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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog
Updated: 5 hours 15 min ago
Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:47am
October 16th is World Food Day – a global effort to end world hunger. At OSU’s Student Sustainability Initiative, we’re focusing our efforts not on new modes of farming, but what we can do right now to have an impact. We came up with the Clean Plate Challenge to call attention to the food that is being wasted and the effect it has on our global community. Join us, on Wednesday the 16th, by cleaning your plate. Eat every last bit of food on your plate, throw away nothing, and show us your effort. Take a picture and participate in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – #osussi #WFD2013 #foodwaste
You may have heard many experts pose the question, “How do we feed 9 billion people in 2050?” Human population is expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050 and one of the major concerns is how to feed that many people. Often times, conversations on solutions are focused on increasing productivity of crops to better conserve our water, land, and other resources. What is left out of the discussion is the issue of food waste. At current rates of food waste, we would have to increase production by 60% to feed the projected 9 billion people in 2050.
So, how much food do we waste now? Globally, one third of food produced goes to waste. In the US, we throw out about 40% of what we produce. If we could reduce food waste by a mere 25% in the US, UK, and Australia, we could lift 1 billion people out of hunger. And that’s without new agricultural technology to increase the efficiency of our production methods. One of the biggest aspects of global hunger is not that we don’t produce enough food, it’s that the food that is produced is not distributed equitably. The people who need it most don’t have access to it, and the people who have it, often live in excess. Addressing global hunger is not just a technical question, it’s a question about social justice. Furthermore, all that food waste has severe environmental impacts. When 1.43 billion tons of food is wasted, it is a lot of wasted energy. Water and land resources used to produce that food is wasted and additionally, it is creating billions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This makes food waste an important environmental and social issue.
This is not an effort to remind you to eat all that is on your plate because there are starving children in Africa. It’s about recognizing the impact of our actions and learning to take little steps to do our part, together.
Tue, 10/08/2013 - 3:54pm
Who are the Waste Watchers?
We regularly have one-time volunteer opportunities, a list of which is hosted on Campus Recycling’s website.
2) Attend our weekly meetings
Waste Watchers is a joint group between Campus Recycling and the Student Sustainability Initiative whose mission is to engage students and the community in waste reduction at OSU by providing educational programming, meaningful opportunities for action, and empowerment of future leaders.
Meet some of our members in these other blog posts. You can become a Waste Watcher too by volunteering with us, in a variety of ways.How to Volunteer 1) Volunteer at an event
We regularly have one-time volunteer opportunities, a list of which is hosted on Campus Recycling’s website.
For example, you may provide support at a Repair Fair, table at a booth or staff a waste station at an event.
2) Attend our weekly meetings
All are welcome to drop by our weekly meetings, at which we work on new ways to encourage people to recycle and reduce waste! This term we are working our Repair Fair events and America Recycles Day.
When: In fall term 2013, we are meeting at 6:30-7:30 pm Wednesdays, except during the weeks of November 18-29 when we will meet Tuesdays (11/19 and 11/26) at the same time and place (due to the Repair Fair on Nov. 20 and the day before Thanksgiving on Nov. 27). All fall dates: 10/9, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/19, 11/26, and 12/4.
Where: OSU Student Sustainability Center, 738 SW 15th St
3) Work on a side project
If you can’t attend meetings or want to work more independently, consider leading or working on another project with our help! This might include researching a topic in waste reduction, designing a Repair Fair workshop, writing for our blog, or picking a specific topic or area of campus that interests you and designing a program or activity to increase awareness. It’s really up to you! Email Andrea Norris with your ideas.
4) Serve in a chair position on our team
We have leadership positions open on our volunteer team: Chairs of Recruitment, Membership, Presentations and Social activities. This is a great way to build your skills and your resume! Find descriptions and sign-up info here.Get Started!
Have questions about anything above, ideas to share or want to sign-up? Please contact Andrea Norris via email or 541-737-5398.
Mon, 09/30/2013 - 5:30pm
Are you living in a Residence Hall on campus?
The OSU Sustainability Office is now seeking to hire four Eco-Representatives for the 2013/2014 school year for Wilson, West, Cauthorn and Halsell Hall. Eco-Reps are paid positions that assist with outreach and other sustainability related programming within the halls they reside. They help spread the word and carry out sustainability events and programs, encourage participation, recruit volunteers and educate their peers on how to get involved or make better choices. Eco-Reps are students who are passionate about sustainability, have the ability to get people excited to participate and can effectively and positively communicate with their peers. For more information on job duties and the application process you can visit our website here.
