Green Mountain College welcomes glaciologist Dr. Twila Moon for a brown bag talk on Wednesday, November 4 at noon in the East Room. The title of Dr. Moon’s talk underscores a global issue with local implications: “Redefining Glacial Pace: The Greenland Ice Sheet in a Warming World.” Her research focuses on characterizing and understanding large ice sheet behavior, with a main focus on the Greenland Ice Sheet. “I use a wide range of data to determine how the fast-flowing ice around the margins of ice sheets changes and interacts with the ocean and other climate system components,” she explains. Dr. Moon received her PhD from the University of Washington and is a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Oregon Department of Geological Sciences. She recently spent a year as a postdoc fellow at the National Snow and Ice and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her visit is supported by the adventure education program and GMC’s Speaker’s Bureau. All faculty, students, and staff invited to attend this engaging discussion!
“Most colleges and universities have begun incorporating an earth friendly philosophy in their policies and classes over the last few years. Green Mountain College has been doing this for decades.” This is an observation made by Lifehack, which placed GMC among 11 distinctive schools in the country. The story featured American Colleges that not only stand out based on the number of successful alumni, but also have a unique program to offer. See the whole list at: http://www.lifehack.org/
GMC has established a Sharing Circle, a new group designed to be a supportive gathering space for Christian students, faculty and staff as well as those who want to know more about this tradition. The group will meet Tuesdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Chapel through December 1. If you are interested or curious (or the time doesn’t work for you) contact campus chaplain Shirley Oskamp at email@example.com
A Bible study group is meeting Wednesday evenings from 6-7 p.m. in the Chapel. Come and study words that encourage us and challenge us to live our best lives. Share in the helpful words, hot tea and good company. Contact Ellen Sanders at: Ellen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us for a discussion led by Rabbi Michael Cohen Judaism as a Living Tradition on Friday, October 30 from 1-2:15 p.m. in the Chapel. Rabbi Cohen also works with Arava, a leading environmental academic institution in the Middle East and will be bringing Colleen Yout to talk a bit about opportunities for semesters abroad.
Prof. Jacob Park (sustainable business) presented a paper “Understanding the Triple Bottom Line Market Context for Climate Resilient Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies” at the October 2-3, 2015 Sustainability Symposium organized by the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor (Ontario/Canada).
Prof. Laird Christensen (English and environmental studies), was invited to participate in a panel on “Ecological Reflections, East and West” at the annual conference of the Western Literature Association, on October 15th in Reno, Nevada. The panel was made up of authors who have served as writers in residence at the nation’s Long-Term Ecological Reflections sites, which bring artists and writers to the same few observation posts each year to record observable changes in the environment, as well as in how people perceive these sites over a 200-year span of time. Laird was writer in residence several years ago at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, in the Oregon Cascades. One of the essays produced during that residency has already been published in Whole Terrain, while another will appear this spring in a collection of essays from the University of Washington Press.
Green Mountain College has been recognized as a national sustainability leader in the 2015 Sustainable Campus Index released yesterday by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). GMC achieved the top spot for curriculum and air quality achievements, and the school was ranked #2 in the area of socially responsible investment strategies. The 2015 Sustainable Campus Index highlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) developed by AASHE.
Green Mountain, which received a “gold” designation by AASHE in 2014, ranked first in the curriculum category, which recognizes institutions with education programs and courses that address sustainability. GMC declared its environmental mission in 1995 and has built its curriculum and campus culture around sustainability.
GMC shared the number one ranking with Colby College in the area of air quality. The STARS air and climate subcategory recognizes institutions that are measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. Five years ago, GMC opened a new $5.8 million biomass plant, which now generates 85% of the school’s annual heating needs. The facility replaced number six fuel oil with locally harvested woodchips to provide heat in cold months. The biomass plant and a host of other initiatives have resulted in a 41% reduction in greenhouse gasses across campus since 2007.
