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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

Arbor Day At OSU

April 24th, 2015

Happy Arbor Day everyone! Oregon State has a long long-running tradition of tree planting, care and stewardship and this year is no exception. This week we have been celebrating  Beyond Earth Day, ten days of exciting events to raise awareness of and engagement in sustainability.

For the last six years, Oregon State has been the recipient of Tree Campus USA, awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Oregon Department of Forestry. The Tree Campus standards require the school to have a campus tree advisory committee, campus tree care plan, campus tree program with dedicated annual expenditures, Arbor Day observance, and a service learning project. OSU has succeeded in receiving the award every year since 2010.   bicycle,

In addition to tree care on campus, OSU landscapers have taken many steps to reduce their operation’s impact on the environment via:

  • Incorporating native and/or drought tolerant plants into landscaped areas
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawns to return nutrients
  • Obtain annual Oregon Dept. of Agriculture training to maintain pesticide best practices and application licenses
  • Maintain the campus to different standards based on need (i.e., MU quad vs. low profile areas)
  • Use of Maxi-com computerized irrigation system with weather-based watering to conserve water
  • Minimal use of only slow release fertilizers to avoid fertilizer run off
  • On-campus handling and chipping of woody debris and compostable material
  • Application as groundcover of mulch and wood chips to reduce watering and weeding needs

To learn more about Oregon State’s natural features, check it out on our website here. Also, don’t forget that Beyond Earth Day events continue until Tuesday, April 28th!

Get your fix at the April Repair Fair!

April 23rd, 2015

April Repair Fair

Bring those broken or damaged items to the April Repair Fair on Tuesday, April 28 from 3:30 – 5:30 PM. This time, the event will be held at the Student Experience Center Plaza (2251 SW Jefferson Way) located between the Student Experience Center and the MU Quad.

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 (small items only, please)
  • Bicycles
  • Clothing (hand and machine sewing)
  • Electronics (small items only, please)
  • Housewares (furniture, ceramics, lamps, etc.)
  • Instruments (woodwinds, brass, and guitars only)
  • Jewelry
  • And more!


3:30-4:00 pm

  • Cut ‘Cho Hair: Cutting your own hair empowers you to define yourself. This demonstration includes tips and tricks for becoming your own hairdresser. Be prepared for a small spiritual journey that will be useful for the rest of your life. (Leader: Jesse Pettibone, Director of the Student Sustainability Initiative)
  • Basic Shoe & Boot Repair: Drop by to learn how re-attach loose soles, fix scrapes and tears, and polish shoes to lengthen the life of your footwear. We’ll show you how it’s done and you can try your hand at it with our sample shoes. (Leaders: GEO 300 class project group)
  • Everything You Want to Know About Recycling: Ever had a specific waste item and not known if it should go in the trash or recycling? Drop by this demo booth and learn from the masters – the Master Recyclers of Linn and Benton Counties! Play the sorting game or simply bring your questions and questionable items. (Leaders: Linn Benton Master Recyclers)

4:00-4:30 pm

  • Bombs for Butterflies: We are going to teach you how to make beautiful landing patches for butterflies by making seed balls! (Leader: Lauren Armony, Garden Manager for the Student Sustainability Initiative)
  • Basic Shoe & Boot Repair continues (see description above)
  • Everything You Want to Know About Recycling continues (see description above)

4:30-5:30 pm

  • Turning Tubes into Treasures: Bicycle inner tubes are replaced very regularly, leaving discarded tubes to be destined to be thrown away. Luckily for people who don’t like throwing things in the trash, there are many things that can be done with these inner tubes. With a bit of nylon thread you can make bags, wallets, and belts. Come by this demo to learn how to make a belt out of bike inner tubes. (Leader: Tyler Coleman, volunteer with the Waste Watchers).
  • Basic Shoe & Boot Repair continues (see description above)
  • Everything You Want to Know About Recycling continues (see description above)

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.

Directions:The Student Experience Center Plaza is the new outdoor, covered area between the Memorial Union and the new Student Experience Center (S.E.C.). View the S.E.C. on the OSU campus map (http://oregonstate.edu/campusmap/?locations=1025) to see the locations and parking options.

Join this event on Facebook.

Save the Date: May Repair Fair

Can’t make it to the April event? Don’t worry: we will be hosting our second Repair Fair on Wednesday,May 13 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Repair skills and demos are TBA.

Waste Watchers Spotlight: Zach Stark

April 21st, 2015
Zach teaches attendees how to recycle during last year's Earth Week Community Fair.

Zach teaches attendees how to recycle during the 2014 Earth Week Community Fair. Click to view larger.

