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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

Coffee and Chocolate in the Quad

October 21st, 2016


Have you heard about fair trade?  Come get free coffee and learn!

Join us next Wednesday, October 26, for free coffee and information about Fair Trade!  We will be in the SEC Plaza from 12:00pm-3:00pm handing out coffee that was ethically purchased to support Fair Trade, a program working to pay farmers the wages they deserve.  We will also have Fair Trade trivia you can play to win treats and other fun prizes.  But make sure to bring your own cup or reusable mug.image01

Why are we doing this?

Oregon State is working to become a Fair Trade Certified University.  This is a big deal, if we proceed with the momentum we have been working at, Oregon State can become one of the first Fair Trade certified public universities in the United States. (http://fairtradecampaigns.org) We are working to promote what we are doing and inspire students to be mindful of their own purchases.

What is Fair Trade?image00

Fair Trade is a non-profit organization created to bridge the gap between big corporations and underpaid farmers, support the environment and create more sustainable ways of production for foods we consume every day.  Many farmers are rural peoples in South America and Africa and barely make enough the keep living; sometimes to only making between 1-3% of the price the product is eventually sold.  Fair Trade works to give the producers an equitable cut of pay to allow them to continue their work and even promotes more sustainable farming practices to further help them, as well as the environment.  Companies can become Fair Trade certified and are able to put the Fair Trade trademark on their products.  Some main products through fair trade include coffee, tea, cocoa and sugar. Learn more about Fair Trade here:



How can I support Fair Trade in my daily life?

Be conscious of what you are purchasing and where it comes from!  Look for Fair Trade Certified products which will have a Fair Trade certification on the product.

That’s great, but I still need a little more incentive to come receive free coffee.

October is actually National Fair Trade month!  In honor of Fair Trade month, Fair Trade is holding a photofest competition.  By coming to the SEC and getting free coffee and learning about Fair Trade, you can submit a photo you take at this event for a chance to win a trip to South America!


We hope to see you there!  

SSI Adopt-a-Bottle Campaign

October 20th, 2016

Trying to stay hydrated, but missing a reusable bottle? Don’t worry! Visit the Valley Library or West Dining Hall to “Adopt” a sanitized reusable bottle for FREE thanks to the Fresh From the Faucet 2016-2017 Adopt-a-Bottle campaign. Fresh From the Faucet is a student-led initiative on the Oregon State University main campus that focuses on increasing the use of reusable water bottles and consumption of tap water while decreasing the use of bottled water and sugary beverages. The Fresh From the Faucet committee, resulting from collaboration of the Student Sustainability Initiative, Nutrition and Dietetics Club, UHDS, and OSU Surplus, is kicking off the Adopt-a-Bottle campaign that will serve the community while addressing components of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle from individual, local, and global scales.

Adopt-a-Bottle is a new movement at OSU with goals to rescue and recirculate reusable bottles that turn up in lost and found locations throughout campus that are never claimed. Reusable water bottles that are not claimed are held at the OSUsed Store for 30 days and are then made available for resale and some are donated to the Adopt-a-Bottle program [1]. The bottles are then sanitized in a commercial dishwasher by UHDS employees. Once the bottles are sanitized they are sealed with Adopt-a-Bottle labels to identify them as official Adopt-a-Bottles ready to be adopted and put back to use!image00

This year, the Adopt-a-Bottle program is working towards implementing the same basic model of reducing waste and recycling items that the OSUsed Store encompasses, but with increased accessibility by having the bottles at shelved stations available for FREE in heavily trafficked areas on campus such as the Valley Library (pictured right) and

West Dining Hall (pictured below).

image01Designated Adopt-a-Bottle stations will be stocked with sanitized bottles for anyone to grab at no charge in order to cater towards students and staff that are in need of a reusable water bottle in effort to popularize the social, economic, and environmental benefits of refilling a reusable water bottle with filtered tap water.

Why is filling up from the tap a more economically viable option? If you were to drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day you could easily be spending up to $1,400 annually, while refilling the same volume at U.S. tap rates would equal less than $0.50 per year [2]. We are fortunate to have an abundance of EPA regulated and filtered tap water for our consumption. Check out the 2016 Corvallis Water Quality Report here if you would like to get more information about the sources and safety of the municipal tap water [3].

