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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

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!

Volunteer with Waste Watchers this Spring!

April 7th, 2015

Get Involved with the Waste Watchers

Interested in volunteering on campus? Gaining leadership skills? Making an impact on sustainability? If any of these describe you, the Waste Watchers club may be the right fit for you! Drop by our weekly meetings:

P1080578Spring Term Meetings

  • WHEN: Tuesdays, Mar 31 – June 2 | 6:30 – 8:00 pm
  • WHERE: 206A Student Experience Center, 2251 SW Jefferson Way (located within the SSI office, room 206)
  • WHAT: All are welcome to drop by our weekly meetings, at which we work on new ways to encourage people to recycle and reduce waste! Drop in to contribute ideas, brainstorm and snack. This term we are working on the Repair Fairs, Beyond Earth Day, Res. Hall Donation Drive, Coffee Cup Coup and more.

Don’t have a lot of time? Volunteer for an hour or two when you’re available. See current opportunities online.

Waste Watchers Spotlight: Cristina Riani

April 7th, 2015

Cristina Spotlight PortraitName: Cristina Riani

Title/Nickname: Cristicat

Degree: Environmental Science

Year in School: Freshman

When did you start volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

October 2014

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

Hard choice but I think Recycling Mythbusters.

What keeps you volunteering with the Waste Watchers?

I found a group of people who share my passion for sustainability and desire to make an actual difference on campus. And they always make me laugh.

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

Compost initiative: Eventually getting compost bins all around campus, especially in Res. Halls.

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

I always, ALWAYS use my reusable mug, and if I forget, I don’t get my chai.

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

Green Transportation Summit & Expo

March 19th, 2015

Don’t miss the Green Transportation Summit & Expo, happening April 21st and 22nd at the Portland Expo Center. As the Northwest’s largest alternative fuels and transportation event, this expo focuses on both local and regional issues and trends.
Expo 2

The Expo offers private and public fleet operators several education tracks from industry experts and government agencies. Attendees will be provided with hands-on real world applications of alternative fuel infrastructure and equipment demonstrations, including a one of a kind vehicle “Ride & Drive” on the Portland International Raceway track.

The Green Transportation Summit & Expo provides:

  • A focus on local & regional issues and trends in green transportation. Bringing in local policymakers, experts with knowledge about the needs of your market, and local vendors to help attendees find real-world solutions for their fleet.
  • Ability for attendees to discuss their questions one-on-one with leading experts in the industry.
  • 40,000 square feet of conference & exhibit space at the Portland Expo Center filled with a vast array of alternative fuel and transportation vendors and agencies.
  • First Ever “Performance Ride & Drive” featuring Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), Electric/Hybrid, Propane Auto Gas and Hydrogen at the Portland International Raceway.
  • Opportunity to explore the latest developments in alternative fuel technologies and what to come.
  • Networking with peers, vendors and experts in the transportation community; sharing their tools, techniques, experiences, and expertise.
  • Several education forums lead by industry experts, fleet managers, and government agencies on: Bio Fuels, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Electric/Hybrid, Propane Auto Gas, Hydrogen and Government Regulations, Tax Incentive Programs and more.

The Portland Expo Center is conveniently located along Interstate 5, between downtown Portland and Vancouver, Washington, and is served directly by TriMet’s MAX light rail Yellow Line. Expo Center maps and directions can be found here.

Are you an Oregon State student or faculty member? You could save $50 on early bird registration! Contact the OSU Sustainability Office here to receive the discount code and find out how to register for the expo on the GTS website.

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