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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog


May 26th, 2017

Oregon State continues to lead in sustainability efforts among universities after receiving their sixth Gold star designation. STARS, otherwise known as the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System uses the four categories academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration as well as one additional innovation category to gauge campus sustainability. Gold is the second highest rating that a university can receive.

This designation comes from the work Oregon State has done in research, campus engagement, campus grounds and diversity and affordability. OSU also received glowing remarks from STARS administrators about the two innovation credits the university submitted.  One covers its commitment to improving student food access and food security by accepting federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, on campus.  The second innovation submission discusses the success of OSU’s full transition to reusable food to-go containers rather than disposables.  More info about these and other highlights are in OSU’s FY16 Annual Sustainability Report. OSU President, Edward J. Ray, wrote to STARS, “Measuring and transparently communicating our contributions toward a more equitable, healthy and prosperous future is more critical now than ever.” Oregon State will continue to innovate and engage while keeping its commitment to sustainability a priority.

Ready for move out? Help OSU reach its 2017 goal during the end of the year Move Out Donation Drive!

May 24th, 2017

Did you know that last year we diverted about 23,000 lbs of material from the landfill and gave it to local non-profits? This year we’re hoping to reach 28,000 lbs, and you can help!

Read the rest of this entry »

Green Office Certification

May 23rd, 2017

Green Office Certification

The Green Office Certification is a simple yet effective way for OSU faculty and staff to further their sustainability efforts and get recognition for their work. It’s also intended to provide ideas for steps your office can take to reduce your environmental footprint and carbon emissions. The Green Office Certification was created through a partnership between the Sustainability Office, Campus Recycling, and Transportation Services.

An online Qualtrics survey is used to assess an office’s practices in areas such as water, waste management, purchasing, transportation, and outreach. Upon completion, the survey will be scored. Bronze, silver, gold, and platinum are the four certification levels based on the score.

Currently, there are three certified offices on campus. The School of Psychological Science was awarded the Silver Green Office Certification on December 13, 2016.


The Student Sustainability Initiative and Center for Civic Engagement were awarded the Bronze Green Office Certification on April 13, 2017. Bronze

We would love to help you get your office certified! To get started, please take this survey. Additionally, if you would like to see more tips on how your office can become more sustainable, visit our resources page here.

2040 Thriving Communities: REPORT OUT

May 15th, 2017

Some Oregon State groups participated in listening sessions regarding Benton County 2040, and now it is time to share from results from those responses.

The Benton County 2040 Thriving Communities Council is hosting five events in May to share nearly
9,000 responses from more than 3,400 people over the past few months. The 2040 Council’s “Report
Out” events are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30pm Monroe Library: 380 N. 5th Street, Monroe
  • Wednesday, May 17 at 6:30pm Marys River Grange: 24707 Grange Hall Road, Philomath
  • Thursday, May 18 at 6:30pm Adair Village City Hall & Community Center: 6030 NE William R. Carr Avenue, Adair Village
  • Tuesday, May 23 at 6:30pm Corvallis Library: 645 NW Monroe Avenue, Corvallis
  • Wednesday, May 24 at 6:30pm Alsea Library: 19192 Alsea Hwy, Alsea

Since late last summer, members of the 2040 Thriving Communities Council attended community
events, hosted an online survey, conducted 42 listening sessions, and reviewed community plans to
explore what people in Benton County like about living here, what they want the county to be like
between now and 2040, and how we get there.

The data-gathering and visioning process allowed council members to synthesize 2040 Core Values to
address long-term complex issues. These values will be used to align the work of government, citizen
groups, businesses, and people to help achieve our visions for the future.
“We have been immersed in this data gathering process for the past year, and as a council, we’re really
excited to bring this information to our communities and talk about what we found,” said Peggy Lynch,
2040 Thriving Communities Initiative Council member.

The purpose of the these events is to provide the public with the background and desired outcomes of
the 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative, describe and share data and feedback from the past year, and
explain how the 2040 Council will re-engage communities to gain feedback on the 2040 Core Values.
“I have been impressed with the deliberate and thoughtful approach used by the Thriving Communities
Initiative. The council has taken a full year to meet with residents from all over Benton County and really
hear what they value about living here,” said Vince Adams, 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative Council

“Now we’re going to take some time to check in to make sure we got the message right and invite more
people to engage. The goal for this phase of the work is to make sure the core values arising from our
community conversations really reflect what is important to the people of Benton County. That will
guide our goal setting and strategy work going forward.”