Application Deadlines are Saturday, October 5th at midnight.
Tue, 09/24/2013 - 11:00am
The mission of the Waste Watchers is to engage students and the community in waste reduction at OSU by providing educational programming, meaningful opportunities for action, and empowerment of future leaders.
WHAT: At the Meet ‘n’ Eat, enjoy snacks, meet new people who share your interests in sustainability, learn about this volunteer team, and find out how you can get involved with the different waste reduction efforts on campus.
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
WHERE: OSU Pride Center, located at 1553 SW A Ave (the house on A Ave between 15th & 16th Streets; view on Campus Map)
We hope to see you there! RSVP for the event on Facebook.
(Note: If you can’t make the event, you can vote for the regular fall term meeting time by filling out your availability in this poll by Oct. 2 at 6:30 pm.)
Wed, 09/18/2013 - 4:00pm
CAR FREE DAY is Sunday, September 22!
Take the Car Free Day Pledge at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CarFreeDay2013
12:30 pm – Group Bike Rides
Meet at one of these neighborhood gathering points to ride together to the Car Free Day Festival at Riverfront Park:
- Lincoln School
- Starker Arts Park
- Benton County Fairgrounds
- Chintimini Park/Senior Center
- Osborn Aquatic Center
- Cheldelin Middle School
- Hoover Elementary School
Bike safety checks will be offered prior to the ride, and group leaders will take the groups on designated routes leading to the festival.
1 pm to 4 pm – Car Free Day Festival: A Family Friendly Event
Come on down to Riverfront Park (1st Street, between Monroe and Jackson) and join in the fun!
- Lots of great food, games, and exhibits
- Music by Matt Neely’s Vintage Swing Trio and by Absolute Harmony, featuring CHS teacher Julie Williams
- Bike Swap Meet, organized by the Corvallis Bicycle Collective – donate, consign, and/or purchase a bike
- A bike parade, led by the Derby Dames, going from Riverfront Park to the Skate Park for a bike polo demonstration at 4:00
Help spread the word at https://www.facebook.com/events/611853565522072/
Sponsors of Car Free Day in Corvallis are Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, City of Corvallis, Cascades West Rideshare, Corvallis Bicycle Collective, Corvallis Clinic, Corvallis Farmers’ Market, Cycle Solutions, First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op, First United Methodist Church Natural Step Ministry, Footwise, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Oregon State University, Peak Sports, Play It Again Sports, Republic Services, Safe Routes to School, SoupCycle, and 350 Corvallis.
Tue, 09/17/2013 - 9:17am
Campus Recycling is now recruiting a Student Graphic Designer to join our outreach team, to design and implement print and digital media for the purpose of educating and engaging the OSU community in recycling and waste reduction.
Job duties include:
Graphic design (constitutes 60% or more of work hours):
- Designing, ordering and distributing print and digital media such as posters, fliers, recycle bin signs, newspaper ads, and graphics for digital use (website, blog, social media, TV slides, etc.)
- Using OSU brand identity guidelines and/or templates to create media
- Taking photos and/or recording video for marketing pieces or to capture events and activities
- Assisting in the development of marketing plans
- Occasionally creating written content (blog posts, website information, event descriptions, etc.)
- Occasionally staffing booths at events, providing event support, contributing to event planning, participating in volunteer meetings or assisting with other waste reduction outreach as needed
The successful applicant will start work in early October for 10-15 hours/week, the majority of which will be scheduled on weekdays 8 am-5 pm, with some evening and weekend commitments. Starting pay is $10.00/hr.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
For a list of qualifications and application instructions, please download the full position description here (PDF).
Fri, 09/13/2013 - 11:35am
Make a difference in your community – join the Neighborhood Sustainability Steward Volunteers. A program to engage the local community in climate change actions on a household level. Attend an eight week course to increase your knowledge of energy savings and sustainable living practices in your own home. Course topics include climate change science, household energy/emissions reductions, food system/choices, waste reduction, water savings, landscapes, and transportation options. Class sessions include guest speakers, small group activities, materials, and take home activities. Stewards then commit to giveback 30 hours of volunteer payback in projects and education outreach in the community, and to report their hours. Course meets on Monday evenings starting October 7th, 6:30 – 8:50 pm. Registration required, deadline October 1st. Cost is $50 or bring a friend, share materials, and split the cost. Some scholarships also available. Contact Jody.email@example.com or 541-766-6311 for more information. Register online at https://secure.oregonstate.edu/osuext/register/624
Mon, 09/09/2013 - 12:41pm
Have you visited the First Alternative Natural Food Co-op South Store lately?
