareness on the campus.

Other factors in Lawrence’s inclusion in the Green Guide included the Warch Campus Center’s LEED Gold certification, the student-run sustainable garden that provides fresh produce to the dining hall, the composting of all food prep waste and the college’s vibrant environmental studies program that draws faculty from 11 different departments and focuses on research projects that lead to solutions for real world environmental problems.

More recently, Lawrence installed its first solar panel and placed ninth nationally among 346 colleges in the 2010 Recyclemania competition’s per capita recycling category.

“Over the past two years, Lawrence has made great strides in its efforts to improve our sustainability and instill environmentally sound practices, from reducing our water and natural gas consumption to dramatically cutting our paper usage” said Jeff Clark, associate professor of geology and faculty associate to the president for the Green Roots initiative. “It’s gratifying to have those efforts recognized.”

The 286 schools included in the guide were selected on the basis of their 2009 “Green Rating” scores in The Princeton Review’s annual college guidebook. The “Green Rating” is a numerical score from 60–99 based on several data points developed in conjunction with the USGBC. Lawrence’s green rating was 83.

According to a recent survey conducted by The Princeton Review, 64 percent of college applicants and their parents indicated information about a school’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend it.

“Students and their parents are becoming more and more interested in learning about and attending colleges and universities that practice, teach and support environmental responsibility,” said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of The Princeton Review. “We created this guide to help them evaluate how institutions focus on environmental responsibility so that they can make informed decisions as they move through the college assessment and application process.”

Let the Sun Shine: Lawrence University Commemorates Earth Day with Solar Panel Installation

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and in conjunction with its two-year Green Roots initiative, Lawrence University is installing the campus’ first solar panel on the roof of Youngchild Hall. The multi-day installation is expected to be completed on Earth Day, April 22.

The 2.92 kilowatt (kW) unit, composed of 14 panels each roughly 3’ x 6’ — the size of a typical residential unit — is expected to generate approximately 3,700 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year.

“As our first venture, we purposefully started with a small-scale operation so that we can assess if it makes sense to invest more heavily in solar power in the future,” said Jeff Clark, associate professor of geology and faculty associate to the president for the Green Roots initiative. “The electricity generated by this unit will be used to offset a small portion of our usage load rather than being sold back to the utility.”

In addition to reducing the campus’ monthly electric bill, the panel will serve a curricular purpose as well. Data from the solar collector will be live streamed over the Internet and be used in as many as Lawrence three courses, including an introductory environmental science course, the physics course “Energy Society and Environment” and the chemistry course “The Energy Conundrum.”

“Although the direct impact on our carbon footprint will be small, the educational value and the potential to learn more about the feasibility of additional installations on campus will be invaluable,” said Clark.

The panel installation is due in large part to the efforts of freshmen Will Meadows and Austin Federa, who together conducted extensive background research and secured funding for a professional site assessment.

Meadows and Austin also applied for and were awarded funding through Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program and WE Energies, which covered nearly 60 percent of the unit’s purchase price.

Northwind Renewable Energy from Stevens Point is conducting the panel installation.

EPA Official Opens Lawrence University International Lecture Series on Climate Change

Governmental policy-making processes — national and global — will be examined in Lawrence University’s 2010 Povolny Lecture Series in International Studies “The Climate for Climate Change.”

George Wyeth, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Policy and Program Change Division, opens the three-part series Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall 102 with the address “Change Isn’t Easy: An Inside Perspective.”

The presentation, part of Green Roots’ celebration of Earth Week, is free and open to the public.

George-Wyeth_web
George Wyeth

A 1973 Lawrence graduate, Wyeth is spending Term III as Lawrence’s Stephen Edward Scarff Memorial Visiting Professor in the government department, where he is team-teaching the class “Environmental Politics” with professor emeritus Chong-do Hah.

The Scarff Memorial Visiting Professorship was established in 1989 by Edward and Nancy Scarff in memory of their son, Stephen, a member of the Lawrence class of 1975, who died in an automobile accident in 1984. It brings civic leaders and scholars to Lawrence to provide broad perspectives on the central issues of the day.

Swept into office on the promise of change, President Obama has found that promise difficult to fulfill, even with the advantage of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Wyeth offers first-hand perspective from inside the EPA on how change efforts have progressed under President Obama, where change has or hasn’t occurred and what barriers have stifled change.

He also will discuss the gradual decay of the process for orderly transition from one administration to the next and its consequences for effective government.

At the EPA, Wyeth tests and promotes innovative approaches to environmental protection within the EPA, states and business as the county transitions to a “green economy.” He has played a lead role in overseeing the use of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma strategies to achieve environmental improvement, streamlined EPA’s administrative processes and developed agency strategies to promote the use of sustainable products.

After graduating from Lawrence with a bachelor’s degree in government, Wyeth earned a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a law degree from Yale Law School.

Prior to joining the EPA in 1989, Wyeth spent three years as a staff member in the Wisconsin State legislature working with the Joint Finance Committee and practiced law from 1982-89 with a Minneapolis law firm.

Joining Wyeth on this year’s series are:

• Yoram Bauman, professor of economics at the University of Washington and a touring “stand-up” economist, “Comedy, Economics and Climate Change,” Monday, April 26, 7 p.m.

• Lee Paddock, associate dean for environmental studies and professorial lecturer in law at George Washington University Law School, “Environmental Change: A Legal Perspective” Monday, May 10, 7 p.m.

“The Climate for Climate Change” lecture series is sponsored by the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies. Named in honor of long-time Lawrence government professor Mojmir Povolny, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.