Office of Sustainability

Chatham University

April 29, 2014
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Highlights from Fall 2013-Spring 2014

As the summer semester at Chatham begins next Monday, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the Office of Sustainability’s accomplishments this year, as well as the achievements in sustainable development around the university!

  • In the beginning of the fall semester, the School of Sustainability and the Environment (now the Falk School of Sustainability) hosted “Inside Eden hall,” a set of community meetings to discuss the progress of Chatham’s Eden Hall campus as it pertained to water, energy, food, and sustainable design.
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“Inside Eden Hall” tour of the student-operated garden

  • During the Eden Hall campus unveiling on October 10, Chatham University was awarded $15 million from the Falk Family Foundation for the Eden Hall campus.
Opening Celebration for Eden Hall.

Opening Celebration for Eden Hall.

  • In conjunction with the East End Food Co-op, the Food Studies program hosts a symposium on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to discuss how these crops effect our food system.
  • POWERSHIFT 2013, the youth-focused climate change conference, came to Pittsburgh, PA! Chatham University hosted students from other other colleges and universities, and a few graduates of the Food Studies program were panelists on food and climate change discussions.
  • Chatham University was selected was part of the Green Workplace Challenge Leader Board!
  • Chatham University joined the Food Waste Recovery Network, a national network of universities committed to decreasing food waste on campuses!
  • At the Farm to Table 2014 conference, students from the Chatham University Food Studies program led workshops on topics such as creating seed bombs and local/organic alcohol production! Chatham was one of the event sponsors and provided basil-growing packets for conference attendees.
Tabling at the Farm to Table Conference

Tabling at the Farm to Table Conference

  • For their capstone project, two Masters of Sustainability students hosted the second annual Blanket Swap Bazaar, where Chatham students and faculty could trade/swap/sell gently used clothing and accessories! This event was in conjunction with RecycleMania 2014, a nationwide competition of colleges and universities to track recycling, composting, and waste reduction.
  • The Falk School of Sustainability hosted screenings of “TINY: A Story about Living Small,” and “We the Tiny People: Small Homes, Tiny Flats, and Wee Shelters” to sold-out student and faculty audiences.
  • Chatham University once again participates in “Earth Hour,” a global movement to turn off electricity for one hour! On-campus dorms and facilities participate, and students and faculty who live off-campus sign a petition to commit to “Earth Hour.”
  • Our Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Whitney, presents on to how-to’s of Carbon Audits to Chatham students, faculty, and local sustainability organizations. The Office of Sustainability performs these audits for the university to track our progress on the path to carbon neutrality!
  • Bike Pittsburgh and the Office of Sustainability hosted the first annual Women and Biking Forum at Chatham University! Women from all over the Pittsburgh area came together to hear from speakers, participate in discussion groups on bike safety and accessibility, learn bike maintenance skills, and join in a culminating bike ride around campus!
Sarah, a Chatham College for Women student and Bike PGH intern, learning how to use the bike racks on a Pittsburgh Port Authority bus!

Sarah, a Chatham College for Women student and Bike PGH intern, learning how to use the bike racks on a Pittsburgh Port Authority bus!

  • The Chatham Department of Communication hosted the Media and Social Change Conference: Seeking Sustainability, that included student presentations on sustainable community projects, student-created films on topics pertaining to sustainability, and a lecture by Dr. Jennifer Adams on “Creative Inquiry and Critical Connections to Place, Identity, and Environment.”
  • For another capstone project, two Masters of Sustainability students and their professor, Molly Mehling, created The Drop Project, an exploration of water and art at Assemble Gallery in Garfield. The Drop Project hosted a number of community events dedicated to understanding how water impacts our everyday lives.
  • For the RecycleMania 2014 competition, Chatham University ranked in the Top 20 out of all schools across the U.S. for waste minimization, and in the Top 10 for food service organics (compost collection)!
  • On the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s passing, the Office of Sustainability helped host the “Rachel Carson Commemoration and Garden Dedication.” The event included speakers from the Rachel Carson Institute, a reading of Rachel Carson’s on her observations of monarch butterflies, and the dedication of the Rachel Carson Garden, which was a gift from the class of 2011.
Rachel Carson Butterfly Garden

Rachel Carson Butterfly Garden, soon-to-be in bloom!

