Heat Wave News! Please Conserve Energy!

The current heat wave we are experiencing throughout the state has resulted in an exponential rise in our electricity cost. The heat wave is projected to last into next week and campus constituents are urged to be aware of electricity usage in their offices, labs, residence halls and other spaces. Georgia College purchases electricity on an hourly basis, and those hourly prices are projected to increase by 400 percent to 800 percent during the peak hours of 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. This translates to an additional $12,000 in cost each day.

We ask that you look around your place of work or residence and turn off anything that will not be needed for immediate use. Consider turning off lighting if you have windows which can provide natural light. If you need light, please try to turn it off when you leave your office. Lighting, in particular, produces a double savings of electricity when it is turned off, because less heat is added to the work space and therefore less cooling is required. We also ask that if you have a thermostat in your area, to set the temperature to 75 F. Additionally, turn off computers, monitors, printers, copier machines, lab instruments and other equipment as you leave for the day. All of these activities will help tremendously.

Facilities Operations will do its part by turning off classroom lighting when not needed, turning off individual AC units where possible in unused spaces and shutting down hot water pumps and equipment where feasible. If Facilities Operations staff members attempt to turn off lighting or AC equipment in areas where it needs to remain on, please inform them of the need and they will gladly accommodate the requirement.

If you work in a building that is lightly occupied after 3 p.m., please use the contact information below and we can work on relocating those remaining employees to the library or another facility. This will allow us to reduce the cooling provided to that building.

Those of us in the Georgia College Department of Facilities Operations would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your cooperation and understanding in this matter. When we work together to take basic steps to conserve energy, we enable the university to save money that can be directed to more pressing needs which serve the academic, research and outreach mission.

If you have comments or questions, please do not hesitate to call/email the following contacts:
• Mark Duclos, director of Facilities Operations, 478-445-6546, mark.duclos@gcsu.edu
• Lori Strawder, assistant director for Sustainability, 478-445-7016, lori.strawder@gcsu.edu

Mark Duclos
Director Facilities Operations
478-445-5829

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SGA Director of Environmental Affairs Updates University Senate on Recycling Efforts

At the February meeting of the University Senate Resources, Planning, and Institutional Policy Committee (RPIPC) meeting, Student Government Association (SGA) Director of Environmental Affairs Paul Murray presented an informative and thought-provoking update on the GC Recycling Program.  Paul shared information from his recent conversations with Campus Life, University Housing, the Dean of Students, and the Sustainability Council.  Following a campus waste audit in November, Paul was able to make certain recommendations to RPIPC.  The committee reported back several excellent suggestions and ideas.

Perhaps the main recommendation is to provide more support to Facilities Operations to eliminate problems from our current implementation.  Paul believes that Facilities Operations should  have additional staff, perhaps a Recycling Coordinator, to promote and increase recycling.  We would benefit by having training for staff, students, and faculty on how to recycle and why it is beneficial to our campus community.  Paul suggests that we continue a ‘top-down’ approach, from the President’s Office, echoed by multiple administrators and officers.  There should be positive incentives for reducing waste and cutting costs, which one day might accumulate to provide funding for student scholarships and help pay for any additional staffing required to accomplish our goals.

Georgia College is currently taking part in Recyclemania, a two-month competition between universities across the continent.  Our reporting has been sporadic because of problems we have with quantifying waste and recycling, as well as a lack of a designated Recycling Coordinator.  Our peer institutions have achieved much greater success with their recycling reporting.

The members of RPIPC offered many excellent suggestions and ideas, including:

  • Provide information kiosks near recycling bins so that members of the campus community can see how we are doing
  • Involve more student workers to promote and carry out recycling
  • Dedicate substantial attention to recycling education in housing and academic programs
  • Create a competitive spirit for recycling, including prizes for the residence halls or student organizations that contribute the most
  • Identify external funding to create a recycling institute that serves the campus and the community, as a part of ENGAGE or other programs
  • Tour successful recycling operations at nearby universities, such as University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Emory University

For additional information on recycling at Georgia College, please refer to the Sustainability Council web site for recycling.

