Friday, September 28, 2012

Composting Comes to Upper!!

We are proud to announce that on Monday September 24th composting  began at Upper Class Dining Hall! 
This initiative has been a long time coming and has been made possible by the collaboration of Dining Services, Empire Zero and the Schenectady County Composting Facility. Upper is the first phase of our comprehensive composting program, so if all goes well we'll be  expanding to West!

Students from Ozone House and Environmental Club welcomed the campus community to the new composting program by monitoring the waste/scraping stations during lunch on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. By Wednesday students no longer needed their help, hopefully indicating that food waste/compostables separation will be a smooth transition!

Our first week has been extremely successful, contamination has been minimal, lets hope that it stays that way!

But what is compost...?
Compost is the decomposition of organic matter. Food waste is wetted, aerated, turned and under the right conditions will break down into a humus. Compost can be used to enhance soils, act as a natural pesticide and reduce erosion.  

Why are we composting at Union? 
We are composting for a variety of reasons! Composting reduces the amount of food waste going to the landfill and thus the production of methane (30x more potent than CO2) during decomposition, our carbon footprint and our waste hauling costs. We are composting because we believe that our food scraps are more useful in the form of compost than they are in our landfills! And because composting promotes a cradle to cradle mindset rather than cradle to grave.

What can I compost?

 If you can eat it you can compost it! 
All food scraps
 Straws and napkins from upper

What can't I compost?

Peanut butter, butter, honey and condiment portion cups
 Paper cups 
 Coffee cup lids
 Sugar and tea bag wrappers
 Coffee stirrers
 Plastic cutlery
Other wrappers 

There are three bins for compostable items and one bin for trash. All bins are clearly labeled to avoid confusion! 

Special thanks to Dining Services for making this happen!! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Green Fee and Green Grants: What's the difference?

Have an idea for a sustainability project? Want to see it come to life? Here at Union, students are given the opportunity to take their ideas and see them realized! The type, cost and scope of your project will determine which source of funding you should apply for! You have two choices........

Presidential Green Grant (PGG)- Green Grants are funded by President Ainlay for smaller scale sustainability projects. Green Grants can be up to $2,000 dollars and are typically awarded to projects that have a visual impact, are educational in value or support sustainability related research. 

PGG Winners include:

  • Union Exchange: Union's own craigslit! Look out for the re-launch party!
  • Thesis/Senior Project Funding - ex: potting shed @ Octopus' Garden, built with green building guidelines in mind
  • Electric hand dryers in Reamer to replace paper towels
  • Octopus's Garden creation and expansion

See application for green grant below!

The Green Fee- Two years ago, students petitioned to allocate $5 from each student's Student Activities fees to an account that will fund sustainability projects that will result in a measurable decrease in our carbon footprint! Because it is student money proposals must be submitted by students but collaboration with faculty & staff is encouraged. The Green Fee Governance Committee (GFGC) believes that the strongest applications will come from student/faculty/staff collaboration and student research.

 $25,000 is available every year for 1 large project or a few smaller projects. 

Proposals are due on January 25th, 2013 and will be reviewed by the GFGC. This committee is comprised of one student rep from U-Sustain, one student rep from environmental club, one student rep from the Committee on Committees, the VP of Sustainability of Student Forum one staff rep from Facilities Services a faculty member from the ENS department, and the Sustainability Coordinator. 

This is the Green Fee's first year so lets make it count! 

Want to learn more? Have questions? Contact the GFGC Chair or Vice Chair. Max Fey - or Jordan Pulling 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ozone Café - The Best Meal You'll Eat All Week!

Friday's 12 - 1:30pm!

Ozone Café was started in 2007 by Ozone House and quickly became a hit here at Union. The café is run by student volunteers in Old Chapel (behind Sorum and Green house when it's nice!) and serves up local organic vegetarian food as well as seasonal produce from Octopus's Garden. Just swipe your ID card, grab a set of cutlery and get served a delicious meal by your peers! Special thanks to Dining Services & Chef Willy!
For the weekly menu: Click Here

Check out today's menu:

If you are interested in getting involved do not hesitate to mention it to your server or approach the dancing mass of students waiting in line for your plates.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Want to Get Involved with the Environmental Movement @ Union? These are the people you need to know......................

Looking to get involved in one of our environmental groups or need to contact one of our leaders? 

U-Sustain: A committee of students, faculty and staff working together to help reduce Union's carbon footprint and make the college more sustainable. U-sustain meets on Wednesday of Week 2, 5, and 8 in Old Chapel during Common Lunch!
Faculty Leaders: 
Jeff Corbin:
Laura MacManus-Spencer:
Student Leaders: 
Stacie Schwartz:
Kyle Lanzit:
Gozzie Onyiuke:

Environmental Club: An all student run organization where the ultimate goal is to raise environmental awareness on campus. The club brings speakers to campus, raises money for ecological organizations, petitions and works on community service projects. Club meets Mondays at 6:00pm in Humanities 115. 
President: Theodore Huss:
Treasurer: Jennifer Sexton:
Secretary: Sarah Neely:
Publicity: Olivia Williamson:
Historians: Lauren Hafkemeyer and Jordan Pulling:

Octopus's Garden: The garden was a student initiative funded by a Green Grant in 2008. The idea was conceived with the intention of producing delicious produce for those without access to fresh vegetables in our community. In recent years OG's produce has been donated to the food pantry, used for Ozone Cafe and in the dining halls. Very recently, a new collaboration has formed between OG and Campus Kitchens which we will continue to foster considering that it brings us back to our original mission!
The garden is always in need of tending, so.....
If you are interested in getting down in the dirt contact: 
Connie Schmitz at

Octopus's Garden Club!!
OGC is being re-formed this year. A very successful meeting was held during week 2 and officers were chosen! And during week 3 potatoes were harvested! Weekly meetings will be held on Thursdays at 6pm in Golub Great Room!
Ram Batta:
PR: Emily Crampe:
Treasurer: Jared Kimler:             

Campus Kitchens: Student volunteers take excess food from Union's dining halls and create a healthy, balanced meal which they deliver to the City Mission of Schenectady. 
CKUC Meets Saturdays from 11:00-1:30 in College Park Hall. 
Tori Chee:

Ozone Cafe: A student run cafe that offers a local & organic freshly made lunch on Fridays in Old Chapel from 12 to 1:30pm. The best meal you'll have all week is just a meal swipe away!
If you are interested in serving contact: 
Maxwell prime:

Student Forum: 
V.P of Sustainability 
Max Fey:

Green Fee Governance Committee (GFGC): Committee creates and releases The Green Fee RFP. The GFGC reviews proposals and determines proper allocation of funds. Committee Members include:
ENS faculty member: David Gillikin 
ENS student: Lucas Comstock
Facilities Services staff member: Paul Matarazo
VP of Sustainability: Max Fey
U-Sustain student: Billy Phillips
Sustainability Coordinator: Meghan Haley-Quigley
Environmental Club student: Jordan Pulling
Committee on Committees student: Peter Durkin

Sustainability Coordinator:  
Meghan Haley-Quigley:

 Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!!