Question of the Week: Paper Clips and Staples

September 17th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

ChicoBag-win-meTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a reusable OSU ChicoBag.

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

When recycling paper, do you need to remove staples and paper clips before placing it in the bin?

Corvallis Car Free Day

September 16th, 2014 | Sam

Gear Up for the 5th Annual Car Free Day in Corvallis!

This year’s Car Free Festival will take place Sunday, September 21st, at Riverfront Park in Corvallis with Car Free Day following on Monday the 22nd.
On Sunday, there will be back to back events from 1-4 pm including music, food, kid’s activities, information booths, games and more.
unicycleEvery attendee will receive Car Free goodies; a bandanna, arm band, head band, or streamer to hang from your bike or back pack to let everyone know you’re getting there car free. There will also be a collection area at the festival for people to donate athletic shoes through Five Star Sports. Wearable shoes go to Africa for re-use and unusable shoes go to Nike for grinding up and recycling.
Before the festival, there will be a car-free themed story time at the Central Park gazebo at 12:30 pm hosted by the Corvallis Public Library. This will be followed by a celebratory parade from Central Park to Riverfront Park, accompanied by a police escort.
This family-friendly event will give everyone a chance to gear up for Car Free Day, which is a great opportunity to learn about, and take advantage of, the abundant transportation options available in our community. You can even take a Car Free Day Pledge here.

On Car Free Day, Monday, Sept. 22, join the community and people all over the globe for a day of walking, biking, or taking public transit. There will be neighborhood checkpoints throughout Corvallis where you can join your neighbors for free food, drinks, transportation information, and bike safety checks.

Below is a list of the 8 Neighborhood Checkpoints. You can view them in map form here.

  • First Alternative Co-op South (1007 SE 3rd at Chapman Place)
  • Skate Park (at 2nd Street and “B” Avenue, under the highway bypass)
  • Western View Center (35th Street near SW Philomath Blvd.)
  • First Alternative Co-op North (2855 NW Grant Avenue at 29th Street)
  • Corvallis High School (1400 NW Buchanan Avenue on 11th Street side)
  • NW Hills Community Church (3300 NW Walnut Blvd., west of 29th)
  • Crossroads Christian Fellowship (2555 NW Highland Drive at Walnut – SE corner)
  • Cheldelin Middle School (987 NE Conifer Blvd.)
Whether you’re looking to save money, reduce your energy use, or simply enjoy the health and social benefits of being car free, you are invited to participate in Car Free Day. You won’t want to miss it!

Corvallis Makes Quarterfinals in National Energy Competition

September 11th, 2014 | Sam


Corvallis has made it to the quarterfinals for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a $5 million incentive to reduce energy consumption.

The Corvallis application was submitted  in June, including letters of support from numerous local businesses and non-profits, Mayor Julie Manning, the Corvallis City Council, and all three utilities: Pacific Power, Consumers Power and Northwest Natural.

Members of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Energy Action Team (EAT) and Energize Corvallis – a project of the Corvallis Environmental Center – spent months assembling the town’s application. The $5 million GUEP prize will be awarded to the community that reduces its residential and municipal use of metered electricity and natural gas more than any other contest entrant.

The goals of the GUEP are to foster innovative approaches to energy efficiency, educate the public and engage students in energy issues, and to grow markets for products & services that facilitate energy efficiency.

Any US city with a population of 5,000 to 250,000 is eligible. The winning city will be judged based on reductions in energy use, innovation of approach, quality of community outreach, sustainability, and replicability.

The final stage of the two-year competition will begin January 1, 2015 after applicants generate a comprehensive energy use reduction plan for the City and its residents, which must be submitted to Georgetown by early November.

The Corvallis community has always put its best food forward in matters of sustainability and the GUEP competition is no exception. Together with help from volunteers, the City and community, Corvallis will have a good chance of becoming a finalist.

More information about Corvallis’ entry in the Georgetown University Energy Prize can be found here .

Question of the Week: Homes Powered by Coffin Butte

September 10th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

bottle-isolated-win-meTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a 20 oz. reusable OSU water bottle.

