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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

Sustainable Student Spotlight: Claire Couch

November 29th, 2015

Meet our sustainable student of the week, Claire Couch!sustainable-student-spotlight-claire

Claire is a Ph.D student studying integrative biology. She is researching wildlife disease ecology on the OSU Corvallis campus, specifically focusing on hoof and mouth disease outbreaks among African buffalo. This is to monitor how disease spreads through wildlife, domestic animals and humans, and in this way outbreaks can be monitored and tracked. This can be applied to a broad range of disease and species, and potentially humans. Claire believes this information is important to understand as climate change affects the human/wildlife interactions as well as wildlife interactions with domestic animals.

sustainable-student-spotlight-claire2Claire believes sustainability means basing our actions as a society off of a positive vision for the future. Claire plans to use her time at OSU to design and teach an outreach curriculum for students in South Africa, where most of the field work for her research takes place. This curriculum will be developed in conjunction with a nonprofit in South Africa, and will be focused on teaching about careers in science and science-based agriculture in underserved communities.

Fun fact! Claire has a dog named Rusty, and in her spare time plays the banjo! Thank you Claire for your commitment to social and environmental sustainability here at OSU and in the world!

Sustainable Student Spotlight: Justin Tran

November 22nd, 2015

Justin Tran is our Sustainable Student of the week!

Justin is a third year student, double majoring in Chemical Engineering and Sustainability. He is involved in a research project with Dr. Nick Auyeung on campus, focusing on using thermochemical energy! The project is storing the sun’s energy using a chemical reaction then reversing that reaction to release heat at night. Justin is also a part of the CBEE club on campus, and took part in the Johnson Internship Program this past year.

Justin Tran Sustainable Student Spotlight

Justin believes that sustainability means doing things to improve the now, while also preserving resources for the future. Justin hopes to make an impact at OSU, by lessening the use of fossil fuels and use more renewable energy on campus. A fun fact about Justin is that he has broken his two front teeth twice, both in swimming incidents!

Thank you Justin for all you do for the OSU community and the world, we see your commitment to sustainability!

OSU Students Provide Important Research on Stormwater Assessment

November 19th, 2015

Recently, a stormwater assessment was conducted by three OSU students, Michael Kelly, Tracie Tran, and Harrison Holzgang, along with their sponsor, David Eckert, of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition.

The objectives of their research were to both assess the quality of OSU’s stormwater as well as its impact on Oak Creek, an EPA-classified impaired stream.

To conduct the assessment, water was collected from seven different sites scattered around campus, so that the runoff could be studied from different areas and surfaces. 

Results showed high levels of zinc and nitrate and acceptable levels of turbidity and conductivity. Along with that, the stormwater had no detectable E. coli. The highest level of most contaminants found was during the first rain and then only decreased after that point.

These results are important because they provide a basis to help OSU eventually become stormwater indpendent, meaning that we can reuse and treat the water on campus. To view the stormwater quality assessment in detail, you can view the results here.

Sustainable Student Spotlight: Eco-Reps!

November 15th, 2015

\We are happy to announce (and shine the spotlight on) our 2015-2016 Eco-Representatives!

Eco-Reps are responsible for encouraging a culture of sustainability in the residence halls in which they live. They educate residents about sustainable lifestyles and resources, assist with marketing and outreach efforts for sustainability programs, and plan and execute sustainability-focused events. They also assist with various sustainability events throughout the school year and maintain their hall’s composting program.


This year we have five awesome Eco-Reps in our residence halls! Sydney Stanton is the Eco-Rep for West Hall, is studying Environmental Engineering, and is passionate about sustainability because they hope to see our environment be preserved for generations to come.

Brenda Tellez is the Eco-Rep for McNary Hall, is studying Human Development and Family Sciences, and became an Eco-Rep because they hope to keep the Earth healthy.

Our Sackett Hall Eco-Rep, Margaret Halstead, is a Soil and Crop Science major, who is passionate about sustainability because the choices we make now will future generations.

Victoria Adams is our Finley Hall Eco-Representative who is studying Environmental Sciences with an option in Economics and Policy, and they became an Eco-Rep because sustainability is important to them because humans need a place to live and it is our responsibility to take care of our home and each other.