The 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative is a community-driven exploration of what we like about
where we live, and how we want our communities to be like in the future. The 2040 Council is a group of
individuals representing a variety of interests, including the farming and logging industries, Oregon State
University, regional development, municipalities, private sector and community organizations.

For more information about the 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative or Council, please visit
www.Benton2040.org or contact Sean McGuire at 2040inititaive@co.Benton.or.us.

Summer Job Opportunity: Pedal Corvallis Bikeshare

May 5th, 2017

Another update about Pedal Corvallis: They are hiring! Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments is looking for two Pedal Corvallis Outreach Ambassadors!

Some background: The OCWCOG and its partners launched a community bikeshare program, called Pedal Corvallis, in June 2016, and partnered with Oregon State University (OSU) on an expansion to campus in April 2017. The program has a total of 8 stations, 41 bikes, and 2 adult trikes in Corvallis, and is open to anyone age 18 and older.This would be a temporary, part time position for the summer. Some duties and responsibilities include engaging stakeholders and work with partners to promote Pedal Corvallis, attend training on outreach techniques and protocols, attend community events and discuss bike sharing details with the pubic.

To receive credit, and proceed to the next step of the recruiting process, your application form must clearly show that you meet the following:

  •  Ability to speak to public audiences in a professional, engaging, and highly effective manner.
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications and basic data entry and email
  • Experience coordinating / planning / facilitating events
  • Works well in an unstructured environment, with limited supervision
  • Works well in a team, and fosters team spirit with all types of people
  • Good at problem solving and thinking creatively
  • Enthusiasm about bicycling / bikeshare and helping members of the public
  • Prompt, punctual, and reliable; strong problem-solving skills, initiative, and personal integrity

Pay is $15.35/hr with travel reimbursement!

Applications are welcome on a rolling basis, and screening will begin as early as Friday May 19.

Read full application details here.

Candidates should send a cover letter explaining why they consider themselves suited for the
position and a résumé of qualifications and relevant experience. Before applying, candidates
should be familiar with the information at www.ocwcog.org/pedal and

May the Fourth Be with You!

May 4th, 2017

University Housing and Dining is putting on an event TODAY, May 4th. In honor of the Forth. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner specials inspired by a galaxy far, far away, plus much more!

WHO: Open for staff, faculty and students!

WHAT: Trivia Questions: test your galactic knowledge
Chewbacca Impersonation: Do you speak Wookie? Give it a try.
Costume Contest: we’re looking for the best Yoda, Chewbacca and Rey costumes. Prizes awarded!
Crafts, photo opportunities, and lots of galactically epic food.

WHEN: 7am-8pm

WHERE: McNary Dining Hall

WHY: May the fourth be with you!

Pedal Corvallis Comes to Campus!

May 2nd, 2017

In June 2017, Pedal Corvallis arrived to Corvallis! A total of 221 Corvallis residents and visitors have taken over 1,200 bikeshare trips so far. Pedal Corvallis is expanding and has arrived here at OSU!

Oregon State University in partnership with Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG), will have two bikeshare stations installed  here on campus. Thanks to sponsors, OSU Transportation Services and OSU Sustainability Office.

The Stations will be located on Jefferson Avenue near Kerr, and on Monroe Avenue at Weniger Hall.

“Bikesharing gives you the freedom of a bike without needing to buy, store, or maintain one of your own. It will also give you access to a bike when yours isn’t on campus” said Meredith Williams, director of OSU Transportation Services. “This adds another great option for students, employees, and campus visitors wanting to get around Corvallis. Pedal Corvallis will complement existing services such as the free campus shuttle, Zipcar, and the many transit routes that serve OSU.”


To learn more about Pedal Corvallis, contact OCWCOG’s Community and Economic Development Department at 541-924-8480 or visit www.ocwcog.org/pedal.


Slow Streets: The Sustainable Way to Reduce Car Usage and Create Community

April 27th, 2017

Written by Nolan Rogers, SSI Sustainable Landscapes Intern

Conventional street design in most American cities is currently focused on getting cars from point A to B, with little concern for other uses. This often results in high speed corridors connecting parking lots, with nonexistent or unused sidewalks, and unsafe conditions for bicyclists. Designing cities in this way discourages alternative forms of transportation, ultimately reducing community interactions, limiting the time individuals spend in commercial areas, and decreasing equality by making some areas inaccessible to those who cannot afford, or choose not to own cars. The Slow Streets design group out of Vancouver, Canada argues that prioritizing slower speed transportation is not only “better for cities” but can “yield a greater return on investment from taxpayers and municipalities”. This belief has been gaining traction in many of the world’s cities, including several in the Pacific Northwest. The City of Eugene’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan notes the following expected benefits of designing transportation corridors for slower speed uses:

