Sustainable UNH

Learning about sustainability through the example of UNH

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Students write Op-Ed to Foster’s Daily: “Mascott Madness” #SaveGnarlz

April 7th, 2014 · No Comments

SEAC student Katarina Kieleczawa And Peter Wilkinson, SEAC STudent and Sustainability Institute Student Ambassador wrote an op-ed for Foster’s Daily Democrat promoting a National Wildlife Federation they’re bringing to UNH:

“Mascot Madness: UNH’s Wildcats in a Fight for Their Lives”
http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20140405%2FGJOPINION_0102%2F140409618%2F-1%2FFOSOPINION
Written by Jackie.

Jackie

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College is the time to connect with faculty, work towards change

April 3rd, 2014 · 1 Comment

By:
Ann Jolie Steeves
2014: Health Management and Policy: Public Health, EcoGastronomy Dual Major
Student Ambassador to the Sustainability Institute’s Food Systems Task Force

The first class of the UNH Sustainability Institute's Student Ambassadors with Dr. Tom Kelly

Welcome to the University of New Hampshire, a beautiful institution on the coast of a historic state, one hour from the city of Boston, and two hours from the wonderful White Mountains. At UNH, you can explore your passions, meet interesting people, become involved in research, and most importantly, join a community of virtuous humans. I’ve had the privilege of becoming very involved with what our institution has to offer over the past four years and I am truly proud to say that “#IbelieveinUNH”.

It’s been my pleasure to watch this bandwagon of school spirit gain momentum over the past four years. We sure have a lot to be proud of! I think what I like most about UNH is the honest passion so many individuals hold for whatever it may be they are interested in. We have a spirited community of determined individuals who are enthusiastic about changing the world! I am mostly referring to our ambitious student activist community, but the passion goes beyond that. Weather it is Hepcats Ballroom Dancing club, or the UNH Woodsmen Team, the individuals I meet in UNH organizations beam with contentment from their respective passions. Witnessing another person’s passions may not convert you to become as ardent as they are, but it will remind you what life is about. Or, at least it does for me. When I meet someone who is enthralled with their life— whether it’s their academics, student orgs, or work—it reminds me what life is about. I’ve been learning recently about the concept of an “authentic self”—a term to describe figuring out who you are and owning your own personal uniqueness. We have been told to “find our passion” through many venues growing up, but I say this should change to “let your passion find you”. We are fortunate to be in a community of impassioned young people, just get involved with something and you may make a connection to something else. We truly have the potential to change the world! I’ll admit that college has not been all butterflies and rainbows, but as a senior counting down the 40-something days to commencement, I am going to miss this place. So, as the wise old senior undergraduate that I am, I am encouraging everyone to become involved in our greater campus community! Don’t be intimidated by anything or anyone. Our culture loves to tell people to relax and give things time, but NOW IS THE TIME! By the time you wait for the time to be right, the time will be GONE!

I now want to focus on the sustainability efforts on our campus. I am disappointed by the lack of student awareness of some of our campus efforts regarding sustainability. I arrived at UNH knowing I would be in the EcoGastronomy dual-major, but I was not sure what else I would find. This past year, I have had the opportunity to be directly involved with the Sustainability Institute through the Student Ambassador program. This program gives four students the chance to have a seat on institutional task forces related to sustainability in the focus areas of culture, climate, biodiversity, and food. These four themes are the pillars of sustainability on campus. I’m proud to be part of an institutional effort to not only recognize such critical issues, but to include and acknowledge perspectives from different stakeholders in our community. The student voice is critical, and strangely enough, is regularly ignored by many institutions.

Becoming an engaged student member of this community was a little intimidating for me. One of the required texts in the Intro to EcoGastronomy course is The Sustainable Learning Community, by Dr. John Aber, Dr. Tom Kelly, and Dr. Bruce Mallory. As a bright-eyed freshman, I was shocked to be reading a published book about the very institution I was attending! And to think that these authors wrote all this about my school?! We discussed the text in my EcoGastronomy course a bit and talked about the implications a public land-grant institution having an endowed institute focused on sustainability. It’s incredible! Similar institutions now exist across the country, but when the Sustainability Institute was founded in 1994, it was extremely unique. Learning of this prominence brought great pride to me and my peers in EcoG. We realized that we were attending a special institution at a noteworthy time of significant cultural shifts to create a more sustainable future. It was intimidating to even think of getting involved! I distinctively remember eating ice cream at the Dairy Bar in the spring of freshman year with two other young women in my EcoGastronomy course. We had been assigned to meet outside of class for a discussion, and chose to do so at the Dairy Bar. I remember sitting outside as a tall figure walked by us… that was Tom Kelly!!! Us freshmen EcoGers were giddy for spotting him! It made our whole day.
My extracurricular college career continued to intersect with Tom’s work. Sophomore year, I became very involved with the Real Food Challenge (RFC) campaign, a national network of college students advocating for “real” food at their institutional dining operations. Turns out Dr. Tom Kelly sits on RFC’s Advisory Committee among esteemed food heros including Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, and Anna Lappé. This guy meant business! My respect for Tom only continued to grow.

