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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!