Corvallis Performs a Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory

June 23rd, 2014 | Sam

Corvallis Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Sustainability Program specialist Scott Dybvad got in touch with us about the city’s first Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

“The City of Corvallis released results of the first Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The final report shows overall greenhouse gas emissions for the community in 2012 were 1,257,115 Metric Tons Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MT CO2e). The year 2012 was chosen for study as it was the most recent year with full data availability.

The inventory estimates the quantity of greenhouse gases emitted from sources and activities in Corvallis and breaks them into categories:

The consumption of food and goods ranks highest among the categories, comprising over 40% of overall emissions. This category estimates worldwide greenhouse gas emissions for food and goods consumed in Corvallis. The second largest category of emissions is electricity, with over 27% of the community’s greenhouse gas impact. This may come as a surprise to some due to the perception that most electricity in the Pacific Northwest is generated by hydropower. While that may be the case for the region, a large majority of Corvallis’ electricity is supplied by fossil fuels (80%).

The 2012 Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report is the first to estimate emissions from the Corvallis community and provides insight into where emissions are generated. It also provides a baseline that may be used to monitor future emission-reduction efforts by the community.”

The inventory, as part of the Energize Corvallis programs, was supported in part by a three-year Climate Showcase Communities grant awarded in 2011 by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The report can be found on the City of Corvallis website at For more information, contact the City’s Sustainability Program Specialist, Scott Dybvad.

Alaffia Bike Donation

June 19th, 2014 | Alaina Hawley

Have an extra or broken bike? On Saturday, June 21st the First Alternative Co-op North Store will be hosting an Alaffia Bike Donation drive. So far Alaffia has collected more than 3,500 bikes and shipped them to students in 40 different rural villages in central Togo. All viable bikes are restored and given to students who have at least a 7km walk to school in order to shorten their commute time. Less time getting to and from school allows for more time to study and has shown an increase in retention. Of those who have received a bike there is a 98% retention rate and 95% passing rate on annual exams.

Donated bikes waiting to be shipped to Togo

From 11am to 3pm on June 21st you can get rid of your old bike or bike parts and help support this organization in their efforts to keep Togolese children in school. Just take your donations straight to the truck and keep perfectly good bikes and their parts out of landfills. If you can’t make it on the 21st, both Co-ops will be taking donations beforehand, just go into the service center to make your donation.  Thanks for your contributions!

Question of the Week: Clamshells at Sorting Facilities

June 18th, 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

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) are locations where recyclable materials are sorted and separated. Where would plastic clamshells be sorted into?


The trash.

There are many reasons why clamshells are not accepted in MRFs: it is nearly impossible to check the material which they are made of, clamshells often have food contamination, which because of these facts, lead to clamshells having no market value as a recyclable material.

You can read more about why clamshells are considered trash on our Recycling Mythbusters blog post.

And congrats to Valeria Ursu for being this week’s winner of the Question of the Week!

SSI Project Grant: Solar Vehicle Team Solar Array

June 16th, 2014 | Rachel Tholl

The OSU Solar Vehicle Team received $3,000 in funding from the SSI this term. Project leader Wilkins White and the team used the grant funds to build a new car for competition in the World Solar Challenge in 2015. Funding from the SSI offered students first-hand experience working with solar energy and the basic knowlege required to implement alternative energy sources into their own personal projects. Wilkins wrote a short summary for the Ecologue.


The goals of the OSU Solar Vehicle Team are to give students real world experience in engineering and to raise awareness about sustainable transportation and solar energy.  One of the projects which our group is always the most excited about is the creation of our vehicle’s solar array; an ongoing project that first got me involved with the team my freshman year.


When I joined the Solar Vehicle Team over a year ago I knew nothing about photovoltaic cells, they were some magical material that took power from the sun and converted it to energy.  When I started on the array project I was constantly impressed with the density of knowledge about the subject within this small group of people.  I came to learn not only how photovoltaic cells work and how to use them, but also their limitations and how to minimize their inherent weaknesses.  This year I stepped into the role of mentor to teach others the secrets of the magical energy producing wafers and it was a blast!  As we continue with the design of our newest solar vehicle I am looking forward to passing on the knowledge I have gained from this team and seeing the innovative ways our members incorporate this technology into their own personal projects.

- Wilkins White

SSI Project Grant: Food Group Cooking Classes

June 15th, 2014 | Rachel Tholl

The OSU Food Group received $800 in funding from the SSI in order to host two cooking classes during the Spring term of 2014. The specific goals of these cooking classes were to 1) instill knowledge about basic cooking skills and empower participants to cook for themselves; 2) impart knowledge about local and sustainable food systems and utilize these ingredients during the cooking classes; and 3) provide a forum for collaboration between participants, community members, local farmers, and chefs. Project leader Madie Delmendo wrote an Ecologue post and provided pictures from the cooking classes.