I knew that Tom was a busy man, but was still naïve enough to think it wouldn’t be too hard to schedule a meeting with him. This proved to be difficult. Long story short, I finally set up a personal meeting with him this past summer to talk about sustainability efforts related to food and the Real Food Challenge campaign. My good friend and fellow organizer, Acacia Kreidermacher, intended on coming to the meeting, but dropped out at the last minute. She admits now that, “I bailed out of that meeting because I was intimidated by him.” I could not cancel this meeting, so I suppressed my anxiety and went into it alone. Tom and I ended up having a lovely stimulating conversation that day. It was then that I realized something very important: people at universities love students. Tom has dedicated his life to working toward institutional sustainability, he wants the students he is working for to respect his work and become involved! I expressed this misconception to Tom, as I wanted him to understand the false notion many students may hold. Tom shared some advice with us what he likes to call, “The Prime Directive”—to take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously. He explained that he shares this sentiment with this coworkers and him and his peers keep each other in check. I think I will live by this sentiment, and share it with others. Since the summer, I have had the pleasure of meeting with Tom in a variety of other settings, and I only have good things to say about his nature. It’s interesting to me how students may be intimidated to make the first move to connect with our campus’s prestigious faculty and staff members. We are at this University to become educated! We must take proactive steps to make the most of our privilege to be educated.

Tom recently joined the Sustainability Institute’s Student Ambassadors for a meeting, where we got to learn even more about him. He shared a lot about his past, and the path of this career that brought him to where he is today. We learned that he studied music in undergrad at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. As an open book, Tom explained his career path to us. After graduating Berklee, Tom worked as an auditor at Tanglewood, where Leonard Bernstein, the famous conductor who wrote the music for West Side Story was there. Working with such an esteemed musician, Tom was shocked at the disrespect between politics and egos at Tanglewood which were clouding Bernstein’s talent. He came to terms with the reality that even if he was incredibly lucky, just maybe would he be able to pursue music as a career. After flirting in the wine industry, Tom grew interested in foreign affairs. He got married, started his family and wound up at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where he earned his Masters and Doctoral Degrees. Tom spent time living in Mexico City before doing work on the US-Mexican border, where he grew interested in a watershed issue. His thesis on this topic was called, “Sewage Diplomacy: The Political Geography of Cross-border Sewage Flows at San Diego – Tijuana”. Dr. Kelly was fascinated how such a straightforward issue could be so complicated from constructed barriers between political institutions. When I asked if he thought about entering Foreign Service after his time at the Fletcher School, he responded,
“I was (thinking about it), but was overwhelmed with US foreign policy. Emotionally at the time, I felt like it would be too constraining.”

I’m sure many of us soon-to-be college graduates can relate to this sentiment. We
want to change our world for the better, but feel overwhelmed by today’s realities. Nearing the end of our conversation, I asked Tom about something I think about each day: how does one keep spirits high when faced with so much going against us in the world? There’s no denying the state of the world is overwhelming. Tom responded, “I am still idealistic, and you have got to hold on to it.” Jackie Cullen, the Sustainability Institute’s Program Support Assistant added, “You can’t have your position and not be.” This is one of the biggest take-aways from my experience at here at UNH. We must soak up our time here and spread the optimism we have collected from such distinguished people working toward positive change! If we don’t stay positive and work for a better future, who will?

Join the Sustainability Institute’s Student Ambassadors, Dr. Tom Kelly, and other members of our Sustainable Learning Community for the Inaugural UNH Sustainability Summit, held Tomorrow, Friday, April 4th in MUB Theatre II from 12pm-2pm.

Inaugural UNH Sustainability Summit April 4th

Written by Ann.

