Tag: sustainability

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.

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.

Lawrence University Named one of Nation’s “Greenest” Colleges

For the second straight year, Lawrence University’s commitment to sustainability has earned it inclusion in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges.”

The guidebook, released Wednesday, April 20, recognizes 308 U.S. and three Canadian colleges and universities that have demonstrated exemplary efforts toward environmental responsibility.

Developed with the U.S. Green Building Council, the second edition of the 220-page guidebook highlights colleges 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, spotlighting each institution’s ecological commitment based on several criteria, including building certification using the USGBC’s LEED certification program, use of renewable energy resources, formal sustainability committees and recycling and conservation programs.

Lawrence was cited for its Green Roots environmental initiative, which promotes environmental awareness on the campus and the Committee on Environmental Responsibility, which facilitates dialogue among students, faculty, administrators and community members about the direction Lawrence should take on its path to sustainability.

Other factors include the Warch Campus Center’s LEED Gold certification by the USGBC, 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 which draws faculty from 11 different departments and focuses on research projects that lead to solutions for real world environmental problems.

The guide also cited Lawrence students for developing position papers for the Sierra Club, conducting amphibian, bird and water quality surveys for Menasha’s Heckrodt Wetland Preserve and working at New London’s Wind River Bird Rehabilitation Center.

Most recently, Lawrence finished 10th nationally among 363 colleges — and first among 15 Wisconsin colleges — in the 2011 Recyclemania competition’s per capita recycling category (39.15 lbs/person).

“We continue to make great strides on the sustainability front,” said Jeff Clark, associate professor of geology and faculty associate to the president for the Green Roots initiative. “We’ve conducted a waste audit for campus, have acquired state and utility funding for a windmill at Bjorklunden and have moved to using 100 percent recycled paper across campus. That our efforts are being noticed off campus motivates us to continue to move forward.”

According to a 2011 The Princeton Review study, 69 percent of 8,200 surveyed college applicants said information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school.

“College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president for publishing. “To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book.”

The schools selected for the 2011 guidebook were based on a 50-question survey conducted in 2010 of more than 700 colleges across the U.S. and in Canada used to tally “Green Rating” scores scaled from 60 to 99. The 311 schools profiled received scores of 80 or above in that assessment.

National Sustainability Expert Closes Environmental Lecture Series

Debra Rowe, president of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, examines the national challenges, solutions, trends and resources regarding sustainability in the final installment of Lawrence University’s 2010 Spoerl Lectures in Science and Society series “The Greening of Higher Education.

Rowe presents “Education and Action for a Sustainable Future” Wednesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall Room 202.  The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation will include information for individuals and organizations on ways to build a higher quality of life based on a future of less scarcity and more sustainable abundance.

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Debra Rowe

A national leader on sustainability initiatives, Rowe has been a professor of energy management and renewable energy for 30 years at Oakland Community College in Michigan. As director of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, Rowe works with business, education, civic, government and faith leaders to engage them in sustainability initiatives.

Rowe is a frequent keynote speaker at national and international education conferences and has written extensively on the integration of sustainability into education.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Environmental Series Presentation Looks Relationship Between the Arts, Sustainable Development

Amara Geffen, professor of art at Allegheny College, discusses the economic impact of the arts and their capacity to stimulate civic and community engagement in the second installment of Lawrence University’s 2010 Spoerl Lectures in Science and Society series, “The Greening of Higher Education.”

Geffen presents “The Role of the Arts in Sustainable Community Development,” Tuesday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall Room 102. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Using examples of endeavors in Allegheny’s hometown of Meadville, Pa., and other locales, Geffen will discuss ways arts initiatives have stimulated creative economies and helped create healthy, vibrant communities.

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Amara Geffen

A member of the Allegheny art department since 1982, Geffen specializes in projects that emphasize community collaboration and creative reuse and repurposing of materials and sites to illustrate the role of arts-based and sustainable community and economic development. Projects she has been involved with include an initiative that merges Earth art with best management practices in the environmental mitigation of stormwater runoff as part of an interstate highway interchange.

Geffen also directs Allegheny’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development and serves as the project director of the center’s Arts & Environment Initiative. She has been the recipient of grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Artists and Communities program for collaborations with students and artist colleagues on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the greater Meadville community.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Spoerl Environmental Series Focuses on the “Greening” of Higher Education

A scholar on the integration of environmental studies and sustainability programs in higher education opens Lawrence University’s 2010 Spoerl Lectures in Science and Society series. The theme for this year’s three-part series is “The Greening of Higher Education.”

Nan Jenks-Jay, dean of environmental affairs at Vermont’s Middlebury College, presents “Sustainability and the Liberal Arts,” Wednesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in Thomas Steitz Science Hall Room 102. The presentation is free and open to the public.

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Nan Jenks-Jay

As dean of environmental affairs, Jenks-Jay had been instrumental in raising Middlebury’s nationally recognized environmental academic program to new heights and integration. She will examine Middlebury’s success in integrating sustainability as a visible aspect of the culture of the college, present examples on how sustainability is integrated into the academic program and discuss the importance of empowering students.

For nearly three decades, Jenks-Jay has been involved in environmentally related work as an administrator, educator, ecologist and consultant. She has been associated with the two oldest undergraduate environmental studies programs in the country, spending 15 years at Williams College and the past 14 at Middlebury. She also has developed new undergraduate and graduate environmental programs for the University of Redlands in California.

Her extensive experience has earned Jenks-Jay invitations to chair external review committees for more than a dozen college and university environmental programs. She has served on several international and national committees, state governmental boards and numerous commissions and lectures frequently on topics related to the environment, sustainability and transformational change within higher education.