  • Chatham’s Naturality Club hosted “One Day without Shoes,” a worldwide event sponsored by TOMS Shoes that promotes education for students in developing countries.
  • On Earth Day 2014, Chatham University announced that it was selected for Princeton Review’s list of 332 Green Colleges! This has been the fourth year that Chatham University has been included!

Overall, this list provides just a small glimpse as to the dedication of the Office of Sustainability team to the promotion of sustainability at Chatham! We are excited to be the home for sustainability initiatives on campus as Chatham University continues to move forward as a leading university for sustainability!

April 14, 2014
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Rachel Carson Commemoration and Garden Dedication

Today we honored the 50th anniversary of the passing of Rachel Carson by celebrating her life through a commemoration celebration. Mary Kostalos, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Chatham and the Founding Director of the Rachel Carson Institute spoke on “Weaving the Web: 25 Years,” reflecting her role at the institute and on the importance of preserving Rachel Carson’s legacy. Patricia DeMarco, PhD, Senior Scholar at Chatham and Visiting Researcher and Writer at Carnegie Mellon University, spoke on “Rachel Carson: The Power of One Voice,” reminding us of the relevance of Rachel Carson’s message on the urgency to act on protecting the Earth. Ashley Fersch, a soon-to-be graduate in the CCW and a member of the Mortar Board honors society read a passage from Carson titled “Monarchs: A Reading from Lost Woods.”

The commemoration was followed up by the dedication of the new Rachel Carson Garden, a butterfly garden donated by the 2011 Senior Class Gift. The garden will be host to a variety of plants that attract monarch butterflies, to honor Rachel Carson’s love of nature and her promotion of sustainability. Attendees at the event  planted seeds to be grown in Chatham’s greenhouse that will then be replanted in the garden.

Linda Johnson, Mary Kostalos, Patricia DeMarco, and Mary Whitney

March 30, 2014
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Chatham MBA blog post on our Carbon Audits!

Earlier this month, our most favorite Sustainability Coordinator, Mary Whitney, presented to the Chatham community on how to do carbon auditing for universities and businesses. Stephanie Churchel, an MBA student at Chatham, wrote this blog post about Mary’s presentation!

Check it out here: http://blogs.chatham.edu/mba/2014/03/30/sustainability-department-calculates-campus-carbon-levels/

February 19, 2014
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Get Caught GREEN Handed!

This week kicks off our next Recycle Mania contest, Caught GREEN Handed! Take a photo of you and your friends recycling, composting, or choosing reusable/recycled materials and send it to us via social media for a chance to win AWESOME prizes!

Tonight is also a FREE screening of TINY: A Story about Living Small at 7:30pm in the Beckwith Auditorium! Here’s a description:

TINY is a documentary about home, and how we find it. The film follows one couple’s attempt to build a “tiny house” from scratch, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into homes smaller than the average parking space. Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about good design, the nature of home, and the changing American Dream. http://tiny-themovie.com/

Make sure to mark your calendars for the Blanket Swap Bazaar next week, too! Thursday, February 27 from 4-6p, in the Welker Room!

February 18, 2014
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Blanket Swap Bazaar

Next week as a part of Recycle Mania 2014 is the 2nd Annual Blanket Swap Bazaar! Bring your used clothes, accessories, and other items to trade or sell! February 27 from 4-6pm in the Welker Room. Sign up on my.chatham or just show up! All of the unclaimed items will be donated to Goodwill!

blanket-swap-flyer-1.pdf

Stay warm out there, and stay posted about other upcoming Recycle Mania events!

February 6, 2014
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Recycle Mania Compost Collection!

Recycle Mania is in full swing at Chatham, and we have a lot of awesome ways that YOU can help us win the competition this year!

