Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Already a member of Environmental Club? Wanna get involved in another green group on campus? 
Then U-Sustain is right for you!

U-Sustain is a group of students, faculty, and staff committed to promoting sustainability at Union College.
Ultimately, the goal, as stipulated by the ACUPCC, of which we are signatories, is that Union becomes carbon neutral, therefore decreasing Union's carbon footprint is central to U-Sustain's mission. In addition to
decreasing Union's carbon footprint, U-Sustain spearheads sustainable initiatives on campus, dispatches Green Grants, acts as a clearinghouse for environmentally related events going on on campus, and pools resources and creativity to promote environmental consciousness at Union College.

Previously, U-Sustain was comprised of sub-committees that focused on portions of Union's carbon footprint (ex: Energy, Dining, Waste, Transportation...) and took on projects individually. With the new year, the structure of U-Sustain has changed considerably. Now, as a group projects will be chosen for the duration of the term or year, and members will have the option to sign up to be committees for each project. In addition, there is a Rapid Response Team who will be contacted for events that come up last minute and volunteers are needed. The only subcommittee that has been preserved is Education & Outreach which is critical in terms of spreading word about the work of U-Sustain and other environmental groups on campus.

Projects for Winter Term 2011: 
  • Do It In the Dark: data accumulation & analysis
  • Recyclemania
  • Green Grants Awarded Winter Term 2011

Upcoming Initiatives: 
  • Re-useable To-Go Containers at Upper & West Dining Halls
  • Trash Audit in the Spring
  • And much more to come!

The next U-Sustain meeting is Wednesday, February 23rd at Common Lunch (12:50-1:50) in Old Chapel

See you there!


Have you ever considered joining Environmental Club?

Environmental Club is composed of a group of students committed to education and activism. The club seeks to inform the campus community of relevant environmental issues by way of educational campaigns, speakers, outdoor excursions to increase environmental appreciation and the importance of volunteer service. Efforts of Environmental Club often overlap with those of other groups on campus such as U-Sustain and Ozone House, two examples of other organizations dedicated to making Union more sustainable.

Environmental Club meets Mondays at 8pm in Humanities 115

For more information, please contact: or

Events from Fall & Winter Term (2010-2011):

  • Re-Tree Schenectady
  • Dinner & Discussion with Allison Cook from The Story of Stuff Project hosted by Breazzano House

  • Trash Audit

  • 10/10/10 Global Work Party: Trash Pick Up & Storm Drain Painting
  • Walk down to the Greenmarket (with USA)
  • Co-sponsor of speaker Ralph Nader 

  • Do It In the Dark
Do It In the Dark is an energy saving competition between buildings across campus. DIITD was an initiative from years previous that was brought back this winter in hopes that it will become an annual competition. The competition lasted four weeks and kWh of energy use was read on Monday and Thursday mornings at 10am. This data was compiled for 4 weeks and total energy use was determined. Total energy usage was  then converted to per person kWh usage in each building. The buildings were divided into four divisions: Administrative, Apartment Style Living Division, Mid-Size Division, Large Residence.
DIITD was made possible by Ozone House, Environmental Club & U-Sustain.
Trophies awarded at the next U-Sustain meeting on February 23rd!
  • Dionondehowa
  • Participants of the PVC-free Campus Campaign's Valentine's Day of Action

Upcoming events:
  • Winter Environmental Movies Series hosted by Green House
Part III of Winter Environmental Movie Series:
No Impact Man

Watch it on February 24th at 8pm in Green House!

  • "Who Owns the Weather?" Dinner & Discussion on Solar Radiation Management with Bonnie Hoag
Come to Breazzano House on February 23rd at 6:30!

Check out what's coming next term...
  • Anti-Chevron Campaign
  • Big Tree Veggie Oil Tour stopping at Union College
  • The Yes Men speaking engagement and Dinner & Discussion
  • Trip to Dionondahowa
  • Volunteer Day at The Albany Pine Bush
  • End of the Year Flea Market

See you there!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


 Have you ever heard of ECOS?


Well ECOS, or the Environmental Clearinghouse, is a regional environmental non-profit organization founded in Schenectady, New York in 1971. This non-political association of people  is dedicated to understanding and preserving our natural environment while fostering ecological stewardship within the greater Capital District region. ECOS membership is open to all, and the organization is supported by membership contributions, donations, grants and volunteers.

There has been a long tradition of Union College faculty (active and retired) being involved in the organization as members. Erin Delman '11 has been the first Union student to join the board. 


Wanna get involved?


There's a sustainable development conference to be held at Union College on March 4 by ECOS and SCEAC, the Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council. The lineup of speakers includes Congressman Paul Tonko.


 Conference Agenda and Registration Form 


The deadline for signups is February 25.


See you there!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Campus Kitchens!

Not doing anything this Saturday? Want to feel good about yourself and help others?

Come to Campus Kitchens!
Campus Kitchens takes excess food from the Dining Halls concoct nutritious meals for the people of City Mission. They cook and deliver every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. You can come anytime to help. If you're interested, please contact 

Union's Winter Environmental Speaker Series!

Do you know about Union’s Environmental Science, Policy and Engineering Winter 2011 Seminar Series?

Come hear the speakers as they discuss “Inside the Controversy on Genetically Modified Food”!

Last week we heard from Jeffrey Smith, leading non-GMO consumer advocate and author of "Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette". 

Jeffrey Smith
January 20, 2011
Seminar Topic: "The Dirty Secrets Behind the Genetically Modified Foods You’re Eating"

 Didn't catch the last one? Here's a summary of the talk written by Shabana Hoosein, '11.

            Jeffery Smith is the writer of two books ("Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette") and a worldwide speaker on genetically modified foods. He came to Union to discuss the myths behind the FDA-approved technologies and the controversies behind it. He started his talk off by asking the audience about their knowledge of GMOs. He then continued to explain the statistics behind the food we eat. The statistics aimed to portray the impact of GM foods on health in the US. Smith made a striking comparison between the American and European regulations. One of his many points showed that food companies (such as Kraft) make GM products in America, but not in Europe. Companies like Kraft, have the ability to make non-GM foods in Europe, however, they choose to sell GM products in America.
Smith showed pictures as scientific evidence to express the impact of GM foods on various human body organs. He also described the scientific studies done on laboratory mice and their fatalities due to GM consumption. He relates his talk on GM crops to bovine growth hormone in milk. It seemed that the audience was aware of the bovine growth hormone concept. However, he explained that in 1992, the FDA approved of bovine growth hormone (just like they approve GM crops now).  Smith also explains the controversies behind Bt toxins in GMOs. I was surprised to know that Bt toxins are used in organic farming because it is species specific and biodegrades despite its negative effect on consumers. Towards the end of his talk, he conveyed the politics behind his books. Smith described the difficulties of reaching out to politicians, which lead him to write his second book. His second book discussed genetic differences in GM foods.
-Shabana Hoosein, '11

Missed last week's talk? Want to catch the next one?

The series continues this week!

  • On Wednesday, Feb. 2 check out “Global Rifts over Biotechnology: Science, Politics and Political Science” with Ronald Herring of Cornell University

  • On Wednesday, Feb. 16 come see “Genetically Engineered Plants and Animals: Answers to Questions They Don’t Want Asked (Science, Regulation, Environmental and Human Health Impacts)” with Michael Hansen of Consumer Union

  • Come Tuesday, Feb. 22 to hear “Environmental Considerations in the Use of Transgenic Crops” with Dr. Janice Thies (Cornell University)

All talks start at 7 p.m. in the Nott. 

See you there!