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

At the Coffin Butte landfill, methane is harvested and used to produce electricity. About how many average-sized homes could be powered from the energy produced this way?


Around 4,000 homes could be powered from the energy captured from our landfill gas emissions.

Methane is created naturally as materials decompose in the landfill. The gas created at landfills account for approximately 18.2 percent of human-related methane emissions.

Methane itself is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By capturing the methane generated at landfills, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

And congratulations to Dann Cutter for winning this week’s Question of the Week!

Solar Energy Workshop Event

September 4th, 2014 | Sam

Here at OSU we boast a variety of cutting edge sustainable energy options. From our LEED Platinum rated Energy Center to our portable Solar Trailer, sustainable energy is an important feature of our campus.


But sustainable practices don’t stop there; the Corvallis community and its homeowners are embracing solar energy as well with help from companies like Seeds for the Sol.

Seeds for the Sol is a non-profit, grass-roots organization that helps low and middle-income homeowners afford solar systems.

On Tuesday, September 9th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm there will be a demonstration at the Corvallis Public Library to learn the basics of solar energy. Participants will learn how solar works in Oregon’s climate, available solar technologies and how they fit into your overall energy use, how to assess your site for solar, and financial incentives and tax credits that can cover up to 80% of the cost.

Seeds for the Sol founder Julie Williams, a teacher at Corvallis High School, will introduce the company’s unique neighbor-to-neighbor funding model, which is helping homeowners put solar on their roofs by providing them with zero-interest loans.

seeds for the sol

Julie will present some of the homes in Benton County that have installed solar with help from Seeds for the Sol, and explain four ways neighbors can get involved, including:

Becoming a Sun Harvester by installing solar panels on your home using a zero-interest loan, which you’ll pay back using incentives & tax credits.

Becoming a Sun Buddy by sharing your savings and providing a zero-interest loan (repaid in 5 years or less) to help other homeowners in the community put solar on their roofs.

Becoming a pass-through partner by saving on your personal or business taxes and helping Seeds for the Sol install more local solar.

Becoming a Sun Supporter by making a donation and supporting Seeds for the Sol’s mission to educate, build connections, and reduce our carbon footprint.

This will be an event you won’t want to miss, don’t forget to RSVP here.

To learn more about the Sunbuddy program or how to be a Seed Pod donor, check out Seeds for the Sol’s website.

Question of the Week: Event Recycling at OSU

September 3rd, 2014 | Kyle Reed

spork-win-meTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a reusable OSU spork.

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

Campus Recycling can provide recycling and compost options for on-campus events. What is the price of this service?


Recycling and compost bins can be provided for on-campus events free of charge.

Those interested in this service need only submit a request at least two weeks prior to the event.

And congratulations to Valeria for taking this week’s Question!

Now Hiring: SHIFT Electric Vehicles

August 28th, 2014 | Sam

shift ev

Pioneered by Kirk Swaney in 1999, SHIFT EV offers vehicle parts and services for full sized conversions to electric power (mainly custom sports cars).

In 2013, Kirk partnered with the Sustainability Office and Student Sustainability Initiative to install an on board level 2 electric vehicle smart charger in OSU’s Solar Trailer.  This charger greater utilizes the Trailer’s improved battery capacity and innovatively promotes more sustainable transportation.

The company also periodically provides moderate training and consulting to EV & kit car manufacturers. The team at SHIFT EV is presently looking for help with the order processing duties of the business.

Currently located in North Albany, the new employee would work in a low-stress, small shop environment with five other part-time employees who have a strong interest in Electric propulsion. Benefits of the position include use of shop space & tools and buying parts at cost.

Duties for the job include:

  • A mix of office computer work and unassisted physical movement of
    Electric Vehicle Expo

    Electric Vehicle Expo

    parts and boxes.

