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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

WOHESC OSU Events

January 17th, 2018

The Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) is, self described, “a platform for inspiring change, facilitating action, and promoting collaboration related to sustainability within the region’s higher education institutions”. Each year WOHESC hosts a number of conversations, workshops, and networking opportunities to help facilitate better environmental practices in Oregon and Washington State institutions for higher education.

At this year’s 2018 regional conference (Hosted by Portland State University), WOHESC’s events will highlight issues within the Pacific Northwest with presented solutions tailored for our political, social, economic, and environmental climate. WOHESC is hosting a number of informative events this February at their 2018 conference open for student registration, as seen below.

We Need Volunteers! | Attend #WOHESC for $25
Apply to be a volunteer at WOHESC! As a volunteer you will receive a discounted admission in exchange for your volunteer shifts. Fill out the application here.

WOHESC Food Service Meetup | 7:30-8:30am Smith Memorial Student Union 3rd Floor – Room 326 Pacific Rim
On Thursday, February 8th, the Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC) invites participants in food service leadership or staff to the WOHESC Food Service Meetup – held 7:30-8:30am Smith Memorial Student Union 3rd Floor – Room 326 Pacific Rim. Join in to discuss best practices in sustainable food service for higher education institutions, led by experts at the Portland State University Eats program. RSVP your participation to jenna@wohesc.org by January 31st, 2018.

WOHESC Food Service Meetup

Youth Leadership in Equity and Sustainability
This session will explore how paths for creative young people to address seemingly intractable social and environmental issues can lead to practical methods and powerful outcomes in our session Forging a New Normal: Youth Leadership in Equity and Sustainability. See the full #WOHESC program here.

EcoReps Spotlight

January 11th, 2018

Eco-reps are an Oregon State program that 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, and plan and execute sustainability-focused events.  They also maintain their hall’s composting program. Last year, the Eco-Reps reached people an amazing 9,785 times and composted over 1,741 lbs. of material! In this series, we will spotlight each Eco Rep to help you learn more about who they are and what they do.

Meet Ian Reed!

Residence Hall they work in: McNary

Hometown: Puyallup, Washington

Major/Future Plans: Ian is a Zoology major, and plan on double-majoring with Zoology and Sustainability. In the future, he wants to work as a Zoologist in the field, and his dream is to work with big cats.

Previous involvement/interest in sustainability: Ian volunteered at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium for 7 years before coming to OSU, and there he helped run many conservation and sustainability efforts especially when it came to connecting animal conservation to the public

Favorite thing about being an EcoRep: Having the ability to get people on campus involved in sustainability, and having a new network of like-minded people to work with.

Goals for the coming year:Ian would like to get lots of people involved in sustainability, and hopefully learn to be more sustainable himself. He also wants to be more involved on campus in clubs and events

Interests in continuing involvement in sustainability on campus and how so: Ian think it’s an important part of his career and his commitment to try and improve the earth’s wellbeing, and if enough of us decide to make a change then it can make a huge impact

Oregon State receives grant to reduce university food waste

January 6th, 2018

Oregon State University has been awarded $27,372 from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management program to help the university reduce food waste.

This money will be used to incorporate LeanPath into the dining hall systems, tracking food waste by amount, type, cause, & cost, and allowing staff to make adjustments to prevent waste in the future. Currently, it is estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 pounds of food waste are generated annually from halls. The hope is that LeanPath will raise awareness for how much food is wasted and generate opportunities to lessen OSU’s impact.

Founded in 2004, Portland-based LeanPath created technology for commercial kitchens (including scales, cameras and a touchscreen user interface) in order to fulfill their mission statement – to end avoidable food waste in our world. They promote food waste as one of society’s most pressing challenges, not only contributing to global hunger and environmental harm, but providing a financial barrier to food service organizations. LeanPath is used in universities, on cruise ships, and at other large scale operations. Data reveals where the company should adjust purchasing, production, menus and staff training to prevent waste in the future.

LeanPath has a simple recipe for avoiding food waste:

  • Measure: Tracking food waste with LeanPath’s scale and camera
  • Analyze: Looking at what food is wasted and the financial impact of this waste on the University
  • Optimize: Create food waste goals to strive for with the assistance of reccommendations
  • Empower: Inspire to minimize food waste over time

Read more about LeanPath and its incorporation into OSU here: http://bit.ly/2jCNV7L

Contech Stormwater Filters on OSU Campus

December 19th, 2017

Seniors in chemical, biological, and environmental engineering at Oregon State University can culminate their experience with a senior project. This year, a 2017 Senior Capstone Project Report by OSU students (CBEE 416) working with David Eckert of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition has released a “Comparative Analysis of Stormwater Pollutant Loads Mitigated by Contech Stormwater Filters on OSU Campus”. This project analyzed OSU’s CONTECH StormFilters, which are located around campus for the purpose of removing contaminants from storm water. According to our students, these filters “use a ZPG™ Media blend of zeolite, perlite, and granular activated carbon to remove total suspended solids, and to a lesser extent some soluble metals and organics.”