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The Culture around Bottled Water

March 17th, 2014 · No Comments

Here at UNH, we are privileged enough to be able to turn on the faucet and have clean, safe, drinking water at our disposals. A virtually unlimited amount of water. Then why do we insist on buying case after case of Poland Springs water, or Fiji water. Because that’s what we were ‘brain-washed’ to do. In order to make a bunch of money on something as little, but important, as water, companies such as Nestle decided to bottle it up, slap a picture of a beautiful mountainside stream, and say that it’s cleaner than municipal water. And people ate it up. Why would you want to drink water from the stinky old lake that people are allowed to swim in when you could drink water from an uninhabited mountain far off in the distance. Want to know a secret? Most of the bottled water today actually comes from right from the tap out of that stinky old lake. Yup. You know everyone’s favorite Poland Springs, bottled right in our neighbor Maine? Well Nestle actually extracted so much water that the real Poland Springs is no longer the main source, but rather a bunch of other springs in the area, since its so depleted.*
You’re probably thinking, yeah well the water from the drinking fountain in Huddleston tastes bad so it must be bad for you, right? Wrong. Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who has much heavier regulations than the Food and Drug Association (FDA) who is in charge of bottled water. The FDA treats bottled water as food, and therefore doesn’t have to conduct certain chemical tests on it, or to maintain truly safe standards. The EPA also requires that municipal water sources are tests a bunch of times a month, while the FDA only tests bottled water sources a few times a year. The only reason Huddleston water tastes so bad is because that building hasn’t been renovated since like 1584.
But buying a huge case of bottles everytime you go home for a weekend is so much more convenient than having to go refill a water bottle. Have you ever sat down and calculated out just how much you’re spending on those bottles? Well a friend of mine that’s also involved with Take Back the Tap (we’ll get into that later) did. And here’s what she came up with.

According to the EPA, tap water is about 2? per 1,000 gallons.

A 24-pack of generic bottled water from Walmart is about $9, and equals around 3.2 gallons.

On campus, a single bottle of Dasani water is about $1.79, at approximately 0.132 gallons.

So for a gallon of each of these different waters, it’ll be around $0.002 for tap, $2.80 for bulk, and $13.56 for individual bottles.

I’m not a math major (environmental geography actually), but I’m pretty sure tap water is way more cost effective. If you need further convincing, my friend did out the math (maybe she’s a math major!) how much it would cost you to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day for a whole month; 3? a month for tap, $42 for bulk water, and $203.40 for Dasani water on campus. That’s outrageous! We spend like a billion dollars to go to this awesome school, so why are we spending a bunch more money on water when it could cost us pennies. I bet if we each walked through the Dump parking lot once a month we could find the three pennies it would cost us to drink water. Don’t worry about sending any money this month mom, I found enough in a parking lot!
So I propose that we each reach into that jar of emergency money, grab a twenty, go to the bookstore and buy a $16 UNH Nalgene, then take the remaining $4 and buy yourself something nice from Kurt’s. Cheesy fries anyone? You can also easily get a cheap reusable bottle from Walmart or Target or wherever.

If you want to talk more about this issue, because believe me there’s a lot more here, then why don’t you mark on your calendars March 25. There’s going to be a University Dialogue that day all about the water on campus. It’s going to be wicked cool.

* This short article touches a little on the whole Poland Springs/Nestle dispute, and links to another good article: http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=233b520f-fda0-4590-bb48-2a42a4b87768

Written by naomi.

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2014 Climate Fellowships Announced: Applications Due March 17!

March 10th, 2014 · No Comments

 

2014 UNHSI Climate Fellowships Announced

APPLICATIONS DUE MARCH 24th BY 5 PM EST

We are excited to announce this year’s Climate Fellowship opportunities!

The UNHSI Climate Fellowship Program – formally the Clean Air – Cool Planet Climate Fellowship Program – pairs outstanding graduate students or recent grads with important projects that will propel the US toward a low-carbon future. Fellows spend 10 weeks during the summer working on meaningful, challenging projects at UNHSI or with our partners. In return, Fellows receive a $6000 stipend, as well as supervision, mentorship, and unique networking opportunities. 2014 Fellows will join a growing group of more than 50 Climate Fellowship program alumni, the vast majority of whom have remained in environmental/energy fields.

The positions below run from the end of May through mid-August:

