Friday, November 14, 2008

COMPOST revival

Hey folks,
Composting has many benefits both locally and globally. On a national level it has been estimated that if every one composted we could divert up to 24% of our current waste stream from landfills and incinerators. On the local scale GMC college campus compost supplies the Cerridwen Farm with a natural fertilizer for their crops many of which end up back in the Chartwells dining hall.
As you may or may not know there have been issues with our compost system over the past year that have resulted in a dramatic drop in usable material being sent to the farm. What does not go to the farm ends up in the trash. But have no fear there is light at the end of the tunnel; we are almost to a point where the compost system will be making a jump back to full usage.
Over the past several weeks myself and several other students have been working with Chartwells and the Farm Crew to develop a system that will encourage those who use the dining hall to compost appropriately. This means less trash in the compost, most usable compost, and less material in the waste stream. We have developed a new bin system that has been approved by Chartwells and are at the point where we need help building it. If you are interested in helping build or decorate the bins or would like to know more about the project please contact me by email at We are tentatively build date is Saturday, December 6th.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


After three years in my post as Green Mountain College's Service-Learning & Sustainability Coordinator, I'm leaving GMC to take a position in the education program at Merck Forest & Farmland Center in Rupert, VT. I have really enjoyed working at GMC and in Poultney, and am especially thankful for the opportunity to work with so many talented people on and off campus. Thank you all for your support these several years. Keep up the good work!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SHOW UP (It's usually a good start.)

President Paul Fonteyn will give his Community Conversation address tomorrow at 1pm in the Gorge. His talk is titled "A Greener View: Sustainability and Regeneration." Folks interested in where GMC is going would do well to get there. The title alone indicates that the address will at least reference and perhaps more strongly emphasize our efforts as Charter Signatories to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The basics of the commitment itself are pasted in below from the website. Look over the info in advance of the President's address if you can, or check back in here if something he says sparks your interest in the commitment. If you want to know more about GMC's progress on the commitment to date, visit their reporting site here.

Accordingly, we commit our institutions to taking the following steps in
pursuit of climate neutrality:
1. Initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.
a. Within two months of signing this document, create institutional structures to
guide the development and implementation of the plan.
b. Within one year of signing this document, complete a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel) and update the inventory every other year thereafter.
c. Within two years of signing this document, develop an institutional action plan for
becoming climate neutral, which will include:
i. A target date for achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible.
ii. Interim targets for goals and actions that will lead to climate neutrality.
iii. Actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students.
iv. Actions to expand research or other efforts necessary to achieve climate neutrality.
v. Mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions.
2. Initiate two or more of the following tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed.
a. Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent.
b. Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.
c. Establish a policy of offsetting all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by our institution.
d. Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff,
students and visitors at our institution

e. Within one year of signing this document, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of our institution’s electricity consumption from renewable sources.
f. Establish a policy or a committee that supports climate and sustainability shareholder proposals at companies where our institution's endowment is invested.
g. Participate in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and adopt 3 or more associated measures to reduce waste.
3. Make the action plan, inventory, and periodic progress reports publicly available by providing them to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for posting and dissemination.

In recognition of the need to build support for this effort among college and university administrations across America, we will encourage other presidents to join this effort and become signatories to this commitment.
The Signatories of the American
College & University Presidents Climate Commitment

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Get Pump'ed

From our friends at the Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce

The pumpkin fest this Saturday has a new time 2:30 to 5:30. We need help in setting things up at 2PM at the East Poultney Green in front of the church. Also need beverages, cider, soda etc. If you have any questions you can call Karen Festa at 287-2405 or Val at 287-2016 or the Chamber 287-2010.

Nina Corbin

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You're In!

As members of the GMC community, you have member access to the primary online resource for all things sustainability in higher education -- the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) website. As folks committed to sustainability and eager to connect GMC to the happenings in the field, you should be receiving the weekly AASHE Bulletin (if you haven't been getting these, go back and mine their archives, or check out their annual wrap up of Bulletin entries in the Digest).

The Bulletin features:

  • tons of sustainability news items,
  • job postings,
  • new resources,
  • grant, fellowship, and award opportunities, and
  • event listings around the country.

If you're not keepin' up with AASHE, you don't know what's goin' on college sustainability, period. So go sign up!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


From Thayer Raines, Director of Service-Learning
Your help is needed! I am seeking 5 to 20 people (Students, Staff, and/or Faculty; clubs welcome, too) who would be interested in contributing an afternoon of trail maintenance to the GMC Section (Section 11 Ninevah 4 Corners to Tin Shanty) of the Catamount Ski Trail on Sunday, October 19, 2008, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Transportation by van will be provided to and from Brennan Circle. The plan calls for repairing a bridge, removing cut up logs, and trimming back branches. Please confirm your interest by return email no later than October 13.

The Catamount Trail (CT) is a 300-mile cross-country ski trail running the length of Vermont. Starting in Readsboro on the Massachusetts border, it winds its way through the heart of the Green Mountains to North Troy on the Canadian Border. This will be the fourth year of service that GMC has provided to its adopted section of the trail. For more information on the trail go to

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

4,667 . . .

Remember that number -- 4,667. That's the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in metric tons that GMC emitted from our operations during the 06-07 fiscal year. This number represents the starting point from which our progress toward carbon neutrality will be measured. As members of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, we will achieve net carbon neutrality "as soon as possible." Through efficiency measures, infrastructure improvements, individual behavior change, and likely offsets of one sort or another, GMC has to get from 4,667 to 0, and we have to develop the plan to do so by September 15, 2009.

To learn more about our greenhouse gas emission inventory READ THE REPORT HERE.