Unfortunately, the recycle rate in the United States is only 23% so using plastic bottles contributes to the accumulation of non-biodegradable waste in both our oceans and landfills [2]. Tap water is more environmentally responsible because it requires far less resources. Filling up from a faucet does not create the necessary water pollution, waste, and greenhouse gas emissions that bottled water does through methods of extraction of nonrenewable resources, bottle manufacturing, and the distribution of bottles across the globe. With colleges and universities responsible for consuming more plastic water bottles than many other organizations annually students at Oregon State University, and across the nation, have stepped up to discourage the habit of using bottled beverages [2].

Oregon State University prides itself being an institution that is conscious about sustainability and an institution that educates the community about steps that can be made in order to relieve the planet from unnecessary harm. The Adopt-a-Bottle program aims to promote the use of  tap water rather than bottled beverages because tap water is accessible, free, and healthy and reusable bottles consume less resources and pollute less over their lives than single use disposable beverages.

Blog post written by Emily Cruse, Fresh From the Faucet intern.

[1]  OSUsed Store http://surplus.oregonstate.edu/surplus/public-sales/osused-store

[2]   Ban The Bottle https://www.banthebottle.net/

[3]  2016 Corvallis Water Quality Report http://www.corvallisoregon.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=10173

Join the Waste Watchers, become a Hero!

October 17th, 2016

Click to view larger.

Want to become a waste-fighting hero? Help fight the scourge of waste by volunteering with the Waste Watchers. Here are some ways to get involved:

Waste Watchers Weekly Meetings

Tuesdays, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
112 SEC
At the weekly meetings, the team plans events and marketing at their weekly meetings. Attendance is not required every week, so come by when you can. Snacks provided. Info about the group at http://tiny.cc/wastewatchers.

Volunteer at the Repair Fair

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
644 SW 13th Street
Repair Fairs are offered once-per-term, providing free repairs and D.I.Y. demonstrations for participants. Help make the event run smoothly by taking photos, greeting people, or collecting demographic information. More details on the sign-up form.

#BeavsRecycle Committee

Wednesdays, 1:00 – 2:00 PM
206 SEC
#BeavsRecycle is a campaign that celebrates the high rates and long history of recycling at OSU. Join the committee during our weekly meetings to help plan the campaign.

Tour of the OSU Microbiology Labs

October 13th, 2016

This Spring, The Spring Creek Project is partnering with The Corvallis Arts Center and the OSU Department of Microbiology on an art exhibit, “Microbiomes: To See the Unseen.” This Friday, jump start your creativity with a tour of the OSU microbiology labs.


A common theme of The Spring Creek Project is to tie together science and art. The exhibit will feature art and writing inspired by microbiome science. Stay tuned for art and writing submission details!

To get ready for the exwhats-the-microbiomehibit, Spring Creek Project invites you to join in on the tour of the OSU microbiology labs. The tour is Friday, Oct 14, 1-4pm. Register here for the tour! Space is limited.

The tour will be hosted by Jerri Bartholomew, the Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professor of the Department of Microbiology. Learn about the microbiome research happening right here at OSU.

The exhibit: “Microbiomes: To See the Unseen.” will be held April 13-May 27, 2016. More details to come!

Business Highlight: Burgerville

October 11th, 2016

Have you seen the new restaurant in town? 70-75% of the ingredients are locally sourced. Their vegetable oil is recycled into bio-diesel. They provide affordable health care to employees.  Right off 9th Street, Burgerville has joined Corvallis! With a tag line, “Fresh. Local. Sustainable.” it only felt right to do some research and highlight sustainable efforts Burgerville have put into place!logo-1

With the name Burgerville, it’s obvious they make burgers. Of course! Burgerville holds strong connections with their ranchers and cattle farms. Jack Graves, the Chief Cultural Officer of Burgerville will spend time on the cattle farms learning about their ranching methods, and ensuring the best quality reaches the 42 Burgerville restaurants around the Pacific Northwest. Burgerville uses Country Natural Beef, a hormone and antibiotic-free high quality product that comes from a land-conscious cooperative. Country Natural Beef holds strong value in taking care of the land, and creating a sustainable ranching lifestyle by preserving the land, practicing humane animal-handling practices and selling a high quality product.

Fresh food was the original commitment from the start of Burgerville in 1961. To achieve their commitment to fresh, Burgerville sources 70-75% of their ingredients from local farms and providers. They define local as within 400 miles of their headquarters in Vancouver, WA.