Name: Zachary Stark

Title/Nickname: Zachster

Degree: Electrical Engineering

Year in School: Sophomore

When did you start volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

Last year, winter term

What has been your favorite project or event that the Waste Watchers have been involved in?

Repair Fairs hands down.

What keeps you volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

The people are so nice and welcoming while the work is meaningful.

What would you like to see the Waste Watchers do in the future?

Work on the athletics department. They should really care about going green. Their waste is very significant.

What is one way you reduce waste in your everyday life?

I keep a recycle bag next to my trash bag to remind myself to recycle when I’m cooking.

Want to learn more about the Waste Watchers? Visit the volunteer webpage to learn more about how to get involved.

OSU Sustainability Office Now Hiring!

April 17th, 2015


The OSU Sustainability Office seeks outgoing and enthusiastic students to fill two different paid positions beginning in May 2015 and running through at least the end of the 2016 school year. Positions are available to both work-study and non-work-study students. Applications are due by 5PM, Thursday, April 30.

Energy Project Student Technical Assistant
$11.00/hr | 10-20 hrs/wk | 20-40 hrs/wk in summer

This position is responsible for reading OSU utility meters, maintaining and transporting the Solar Trailer, helping to plan and manage energy and water conservation projects, surveying buildings, and joining colleagues for various outreach events. For the complete position description please click here.

Digital Media and Marketing Student Outreach Assistant
$10.50/hr | 10-20 hrs/wk | 20-30 hrs/wk in summer

Delivers marketing and outreach via the web, social media, and in person. This position supports Sustainability Office staff in developing and delivering various programs that promote behavior change. For the complete position description please click here.

To apply for either or both positions send a concise cover letter and resume to brandon.trelstad@oregonstate.edu by 5PM, Thursday, April 30.

SSI Research Grant “Food Insecurity” by Juliet Sutton

April 16th, 2015

“In coping with food insecurity, students often purchase lower quality and less healthy foods than they would like. Essentially all students expressed the desire to eat healthy foods, but were blocked from doing so mostly because of cost and sometimes because of a lack of transportation or cooking equipment. Many mentioned organic and environmentally responsible foods in describing their idea of healthy eating. Contrary to the image of the slobby uncaring student, most people I talked to had sophisticated ideas about what is best for them to eat, even when they couldn’t always choose those things for themselves. Most people did not use any other sources of free food or alternative food procurement such as gardening, which surprised me. There were no noticeable differences between people who grew up with food insecurity and those that did not. Shame, as mentioned above was the most noticeable social impediment to alleviating food insecurity. Institutional impediments that came up frequently were the difficulty for students to access government assistance, the inadequate salaries for graduate students, and specifically for students living in the dorms the cost and lack of cooking equipment on campus. In addition to their current excellent food education efforts, I recommend that the SSI continue to focus on increasing access and awareness of helpful resources for students, and advocating for socially and economically sustainable practices with the university.

The SSI award helped me a lot in that the extra income allowed me to focus more fully on my research and other academic work instead of looking for other sources of income. My connection to the SSI has helped me to become more integrated and aware of programs and groups that are relevant to my work on campus. In particular my involvement with Hunger and Homelessness Week this fall, although not specifically connected to this award, was really great in spreading awareness of my work, networking, and practicing presenting my research. Thank you once again for awarding me this grant.” ~ Juliet Sutton

Beyond Earth Day Begins This Saturday, April 18th!

April 15th, 2015


Get ready everyone, Beyond Earth Day is almost here! OSU has celebrated Earth Day since 1970 and we are still going strong! Starting this Saturday, April 18th, there will be ten days of fun and engaging events that involve the interconnectedness between people and the planet. From a sunset trail run to an All Species Masquerade, there’s something in it for everyone. Don’t forget to visit the Beyond Earth Day website for more information, and take a look at the list of events below to find out what exciting events you would like to be a part of!


Saturday, April 18

Monday, April 20

Tuesday, April 21

Wednesday, April 22

Thursday, April 23

Friday, April 24

Saturday, April 25

Monday, April 27

Tuesday, April 28

Waste Watchers Spotlight: Shannon Ritz

April 14th, 2015

11093747_1562628734005477_580410382_nName: Shannon Ritz

Title/Nickname: “Shannanigans”

Degree: Fisheries & Wildlife Science

Year in School: Freshman

When did you start volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

I began volunteering at the beginning of Fall term.

What has been your favorite project or event that the Waste Watchers have been involved in?

My favorite project has been the Repair Fairs.

Shannon diagnoses an instrument at the Repair Fair. Click to view larger.

Shannon diagnoses an instrument at the Repair Fair. Click to view larger.

What keeps you volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

I keep volunteering because I can visually see the difference I am making in the community.

What would you like to see the Waste Watchers do in the future?