  • Climate Solutions New England (CSNE) Impacts. The New England Climate Impacts Fellow will help conduct a new analysis of climate impacts data from across the region.
  • Climate Solutions New England (CSNE) Economics. The New England Climate Economics Fellow will help conduct a new analysis of innovative economic approaches to climate mitigation.
  • Energy Maine Trust Fellow. The Energy Efficiency Fellow will work with the Efficiency Maine Trust to evaluate the energy savings achievable through communicating and utilizing interval data available with recently installed smart grid technologyEnergy Maine Trust Fellow.
  • Food Solutions New England (FSNE). The New England Food Vision Fellow will work with Food Solutions New England and its sister initiative Climate Solutions New England (CSNE) to build upon preliminary research on a climate analysis of the New England Food Vision data.
  • Montana Impacts. The One Montana Climate Impacts Fellow will research, document and annotate all extreme weather events that led to water crises/disasters in the Rocky Mountain west and southwest over the past fifteen years.
  • Montana Resiliency. The One Montana Resilience Fellow will inventory past, current and planned water adaptation efforts in Montana so as to provide critical data for Montana conservation districts and watershed councils.
  • Bridgeport Communications. The Bridgeport Sustainability Communications Fellow infuse technology into the process by which the City tracks the results of sustainability initiatives.
  • Greenovate. The Boston Greenovate Transportation Fellow will support outreach, communications, and analytical work for the Transportation Departmentport to help meet the city’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
  • Bridgeport Monitoring. The Bridgeport Species Monitoring Fellow will track development of species noted in the Threatened and Endangered Species Monitoring Program to ensure that these species cohabitate with human disturbances as part of the City’s ongoing Climate Resilience efforts.
  • Private Sector Climate Preparedness (NJ). The Private Sector Climate Preparedness (NJ) Fellow will conduct a literature search (peer reviewed and grey literature), interviews with business leaders, and a review of corporate governance recommendations (e.g., CERES) that relate to climate preparedness.
  • Ecosystem Services (NJ). The Ecosystem Services (NJ) Fellow will conduct a literature survey (peer reviewed and grey literature) to identify specific cases of policy at the state and local level in the U.S. where an economic value was placed on ecosystem services and then specifically integrated into decision and policy making with a particular lens on climate preparedness and adaptation policy making.

The transition of the Climate Fellows Program to UNH and the 2014 Climate Fellows Program itself are made possible thanks to the creation of the Ted Smith Fund for the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders, which honors the extraordinary legacy of one of Clean Air – Cool Planet’s founding board members, Ted Smith.

Questions? EmailJennifer Andrews at UNHSI.

 

 

Written by Sara.

Sara

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5 Reasons to Turn Down an Unpaid Internship

March 7th, 2014 · No Comments

5Reasons

With one hand gripping a Cup-O-Noodles and the other scrolling through job postings, I feel like an embodiment of the senior-in-college experience. We arrive on campus as freshmen, excited to broaden our horizons, learn, and, of course, become a gainfully employed graduate someday. As graduation approaches, however, many of us find ourselves scrambling to enter industries in which we are told the only way to get your “foot in the door” is by working for free. What we find in our late night, Ramen-fueled job searches often looks like this posting on the Wildcat Careers website:

“If you are up for a fun challenge and looking for the invaluable experience of a real start up company, apply now! Salary: Unpaid.”

Many employers who offer unpaid internships are able to pass off “experience” as a fair exchange for an intern’s work, and manage to convince jobseekers that this is really the only way to find work that pays. Unpaid internships are often successfully billed as prestigious or competitive, adding a degree of legitimacy to their claim that the experience is worth working for free.

The problem is that, in many cases, this is not true. While the value of an unpaid work experience is debatable, the value of human time and labor is not. Work is always worth something, especially if it is work that a paid employee would otherwise be doing. If the experience that you receive in exchange for your labor is largely coffee-making and errand-running, it is hard to argue that this is fair payment for your services. Sure, an unpaid internship may give you access to an industry that is difficult to enter, but if that access doesn’t result in new skills, and valuable experiences, what are you really getting out of it?

The unpaid internship is the product of a new and unsustainable norm that takes advantage of a difficult economy and a competitive job market. Some students can afford to take unpaid internships at big-name firms, but others are left wondering how to start their careers while supporting themselves. Those who can afford to choose an unpaid internship contribute to the illusion that not paying for work is an acceptable business practice, that students should be competing to work for free, and that these positions should be celebrated. This illusion is damaging, not only for those who don’t have the means to take part, but for all young jobseekers.

Here are five reasons not to take that unpaid internship:

1FairLabor

Unpaid internships that are exploitative violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Act requires profit-making companies to pay everybody who works for them, whether that is in an official or unofficial capacity. Some internships are exempt, but only if they are purely educational, and don’t directly benefit the employer. If your unpaid internship provides free services for an employer that would otherwise have been done by a paid employee, there’s a problem.

2Myth

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2013 Student Survey, 63.1% of paid interns received at least one job offer. This compares to only 37% of unpaid interns getting a job offer.

StatsIntern

3Uneven

Unpaid internships create an uneven playing field for those who can’t afford to work for free. Taking an unpaid internship, even if you can afford to do so, helps reinforce and perpetuate a practice that excludes the many recent graduates who have to support themselves. Further, unpaid internships may contribute to gender inequality in the workplace: a recent study found that three in four unpaid interns are women.