This winter and spring OSU Food Group hosted two sustainably focused cooking classes. Sponsored by the SSI Project Grant, both cooking classes had the goal of spreading knowledge about what produce was available seasonally, where to buy locally sourced food, and the importance of sustainable food practices.


Professional chef Pati D’Eliseo taught the first cooking class. Pati taught a class of around 20 participants how to make purred vegetable soup and a warm vegetable ricotta salad. It was delicious! The class was a great success and OSU Food Group volunteers had the pleasure of starting many good conversations about sustainable foods with participants. The class highlighted winter available vegetables like leeks, radicchio, carrots, cabbage, and kale.

Food Group’s second cooking class took place at the beginning of spring and highlighted early spring veggies like asparagus. Rebecka Daye, graduate student from the Anthropology Food and Culture and Social Justice program, taught our second class. She featured Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo, roasted asparagus, and berry crumble. The berries we got frozen from a local farm. Even though berries aren’t in season quite yet in early spring you still have local options!


Unfortunately our last class of the year was cancelled because of unseen complications with location. Next year we hope to reapply and do all three classes!

- Madie Delmendo

SSI Travel Grantee: Rachel Tholl

June 11th, 2014 | Rachel Tholl
Rachel Tholl received a $50 SSI Travel Grant to travel to Tempe, Arizona to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University from March 21-23, 2014. She wrote a brief blog post for the Ecologue to describe the experience.


The Clinton Global Initiative first caught my eye when the SSI Faculty Advisor, Jen Christion-Myers, brought it up at one of our weekly SSI staff meetings. The word that caught my attention while I took notes was “Clinton.” I am an avid fangirl of the Clinton family – former President Bill, the (hopefully future President) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the amazing author and mother-to-be Chelsea Clinton – and a chance to be in the same room as them was very exciting. Myself, Annie Kersting (SSI’s Landscape Coordinator), and Jen all started meeting and collaborating on ideas for projects that we could create to take to CGI to represent OSU. We played with the idea of a green roof, but eventually came up with Growing Food Security. With the fantastic help of HSRC Food Pantry’s Lauren Nichols and Lydia Elliott, and the Center for Civic Engagement’s Corin Bauman, we created a plan to grow food organically at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture, donate it to the Food Pantry, supply reusable bags to the Food Pantry, and host canning and cooking classes once a term. The six of us began meeting once every other week, since Annie, Jen, and I were all very busy writing applications to OSU and CGI, to name just two of the places we were explaining the project to.


Long story short, we were accepted into CGIU and OSU’s former Vice-President Larry Roper with Mirabelle Fernandes-Paul helped us prepare and fund our fees and travel. Myself, Annie, and Lydia all traveled to Tempe, Arizona right before Spring Break with our fancy skirts, dress pants, and collared shirts. The experience was amazing; I had never traveled alone before, nor been in the same room as people as amazing as the Clinton family. The thousands of international students in the program were all so energetic and full of aspirations and hope for the future – it was inspiring to see young people my age get excited about changing the future with their own hands!


Growing Food Security will have its first canning and cooking classes in the Fall term of 2014, and will hopefully continue past the 2014-2015 school year. If you’d like more information on how to get involved, whether as a participant or a volunteer, please email, call, or visit the SSI, which is on the south end of campus. Or you can apply to go to CGIU in 2015, if you have a project as awesome as Growing Food Security! Talk to Mirabelle Fernandes-Paul if you’d like to get involved. The application process starts in Fall and I’d encourage anyone with anything as initial as an idea to apply!

- Rachel Tholl

SSI Travel Grantee: Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey

June 8th, 2014 | Rachel Tholl
Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey, a graduate student in the Masters of Public Policy program at OSU, received a graduate travel award of $500 to travel to and participate in the 2014 meeting of the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society (WDAFS) held April 6-11 in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.


I have been fortunate to present at dozens of conferences, many international in scope and theme. But this was the first conference I had a realistic opportunity to present at that was hosted at an international destination – Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. I was excited! I was also worried if I could really afford to go. After all, graduate student budgets aren’t exactly known for being plush. Thanks to the wonderful SSI program travel grant, I WAS able to go!

This weeklong conference, the annual meeting of the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society (WDAFS), is held in various locations throughout western North America. This was the first time it had been held in Mexico, the newest member of the WDAFS. And what a meeting it was! The location – Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico – was noteable in its own right. But the truly international scope of the meeting, the large presence of international experts and Mexican university students and professionals, and the international theme – Rethinking Fisheries Sustainability: the future of fisheries science – was truly remarkable and helped the meeting to become a resounding success.