If you have, you might have noticed bright mango colored containers surrounding the building. These containers are a part of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Three Waters Project which will soon be launched into the Corvallis community! The Three Waters Project encourages more efficient use of tap water and discharge of both storm water and waste water through behavioral changes, low flow technologies, system changes, and alternative water sources. The ultimate goal of the Three Waters Project is to teach community residents and local businesses in the City of Corvallis how to conserve water and increase water efficiency either at home or at work.
These mango-colored rain barrels at the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op South Store act as part of a rain harvesting system for the Co-op. The rain harvesting system supports a rain garden, helps with storm water diversion, and diverts water for watering plants. This demonstration site, which includes the rain harvesting system, rain garden, water use monitoring efforts, and water efficient technologies, provides an example of how a business can reduce 50% of its use of the 3 municipal water systems (tap water, storm water, and waste water) while maintaining its productivity.
Oregon State University’s Student Sustainability Initiative will also be partnering with the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Water Action Team to install a model rain harvesting system at the Student Sustainability Center. Over the next few months, come visit to check out the Center and see the progress on the project!
The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Water Team is always looking for more volunteers. If you are interested in helping the Water Action Team design, install, or promote the Three Water Project contact them.
Wed, 09/04/2013 - 11:05am
by Sonja Mae
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for Fiscal Year 2012 is now available on the OSU’s Sustainability Office webpage. A Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory is an annual report produced by Sonja Mae, Sustainability Program Specialist, and Brandon Trelstad, Sustainability Coordinator. A Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory is a collection of all measurable and verifiable data for emissions from natural and anthropogenic sources from OSU including all the research stations and extension offices. The inventory is broken down into three standardized reporting scopes. Scope 1 includes emissions that are owned and controlled by the reporting entity. This includes emissions produced by the Energy Center, on-site incinerators, OSU owned vehicles as well as gases emitted by living animals! Scope 2 includes emissions from purchased emission sources like electricity from the local utility. Scope 3 includes emissions that are not directly owned or controlled by the reporting entity, but are related to its activities like employee travel, commuting and solid waste disposal.
The inventory also includes offsets that are either produced or purchased by the university. The inventory helps OSU track emissions relative to population and real estate acquisitions from year to year and guide the development and implementation of the OSU Climate Action Plan. Below is a summary of annual comparisons. You can view the full report on the Sustainability Office webpage by clicking here or click here to go directly to the report.
Mon, 09/02/2013 - 8:00am
Are you interested in gaining college credits while learning about sustainability, energy efficiency, and more green related topics?
The Benton County Sustainability Program is seeking motivated students to work with the Sustainability Coordinator to develop an updated energy database for Benton County. The position is expected to begin in October 2013 and run until December of 2013. There are chances of the internship rolling into 2014 depending on project status. Working with the Benton County Sustainability Coordinator to analyze and update database related information as needed; Sharing utility data with diverse county staff and local partners; Internship Requirements: ~8 work hours, with flexible work hours and location; Dependable, positive attitude with a strong interest in sustainability/energy Required qualifications: Enrollment in higher education institution; Need/ability to gain course credits from internship; Working knowledge of Microsoft Excel 2010 and Microsoft Office programs; Ability to work independently with supervisor review; If you are interested in: Building experience with a sustainability/energy program Working in a supportive, learning atmosphere Developing your network with local and regional organizations including OSU, OSU-Extension Service, Pacific Power, Northwest Natural, and Republic Services. Email your current resume and a short (1 page max) cover letter describing your abilities to: Adam Stebbins; firstname.lastname@example.org Benton County Projects Coordinator (541) 766-6085 (office); (541) 766-6891 (fax) Deadline: Open until filled. Energy Star Intern
Internship duties would include:
- Analyzing and inputting of data into the US EPA Energy Star Manager database for Benton County
- Working with the Benton County Sustainability Coordinator to analyze and update databases as needed
- Sharing Utility data with diverse county staff and local partners.
- 8 work hours, with flexible hours and location
- Dependable positive attitude with a strong interest in sustainability/energy efficiency
- Enrollment in higher education institution
- Ability to gain credits from internship
- Working knowledge of Microsoft Office, particularly Excel 2010
- Ability to work independently with supervisor review.