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Green Bag Series Discusses Bike Share and Bike Friendly University

At the February Green Bag Discussion Series, GC Director of Parking and Transportation Ryan Greene presented current news on the Bike Share program, our efforts to become a Bike-Friendly University, carpooling to campus, and the Fishing Creek Community Trail.

Ryan has been working with student leaders to help create a Bike Share program, whereby several dozen bicycles would be made available to students, staff, and faculty for use around campus and town.  The bicycles encourage healthy lifestyles, recreation, and cut down on automobile traffic and parking problems.  Ryan and a group of dedicated activists have identified several alternatives, including 1) an in-house program paid for and operated by Georgia College, 2) a third-party vendor solution such as Gotcha Bike which would be paid for by advertising sponsors and operated by a national vendor, and 3) some combination of those two options in the event that we are unable to attract major external funding.  The cost of a program is dependent upon the type of bikes, how many bikes, and what type of locking and check-out mechanisms are used.  Ryan estimates that a program with 20 bikes running for three years would cost about $72,000.  The benefit of the third-party solution is that a bulk of the expenses could be covered from advertising revenue placed on the bikes themselves.

gotcha_bike

Ryan also updated the attendees on current efforts to qualify Georgia College as a Bike-Friendly University, a program run by the League of American Bicyclists.  The application for this important designation is being completed by Ryan’s office.  The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates applicants’ efforts to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and evaluation/planning.  Qualifying would enhance recreation and wellness opportunities on campus and attract attention to our efforts to make Georgia College more sustainable by providing alternative transportation options.

In related developments, Ryan shared his efforts to promote a system to enhance ride-sharing among students, staff, and faculty.   Georgia College has an outdated Ride Share board online, but it is not getting much use, and there was a discussion on ways to encourage more students to share rides to and from campus.  Ryan would like assistance developing a convenient and efficient online solution to help commuters identify and contact willing riders or drivers to share driving, and reduce the need to develop additional parking spaces.  Ryan mentioned that his department recently conducted a study for the construction of a parking garage at the Montgomery & Liberty St. lot; the estimate for a parking structure works out to $32,000/space, which makes bicycles and carpooling a lot more attractive!

Ryan also discussed plans in the works to develop the Fishing Creek Community Trail, a multi-use trail from the Oconee River Greenway to West Campus and beyond.  President Steve Dorman and other community leaders have hired a consultant to develop a design plan, and are identifying stakeholders for funding and grants.  This trail would help connect West Campus to Main Campus with a contoured path along the creek that would go under the highways and allow students to bike to class without having to worry about traffic on the main roads.

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Tree Campus USA

Wednesday Nov. 5th 2014: Mr. Guy Wells donated 8 Dogwood trees to the GC Campus in honor of the 125th Anniversary. This kicks off the Environmental Science Club’s planting of 250 trees on campus over the remaining academic year! Hopefully this will spark a lead on developing Tree Campus USA at Georgia College!


Here is Mr. Wells with Environmental Science Club President: Paul Murray, Gardening Club President: Linsday Crowe, and Wesley Randall of the Campus Green Initiative Fund Committee.

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Green Bag Discussion: Dr. Mark Causey

The November Green Bag Discussion Series featured an excellent presentation by Dr. Mark Causey, Philosophy & Liberal Studies professor.  Dr. Causey talked about the economic, environmental, and health impacts of eating animals, as well as the ethical issues we typically ignore when choosing to consume meat, fish, and dairy products.

A key environmental impact of eating animals, especially cows, is the tremendous production of greenhouse gasses, not just carbon dioxide, but especially methane and nitrous oxide.  Along with this comes severe deforestation and land degradation, as well as water pollution and resource depletion.Vegan Food Guide

Over 30% of the Earth’s land area is dedicated to animal agriculture, and 80% of the land in the US is used to make meat and dairy products.  Seventy percent of all grain produced in the world is fed to animals, but that brings on several inefficiencies, as it takes 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of meat!

