A blog about sustainability efforts and the community garden at Williston

Ort Report: Baseline

March 26th, 2015

 

Now that the Green Cup Challenge is over, Williston’s Sustainable Life Club is starting the annual Ort Report on campus! This past Thursday, February 26, students were asked to place all of their food waste into five-gallon buckets in order for them to be weighed. With almost 6 full buckets containing items from napkins, food, and liquids, the average totaled to about 76.5 lbs! Compared to the baseline of last year, 98 lbs, this is a total 21.5 lbs lighter.

Throughout the weeks to come after Spring Break, we hope that students are more conscious about what they are wasting during their mealtimes. Hopefully, with Ort Reports being taken, we will see a downward trend this year! Last year’s minimum amount of waste was 50 lbs, we hope to beat that marking point during the spring of 2015 and continue reducing our food waste.

Keep an eye out for the Ort Report!

Diversity Workshop

Think Differently: Sharing Sustainable Perspectives

On February 20th, during the Diversity Symposium, the Sustainability Club ran a fun, interactive workshop for several students. The workshop included demonstrations about clean water, usable land top soil, over fishing and resources, and aquaculture.  Our main goal was to introduce and educate the students about sustainability and its environmental, cultural, and economic viewpoints through different activities. Some of the activities asked students for their input of what sustainability was and how they could make a difference. Some of the responses are below.

What does sustainability mean?

  1. “Sustainability is the action where something will never diminish and will always be available”
  2. “Sustainability means having enough resources and using them smartly so they will last”
  3. “Sustainability: keeping a healthy earth/ecosystem for all living things”
  4. “Sustainability is the efficient and responsible usage of our resources in a way that also preserves the beauty of Nature”
  5. “In my perspective sustainability means to protect the environment, decrease water consumption, and use more efficient energy”
  6. “To  keep the environment a nice place to live in”
  7. “The preservation and salvation of keeping the Earth green”
  8. “Sustainability means to have sustainable life such as enough resources to live”

How can we make an impact in our community?

  1. “By encouraging a sustainable approach to the campus ecosystem”
  2. “Make sure we recycle correctly”
  3. “Use less water, don’t litter, use less energy. Recycle.”
  4. “Could make rules so we don’t run out of stuff”
  5. “We could try to presrve animals and plants better. Not use pesticides. Limit the usage of non-renewable resources”
  6. “Spread awareness and reduce, reuse, recycle.”
  7. “We need to let everybody know the importance of being a sustainable society, and in need to spread out the idea of saving resources”
  8. “Educate people in our community about environmental impacts”

The responses were nice to use when addressing how sustainability has an important economic and cultural aspect besides the most popular environmental one. This was addressed in our case study of aquaculture from a small  farm. As the weeks continue, the club hopes to educate more students about their impact in the community and globally. Keep an eye out for the Ort Report that will be addressing Food waste in the weeks to come!

Green Cup Challenge: Dorm Listings

From January 15th to February 11th, the Williston Northampton School was a participant in the Green Cup Challenge. The Green Cup Challenge is a school to school competition to see which school could save the most energy during the four weeks, with the hope to instill sustainable habits in the students. At Williston, the Sustainable Life Club also narrows the competition to make it a dorm to dorm competition. Although Williston’s data will not be processed and posted until later this week, the final data for the dorm competitions are in!

The amount of energy used per week by dorm is compared with the amount of energy used from a baseline of three years during the month of January and February. Conant and Sawyer had switched their heating system last year, which helped  it use less electricity. Although, the amount of enthusiasm in the dorms, was supported with the data throughout the competition.

The school made a HUGE improvement from only four dorms in the first two weeks that were saving energy (Memorial Hall, Conant and Sawyer, Hathaway, and Logan) to seven dorms in the last week! Below are the top three dorms for each week.

Week 1  First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall     Third place: Logan

Week 2  First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall      Third place: Logan

Week 3   First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall     Third place: 194

Week 4   First place: Conant and Sawyer   Second place: Memorial Hall      Third place: Reed

Dorm by dorm competition during the four weeks

Conant and Sawyer had held on strong for all four weeks as first place. They will continue to have possession of the Green Cup Flag until March break. Memorial Hall had earned second place, continually saving energy for all four weeks. Combining the amount of energy saved from Memorial Hall and Conant and Sawyer, a total of 3,480 lbs of carbon dioxide was saved throughout the competition. Logan and 194 continued to switch back and forth for third place throughout the competition, as well. Reed, or the day student’s building for the competition, gained an honorable mention from averaging 27 kwh saved to 147 kwh saved in the last week.

