Eco-Representatives at Oregon State

July 25th, 2014 | Sam

The close of the 2013-2014 school year marks the end of the second Eco-Representative pilot program here at Oregon State. Eco-Representatives are a new trend popping up in colleges and universities all over the country to promote sustainable behaviors within residence halls.

Eco-Representatives (Eco-reps) are responsible for advancing and institutionalizing a culture of sustainability in the residence halls in which they live. Overall, this position is responsible for educating residents about sustainable lifestyles and resources, assisting with marketing and outreach efforts for sustainability programs, and planning and executing sustainability-focused events.  Eco-reps report to staff in the OSU Sustainability Office, but work with multiple departments and organizations on campus to meet program goals.

Res HallEco-reps work an average of 5 hours per week for 11 weeks during each term with the exception of fall term since recruitment and hiring take place at the beginning of the term.

OSU’s Eco-reps are supervised by Sonja Mae, Sustainability Program Specialist, and in conjunction with them she supports cross-departmental accountability on sustainability related projects.  During this last year there was an Eco-rep for Halsell, West, and Wilson residence halls.

One of the main focuses of Eco-reps this year was the composting pilot program. In total, the 3 halls composted 2,797 lbs in winter and spring terms. West collected more compost than all 3 halls last year combined! Each hall’s Eco-rep is in charge of educational outreach on compost management and the day-to-day oversight of the bins.

Below is a graphic showing the breakdown of composting in each hall.


FY13-14 Halsell West Wilson
# floors 4 5 6
# residents† 217 204 346
# of occupied rooms† 174 118 197
# participating rooms (# pails) 27 68 7*
Total weight - winter (lb) 199 729 293
Total weight - spring (lb) 161 1015 400
Total weight (lb) 360 1744 693
Av. weight per week (lb) 18.9 96.9 38.5
Av. weight per room per week (lb) 0.7 1.4 unknown*
†As of 4/24/14 
*Eco-Rep Only issued pails to 7 people on 1 floor but all floors  contributed to compost 

West and Halsell halls also gained a lot of recognition through their Eco-reps. West Hall received hall program of the year for Eco-Month and Halsell Hall won the RecycleMania competition this academic year.  All halls with Eco-reps had the highest percent of participation in the competition.  Lastly, for the fall event Electric or Treat, where SSI staff and Eco-reps handed out CFL bulbs for Halloween, the West Hall Eco-rep gave away 81 CFL bulbs in one afternoon in her hall, the highest of any staff.

So far the Eco-Representatives have been very effective at furthering sustainability goals in their residence halls and, therefore, campus at large.  Eco-reps fulfill an important and unique need at OSU; Eco-reps work in the same place where they live and play and therefore are able to reach their peers more effectively than posters, handouts or regular staff.

The goals for Eco-reps in the upcoming years are to expand the program to more halls and also to have the previous year’s reps available to train new students coming into the position.

If you are interested in the program or want to become an Eco-rep yourself, contact Sonja!


Drive Less Save More: South Town

July 24th, 2014 | Alaina Hawley

The City of Corvallis is hosting free transportation outreach events all summer in South Corvallis.  While the “Drive Less Save More: Southtown” campaign is geared toward South Corvallis residents, the events are open to anyone! The next event is the Sage Concert Family Bike Ride on Thursday, July 24 at 5:30 p.m. The ride will start at Lily Park and end at Starker Arts Park for a free Sage Music Concert. Click Here to see the rest of the July events and stay tuned for more events in August and September.

Drive Less Save More South Town

This program is intended to further educate South Corvallis residents of their transportation options via events and what are called Go Kits. These kits are free, customizable, full of information and travels tools, and they will even be delivered to your door. Click Here to get your free kit.


Question of the Week: Weekday Shopping at OSUsed Store

July 23rd, 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

You may have heard of the OSUsed Store, which is run by Surplus Property here on campus. You may also know that public sales are held weekly, but what you may not know is that certain types of organizations can shop there throughout the week. What three types of organizations can shop at the OSUsed Store outside of the public sales?