Other presentations on this year’s series include:

• May 18, “The Role of the Arts in Sustainable Community Development,” Amara Geffen, professor of art and director of the Center for Economic and Environmental Development, Allegheny College.

• May 19, “Education in Action for a Sustainable Future,” Debra Rowe, president, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development and professor, sustainable energies and behavioral sciences, Oakland Community College.

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.

Food Presentation Examines Local Sourcing, Sustainability Issues

Dayna Burtness, a Sustainability Fellow with Bon Appétit, the management company that oversees Lawrence University’s dining services, presents “The Story Behind the Food” Tuesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Burtness is one of three recent college graduates serving as fellows for Bon Appétit who are studying best labor and sustainability practices on the farms that supply the company’s 400 cafés in 30 states across the country. The presentation will examine several Bon Appétit initiatives, including Farm to Fork, a local sourcing program and Low Carbon Diet.

Burtness is a graduate of St. Olaf College, where she was co-founder of the college’s student-run farm and served as an intern with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and later became a program associate for the Institute’s Local Foods Program.

The mission of the Bon Appétit Fellows program is to gather information that will lead to better partnerships with farms of all sizes that supply the company’s kitchens. Bon Appétit wants to help farmers build and improve on existing relationships with all their buyers to regionalize and strengthen the country’s food supply chain and improve food security and sustainability for the future.

Bon Appétit began buying direct from farmers through its Farm to Fork local sourcing program 10 years ago as a way to address the loss of flavor in food as a result of industrial agricultural practices and long shipping distances.

Following a spring 2009 visit to Florida’s tomato fields and talks with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Bon Appétit expanded the program, addressing labor issues throughout its entire supply chain. The fellows’ work is the company’s next step toward justice and fairness for farm workers.

Lawrence University Tickling Top 10 in National Recycling Competition

Lawrence University students, faculty and staff are among the best recyclers in the country based on the early returns of the 2010 RecycleMania competition.

In the competition’s Per Capita Classic category, which tracks the amount of acceptable recyclables per person, Lawrence ranked 11th nationally among 315 colleges and universities through the first two weeks of the contest, which began Jan. 17.

Lawrence had recycled 8.67 pounds per person, just a few soda cans behind no. 10 Stanford University’s average of 8.73 pounds. Colorado College was leading the category at 18.73 pounds per person. Lawrence was the top recycler among 10 Wisconsin colleges participating in the per capita category, which includes St. Norbert College, UW-Madison and UW-Oshkosh.

“This is an opportunity to see how much recycling and waste reduction we can do if we come together as a community and focus our energy,” said Jeff Clark, faculty associate to the president for Green Roots: the sustainable Lawrence initiative. “The data we get from this also helps us identify areas that we need to improve upon, so it will have lasting effects even after the competition is over.”

RecycleMania is a friendly, 10-week-long competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.

Sponsored by the College and University Recycling Council, a technical council of the National Recycling Coalition, RecycleMania has several goals, among them increase on-campus recycling participation by students and staff, heighten awareness of a schools’ waste management and recycling programs, lower waste generated on-campus and expand economic opportunities while addressing environmental issues in a positive way.

First conducted in 2001 between Miami University and Ohio University, the RecycleMania competition has grown steadily every year since. In 2009, all 50 states were represented for the first time and in 2010, a record 607 colleges and universities across the United States, Canada and as far away as Qatar are participating. This year’s competition runs through March 27.

RecycleMania includes four primary competition categories:

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

• Per Capita Classic, in which schools compete to see which can collect the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard and bottles and cans per person.

• Waste Minimization, in which schools compete to see which produces the least amount of municipal solid waste (recyclables and trash) per person.

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

Sustainable Lawrence Student Video Competition Produces Two Winners

APPLETON, WIS. — In the end, it was a split decision.

The tightly contested Lawrence University Sustainable Lawrence Student Video Competition produced two winners, with “Sustainable Lawrence A” video, produced by Kaushal Malde ’11, Nate Grady ’11, and Kevin Gabrielsen ’11 earning the judges’ panel vote, while “Sustainable Lawrence B,” produced by Stephen Anunson ’10, Katie Langenfeld ’10, Carolyn Armstrong ’10, Molly Preston ’10, and Oren Jakobson ’11 was the winner of the online popular vote.

Producers of “Sustainable Lawrence A” received the grand prize of $3,000 and will have their video shown on the Documentary Channel. The team that shot “Sustainable Lawrence B” was awarded $500 for winning the popular vote.

The contest’s third finalist, “Lawrence Growing Green,” produced by Tom Coben ’12 and Rosie Graber ’12, finished a close second in both the popular vote and the judges’ vote.

Serving as guest judges for the competition were: President Emeritus Rik Warch, Elizabeth Benson ’69, Joseph Brooks ’03, Tom Boldt, Mary Burns ’62, Julie Fricke, Marti Gillespie, Cal Husmann, Julie Lindemann, Brent Peterson, John Shimon, and Theodore Steck ’60.

Watch the winning videos here.

Sustainable Lawrence Student Video Competition Winner Announced Tonight

APPLETON, WIS. — The votes are in and the winner of the Lawrence University “Sustainable Lawrence Student Video Competition” will be announced Thursday evening (9/17) in a special awards ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center. The event will include a public screening of the video.

Three videos were selected as finalists for the competition, which was designed to highlight the unique and innovative ways that Lawrence is working toward environmental sustainability. The winning video was selected in an online vote by

students, faculty, staff and alumni.

The winning student video team will receive a first-place prize of $3,000 and the opportunity to see their video featured on the Documentary Channel.