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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

EVENT: Climate Conversations

February 16th, 2017

Do you remember learning about the fundamentals of climate science before coming to OSU? Unfortunately, the answer for many will be “No.” In a survey of roughly 1,500 middle and high school science teachers, only 75% said they talked about climate change in class, and the ones who did only touched on the subject for one or two hours. Not only that, but there is significant discrepancy between how climate change is being taught in each class. So, it’s no wonder that many adults still don’t understand or believe in the basic science behind climate change, even though about 97% of scientists agree on the facts.

Fortunately, being at an environmentally-minded university such as OSU provides the perfect opportunity for one to gain the necessary knowledge about climate change. Although many classes don’t have that particular topic built into their curriculum, there are surprising connections between these classes and the various causes and effects of climate change. And, so far over a dozen OSU instructors have decided to take advantage of this by integrating climate into their class material as part of a multidisciplinary, campus-wide climate change Teach-In happening on February 20th and 21st. This is the first of a two-part event hosted by the Climate Neutral 2025 initiative in celebration of OSU’s 10-year anniversary of signing the American College and University Presidents Carbon Commitment.

The event, Climate Conversations, is a two-day, campus-wide climate change awareness project. Programming will consist of interactive and informational activities in the SEC Plaza throughout the day on Feb 21st, preceded by class discussions to get students thinking about the issues. Students in classes participating in the Teach-In will receive the unique opportunity to gain an understanding of the fascinating connections between climate change and their respective area of study. After that, they are encouraged to join their fellow Beavers in the SEC Plaza from 11:00am-3:00pm on Feb. 21st for climate change conversations, games, trivia, prizes, and free fair trade coffee for people who bring a reusable mug.

It’s now more vital than ever to spread the conversation about climate change.

What will you be talking about on February 21st?

NOW HIRING: Student Energy Tech position

February 14th, 2017

The Sustainability Office is currently hiring for a student employee to assist with utility data requests and analyses.  Additionally, the position will help with the technical support and management of sustainability and energy efficiency projects, as well as help manage the OSU Solar Trailer.  This position has a great deal of flexibility, responsibility and fun in our small but awesome team!  It’s a great time to join!  Applications are due Feb.28 and the successful candidate will start in March.

Check out the job description here. 

Come join our team!

To apply:
Send a resume and concise cover letter to Leticia.Cavazos@oregonstate.edu by 11:59PM Tuesday, February 28. In your cover letter, list your level of interest, skills, and experience related to the bulleted items in this position announcement. This job is available for work-study and non-work-study students.

“MUG SHOTS” Coffee Giveaway

February 9th, 2017

Come get your “Mug Shot” taken with your reusable coffee mug showing your commitment to reducing waste! 

RecycleMania has begun. The Sustainability Office is putting on the 2nd annual “Mug Shot” Coffee Giveaway. BRING YOUR OWN MUG and we will see you there for free  fair trade coffee and cocoa! Stop by to learn about other RecycleMania events going on and the chance to win SWAG.

WHO: The Sustainability Office is offering FREE COFFEE AND COCOA for those who have reusable mugs.

WHAT: Pose for your “MUG SHOT” and grab some free cocoa or fair trade coffee with your REUSABLE mug. Enter our giveaway for a reusable mug if you don’t have one, or for other cool swag if you are equipped with a mug already.

WHEN: February 24, 2017. 8:30am-11:00am. Grab your morning coffee.

WHERE: Center of the MU Quad.

WHY: It is RecycleMania, an 8 week competition with University of Oregon to see who can recycle and reduce the most waste. #BEATTHEDUCKS. 3000 disposable coffee cups are thrown away every day at OSU. Let’s reduce that number by bringing our own mug.

RSVP via our Facebook Event.


WAHASC Spotlight: Spokane, WA

February 7th, 2017

The Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WAHASC) is coming up, February 16-17. This year, our friends Gonzaga University is hosting the conference in Spokane, WA. Here is a little information about the City of Spokane.

The City of Spokane has taken great strides in adopting sustainable practices in its air, water, land, and energy policies. Read more about their sustainability efforts here.

Explore the banks of the Spokane River at the Riverfront and Manito parks, which are only a short walk to the beautiful downtown Spokane area. Take in the Romanesque Revival-style architecture of the city, savor the dining and nightlife scene, and taste Washington’s renowned grapes and hops at any number of local wineries and breweries, all within this destination city immersed in natural beauty.

Thanks to a sponsor for the conference, Spokane Transit Authority, all conference attendees will receive a 2-day transit pass for free public transportation on Feb 16th and 17th.

It is not too late to register to attend! The theme this year for the 2017 conference is “Caring for our Common Home.”  Register here. Here is a note from WAHASC on who should attend:

WAHESC would like to encourage students, faculty, and staff from all departments to participate in this year’s conference. The only prerequisite for participating and engaging in the conference is an interest in learning more about sustainability on their campus. We hope that by broadening the spectrum of conference goers in attendance a larger variety of perspectives will be represented at WAHESC.

A few members from the Sustainability Office are attending, we hope to see you there!

@WeAreWAHESC/ #WAHESC / wahescconference.org

Learn how to do it yourself at the Winter Repair Fair

February 6th, 2017

Repair Fair graphic

Want to try your hand at a new skill? Need to fix one of your belongings that’s been out of commission? Come by the Winter Repair Fair on Wednesday, February 15 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM in the OSUsed Store (644 SW 13th St.).

