Sunday, January 27, 2013

Welcome to Recyclemania 2013!


   Union College is approaching its annual Recyclemania!! Recyclemania is a friendly competition among colleges and universities all across the US and Canada working to promote waste reduction!

 In January 2001, Recyclemania began as a challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to motivate students to recycle across campus. Today, over 600 colleges and universities all over the US and Canada participate! Over an 8-week span, registered colleges and universities report their weekly trash and recycling amounts and are ranked in various categories.  

Categories include:
  1.  Grand Champion, 
  2. Per Capita Classic, 
  3. Waste Minimization, 
  4. Gorilla Prize,
  5.  Paper, Cardboard, 
  6. Bottles and Cans, 
  7. Food Service Organics, 
  8. and Electronics

At Union College, our goal is to identify weaknesses in the recycling program and turn them into strengths! The ULTIMATE goal is waste minimization and hold zero waste events! Can U help Union College meet its goal?! Get involved and advertise, educate, and brainstorm ways to get the campus involved! Please email for more information on program and if you have any interest in helping with advertising. 

Sunday, February 3rd is the official start of the 2013 tournament, ending on Saturday, March 30th.  Final results are announced on Friday, April 12th! Union has won FIRST PLACE for two years in a row in two categories (cardboard and per capita classic) and has done very well in other categories. Help Union keep up the winning streak!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Term Events Calendar!

Want to know what the environmental groups are doing around campus? Check out the Environmental Calendars! Here are all the events that have been planned so far for U-Sustain, Environmental Club, Octopus Garden, Octopus Garden Club, and Ozone House! Never miss out on any event planned around campus and keep checking back for calendar updates!

To learn more about:
Do It In the Dark contact
Recyclemania contact
U-Sustain contact or
Ozone House contact
Environmental Club contact
Octopus' Garden contact
Octopus' Garden Club contact

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Come to the Schenectady Greenmarket!

Interested in eating and purchasing delicious food, listening to good music, and having some fun while supporting the local economy? Then the Schenectady Greenmarket is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon. The Greenmarket is much more then just your average farmers market and it is another way for Union students, faculty, and staff to connect with the Schenectady community.

Where and when is the Greenmarket?
Walking distance from Union every Sunday from 10am to 2pm! The Greenmarket is inside Proctors Theatre during the winter months, November through April, and around City Hall from May through October. A new addition for this winter has been an expansion of the prepared food section into Key Hall with even more places to sit and enjoy music and eat lunch!

Who can shop at the Greenmarket?
EVERYONE! The most amazing thing about the Greenmarket is that it is fun for people of all ages. Vendors, shoppers, musicians and friends are welcomed on the Greenmarket’s web page. Families can shop for fresh local produce while children hang out at the Children’s Activities table and Union college students can purchase affordable tasty chocolate peanut butter and sample the delicious Buddha Pesto.

What can I do at the Greenmarket?
The Greenmarket isn’t just a place to pick up your local produce...although the best fruits and veggies are sold too. Other food available at the market for purchase includes peanut butter, granola, pesto, cheese, dips, herbs and spices, wine, soaps, lotion and so much more. Meet up with your friends and listen to some good live music and after you do your shopping you can sit down and enjoy some prepared food from a variety of local restaurants. You can also visit the weekly Local Expert table to listen to a presentation on a variety of topics as well as visit the Children’s Activities table for a fun activity for the kids to participate in as well. For the full list of vendors present at the market this winter click here:

Why is it important to shop at the Greenmarket?
Local residents of our community offer the goods and services present at the Greenmarket. These people are bringing you quality products that have a smaller carbon footprint attached and the food is all-natural. Supporting these local vendors is also important in reviving the local economy that should not be lost to large corporations. The local community is a great thing to be a part of and it is amazing that here at Union College we can share this experience. For more information, visit

Friday, January 11, 2013

Climate Change is NOW.

Climate Change is NOW! It is pretty clear what the theme of the new display in the Wold display case is about, but what does this mean for us? Climate change is a serious issue that we are facing in the world today, and we are constantly seeing more examples of why this problem is not up for debate. 

The right side of the display case is providing the facts of climate change and examples of extreme weather events that have been caused by an increased amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists predict that global temperatures will be 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit hotter then they were in the last century due to these emissions. The events of last year including Hurricane Sandy, the heat wave in Russia, and the “Derecho” Storm could be just the beginning of a new world where extreme weather events are common and even worse…deadly.

The graph in front of the display is most commonly known as “The Hockey Stick” which shows average global temperatures holding steady until the 20th century when it quickly rises. The warming that begins in the 20th century has never happened before and it “coincidentally” begins a little after the industrial revolution when the large constant release of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere began. Unfortunately, this release of greenhouse gasses has only gotten worse.

This topic is not just a small problem; if we want the world that is here for us also here for our children and their children then we must make adjustments. The left side of the display case gives us few examples of changes that need to be made. Easy changes can be made to your daily routine that will mean big positive changes for our environment if we all agree to tackle this issue. The display also highlights changes that need to be tackled on our campus, by our politicians, and around the world.

The first step to making this a reality is education. We must inform our friends and the world that this is not an issue that we can ignore any longer. So if you do one thing today to contribute to our new climate aware society, go check out the Wold display case, and bring a friend with you!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Countering climate denial on college campuses

Christopher Monckton at Union College
On March 5, 2012 Christopher Monckton, a self-promoted speaker who questions the reality of climate science, presented his views of climate change science at Union College. Monckton's visit, funded by Collegians for a Conservative Tomorrow (CFACT), was one stop of a nationwide campus speaking event.

You can see video of Monckton's presentation here. You can also read coverage about his visit and the response by Union's community in the Concordiensis. The purpose of Monckton's visit was to muddy the waters with respect to climate change - to cast doubt on the validity of findings that have been overwhelmingly supported by the scientific community.
Erin Delman ('12) and other students

Instead, however, Monckton's visit galvanized students and faculty to highlight the widely accepted facts of climate change and the nature of expert scientific consensus on this topic.
We directly contrasted Monckton's statements with posters and reading materials outside his speaking location, engaged him during the Q&A session that followed his remarks, and most significantly, hosted a "Reality of Climate Science" discussion immediately following the CFACT event. These efforts were detailed in a recent issue of EOS.

Far from casting doubt on climate change, the attention and publicity surrounding Monckton's visit engaged our community in a discussion of climate science to a far greater extent than would have occurred if he had not come to campus.

I was interested in the extent to which his visit and the counter-presentations shifted student attitudes about the realities of climate change. In October 2012 I surveyed members of the sophomore, junior, and senior classes at Union College. 125 students participated, and results showed that students whose opinions shifted were far more likely to have become more convinced of climate change's reality, and the role that humans are playing. (A more complete presentation of results can be seen here, from a poster I presented at the meeting of the American Geophysicists' Union in 2012.)

So, thank you Mr. Monckton, and CPATH, for bringing your viewpoint to campus. Your visit did change students' minds - just not in the direction you expected.
Coverage of Monckton's visit in a variety of media