  • Higher levels of individual health and wellness
  • Reduced traffic congestion and exposure to crashes
  • Healthy business districts and more dollars staying in the local economy
  • Better air quality and lower levels of carbon and noxious emissions
  • Higher quality of life
  • Lower costs for roadway maintenance
  • More equitable access to community resources for all

In the long run, these benefits can be expected to improve communities while saving taxpayer money. Some of the techniques for designing slower streets involve implementing bike lanes, beautifying pedestrian pathways, adding seating, creating traffic buffers, and improving public transportation options.

Rendering by SF Bicycle Coalition

However, creating slow, community oriented streets can be as simple as the addition of a well placed art piece, as demonstrated by Mark Lakeman’s City Repair Project in Portland. Among other initiatives, City Repair helps communities establish street murals, mostly in intersections. These murals slow traffic speeds as drivers become more cautious around the unfamiliar conditions, making the area safer for other forms of transportation and encouraging community interaction. This accessible form of street design helps individuals reclaim their communities’ streets without the need to involve government. So, even if you are not a city planner, something as simple as a piece of art could encourage slower streets and make a difference in your own neighborhood.

SW Lents Mural by City Repair Project



Eugene Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan


Mark Lakeman- City Repair


Slow Streets-Vancouver Urban Design Group


Beyond Earth Day Starts April 22

April 19th, 2017

Beyond Earth Day Starts next Saturday, April 22!

(See full event details on the website http://tiny.cc/earth-calendar).
Earth Day of Service: Times vary by project, Departs from M.U. Lounge (Registration required) https://www.facebook.com/events/1398567143556581/ 

March for Science: 1:00 – 4:00 PM, Departs from Benton Co. Courthouse, 120 NW 4th St. https://www.facebook.com/events/247128265735703/

Hoo Haa: 2:30 – 7:30 PM, Organic Growers Club Farm, 34076 NE Electric Rd. http://earthday.oregonstate.edu/event/earth-day-hoo-haa/

2017 Earth Ball: 7:30 – 11:00 PM, Sky High Brewery Rooftop, 160 NW Jackson Ave. ($15)  https://www.facebook.com/events/204128543381274/

Sunset Park Clean-Up: 12:00 – 2:00 PM, Sunset Park, 4567 SW Country Club Dr.

17th Annual Community Fair: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, S.E.C. Plaza (Featuring Pedal Corvallis Campus Launch Event, native plant sale & used bike sale)  https://www.facebook.com/events/1781374122177761/

Check your Carbon Foodprint: 5:00 – 6:00 PM, M.U. 207 https://www.facebook.com/events/1233083430123136/

Earth Day Sale: 5:30 – 7:30 PM, OSUsed Store, 644 SW 13th St. https://www.facebook.com/events/415283908845905/

Cowspiracy Screening: 6:00 – 8:00 PM, Strand Ag. 111 https://www.facebook.com/events/824475951039488/

Intentional Communities: Panel Discussion: 5:30 – 7:00 PM, M.U. 221 https://www.facebook.com/events/1947135062183246/

Food Forest Planting Party: 9:00 – 11:00 AM, McNary Dining East Lawn (Registration required) http://uhds.link/food-forest-list

Dinner & Chat with Betty LaDuke: 6:00 – 7:30 PM, S.E.C. Lobby  https://www.facebook.com/events/370605486670171/

Mug Shots: A coffee giveaway: 8:30 – 11:00 AM, M.U. Quad  https://www.facebook.com/events/1931958963691074/

Earth Justice Mural: 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM, M.U. Quad https://www.facebook.com/events/1937192579834168/

Earth Day Sale: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, OSUsed Store, 644 SW 13th St. https://www.facebook.com/events/1795870364073775/

Northwest Spring Fest: 5:00 – 10:00 PM, S.E.C. Plaza https://www.facebook.com/events/285977545178070/

Out of this World Succulent Giveaway: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, M.U. Quad https://www.facebook.com/events/1856622311254361

Think Inside the Box: Is It Recyclable?: 1:00 – 3:00 PM, M.U. Quad Steps https://www.facebook.com/events/1888723488040590/

“Between Earth and Sky” Showcase & Screening: 5:30 – 10:00 PM, LaSells Stewart Center  https://www.facebook.com/events/268332100293382/

Composting & Recycling Jeopardy: 12:00 – 1:00 PM, Valley Library

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