Several students contributed their experiences with vegetarian diets, including a talk about where on campus to get a decent vegetarian lunch.  Dr. Causey, a long-time vegan, shared ideas about protein, vitamin B12, and food politics.  We learned that Patrik Baboumian, one of the strongest humans in the world, lives entirely off a vegan diet.

Dr. Causey concluded the discussion with a conversation on how to approach people who act defensive when someone declares themselves to be a vegetarian or vegan.  “To eat meat is a conscious choice,” said Dr. Causey.  “But people living in the mainstream don’t have to explain their decision to consume sentient living beings, and they assume that they are in the right.”

Dr. Causey’s Presentation

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Campus Sustainability Day / Food Day

October 22, 2014 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Georgia College Back Campus (outside the Library)

Georgia College is hosting Campus Sustainability and Food Day on October 22! This is a day to celebrate sustainability, health, and food-stability initiatives on the campus and in the surrounding community.  Sponsored by the GC SustainIMG_1407ability Council, Facilities Operations, and the G.I.V.E. Center.

Just some of the groups you’ll see this Wednesday from 2-5 for Campus Sustainability / Food Day!!!

Babe + Sage Farm
Bicycling Club of Milledgeville
Bobcats Against Hunger
Campus Green Initiative Fund Committee
Central Georgia Rail-to-Trail Association
Enterprise
Environmental Science Club
Gardening Club
GC Sustainability Council and Sustainability Division
GC2Y 2000 Global Perspectives: Animal Ethics
Georgia College Academic Outreach
Health Services and the Wellness and Recreation Center
Keep Milledgeville Baldwin Beautiful
Light Force Chiropractic
Live Healthy Baldwin
National Wildlife Federation
Salamander Springs
SGA and Communtiy Relations Committee
Sodexo
Students for Community Engagement
Team Red Bowl
The Green Market

packshotAt 7:00 p.m. in the A&S Auditorium the GC Sustainability Council is hosting a special showing of  “Cowspiracy,” a documentary film which examines the complex politics behind the ranching and dairy industries in the United States, and how most major environmental organizations steer clear of the issues around cows.  http://cowspiracy.com/

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Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary- Summary

Gene Baur, President and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, delivered an inspiring and informative talk to Georgia College students, staff, and faculty on Monday, October 6th 2015.  Gene has been speaking on college campuses for 25 years, sharing his knowledge and convictions regarding animal agriculture.  Years ago, he and others learned  how to expose cruelty in slaughterhouses, and they inspired outrage among public citizens and went a step further: they started farms to rescue animals suffering from abuse.  Farm Sanctuary now has three farms in New York and California to rehabilitate hundreds of farm animals.  The organization promotes education and consumer choice, along with legal action, to change the animal agriculture system to be more sane and equitable.

Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary

Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary

Gene’s impressive slide show chronicled the development of laws to protect animals, including bans on veal cages, gestation cages, and battery cages.  His work has been frustrated by the industry, however, by agriculture gag laws and food disparagement laws.  Gene recommends that consumers make informed, mindful food choices, and to stay away from meat that is from animals raised in cruelty.  “Somebody, not something” is a useful reminder to shoppers while perusing the meat aisle.  He reminded us that in all his time challenging the industry, it is not that everyone who farms is cruel, but more that “bad becomes normal,” as small, local farms strive to keep up and are displaced by industrial-scale agriculture.

Gene recommended several useful sources for information, including films and books by authors who have adapted to vegetarian and vegan diets and products that replace animal meat:

Gene’s advice to students who want to explore meatless diets is to include beans, potatoes, nuts, tofu, and vitamin B12 in their daily meals.  Gene has been a vegetarian for over 20 years and assured the audience that his health is fine!

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