Are you interested in:
- Building experience with a sustainability/energy program
- Working in a supportive, learning atmosphere
- Developing your network with local and regional organizations such as OSU, OSU-Extension, Pacific Power, Northwest Natural, and Republic Services.
Email your current resume and a short (1 page maximum) cover letter describing your abilities to:
Adam Stebbins: email@example.com
Benton Country Projects Coordinator
Fri, 08/30/2013 - 6:30am
This weekend marks the return of football season – the first game being on Saturday, August 31 – and with it comes an opportunity to help further reduce waste! To help, we’ve compiled four easy ways you can be the best beaver fan:
- Pack it in, pack it out: While tailgating, consider bringing trash and recyclables back home with you to help reduce the amount of litter and waste.
- Get it in the right bin: Trash carts and/or dumpsters are located in every tailgating parking lot.
- Recycle at the gates: Every stadium gate entrance has staffed recycle stations starting 2 hours before kickoff.
- Leave recyclables at your stadium seat: Leave recyclables at your stadium seat where our volunteer cleaning crews can collect them, rather than throwing them in a garbage can. Redeemables will be collected by the Philomath High School athletics teams for fundraising.
In 2012, Reser Stadium produced an average of 8,060 pounds of trash each game, and this is only counting the trash from the stadium itself (not the tailgater areas)!
During the 2012 EPA Game Day Challenge (one home game on October 20), a total of 22,000 pounds of trash was thrown away from both the stadium and on-campus tailgating areas. In comparison, 8,000 pounds of recyclables were diverted from the landfill on that game day.
In the stadium alone, we estimate that about 3,360 gallons of recyclables, along with an additional 2,109 gallons of compostables, are thrown away each game. By following the tips above, together we can help OSU reduce waste.
Wed, 08/28/2013 - 12:19pm
Oregon State University researchers develop microwave tool to sustainably extract essential oils
Oil ExTech, a company founded by engineers and retired HP employees David Hackleman (Ph.D.) and Bill Dean, offers a sustainable and cost-friendly way for the public to extract their own essential oils using a microwave extraction kit. The kits run at around $150 and are available for purchase at the Oil ExTech website.
Essential oils, known mainly for their healing properties, are often expensive and rarely found naturally. An at-home steam distillation often takes around 4 hours, where as the microwave extraction takes as few as six minutes. The materials used with the Oil ExTech product are also machine washable, making clean up much more convenient. This, is where Hackleman and Dean’s inspiration and motive lied when founding Oil ExTech.
Research regarding the microwave extraction of essential oils has been ongoing at Oregon State University since about 2006 by graduate student under the supervision of Dr. David Hackleman. Microwave assisted steam distillation showed promise with increase in yield, quality, and using less energy than conventional steam distillation. Most people are concerned that microwaves damage the oil properties however the microwave energy specifically targets the water molecules and don’t affect the oil. Also due to the quick distillation time and low pressure the oil quality ends up higher.
In about 2009 Bill Dean led a team that began to work on microwave extraction of oil from oil sand. Dr. Hackleman was the advisor for this team. They did many experiments, yet concluded that the microwave process, already being pursued by major Energy companies was not an avenue to success.
The first method utilized by Dr. Hackleman’s team relied on developments in fluidized bed reactors and analytical microwave extractors. This method of microwave distillation required that a hole be cut in the top of a microwave where the steam would exit and be cooled through a condenser. Clearly, this would be unsuitable for a product aimed at the home and modestly equipped laboratory.
After Hackleman and Dean faced woes with developing a suitable home microwave distillation system, they decided to start development with a team of new students and ex-HP employees. With a pool of fresh minds and ideas, Hackleman and Dean began to see real development on the project. Dr. Hackleman proposed the suggestion to shield ice to create a condenser inside the microwave oven, but the team did the difficult development to make that idea practical. The entire team, with their creative ideas and development of the fundamental concept of shielding of microwave energy played a significant and fundamental role in developing the patentable concept we are utilizing in our device, and share as inventors. They developed a system which shielded both the ice and the condensate, thereby creating a condenser that would be able to operate in a normal home microwave oven safely, and with no hole.
