Today's issue leads with a story about how some community colleges are going to four-day schedules (MW/TTh classes only) to help students avoid commuting costs. When I first read it, my first inclination was to take an unearned victory lap.
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May 19, 2008
May 17, 2008
Under the terms of the ACUPCC, Greenback University's greenhouse gas inventory is due in September. The heavy lifting is now done -- we have the numbers in hand. We have reasonable estimates of Greenback's emissions from building operations -- HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), electric, etc.; operation of the campus fleet; commuting by students, staff and faculty; and GU-paid air travel. Also a couple of other activities, but those are the big ones.
May 15, 2008
It's probably just my northeastern liberal elitist upbringing, but when I think of colleges and universities that "get it" on the subject of sustainability, I think first of Oberlin, Middlebury, Harvard, Tufts, maybe Penn or Penn State. Half a beat later, the UCal system (like, what list are they not on?) and The Evergreen State College (gotta love that name, and there's a lot more under the surface) come to mind. But, truth be told, massive multiversity campuses in hydrologically challenging locations don't generally come to mind.
May 12, 2008
Back over Xmas/New Year's, my daughter introduced me to Dracula's Riddle, which took me about a month's worth of spare time to solve. Chat fora spring up around such inventive timewasters, and I consulted a couple of them in the process.
May 9, 2008
Related to the subject of Wednesday's post (Eliminate the what?), an interesting thread started up today on the Green School List (GRNSCH-L@listserv.brown.edu). Anne Mareck, who teaches at Michigan Tech on the subjects of rhetoric and technology (interesting combination, and directly relevant) commented that most of the sustainability coordinator positions posted to the list seemed to be looking for folks with a scientific background.
May 7, 2008
My job just got a lot harder. At least, if it didn't, I'm missing something significant.
May 5, 2008
I've been remiss. Mea culpa. Well, maybe not all that culpa; I'll plead mitigating circumstances. The end of the academic year, spinning up to speed for summertime projects, finishing up Greenback's greenhouse gas inventory, setting the stage to hit hard in the fall with policy proposals, lots of stuff. But what got lost in the wash was the fact that AASHE released a newer, and less preliminary, version of its STARS rating system. As a result, you get a chance to contribute to the criteria by which leading campus sustainability efforts will be scored.
May 2, 2008
One of the mantras of the sustainability movement is "reduce, reuse, recycle." The three options are stated in order of preferability. Policies in place at Greenback already promote reduction and recycling (although I'd like to see those policies strengthened), but promotion of reuse is limited to running a warehouse where departments can store unwanted furniture, equipment, and the like. If you need a desk for a new employee, you can go down there and requisition something.
May 1, 2008
Let's say you live some distance from campus, not near any other employees who work a schedule similar to yours. What's an alternative to carpooling or public transit when those aren't practical? Not going to work at all, that's what!
April 29, 2008
I'm currently putting the final numbers together for Greenback's greenhouse gas inventory. As on a lot of campuses, the last piece of the puzzle is commuting emissions, encompassing faculty, staff and students. I won't bore you with the mechanics of the process, but trust me -- it's been a lot of work. Managing emissions is, at its heart, an engineering problem. How much you emit is determined not just by what you do, but also by the technologies you use to do it. The formulae for calculating emissions are well known -- the challenge is having the data to work the formulae.