  • Review pass-down log, check shop voicemail, and respond to e-mail & snail mail.
  • Inventory existing and order new products
  • Receive new packages by confirming what’s ordered has actually arrived and then update our inventory tracking system, label parts and put them away.
  • Ship customer orders (based on a report & part# pick-list). Most shipping is through UPS, some is by freight.
  • Invoice customers (if not paid in advance) when their parts ship. Usually e-mailed.
  • On late customer payments, confirm customer received Invoice & has all details needed.
  • Review all open orders to SHIFT EV vendors for supplies to watch for unexpected delays and address any issues observed by contacting the supplier.
  • Follow-up with customers on web-generated estimates that are older than 10 days (which haven’t turned into an order).

Recommended Skills

  • Good communication skills face-to-face and on the phone
  • Ability to use a smart phone
  • Experience with Windows 7, and common Microsoft applications.
  • Competent internet user, experience with safely purchasing products on the internet.
  • Understanding of bookkeeping/inventory practices is helpful such as QuickBooks Manufacturing & Wholesale.
  • Interest/experience with Electric Propulsion of any size or type.

If interested, there may be other work opportunities at SHIFT EV such as marketing, fabrication, IT, etc.

Pay and benefits are negotiable.  If interested please contact Kirk Swaney at For more information about SHIFT EV you can check out their website here.

Question of the Week: Recycling Fibers in Paper

August 27th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

ChicoBag-win-meTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a reusable OSU cold cup (with straw).

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

Each time paper is recycled, the fibers in it become shorter. According to the EPA, how many times could the fibers from a single sheet of paper be recycled before they become unusable?


Paper fibers may be recycled 5 – 7 times, according to the EPA. Afterward, the fibers become too short to be reused.

It is for this reason that paper napkins are not recyclable, as they are made from fibers which are at the end of their lifetime.

And congratulations to Valeria for winning this week’s Question!

Now Hiring: Software Developer at Energize Corvallis

August 22nd, 2014 | Sam


Energize Corvallis is hiring a part-time Software Developer to create an interactive website for the Classrooms Take Charge program. The website will be used by more than 6,000 students and teachers in 16 high schools throughout the Pacific Northwest. Funding for the position is provided by an Environmental Education award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Energize Corvallis is a Program of the Corvallis Environmental Center and is dedicated to helping Corvallis become one of the most energy efficient, climate friendly communities in the United States.

Duties of this position include:

  • Collaborating with staff and volunteers to establish requirements for the website
  • Developing a system for over 6,000 users that includes user registration and tracking, results capture and summarization, dashboards, downloadable reports, real-time display of key metrics, among other features.
  • Ensuring that the system supports multiple, geographically diverse schools; provides adequate performance to intended user base; is scalable to increased usage beyond the initial 2-year Classrooms Take Charge program; provides a polished and professional user experience; and performs well across a wide range of end-user devices.
  • Creating system documentation including a high-level system design and overview, database structure, description of program code and system files, and maintenance and support procedures.

The position is 15-20 hours per week with a salary range of $23-27/hr depending on experience. The position will be open until filled.

To apply Submit a cover letter, examples of relevant work, and a resume to More info can be found here.

OSU Repair Fairs to be featured in national report

August 21st, 2014 | Andrea Norris

stars_logoGood news! OSU was recently contacted by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which is putting together its annual review of information universities have submitted through this year’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

repair fairsThis national report will include “campus sustainability innovations & best practices,” and the Repair Fairs have been selected to be included!

Congrats to the Waste Watchers, who organize the Repair Fairs. Learn more about the student group the Waste Watchers here.

The Repair Fairs are a twice-per-term event series at which people can bring their broken items and learn how to fix them, as well as attend demos to learn D.I.Y. skills. Repair Fairs will continue in the 2014-15 academic year and will be scheduled in the months of October, November, January, February, April and May. Stay tuned to the Repair Fair website for details.

Enjoy these photos from the most recent Repair Fair in May, which were also submitted for possible inclusion in the AASHE STARS report (click on each to view larger):

OSU Campus Recycling Student Outreach Assistant Kyle Reed shows others how to darn a sock

Campus Recycling Outreach Assistant Kyle Reed shows others how to darn a sock.

A volunteer carefully inspects a malfunctioning stereo

A volunteer carefully inspects a malfunctioning stereo.

OSU student and volunteer Ben Tankus works on a bicycle

OSU student and volunteer Ben Tankus works on a bicycle.