Renewable energy runs the local Burgerville restaurants, either directly with programs like Blue Sky, or with off-sets such as Green Tags. Burgerville makes an effort right down to the lighting within the restaurants, using all efficient LED light bulbs.wind-turbines-wind-energy

Economic and environmental sustainability are only two parts to a three-part conversation, but Burgerville does not forget about  social responsibility by offering comprehensive and affordable health care to their employees. Burgerville prides themselves in being a community-driven business, and work  hard to improve and invest in the communities they arrive in.

Have you been to the new Burgerville in town yet? Don’t forget to admire the reclaimed wood around the outside and inside of the building. The tables are also all reclaimed wood, with the chairs made out of recycled coke bottles!

Stop by for a burger (or a fantastic meat-free bean burger) and meet the business that invests in sustainable practices!


A special thanks to Jack Graves, CCO, for the valuable informational interview where he provided all of the information within this blog post, as well as Sara Perrin, who helped set up the meeting!

First Annual Green Sports Day

October 7th, 2016

Yesterday marked the first Green Sports Day, brought to you by President Obama and the Green Sports Alliance. Obama honored the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins and their win of the Stanley Cup. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been a leader within Green Sports Alliance by making their arenas more energy efficient and lowering their carbon footprint as a team.


A short passage from Obama’s release, “While captivating audiences in the thrill of the game, stadiums and venues around our country have become beacons of excellence in sustainability through the use of innovative strategies and cutting-edge technologies. Athletes have also demonstrated their commitment to shaping a brighter future by speaking out about climate change.”


In response to President Obama’s call to action to ‘tackle climate though sports,” Pac 12 pledges to host its first conference-wide college sports sustainability summit. It is planned to run alongside the Green Sport Alliance annual Summit next June.

It was a good day in Pac-12 history, and a successful first Green Sports Day!

For more details  on the Pac-12 pledge, click here.


Open Education Day: Registration is Open

September 29th, 2016

Research shows that the more affordable course materials are for students, the more likely they are to succeed. We call that economic sustainability! Find out how you can become an even better advocate for learners at Oregon State’s Open Education Day, where you can learn how to use open educational resources (OER) and give students more tools to succeed.
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13
Where: OSU’s CH2M Hill Alumni Center
Please RSVP no later than Oct. 11

The event, hosted by Open Oregon State, will raise awareness about freely accessible learning opportunities available for your students. The agenda includes:

-OSU faculty members sharing their successes with using open textbooks
-Instructors and multimedia developers discussing the effectiveness of open learning objects
-A keynote address by Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, a renowned open textbook advocate, open education scholar and professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia
-Demonstrations on how to find and adapt OER and implement them in your instruction
-An introduction to Creative Commons

Lunch and refreshments will be served. You can join us for the full day or certain parts as your schedule allows.

Register today!

For more information, please contact:

Dianna Fisher
Director, Open Oregon State

Toyota of Corvallis: Grand Opening September 29th, 2016

September 27th, 2016

Come tour Toyota of Corvallis new LEED Platinum, Net Zero facilities at their grand opening this Thursday, September 29th.


About a month ago, the OSU Sustainability Office was invited to the presentation all about the building where the architects and designers spoke. Details abut the building are in a previous blog post here. This Thursday is open to anyone in the community that wants a tour of all the sustainable building techniques used.

Who: The Corvallis community

What: The grand opening of the most energy efficient car facilities in the world. There will be a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, drinks and appetizers!

When: September 29th, 2016 at 4:30pm.

Where: Toyota and Subaru of Corvallis

Please RSVP to comm.relations@ToyotaofCorvallis.com. If you would like to join the OSU Sustainability Office in attending please e-mail Dana.Lester@oregonstate.edu.

Recycling and Surplus are hiring students!

September 23rd, 2016

We are hiring

Multiple job openings are available for students within Materials Management (i.e. Campus Recycling and Surplus Property).

Recycling Program Assistants

We are hiring for 2 Recycling Program Assistants to assist with planning, implementing, assessing, and providing logistical support for Campus Recycling programs. 12-20 hours per week, mostly on weekdays. Applications due 9/29. Full details and application instructions can be found here.

Operations Student Workers

We have multiple openings for student workers to assist with surplus and recycling pick-ups, warehouse work and in our surplus computer department. 10-20 hours per week, mostly on weekdays. Applications due 9/30.  Full details and application instructions can be found here.

Lastly, as mentioned in a prior blog post, residence hall Eco-Rep positions are now open for those living on campus. Learn more here.

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