All of the dorms in the last week (excluding data that was transcribed incorrectly from Hathaway), the school had saved a total of 1,076 lbs of carbon dioxide.

Although we saw a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in the dorms to save energy, the especially cold month may contribute to the loss of energy in certain dorms. With the new solar lamps distributed to each dorm, we hope that this enthusiasm is still harnessed after the Green Cup Challenge, and that students are inspired to help save energy outside of the competition as well.

The final results for Williston, in the school to school competition, will be released later this week, so keep an eye out!

New Firefly Solar Lamps in Dorms!

As a new introduction piece to the ongoing Green Cup Challenge this year, Williston has purchased several solar lamps for the students to use in the dorms. One of Sustainable Life’s main goals for the school is to encourage sustainable habits on and off of campus. These lamps have helped put that goal into motion through the category of solar electricity. During the Green Cup Challenge the students were in a competition with each other and other schools, to see who could reduce the most energy when compared to previous years. One solar lamp was provided for each floor in every dorm. With the guidance of proctors on each floor, they are set to be charging during the day with the solar panel attached to the lamp, and students sign the lamps out for use during study hall. With six other attachments, the solar panel would also be able to charge a variety of electronic devices.

A moment before the solar panel and lamps are assembled to charge.
A moment before the solar panel and lamps are assembled to charge.

Besides environmental sustainability, these solar lamps also touch upon the economic and cultural sustainability categories that Williston’s Sustainable Life Club strives to meet. By purchasing a Firefly Mobile lamp from OWLI Africa, the money will hopefully help with the removal of kerosene lamps and provide a source of light for those in Ugandan, Kenyan, and other, villages that don’t have the lamps. The solar lamps makes the villagers capable to work and study during the night, as well. Through the One World Leadership Institute (OWLI), Williston was able to take the opportunity to help  young student leaders in other villages with this lamp initiative and upcoming entrepreneurship. Kerosene lamps are the cause of major health risks as they are damaging to villagers’ eyes and frequently burn down houses. With this removal, the villagers are one step closer to living a healthier, cleaner life. If students are interested in owning their own solar lamp, they should stop by the school store to purchase one!

 An excited student ready to sign out the solar lamps during study hall.
An excited student ready to sign out the solar lamps during study hall.

Sustainable Life Fall Harvest 2014

This fall started off with a great gardening session on Sunday, September 21st! Sustainable Life harvested crops that grew throughout the past spring and summer with the help of six amazing members. Most crops were planted in the spring with intent to send them to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Hatfield. Crops such as potatoes, onions, and squash were harvested on Sunday. In total there was 27lbs of Delicata and winter squash, 17 Lbs. of potatoes (Yukon and Chieftan), two quarts of Brussels sprouts, and a count of 13 yellow onions! Last Friday, the 26th, Mrs. Lucia and Billy Ashenden delivered the crops off to the local Food Bank.

Billy Ashenden delivering our Fall Harvest to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Billy Ashenden delivering our Fall Harvest to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Several other crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, raspberries, and asparagus can be found in the garden. Sustainable Life has plans of pulling out the rest of the plants in the beds to prepare the soil for the winter by planting a cover crop. Hopefully this cover crop with help maintain the integrity of the soil throughout the cold weeks that will come.

Sustainable Life aims to inform students about their environmental impact in their community and campus. By gardening, students learn about the importance of becoming sustainable and where their food comes from. Gardening also provides students with a love for nature and its gifts. If you wish to join Sustainable Life in making a greater impact on our campus, and the environment, then stop by one of our Thursday night meetings in the Cox room at 5:45!

Sustainable Life members, Sam Mahmood, Billy Ashenden, and Eson Law help harvest a winter squash.
Sustainable Life members, Sam Mahmood, Billy Ashenden, and Eason Law help harvest a winter squash.

A blog about sustainability efforts and the community garden at Williston