“Green Mountain College’s participation in STARS and strong performance demonstrates significant leadership and commitment to advancing sustainability,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “We are pleased to recognize GMC for working to secure a brighter future by incorporating sustainability into campus operations, academics, administration and engagement.”
GMC ranked second in the nation in the “investment” category, as a result of the College’s recent move to divest from 200 publicly traded companies, which hold most of the world’s known coal, oil and gas reserves. Finally the College was named a “top performer” in the STARS coordination and planning metrics. This recognizes institutions that are dedicating resources to sustainability coordination, developing plans to move towardsustainability, and engaging the campus community in governance. Green Mountain College’s strategic plan, Sustainability 2020, sets the goal of complete energy independence on campus by the end of the decade.
“The consistently high rating the College continually receives is a testament to the hard work of the entire campus community,” said GMC sustainability director Ryan Ihrke. “Many of the best ideas, like the biomass plant, come from students who are challenged in their classes to bridge the gap between the purely theoretical and the practical. They learn how to make positive change in their community and see the results of their work.”
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. For more information on Green Mountain College’s sustainability site, visit here.
For more information 2015 Sustainable Campus Index data, visit stars.aashe.org.
Come celebrate the fall 2015 harvest on Cerridwen Farm with music, food, and activities, including apple cidermaking, sheep shearing, horse-drawn wagon rides and a craft fair. Free and open to all! Saturday, October 24 from 1-4 p.m.
In 2007, Jack Brennan, then the president of Green Mountain College, became one of the first signatories of the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), a signature program of Second Nature. At the time the world was experiencing the second highest global temperature readings for any year on record.
On October 5, amidst what might shape up as the warmest year since temperature records have been recorded, GMC’s current president, Paul Fonteyn, signed Second Nature’s Climate Commitment. He was among 45 university presidents to sign the document during a ceremony in Decatur, Georgia, on the campus of Agnes Scott College.
Second Nature, whose program constitutes the largest university-based climate alliance, introduced this expansion in its efforts to mitigate and prepare for climate change among its network of over 650 colleges and universities. Based in Boston, Second Nature has expanded the ACUPCC beyond carbon reduction to now include climate resilience.
The Commitment asserts that effects of climate change will become more severe and damaging. The signers recognize that mitigation and adaptation are complimentary strategies for managing the risks, and taking advantage of new opportunities created by a changing climate
“As president of an academic community shaping the lives of future leaders, I can’t think of a single issue more important than addressing carbon outputs and adjusting to the realities of climate change that we are already experiencing,” said Fonteyn.
As a signatory of the ACUPCC, Green Mountain College committed itself to creating a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality. In 2011 GMC became the second college in the nation to reach that goal, and the first to do so through a significant reduction in on-site emissions through efficiency, adoption of clean energy, and purchase of quantifiable local carbon offsets.
Tim Carter, who took over Second Nature a year ago, said that it was “not only good but necessary” for the higher education community to lead on a “bold, innovative” initiative that is so critical to future generations.
“We have worked closely with our presidential leadership to ensure this expansion would empower the network to continue to push what is possible in climate leadership,” said Carter. “College and University leaders hold a special place in our society, and they are in a unique position to lead on climate issues.”
To join the Climate Leadership Network, the president or chancellor of a college or university is required to sign one of the three Climate Leadership Commitments: Carbon, Resilience, or Climate. The Climate Commitment, the most holistic climate leadership commitment to date, combines the Carbon and resilience commitments.
The life and ideas of John Dewey, America’s most important philosopher and educational reformer, was the theme for the New England Pragmatist Forum held at GMC last week. Fifteen scholars from across the U.S. and Canada converged on the Poultney campus for two days of public presentations and conversations with students about Dewey’s influence and legacy.
Take part in a three-day backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire! Friday, October 16 – 8 a.m. through Sunday, October 18 at noon. Visit the Green MAP office for more info and to register!