Nicole Harman (left) and Courtney Heverly (dressed as that resourceful superhero "Trash Man") look on as sustainability coordinator Aaron Witham empties a bag of garbage in the front of Withey Hall last week. There was a method to the madness: separating waste into compost, recycling, e-waste and "true garbage." See the surprising results in the story below.
Solar Array Now Ready to Generate Electricity
Green Mountain College's new 156 kW solar project is now ready to generate electricity to the power grid. The campus community and the many partners who made the project happen will celebrate on Wednesday at 2 p.m. during a brief ceremony by the inverter shed (in the field adjacent to the library). President Paul Fonteyn will "throw the switch" to mark the project's completion. The installation will contribute the equivalent of 7-8% of the College's current energy use to the grid. This initiative was financed through a power purchase agreement with a third-party investor, Green Lantern Capitol, based in Waterbury, Vt. In return, GMC will receive net metering credit from the utility company Green Mountain Power, reducing the College's electricity bill. The installation was completed this fall by Positive Energy, based in Granville, N.Y. The entire GMC community is encouraged to attend. To see a short video on part of the installation process, featuring recent GMC alumna Sarah Fitch '13 who now works for Positive Energy, click on this link.
Annual GMC Holiday Craft Fair Dec. 11
Tackle your holiday shopping list early and buy locally-made items from GMC faculty, staff and students! The annual Holiday Craft Fair is Wednesday December 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Withey Lobby. Shop for jewelry, knitted goods, pottery, maple syrup, candles, plants, framed art, photography, home baked goods and more! To reserve a table to sell your items please email Svea Miller.
Results of Sustainability Office Waste Sort May Surprise You
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, the Sustainability Office and many helpful volunteers sorted through trash bags collected across campus. Eight bags, one from each residence hall and one from Withey Hall, were collected. The process of bag collection was random (the bags were already out of the buildings waiting to be picked up by maintenance when they were scooped up by the Sustainability Office). Outside of Withey the bags were dumped out and sorted into the categories of compost, zero-sort recycling, e-waste, and trash. Passerby looked on as the crew diligently worked for two hours to ensure that the only things thrown away were truly garbage.
Each bag was weighed before being examined. Immediately after dumping out a bag, the crew estimated what percentage of its volume was comprised of paper and of bottles and cans. These data are one way of assessing the campus’s waste diversion rate. Another methodology, utilized heavily during the waste sort, was separating the bags’ contents into categories of waste and then weighing the waste. The results were staggering: 15.4 lbs. of compost, 9.3 lbs. of recycling, and .5 lbs. of e-waste were found in the bags. Once all other waste was removed, the team found 9.2 lbs. of true garbage where it belonged. What can we learn from these results? For one thing, there is much room for improvement! Secondly, it is becoming apparent that many students are uneducated or unaware about the numerous waste-diversion strategies the campus currently employs. Want to sign-up for a compost bin on your floor? Don’t understand what e-waste is or where to take it? Not sure what goes in the recycling bins? Stop by the Sustainability Office (Terrace 125) or email GMCsustain@greenmtn.edu for all the waste-diversion information you could ever need.
GMC's Andrea Roebuck: The Story Behind Bottled Water
Shuttle Service Provides Winter Break Transport
Economics of the Environment Presentations Friday
On Friday, students in the Economics of the Environment class will be presenting the results of a six-week research project regarding the ecological impacts of the goods and services that the College purchases. Such an assessment of the indirect ecological impacts of the college is a key part of measuring GMC's progress toward authentic sustainability. Using an integrated ecological-economic model of the US economy, the students will present estimates of the amount of greenhouse gasses, water withdrawals, land use, and toxic emissions produced by the US economy to provide the goods and services GMC utilizes. The presentation will be on Friday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. in Bogue 009.
History Seminar Presentations Continue This Week
History seminar presentations continue today with Dana Vocht '14 as she will present her findings titled "Temperance: The Men's Phase in Addison County." On Thursday, Dec. 12th, Michael Magnotta '14 will present "Interpreting Archives." All presentations will be at 4 p.m. in Griswold 2.
Biotic assessment of Poultney River on-campus segments: baseline data and recommendations for action
On Friday, December 13 at 10 a.m. in Terrace 124, the GMC Community is invited to hear the results of the study carried out by students in BIO 3025, Aquatic Ecology. The class has collected and analyzed data on biotic communities and habitat of the Poultney River reaches behind campus. We will present our findings and recommendations for action to the community. You can view a video of the class in action this fall here.
Delicate Balance Poster Symposium Dec. 10
Stop by Withey Lobby Tuesday, Dec. 10 and see student posters depicting the various Delicate Balance projects completed this semester. Students will be on hand from 10-11 a.m. to discuss their projects and posters.
Become a GreenMAP Leader!
GreenMAP will be hosting an informational meeting on December 11 at 8:30 p.m. in the Withey Hall East Room for anyone interested in becoming a GreenMAP leader. Our training program is new and improved and it is easier than ever to get involved. If you are interested in leading and instructing Wilderness Challenge, ice climbing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing/snowboarding, telemark skiing, cross-country skiing, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, yoga, or backpacking join us to learn how!