As the once idea of OilExTech was becoming a reality, Hackleman and Dean approached Jonathan Lebsack, one of Hackleman’s graduate students working on large scale microwave distillation, about joining the team and working on experiments to help optimize oil yields. After Lebsack graduated with a masters degree, the three applied for a provisional patent and began a small business selling the brand new technology.
Jonathan Lebsack explains that the motive behind starting the company was bringing a brand new technology that is typically too expensive, complicated, and difficult to do at home simple and fast. Typical steam distillation processes can require up to 4 hour distillations while the OilExTech product only takes 6-8 minutes. There are also no moving pieces on the product and cleanup is quick because everything is machine washable.
The process also utilizes sustainability in the sense that it is more energy efficient than other oil extraction techniques seeing as it uses electricity can be powered from green energy. The oils made are generally local as well. In the northwest, great plants that have extractable oils are abundant. Peppermint (other kinds of mint as well), lavender, rosemary, juniper, and citrus peels all can be found locally and easily made into an essential oil.
The product can be used for educational purposes to teach steam distillation labs, for research by obtaining quick samples for analytical testing, or for home use. The uses of essential oils range from crafts like candle, soap, lotion, and aromatherapy to things like medicinal, culinary, and insecticides or it can be used to determine oil composition.
OilExTech offers two basic kits that include everything you need to start distilling essential oils at home. The kits include all of the materials needed to begin an at-home Oil Distillation process. Similar sized steam distillation kits cost up to $800 and microwave distillation system can cost up to $10,000. They can be purchased online direct or from one of the OilExTech distributors. While the developers do not have a store front local pickups can be arranged through email.
Want to see how it’s done? Check out this YouTube video with a detailed explaination on how to use an OilExTech Product: Essential Oil Home Distillation
Tue, 08/20/2013 - 11:00am
Hello Corvallis! Don’t forget to check out Benton County’s August in Motion publication, which offers fun ways to stay active and enjoy our city this month. You can find the publication here.
Oregon Cascades West Council of Government is offering special prizes at www.DriveLessConnect.com to encourage you to walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus to the Corvallis Farmers Market on Wed. Aug. 21. Anyone who creates a trip to the event at www.DriveLessConnect.com is eligible to win a free drink from Dutch Bros! Sign up or log in then click “Events” in the top blue bar to get started. Choose “Corvallis Farmers Market” and click “Add trip to event.” You can now create your trip and work on finding a carpool partner.
Also, the first 75 people who walk or bike to the market will receive a $1 off coupon redeemable at all market vendors that day! Stop by the market booth to pick up your coupon.
Not a member of Drive Less Connect? You are in luck! There are almost 2,000 people registered for Drive Less Connect in Linn, Benton and Lincoln County. If you are not one of them you have a chance to win big! Whoever registers as lucky number 2,000 will win a $20 gift card to restaurant of their choice. Already a member? You can still win! If you get a friend to sign up for Drive Less Connect, and they are number 2,000, then not only will they get a $20 gift card to the restaurant of their choice, but you will too!
Mon, 08/19/2013 - 6:30am
Come to the OSUsed Store’s special 3-Day Clearance public sale on Wednesday through Friday, August 21 through 23 at 12:00-4:00 pm each day.
In addition to offering these extended days and times, many specially marked in-store items will be 25 to 75% off!
The OSUsed Store is located at 644 SW 13th Street in Corvallis (view on Google Maps). We will have many items for personal or departmental use – computers and computer accessories, furniture (desks, file cabinets, tables, chairs, bookcases, etc), office supplies, sporting goods, household items, bicycles and much more.
Our public sales provide an opportunity for the general public to make personal purchases. Departments are welcome to shop 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, or during public sales on Wednesdays. Sale price is only good during the public sale time listed above.
Thu, 08/15/2013 - 1:02pm
Earlier this week, The Sierra Club released it’s seventh annual “Cool School” rankings rating higher education universities on their sustainability and green practices on campus. For 2013, Oregon State University came in at 11th, moving up 14 spaces from its previous spot at 24th in 2010. The rankings are based of a variety of sustainable categories, ranging from waste reduction and use of alternative transportation. The Sierra Club bases gathers data from the STARS (a program of aashe) report put together annually by each university.
In total, 162 schools were ranked among this years ratings. University of Connecticut claimed the top spot with a wide variety of Sustainability-related coursework and retrofitted buildings. To read the complete press release from the Oregon State University News and Research Communications department, click here.
To see the list of complete rankings, and to take a peek at the other Universities featured by The Sierra Club, visit their website here.