Answer

OSU Departments, state and local government agencies, and certain nonprofit organizations may shop OSUsed outside of the public sale dates.

The above groups may shop during business hours on all weekdays except Wednesday. Individuals may shop for personal use during the public sales, which take place every Wednesday, and on the third Saturday of each month. See the calendar for 2014 public sale dates!

Be sure to check out Surplus’ Facebook page for neat deals on what’s being sold, as well as helpful reuse tips.

And congratulations to Arijit for once again winning this week’s Question! Keep up the great work.


Free Cob Building Workshop

July 23rd, 2014 | Sam

old mill centerBeginning Cob Lessons at the Old Mill Center

The Old Mill Center for Children and Families is currently hosting a summer     camp for children where participants will learn some introductory cob building skills. The goal is to build a small cob playhouse for the center and volunteer work would be a great help to get the walls up a little faster.

This is a fantastic learning opportunity for anyone interested in cob/natural building. Experienced builders are more than welcome but they are also happy to show the ropes to those with no experience. In exchange for a little bit of hard work you will learn the basics of what’s involved with building a cob house from the ground up!

This Thursday, July 24, at 1:30pm there will be a a volunteer orientation and work session at the Old Mill Center building site. This orientation will not include any contact with the children.  After Thursday volunteers can come at any time during the week after 1:30 pm. If you can’t come on Thursday but would still like to be involved please contact Zak Kahn at zkahn3@gmail.com.


Corvallis Recycling Block Captains Needed

July 17th, 2014 | Sam

The Sustainability Coalition’s Waste Prevention Action Team is inviting Corvallis residents to participate in the Recycling Block Captains program.

Block Captain

As a recycling block captain, you can help educate your neighbors about recycling, composting, and waste prevention, as well as encourage their full participation in the opportunities that Republic Services is currently providing. The time commitment is 1-5 hours every three to five months (depending on how many homes you choose to cover), so it’s both easy and very beneficial to the neighborhoods that are served.

Recycling block captains have two primary responsibilities:

  1. Distribute recycling information to your neighbors 3-4 times per year.
  2. Serve as a liaison between your neighbors and the Coalition’s Waste Prevention Action Team (i.e. pickup your handouts quarterly and help answer your neighbors’ questions if/when they arise).

The Coalition provides the handouts; you define your own neighborhood (number of homes and location). You can see a map of existing neighborhoods and past handouts on their webpage.

Applications are due by July 27th, you can sign up for the program here!


Question of the Week: Plastic Cold Cups

July 16th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

cup-sun-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

Pictured below is a plastic cold cup. Into what bin on campus (excluding Res. halls) would you sort this into?

plastic cup NO

Answer

Plastic cold cups are considered trash.

Because cold cups are not one of the four shapes of plastic collected at OSU, they are not considered recyclable, and therefore should NOT go into the “containers” recycling.

Read our Recycling Mythbusters blog for more information on why some plastics are recyclable, while others aren’t. You can also visit the recycle guide to learn more about what types of plastic are recyclable on campus.

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


Question of the Week: Benefiting Organizations from Move-out

July 9th, 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

OSU students donated 22,408 pounds of donations during this year’s move-out donation drive. Name four of the eight benefiting organizations who received donations this year.

Answer

The following organizations received donations from the Res. Hall Move-out Donation Drive:

You can learn more about move-out, including past years results, by visiting our webpage.

And congrats to Valeria for winning this week’s Question! Great job.


OSU collects 11 tons during Donation Drive

July 7th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

We’ve finally finished collecting the weights from the wood donations, and the results are in: OSU students donated 22,408 pounds of donations as a part of the Res. Hall Move-out Donation Drive this year.

2014 MO results infographicThe weights by category are as follows:

  • 10,027 pounds of housewares
  • 1,897 pounds of food, toiletries, and school supplies
  • 6,664 pounds of clothing, bedding, and linens.
  • 3,820 pounds of wood
  • 296 pounds of electronic waste (not counted in donation total because it was recycled)

This year saw an increase in the amount of housewares that were donated, but large decreases in the other categories. The amount of E-waste which was collected remained about the same from last year.