Tuesday Music Events Include Recital and Jazz Ensemble Performances
Students in the Applied Music Program will perform vocal and instrumental works tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Ackley. Earlier in the day (4:30-6 p.m.) enjoy the music of the Student Jazz Ensemble in Withey Hall. Nine talented musicians and vocalists will perform standard jazz tunes and contemporary pop tunes.
Medieval Russia Class Hosts Presentation
The Medieval Russia class instructed by Mary Jane Maxwell (history) will host Sister Rebecca from New Skete Monastery in Cambridge, N.Y. Sister Rebecca presents "Meaning of Icons in the Orthodox Church" today at 2:30 p.m. in the chapel (Ackley Hall). All are welcome to attend.
Griswold Library Schedule
The library will be open for extended hours Monday, Dec. 2 through Saturday, Dec. 14. Hours for the final exam period (Sunday, Dec. 15 through Saturday, Dec. 21) are also listed below.
Monday 12/9: 8 a.m.- 1 a.m.
Tuesday 12/10: 8 a.m.- 1 a.m.
Wednesday 12/11: 8 a.m.- 1 a.m.
Thursday 12/12: 8 a.m.- 1 a.m.
Friday 12/13: 8 a.m.- 10 p.m.
Saturday 12/14: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Finals Week Schedule
Sunday 12/15/13 10 a.m.-1 a.m.
Monday 12/16/13 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
Tuesday 12/17/13 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
Wednesday 12/18/13 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
Thursday 12/19/13 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
Friday 12/20/13 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
Saturday 12/21/13 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Sunday 12/22/13 CLOSED
Students leaving Poultney for winter break can take advantage of the College's shuttle service to Albany Airport and the Castleton Train Station from Friday, Dec 20-Sunday, Dec. 22. The cost for Albany Airport is $20 one way and $30 round trip. Trips to Castleton Train Station and the Rutland Airport are free. Students should sign up in Withey 155 as seats are limited. To view the schedule and more information click Here.
STUDENT and FACULTY NOTES
Prof. Philip Ackerman-Leist (environmental studies and director of the College's MASFS program) published a blog post "Foodshed as New Democracy" for the Fair Observer website. He proposes that the collaborative act of defining and rebuilding a foodshed can "reclaim and rename" what agriculture once was, while adapting to current realities in the marketplace. He writes: "It is ironic to consider how many immigrants came to the United States not for the somewhat abstract ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but simply to escape starvation. Rebuilding our foodsheds reminds us that we should not confuse liberty with the freedom to ignore, the pursuit of happiness with mindless trampling, or life as a mere biological threshold of tentative sustenance."
The following is a remembrance of Jason Saltman, MSES class of 2009, recently submitted by classmate John Deignan ‘08. On November 22, Vermont lost a passionate environmental voice in the passing of Jason Saltman, who died after a yearlong battle with cancer. Jason was in the first graduating class of Green Mountain College’s MSES program, and would go on to work for local environmental advocacy groups in southern and central Vermont and Massachusetts. You were just as likely to find Jason wandering along the shoulders of Hogback Mountain as you would looking at a macro invertebrate while wading in a river, or playing bluegrass at a farmers’ market. Jason was well-traveled, well-read, well-storied and a devoted husband to his wife, Dr. Kim Kurak of Middlebury, Vt. read more...
Prof. Laird Christensen (English and environmental studies), has published an essay in the Winter 2013 issue of Northern Woodlands. "A Place in Mind" is a regular feature of the magazine, asking regional writers to reflect on their own experiences of inhabiting some portion of the Northern Forest. Laird's essay describes his transition from a Western forest activist, inspired by time alone in remote and rugged wilderness areas, to becoming a new father who finds that he has plenty to learn from the third-growth forests and fields of East Poultney.
GMC adventure education student Mitchell Hilbert ‘14 co-presented with prof. Andrew Bentley (adventure education) at the 2013 national conference of the Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education in College Park, Md. The talk, titled “What Are We Doing? Defining Adventure Education to Create Personal Mission Statements,” examined the term “adventure education.” Though ubiquitous to the present-day fabric of outdoor programs in the United States, at times this term has been misconstrued by participants, program staff, and/or the general public. Various definitions used by major North American adventure education providers were critiqued and audience members were invited to create working definitions of the term. Based on their definition, participants then developed an individual adventure education mission statement useful to decision-making and future visioning processes as outdoor professionals. This presentation originated as a 2012 GMC class assignment for ADE 2033, Foundations of Adventure Education.
Next Saturday, Dec. 14 from 4-5:15 p.m., the Tiny Theatre and Hermit Hill Bookstore host prof. Sarah Mittlefehldt (natural resource management), who will give a talk about her recently published book Tangled Roots: The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Politics. Her book tells the story of the Appalachian Trail's creation. The AT was one of the first in which the National Park Service attempted to create public wilderness space within heavily populated, privately owned lands. Copies of Sarah’s book will be available for purchase at the event, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Tiny Theatre. The talk will take place at the Tiny Theatre at 153 Main St. in Poultney.
Last week former GMC student Tom Doi signed a professional contract with the Washington DC Current in the Major Ultimate (Frisbee) League. The league formed last year with pro teams in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Tom is a veteran of GMC's own Flying Squirrels. The signing ceremony took place with four other new players at a Washinton restaurant. Read the full story here.