And last but not least, Taylor Bennett is our Poling Eco-Rep! Taylor is studying Climate Sciences and believes that we should make a positive impact today to insure the survival of natural resources in the future.

Be sure to say hi to your hall’s Eco-Reps and look out for the awesome programs these students will be holding!

Center for Advanced Energy Studies Energy Policy Institute Conference by Shivani Mathur

November 10th, 2015

The Center for Advanced Energy Studies’ Energy Policy Institute held the 5th Energy Policy Research in Denver, Colorado on 10th and 11th September, 2015. I had the opportunity to attend this conference, and it was a great learning experience. This also gave me the chance to increase my knowledge on the subject and update myself on the latest research by leading academicians and practitioners in the field. Further it was also the ideal place to meet people from the industry to understand recent trends and upcoming opportunities in energy policy.

The conference brought together representatives from universities, think-tanks and research institutes, NGOs, national laboratories, industry, and government. Jim Rogers, former chairman of the board and CEO at Duke Energy was the key note speaker at the conference. In an inspiring and interactive session he encouraged practitioners and researchers to delve and solve complex problems of energy access, renewables integration and grid modernization. He emphasized on models and solutions focused on providing sustainable, clean electrical power to the developing world.

The session I enjoyed the most was one on the clean power plan, renewables, and climate targets. Researchers from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and esteemed universities threw light on impacts of current and pending policies particularly EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan on the evolution of the electricity sector. They also went deeper into understanding the United States’ 2025 Climate Target, and urged policy makers to think beyond the 111(d) regulations. A researcher found that even if the EPA achieved full emission reductions from the clean energy power plan, there would still be a significant gap between projected U.S. emissions and its Copenhagen target for 2020. Also intriguing was research done by my colleagues at Oregon State University, where they explored impacts of public participation on the decision-making process to site a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal near Astoria and Coos Bay, Oregon.

I found the conference to be different from other conferences due to the interdisciplinary approach of speakers towards energy policy. This was well depicted in the topics covered over two days of this conference which included modeling renewables potential, integrating renewables and analyzing their expansion, the clean power plan, infrastructure accounting, fracking regulations and governance, utilities and adaptive behaviors amongst other key issues addressed. While the conference covered energy topics in general, it had a strong focus on sustainability and renewable energy. Further my recent internship with National Renewable Energy Laboratory made it extremely interesting to see implications of the research on real world policy.

UC-Davis California Forum on Energy Efficient Manufacturing by Matteo Smullin

November 10th, 2015


A group of Oregon State graduate students from the Industrial Sustainability lab within MIME traveled to UC Davis to attend the inaugural California forum on energy efficient manufacturing (CaFEEM). The students presented a total of five posters covering research in additive manufacturing, grinding operations, manufacturing process modeling, and plastics injection molding. The forum included such names as SRI (formerly Stanford Research Institute) creator of Durus, an ultra efficient walking humanoid robot, and attendees from UC Berkeley and UC Davis. While there we presented our research, learned the state-of-the-art research being conducted by the participants, and gathered a number of new contacts for future collaboration. As a takeaway, the forum was highly successful for us as students to present our work and network, and for Oregon State as a whole in reinforcing our image as forerunner of Sustainability.


Sustainable Student Spotlight: Tai Odaniell

November 8th, 2015


Tai Odaniell is a sophomore at OSU studying Chemical Engineering who is committed to making the world a more sustainable environment. Tai was a part of the Johnson Internship Program for the School for Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering this summer and helped develop a solar dish that uses parabolic mirrors to concentrate sunrays into biomass. This biomass gets broken down using pyrolysis to create biochar, which can be added to soil to increase water retention, soil nutrition and more.

Tai Odaniell Student Spotlight 2

Tai is also involved in a research project with a small startup company that is working to create an electrolyte to produce hydrogen through electrolysis in a more environmentally friendly way, including using stainless steel as a building tool.

Tai’s vision of a sustainable world involves reusing resources, and reducing everyone’s carbon footprint. She got involved in sustainable research at OSU because in high school she had the opportunity to learn about environmentalism in multiple courses, which stemmed her passion for environmental work. This passion, combined with her aptitude for science and math lead her to Chemical Engineering! She wants to go into renewable energy research in the future, because she wants to make a positive impact on the environment and world. Tai hopes that one day Oregon State University will run completely off of renewable resources.