It is uncertain what caused the decrease in donations, but some possible examples include less waste being generated (ie, students taking belongings home early) or donatable items being thrown away.

Donations over Time

While this did not meet our goal of 28,000 pounds, it still exceeded the 2012 weight, as well as last year’s goal of 22,000 pounds. Over the past five years, OSU has diverted nearly 100,000 pounds of belongings from the landfill through the donation drive.

A total of 27 volunteers from the community helped sort the donations into their respective categories. The donations were given to local nonprofit organizations, such as the Heartland Humane Society, the Parent Enhancement Program, and the Linn Benton Food Share. A portion of the donations were also resold at the OSUsed Store to help cover the costs of collecting them throughout the donation drive.

We’d like to thank the students of OSU for once again making the donation drive a successful event, as well as all of the volunteers for helping us pick up and sort through all of the donations.

Visit the Move-out History page on our website to learn more about the results from previous years.

The Res. Hall Move-out Donation Drive is an annual event coordinated by Campus Recycling in collaboration with Surplus Property and University Housing and Dining.


Question of the Week: Recycled Water Bottle Energy Savings

July 2nd, 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 reusable 20 oz. 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

Recycling saves energy, as it costs less to recycle a material than it does to make it from scratch. If you were to recycle five plastic water bottles, how many hours would you be able to power a 60 watt CFL light bulb from the energy savings? (Hint: The EPA has a calculator for this on their website.)

Answer

You could power a 60 watt CFL bulb for 48.9 hours with the energy savings from recycling five plastic water bottles.

The EPA reports that only 9% of the total plastic waste generated in 2012 was recycled. Excluding transportation energy, the US used approximately 17 million barrels of oil in the production of water bottles, enough to fuel a million American cars for a year. Combined with the fact that bottled water is more expensive than tap, the option does not appear to be a very sustainable one.

While important to recycle, it is even more important to reduce the amount of waste being produced in the first place. By using a durable reusable water bottle, you can save resources and money.

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

Time 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
- See more at: http://oregonstate.edu/sustainability/blog/2014/06/question-of-the-week-ice-cream-containers/#sthash.hnUTYXnF.


Student job opening: E-Waste Project Coordinator

July 1st, 2014 | Andrea Norris

now-hiringMaterials Management (comprised of Campus Recycling and Surplus Property) is hiring one E-Waste Project Coordinator, a student worker position, for fall term 2014.

This position will help OSU become e-Stewards certified for electronic waste disposal by April 2015 (E-Stewards is a standard that is recognized worldwide for organizations who dispose of electronics responsibly). The position will also assess the current processes used for processing e-waste at OSU and make recommendations for improvements.

This position is funded through a Wage Grant from the Student Sustainability Initiative, but the employee will work at the Property Services Building at 644 SW 13th Street and report to the Warehouse Coordinator.

Job duties:

  • Identifying the qualification requirements for e-Stewards.
  • Evaluating OSU’s current vendors’ certifications and qualifications for e-Stewards certification.
  • Completing time studies on dismantling computers.
  • Researching and identifying vendors for computer components and raw materials.
  • Identifying space and tool requirements needed for disassembling computers.
  • Outlining safety issues and resolutions for disassembling computers.
  • Presenting to Materials Management proposals for alternative e-waste recycling options.
The successful applicant will determine the best processes for e-waste recycling and help OSU become e-Stewards certified.

The successful applicant will determine the best processes for e-waste recycling and help OSU become e-Stewards certified.

More Information:

The student will start work near the beginning of fall term 2014 in late September and work 10-20 hours/week on weekdays 8 am-5 pm through the end of fall term in December (it is possible the employee could continue working beyond that date in a different role). Starting pay is $9.50/hr. The successful applicant may earn academic credits if allowable by their academic department.

Applications are due August 8th. For job requirements and application instructions, please visit Campus Recycling’s website.