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. Save money, gain skills, and reduce waste. The event is free and open to all.

Repair skills offered:

Volunteer Micco helps repair a piece of furniture at a past Repair Fair.

  • Appliances & Electronics (small items only, please)
  • Bicycles
  • Clothing
  • Computer Diagnostics
  • Housewares (furniture, ceramics, etc.)
  • Jewelry
  • Lamps
  • Woodwind instruments
  • And more!


Demonstrations will be drop-in style – come by anytime in the listed timeframe for a hands-on demo.

  • 5:30-6:30:
    • Scraps to Scrumptious: D.I.Y. Pesto Sauce – Come by and learn how to make your own tasty pesto with food scraps you would usually consider throwing away! (Leader: Members of the Growing Food Security Initiative, Student Sustainability Initiative)
    • Those Darned Socks: Fixing Holes – Everyone gets them, everyone dislikes them, everyone can learn to repair them – holes in your socks. This is your opportunity to end this ongoing struggle! Drop by to see how darning is done, leave with hands-on experience. (Leader: Jeanette Hardison)
  • 6:30-7:30:
    • Winter Wonderland: Foraging Local Plants – Come out and learn how to forage local plants in winter. We will include plant identification tips, example plants, and a demo on making tea from your foraged findings. Use the learned skills to reconnect to nature, save money, and have fun with people around you! (Leader: Shannon, Repair Fair Chair for the Waste Watchers)
    • Those Darned Socks: Fixing Holes – Everyone gets them, everyone dislikes them, everyone can learn to repair them – holes in your socks. This is your opportunity to end this ongoing struggle! Drop by to see how darning is done, leave with hands-on experience. (Leader: Jeanette Hardison)

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 routes 15 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.

So You Think You Know Climate?

January 31st, 2017

Test your climate science knowledge, and maybe learn some new things along the way, with these 10 challenging climate questions. Answers will be posted on our Twitter. (No cheating!).

Post your score with hashag #OSUClimateQuiz on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to win a reusable chicobag! 

  1. Which activity produces the highest amount of CO2 emissions?
    1. Driving a passenger car to New York and back
    2. Eating the average American consumption of meat in one year
  2. By how much has the sea level risen in the last 100 years?
    1. 1 inch
    2. 3 inches
    3. 7 inches
    4. 12 inches
  3. How many of Earth’s 17 hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000?
    1. 2
    2. 6
    3. 10
    4. 16
  4. About how much Carbon Dioxide does a 50-acre forest of trees absorb every year?
    1. 10,000 lb CO2
    2. 200,000 lb CO2
    3. 1,000,000 lb CO2
    4. 1,500,000 lb CO2
  5. Roughly how much of the earth’s forests have been cleared?
    1. 10%
    2. 20%
    3. 50%
    4. 70%
  6. If you took even half of your trips by bike instead of by car, you could reduce your annual carbon footprint by up to ____ .
    1. 20%
    2. 50%
    3. 70%
    4. 90%
  7. What is the main source of carbon emissions in the US?
    1. Electricity Generation
    2. Transportation
    3. Industry
    4. Residential
  8. Approximately what percentage of US energy is generated from renewable sources?
    1. 5%
    2. 13%
    3. 25%
    4. 46%
  9. Preindustrial CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were about 280 ppm. Current atmospheric concentration of CO2 is about…
    1. 310 ppm
    2. 375 ppm
    3. 405 ppm
    4. 450 ppm
  10. Individuals such as yourself have the power to do something about climate change.
    1. yes
    2. Yes
    3. YES!
    4. All of the above

Check your answers over on our twitter account, and don’t forget to follow The Sustainability Office for more climate related news, sustainability facts and more!

Post your score with hashag #OSUClimateQuiz on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to win a reusable chicobag! 

Here are a few things you can do to tackle climate change: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/03/upshot/what-you-can-do-about-climate-change.html

For more related quizzes, visit http://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resource_center/interactives/quizzes

Brought to you by Carbon Neutral 2025.

Carpool Pizza Party

January 26th, 2017

Do you commute to the Corvallis campus of Oregon State University (OSU) from Albany, Lebanon, Sweet Home, or surrounding areas?

You are invited to a free pizza party, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 1 in the Asian Pacific American Room at the OSU Memorial Union.
Come meet other commuters and form carpools. Those who commute to other Corvallis destinations also are welcome.

Please RSVP to transportation@oregonstate.edu.

This meeting is hosted by the OSU Transportation Services program. Cascades West Rideshare, a program of the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG), will provide information about vanpooling and other commute options.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Joins the Sustainability Conversation

January 19th, 2017

oshaThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) joins the conversation about sustainability by recognizing the need to focus on social sustainability. Sustainability encompasses environmental, economical, and social issues, yet oftentimes the environment gains more attention above the other two. It remains important to view the thrsustainabilityvennee pillars as integrated as possible and not as separate issues. OSHA stands up and shares their thoughts and goals for creating a more sustainable workplace. In the paper, “Sustainability in the Workplace, a New Approach for Advancing Worker Safety and Health,” OSHA shares the start of the agency’s sustainability journey.

Read the paper here.

Visit their website here: OSHA.gov/sustainability.

Safety is the workplace matters if it truly wants to be sustainable and often times worker safety and health are left out of the sustainability vision. OSHA recognizes this and is starting the conversation.


Interested in learning more or sharing ideas? Contact sustainability@dol.gov or visit their twitter: @OSHA_DOL 

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