Tai Odaniell Student SpotlightAside from her sustainability work, Tai also has traveled quite a lot! As a kid she traveled to China on multiple occasions, to help build orphanages with her mom. She also has traveled to the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean area, Spain, Morocco and many other countries in the European region!

Thank you Tai for all your hard work to create a more sustainable world and your passion of renewable resources! Your research and your sustainable goals are making a difference on this campus and in the world!

OSU Named a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University

November 6th, 2015

The League of American Bicyclists has just recently recognized Oregon State University as a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University. OSU is one of only 12 institutions that have achieved this high level of honor.

According to league standards, gold-level indicates that OSU has implemented bike projects, policies, and programs to connect transportation and recreation throughout the community and that a strong commitment to cycling is demonstrated.



OSU is one of 127 Bike Friendly Universities within the United States. The only level higher is platinum, which only five universities have achieved as of 2015.

Both the bike-friendly nature within Corvallis and OSU’s easily accessible bike resources (such as covered and uncovered bike parking, bike lockers, bike fix-it stands, an on-campus bike shop,  a bike loan program, bicycle safety training, and bicycle registration services)  have helped Oregon State University to receive this honor.

To read more about Bicycle Friendly Universities and the League of American Bicyclists, check out their website here.


Fall Repair Fair – Free Repairs and DIY Skills

November 3rd, 2015

2015 11 repair fair FB event 714x264

Do you have a torn shirt, broken bike, or otherwise damaged items? Bring them to the Fall Repair Fair on Tuesday, November 10 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM in the OSUsed Store (644 SW 13th Street).

Volunteers will teach you how to fix your broken items; attend demos to learn more skills! See the list below for this month’s skills and demonstrations. The event is free and open to all.

Repair skills offered:

  • Appliances and Electronics
  • Bicycles
  • Clothing (hand and machine sewing)
  • Computer Diagnostics
  • Housewares (furniture, ceramics, lamps, etc.)
  • Jewelry
  • Woodwind Instruments and Accordions
  • And more!


All demos are a drop-in format; stop by any time during the hour to learn new skills. Demos offered will include:

5:30 – 6:30 PM

  • Get Fired Up: D.I.Y. Lint Fire Starters – Have you ever needed to start a campfire but didn’t have any dry kindling? Come learn how to make your very own portable fire starter out of materials you can find around the house! Put dryer lint, toilet paper rolls and old candle stubs together and you have your very own water resistant fire starter that can burn for up to 20 minutes!  (Leader: Cristina Riani, volunteer of the Waste Watchers )
  • Take Charge: D.I.Y. Home Energy Efficiency –  Learn how you can reduce your energy bill by performing simple actions around your home! See how to test and measure electrical usage of lights and appliances, discover the three levels of action to see what you can do to save, and help Corvallis win $5 million! (Leader: Kirk Rensmeyer, member of Energize Corvallis)

6:30 – 7:30 PM

  • Wear it out: Winter Wear for Bicyclists –  Are you ready to bike this winter? Join the Corvallis Bicycle Collective as they provide tips for dealing with winter wear. (Leader: Volunteers from the Corvallis Bicycle Collective)
  • Stop Pesky Pokes: Fixing Protruding Bra Wires – Hate throwing bras away cause of that annoying wire? Learn a quick fix for when that pesky under-wire pokes through. (Leader: Callie Limbaugh, Recruitment Chair for the Waste Watchers)

Additional Details

Note: We don’t have spare parts, but will do our best to repair what we can and/or refer you to where you could find the parts you need. If you have parts already, we may be able to help you install them.

repair-fair-mapDirections: We are located at 644 SW 13th St. in Corvallis; see a map of the entrance and parking here; view our building on Google Maps here. Please enter through the warehouse gate on 13th Street, between A Ave. and the railroad tracks. City buses 36 and 8 stop within 2-4 blocks of our building while routes15 and 7 stop 6 blocks away at 11th & Monroe (view full details on the Corvallis Transit System website or use Google Transit to find the best option for you).

Join this event on Facebook.

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