In the future, I want to see the WW get involved with removing invasive species on campus.

What is one way you reduce waste in your everyday life?

I reduce waste by meticulous recycling.

Want to learn more about the Waste Watchers? Visit the volunteer webpage to learn more about how to get involved.

Sneak peek into Beyond Earth Day 2015

April 10th, 2015

Beyond Earth Day graphic

Fourty-five years ago, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson helped drive communities across the U.S.  to organize teach-ins for the environment on April 22, 1970 – the first Earth Day. Right here on our campus, OSU students put together a series of events, participating in this landmark date. While Earth Day-related festivities have not occurred every year since, our annual celebration has been going strong for what will be the 15th consecutive year this year!

This year, we are taking our celebration even further beyond – both by extending the celebration for greater than one week and by better showcasing how the environment is interconnected with people and issues of justice. We’re calling it Beyond Earth Day.

The celebration runs Saturday April 18th through Tuesday April 28th at a variety of locations on and off campus.

Whether you’re interested in checking out over 40 booths at the 15th annual Community Fair, stompin’ your foot to live music at the annual Organic Growers Club Hoo Haa, taking a walking tour to learn about OSU’s water features, watching an environmental film, or creating an earth justice chalk mural, this year’s Beyond Earth Day offers all that and so much more. See the full calendar on the Beyond Earth Day website.

The primary organizers and sponsors of Beyond Earth Day are Campus Recycling, the Student Sustainability Initiative and the Sustainability Office. However, any local organization is invited to participate, which is one thing that makes OSU’s program so unique. Participating groups for 2015 include OSU student groups and departments, local nonprofits, and government agencies. See the list of participating organizations here.

Stay tuned to this blog and join Beyond Earth Day on Facebook for more details. Or hop on over the to Beyond Earth Day website now!

Congrats Beavers! We’re recycling champs

April 8th, 2015

It was a close one, but OSU won the RecycleMania Civil War against the University of Oregon! This win comes after two consecutive years of losses.

The annual competition pit us against UO to see which university could recycle the most over 8-weeks. OSU ended this year’s competition with 11.9 to 11.8 – only 0.07 pounds per person more than our competitor.


The Civil War trophy win return to OSU soon and may even tour the campus.

The Civil War trophy win return to OSU soon and may even tour the campus.

The Civil War was close throughout the competition, OSU never taking more than a 0.7 pound lead. “I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get to see us win while I was a student,” said Kyle Reed, the Student Outreach Assistant for Campus Recycling. “UO is a strong competitor, but in the end we came out on top.”

During the 2015 competition, OSU recycled 265,070 pounds and composted 55,006 pounds. Looking at per capita recycling and compost, we collected 5% and 17% more than last year, respectively. Meanwhile, per capita trash increased by less than half a percent.

The win signals the end of UO’s two-year winning streak, marking the fourth time OSU has won the competition. OSU also won in 2010, 2011, and 2012. We not only will regain the title, but also the Civil War trophy, which will return in the coming weeks. Campus Recycling is working to see if the trophy can tour the campus upon its return.

The Civil War occurs locally as a part of the national RecycleMania competition. The larger competition features colleges from across the nation competing to recycle the most and minimize the trash produced. Events were hosted throughout the term to promote the competition, including a campus competition between Residence Halls.


April 8th, 2015

Do you commute from the Marion or Polk County areas to Corvallis? You’re invited to a carpool/vanpool informational meeting Thursday, April 23rd from 12-1 p.m. in the Memorial Union Council Room 222 (2501 SW Jefferson Way). Free lunch will be provided!


This meeting is targeted to OSU students, staff, and faculty who live in Salem / Keizer and the surrounding area and commute to the Corvallis campus. Employees of other Corvallis businesses and organizations are also invited. Come learn about how carpooling and vanpooling will help your wallet while helping the environment.


Marion and Polk County Meeting Picture


On average participating in a carpool or vanpool reduces the cost of your commute by half. An average commute to and from the Lane County area uses approximately 4 gallons of gas, so carpooling with only one other person can save approximately 500 gallons of gas from being consumed or 9,000 pounds of CO2 from being emitted in a single year. Join the OSU Sustainability Office and Cascades West Rideshare(a program of Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments) for lunch and we’ll provide information about how commuter carpools and vanpools work and some current vanpoolers will come to share their perspective. Don’t forget to check out our online carpooling tool Drive Less Connect.


Please RSVP to alaina.hawley@oregonstate.edu by April 20th so we can get a headcount for lunch and please include any dietary restrictions that you may have.. Feel free to spread the word.


If you can’t make the meeting, or are interested in carpool or vanpooling from somewhere besides Marion and Polk Counties, check out the OSU Transportation Options website for more information!