At the meeting, I presented research some colleagues and I have been working on recently on potential uses by resource managers and policymakers of data mined from social media. My interest was in whether valuable ecosystem observations could be gleaned from social media; in this case, Twitter. The short answer is ABSOLUTELY! Not only is Twitter a rich source of spontaneous observations of the natural world (e.g., species sightings) but also an excellent source of data pertaining to human-wildlife interactions; everything from the disgruntled recreational fisherman complaining about not enough fish in ‘his river’ to runners commenting on how remarkable it is to see coyotes interact in city parks or along trails.


Given the theme of the meeting – Rethinking Fisheries Sustainability, I was not surprised to find a whole host of wonderful sustainability-themed talks and special sessions to attend. And, in a way, my talk fit well with the sustainability theme (and the SSI mission). Not only is Twitter a rich source of ecosystem observations, mining data from social media is also quite cost-effective relative to labor-intensive field sampling techniques. I am not suggesting replacing field-based methodology, simply that harvesting ecosystem data that is widely and freely available online can be a cost-effective supplement to existing data. In fact, social media may even provide an early indication of ‘trouble areas’ which might allow resource managers to direct effort and resources to areas that need it the most (e.g., species invasions, problem human-wildlife interaction hotspots, disease outbreaks, etc.).

- Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey

SSI Travel Grantee: Tyler McFadden

June 7th, 2014 | Rachel Tholl
Tyler McFadden received a $500 SSI travel grant to attend the International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat in Mazatlan, Mexico. Tyler wrote an Ecologue post about his experience and what he learned from it.


McFadden presenting

Mangroves are coastal forested wetlands that occur in throughout the tropical intertidal zone.  Renowned for their ecosystem services, mangroves provide habitat for economically important fish species, provide coastal protection from storm events, and contain some of the largest carbon stocks of any tropical ecosystem.  In the summer of 2013, I worked in Honduras as part of the Sustainable Wetlands Adaptation and Mitigation Program investigating the role of mangroves in climate change mitigation (see website for project details: ).  While in Honduras, I gathered field data for my Honors thesis studying the effects of roosting waterbirds on nutrient cycles in mangroves.

In early April, thanks to funding from the Student Sustainability Initiative and the University Honors College, I had the opportunity to present the results of this research at the Western Division American Fisheries Society annual meeting in Mazatlan, Mexico.  I presented a poster as part of the 2nd International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat.  Working in the mangroves last summer, I was impressed by the diversity of fish living in the mangroves.  I was curious how nutrient inputs by birds could not only affect the mangroves, but also the fish that rely upon the mangroves.  Unfortunately I didn’t know a lot about mangrove associated fish.  This symposium brought me up to date on the current state of knowledge concerning mangrove-fish interactions and will provide future directions for my research.

In addition to learning about mangrove associated fish, I learned about how mangroves are managed throughout the world, from the Bahamas, to Mexico, to Pakistan.  I met researchers from several different countries and got to know many of the students from the Mexican Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.  One of the highlights of the conference for me was learning about all of the high quality research being done in Mexico and throughout Latin America.  Much of this work never reaches scientists in the United States because of language barriers.  The informational and cultural exchange that this meeting fostered will likely contribute greatly to the sustainable management of both mangroves and their associated fisheries.


- Tyler McFadden

Help OSU divert 28,000 lbs from the landfill!

June 5th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

As you may have heard, the Move-out Donation Drive is currently underway! This year, our goal is to divert 28,000 lbs from the landfill, and here’s how you can help:

Move-Out Campus Living InstructionsDonate

Students living on campus can donate their extra and unwanted items in one of the donation bins, which are located in the lobby’s of each of the resident halls. The categories of items are as follows:

  • Food (Unopened, non-perishable)
  • Toiletries
  • Dry clothing, towels, and bedding
  • Household items (decor, dishes, lamps, etc.)
  • Furniture

All food and toiletries should be bagged in the grocery bags provided, while all other donations may be sorted into the blue bags or placed loosely within the
donation bins. Large items, such as furniture and wood scraps, may be placed outside next to the


Click here to download a suggested timeline for move-out, along with tips for the process.

Ask your Res. Hall’s front desk or RA if you need additional bags.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can download a suggested timeline for move-out here.

Want more information on what’s donatable? Visit the Resident’s page for a detailed guide on how to donate.

The Res. Hall Move-Out Donation Drive is a collaboration between OSU Campus Recycling, Surplus Property, and UHDS. Visit the Move-Out page for more information on the Donation Drive.

Question of the Week: 2014 Move-out Goal

June 4th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

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

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win an 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

The Move-out Donation Drive diverts waste from the landfill by providing a means for students to donate their unwanted items to local nonprofits. What is this year’s goal?


28,000 lbs.

If you live in a Res. Hall, you can help by placing any extra or unwanted items into the donation bins, which are located on the first floor lobby of each Res. Hall.

For more details on how to donate, and what is donatable, visit here.

And congratulations to Valeria Ursu for winning this week’s segment of the Question of the Week!