Starting Next Monday, February 10, we will be collecting compostable cups from various collection bins on campus and bringing them to Anderson Dining Hall! Volunteers will be entered into a drawing for GREAT gift cards! Each time you sign up to volunteer, you will be entered again – so the more you sign up, the more likely you are to earn a great prize!

One of our featured giftcards is from East End Book Exchange in Bloomfield! East End Book Exchange is a neighborhood used bookstore that has a great selection of books, and is only about 2 miles from campus! Best of all, buying used books is a great way to shop sustainably! Check out their website at: http://www.eastendbookexchange.com/shop/eastend/index.html?id=fF3wnw3Z

To sign up for compost collection, fill out the information on the Google Doc below:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AmlpfhyfyJyYdGhEUzg3elNjZzVNa0tQU2hDcUZ5NWc&usp=sharing

Other ways that you can participate in Recycle Mania 2014:

  • Recycle ALL your paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass products on campus in ANY of our recycling bins!
  • Compost your food waste and compostable coffee cups from Café Rachel in the Anderson Dining Hall composting bins
  • Donate unwanted school supplies to OSX, the Office Supplies Exchange, in the Falk Hall Basement and Eastside 2nd floor study!
  • Sign the “I Recycle” Pledge at http://americarecyclesday.org/pledge/ to help us win a recycled bottled bench!
  • “Get Caught Green Handed” by sending us photos of you and your friends recycling or composting on campus!

 

January 27, 2014
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Recycle Mania Pledge Drive 2014!

Hello Recycle Maniacs!

It’s been a few weeks since our last post, with school starting again and life getting busier and busier! However, we are back and excited to give you all a heads up about Recycle Mania 2014!!!

Our official start date this year is Sunday, February 2, but today begins our online “I Recycle” Pledge Drive! Sign up here with your Chatham e-mail address: http://americarecyclesday.org/pledge The school with the most pledges wins a bench made out of recycled materials! Let’s go Cougars!!!

For more information on Recycle Mania, check out: http://recyclemaniacs.org/

January 10, 2014
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Events and Connections

Happy Friday!

We hope everyone had a smooth first week of classes and is excited to embark on their studies this semester! At the Office of the Sustainability, this has been a successful and productive first week back, as we are now connected through Hoot Suite to our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages!

Here’s a list of where to find us on the internet:
Twitter: @chathamsustain
Facebook: facebook.com/chathamsustain
Instagram: chathamsustain

There are a number of upcoming sustainability-focused events on-campus and in Pittsburgh, so make sure to follow us on Twitter, as we update that with event information most often! You can also check out the Greener Pittsburgh events calendar at http://www.greenerpittsburgh.com/community/green-event-calendar for a list of area events.

For next week, make sure to mark your calendars for…The Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing Program presents: Reading and Book Signing by Ashton Nichols. Tuesday, January 14 at 5:00 pm in the Beckwith Auditorium.

About the author: Ashton Nichols is the Walter E. Beach ’56 Chair in Sustainability Studies at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Revolutionary “I”: Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Presentation and The Poetics of Epiphany: Nineteenth-Century Origins of the Modern Literary Moment, and the editor of Romantic Natural Histories: Wordsworth, Darwin, and Others. He has published articles in The Wordsworth Circle, ISLE, and The Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, among numerous other journals. He is currently completing Thoreau’s Walden: An Ecocritical Edition.

Make sure to also sign up for the next installment of the Inspire Speakers Series at Phipps Conservatory on Thursday, January, 16! Details are in the previous post.

Have a great weekend!

January 8, 2014
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Inspire Speakers Series

Next Thursday, January 16, is the next installment of the Inspire Speakers Series at Phipps Conservatory, sponsored by the Green Building Alliance. We attended last month’s Inspire Speakers Series and highly recommend attending – the cost is only $15 for students! For more information, go to http://www.go-gba.org/events/inspire-speakers-series/

Inspire_Speaker_Series_werner_sobel-1024x558