The study came to several conclusions, seen below:

  • Initial results show that filters are not consistently meeting desired TSS (Total Suspended Solids) removal specifications
  • Filter location/use may affect filter performance more than age
  • Fairbanks and Johnson locations are difficult to sample due to submerged outlet pipe during nominal flow conditions
  • Fairbanks location appears to be plugged, there is sludge buildup and bypass during storms smaller than design store
  • Kelley location operating below design flow rate of 15 gpm

From; Comparative Analysis of CONTECH
StormFilters on OSU Campus

This report was sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, the Oregon State University Capital Planning and Facilities Services, and the Oregon State University School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering. The research poster composed summarizing this information, as well as listing some suggestions for improvement, can be found here: http://bit.ly/2hZ9Wcm 

AASHE Sustainable Campus Index 2017

December 14th, 2017

Source: AASHE

Each year, AASHE (The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) releases a Sustainable Campus Index recognizing the top-performing colleges and universities overall by institution type and in 17 sustainability impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). The Index also highlights innovative and high-impact initiatives from institutions that submitted STARS reports in the 12 months prior to July 1, 2017.

STARS participants submit data to earn a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating, or recognition as a STARS Reporter. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations and Planning & Administration. As of July 1, 2017, 768 STARS reports were submitted by 445 institutions in 10 countries, and there were 858 STARS Participants in 34 countries (AASHE).

Oregon State University received a Gold STARS award in this year’s index, as well as being highlighted in Waste and Wellbeing & Work sections for our outstanding waste programs and community. Specifically, AASHE highlighted our Eco2Go containers for replacing disposable to-go containers in dining halls. From fall 2015 to 2016, over 400,000 single use disposable containers were avoided, and 60 fewer tons of trash were hauled from OSU dining areas.

Read more about this Index, and other highlighted universities here.

OSUsed Store hosting end-of-year clearance Dec. 29th!

December 13th, 2017

OSUsed Clearance Sale graphic

The OSUsed Store is hosting an end-of-year clearance sale on Friday, December 29, 2017 at 12:00-3:00 pm. All white tag items will be buy 1, get 2 free!

White price gun tagged items include housewares, office supplies, lab glass, lab equipment, tools, some sporting equipment, and more.

Note: The OSUsed Store will be closed to all customers December 22-26 for the holidays and thus will not host public sales on December 22nd or 26th.

Join this event on Facebook.

About OSUsed Store Sales

The OSUsed Store carries computers and computer accessories, furniture (desks, file cabinets, tables, chairs, bookcases, etc), office supplies, sporting goods, household items, bicycles and much more.

We are located at 644 SW 13th Street in Corvallis (view on Google Maps). The store is operated by OSU Surplus Property and sells surplus equipment and material to departments on campus as well as members of the public during special public sales, in an effort to reduce landfill waste and keep money in the university.

While public sales provide an opportunity for the general public to make personal purchases, departments are welcome to shop 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays.

See more sale dates on our calendar. For more information, visit our OSUsed Store webpage or contact us.

OSU Permaculture Design Certificate Program

December 8th, 2017

PACE divfarmmartin

Returning this January is the Oregon State Exclusive Permaculture Design Certificate Program, a course designed to guide participants through development of their own regenerative landscape designs.

Led by Andrew Millison and his team, Permaculture design is “an ethically based, whole-systems design approach to create sustainable human settlements and institutions. Although rooted in horticulture and agriculture, permaculture design also touches on regional planning, ecology, animal husbandry, technology, architecture and international development” . This course is recommended for those who are gardeners, professional planners, landscape architects, nursery owners, rural and urban farmers, school gardeners, and c​ommunity organizers.

Learning outcomes of this course include;

  • Observation and analysis of the natural processes of a site
  • Design principles and methods
  • Dynamics of water systems, soils, gardens and trees
  • Urban permaculture
  • Apply an ethically based whole-systems design approach
  • Use concepts, principles, and methods derived from ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and other time-tested practices
  • Learn about regional planning, ecology, animal husbandry, appropriate technology, architecture, and international development

The course runs from January 8 – March 19, 2018, and is online & instructor-led. The class is $740 + $60 for registration

You can click here to learn more.

Eco-Rep Spotlight

November 30th, 2017

Eco-reps are an Oregon State program that 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, and plan and execute sustainability-focused events.  They also maintain their hall’s composting program. Last year, the Eco-Reps reached people an amazing 9,785 times and composted over 1,741 lbs. of material! In this series, we will spotlight each Eco Rep to help you learn more about who they are and what they do.

Name: Nolan Gunter

Residence Hall they work in: Sackett Hall

Hometown: Kent, WA

Major/Future Plans: Computer Science/Sustainability. Nolan hopes to find a career that incorporates sustainability, engineering and computation.

Previous involvement/interest in sustainability: Nolan was a Support Steward for the Green Kent Partnership in his hometown. He helped lead work parties to maintain the environmental health in city parks. He also worked as an intern at the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, with the environmental communications sector.

Favorite thing about being an EcoRep: Nolan enjoys getting to hear from many different people about sustainability and how they approach it in their own lives.

Goals for the coming year: This year, Nolan would like to become a knowledgeable advisor for sustainability in the residence halls. He would love to make on-campus living more environmentally-friendly and enjoyable for residents, and to facilitate discussions and ideas about human connection to the environment.

Interests in continuing involvement in sustainability on campus and how so: Nolan is double-majoring in Sustainability. Eventually, he would like to work with some sort of research at OSU to incorporate his love for math with sustainability.

Fun fact: Nolan loves singing and performing, and was once in an opera about the environment of the Puget Sound (Seattle) region!

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