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Movie poster for "This Changes Everything"On Jan 26, 3:30 PM, the Sustainability Advisory Committee will show This Changes Everything, a movie inspired by Naomi Klein’s recent book by the same title. All are welcome, and please invite students from courses that address the environment, economics, and/or social justice. Location will be in the Science Lecture Hall (SCI 211).

The film portrays communities on the front lines of climate change, from Canadian tar sands to southern India, Beijing, and beyond. This is not simply another film that tries to scare the audience with the effects of global warming. Rather, it aims to empower by showing communities that are organizing and resisting the economic forces disrupting their lives.

More background can be found on the film's official site

2013 Energy Race

Solar panels on the roof of the Sanders Administration Building and Anthony Student Center
Solar arrays on the roof of the Sanders Administration Building and Anthony Student Service Center were installed as part of the University's climate commitment.

The goal of the contest was for the occupants of each campus building to reduce their electricity consumption during the month of March. Progress was monitored at each building and compared to the amount of electricity used in February of 2012. And, it is a tie (among residence halls, at least). Townhouse 7 and Mara 6 each saved more than 15 percent in electricity compared to February 2012, with the contest too close to call within the margin of error. Its residents enjoyed an ice cream party to celebrate the occasion. Congratulations! Also noteworthy was Russell Towers, which saw a smaller decrease in electricity use from last year (just over 2 percent), but residents actually saved as much energy as the residents of Townhouse 7 and Mara 6. But the contest was decided on percent reduction over the prior year, so Townhouse 7 and Mara 6 take the prize.

Among the academic buildings, Percival Hall won the contest with an impressive reduction in electricity use of 17.4 percent. Miller Hall came in second with a net reduction of 12.2 percent. Conlon Hall came in third, cutting electricity use by 7.6 percent, but because of its size actually saved more energy than any other campus building.

While all these accomplishments are remarkable, it is disappointing that we ended the month of February with a net increase in electricity use over the prior year. The University will be crunching the numbers and analyzing the data to figure out why there were several significant spikes in certain locations across campus during the month, with the goal being to find a way to build on successful strategies and control our energy footprint.

Just because the race is over doesn't mean our good habits should stop now...remember these energy-savings tips all year long, and keep in mind that several small gestures can combine to yield great results.

  • Shut off unneeded lights (esp. lobbies, classrooms, offices, bathrooms, closets, etc.).
  • Shut off projectors when not needed for lecture.
  • Unplug battery packs to laptops, cell phones, etc. when not charging. Those chargers draw current even when disconnected from a device.
  • Unplug anything that uses a remote control (TV, DVD, DVR, etc.). They consume a significant amount, even in the "off" mode.
  • Turn off your computer, printer, etc. at night.
  • Talk to coworkers and students to spread the word
  • Look around and use your head. For example, many lobby lights are a waste during the day, but are really handy after dark!

2013 Food Waste Challenge

The Sustainability Advisory Committee's food waste challenge was issued and the campus responded! As part of the campus' Earth Week observances, Chartwells weighed food waste generated each day at the dining hall during the week of April 21st. The 775-pound total logged Monday counted only food that people put on their plates but decided not to eat (kitchen scraps are sent to a local pig farm, but these "post-consumer" scraps go into the trash).

With Chartwells' support, posters were set up in the Holmes Dining Commons all week urging visitors to take what they eat, and eat what they take. The message was heard. There was a net reduction of 233 pounds of food waste entered into the trash stream, so Chartwells will be donating 233 pounds of food to Our Father's Table, a local food pantry. Thank you to the campus community for meeting this challenge. This is a sustainable effort in which we can all participate, day in and day out.

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