4Coffee

Many unpaid internships are marketed as educational experiences, and opportunities for training. Those that are genuinely educational certainly have value. However, many unpaid interns report that the tasks they were actually asked to carry out were menial, and did not contribute tot heir professional development. The New York Times published this account of a recent college graduate working in an unpaid internship in New York:

“I took an unpaid internship that I figured would give me experience and help me land somewhere in six months. Instead I’m picking up coffee and dry cleaning and performing other tasks that the company would otherwise have to pay someone for. “
-Ariel Kaminer, New York Times. March 2012
If you are considering an unpaid internship, ask specific questions about the day-to-day tasks that the job really requires. Do they benefit your employer more than they benefit you?

5NewNorm

Unpaid internships are only possible because of a widely held assumption that young peoples’ work is not valuable because it is not backed by years of experience. This belief is so pervasive that it affects how we see ourselves, and the opportunities that we believe we are qualified or valuable enough to dare to pursue. Some have proposed that unpaid internships are the “new norm” for college graduates looking for jobs in a tough economy with a lot of competition.

Working for free doesn’t have to be the new norm. Recent graduates are new to their fields, and as a result are uniquely capable of innovation, leveraging new technologies and bringing fresh perspective and enthusiasm to their industries. By changing the dialogue between employers and young jobseekers, we can ensure that young people understand the value of their labor. Students and graduates can start changing this “norm” by pursuing opportunities that pay, whether that means a paycheck or meaningful education and training.

Written by Tegan.

→ No CommentsTags: Culture & Sustainability · Uncategorized

Reflections from the Other Side: An Alumna’s Trip to the UN

February 23rd, 2014 · 1 Comment

I am a 2013 alumna of UNH, having graduated with a dual major in Anthropology and Sustainability, and worked for the UNHSI during my time in Durham.  I moved to Arizona this past August to begin a Master’s of Sustainable Solutions at ASU, in which I am focusing on policy solutions at the community and international level. I recently had the opportunity to attend the 52nd UN Commission on Social Development as a delegate representing SustainUs, a youth empowerment NGO.

Empowerment has been a common theme throughout the Commission on Social Development – empowerment of youth, aging populations, the poor, LGBT communities, women, and others. There were side events devoted to the unique challenges each of these groups face, as well as how to address the things keeping them disempowered. The variables at play are often limitless; the diversity of nations being represented makes the discussions even richer.

Issues affecting empowerment receive varying attention in different nations, depending on political climate, cultural factors, and economic standing. An underlying question we must ask is how to confront established cultural practices that perpetuate inequalities. This question is particularly important when we consider the history of Western-led development and our tendency to impose on other cultures aspects of our lifestyle we view to be unquestionably superior.

The issues we fail to focus on in the U.S. are often issues that either do not exist or manifest themselves quite differently in other cultures. For example, when it comes to aging populations, Western culture is structured such that it is acceptable to “contract out” caregiving for those that have been our caregivers. The elderly are viewed as a burden in the U.S., whereas in many other cultures they are recognized and honored as a vast resource of knowledge, wisdom, experience, and support.

At the same time, while the U.S. has made significant strides in gender equality, other cultures – for example, in many Islamic regions – greatly restrict the activity of women. Females often have access to education, and as they play very limited roles in the public sphere, their concerns are often not addressed. Education and representation are exalted as key sustainability solutions, yet they can be culturally abrasive – sometimes to both men and women.

Taking an anthropological approach, it is not the place of outsiders to alter cultural practices that have historical significance. In reality, this is often hard to reconcile – what is the best course of action when it is culturally acceptable to abuse one’s spouse, assault LGBT community members, or ignore the opinions and needs of valuable members of society such as youth and aging populations? What purpose do these cultural practices serve? Chiefly, they breed hate, fear, and social unrest.

How is this related to sustainability? It is widely understood that sustainability is a vast and fluid body of ideas. Most often it is thought of in the context of its environmental and economic implications. This week, I have been pleasantly surprised by the repeated focus on spirituality, relationships, and “wholeness” of the human being. In our current system, we can only do so much to address issues in the spheres of environment and economy.

In many of these diverse sessions, we came back to the same question – how do we begin the necessary social shift to achieve a “good life” for all? Culturally instilled values will be an enduring barrier to achieving sustainability. The technology is available, as is the funding; how our society chooses to use these resources is what remains blocking progress. Laid bare, this reveals a lack of respect for other beings, and a tendency to severely underestimate the value of relationships with others.

To understand what fuels these prejudiced practices, we must first engage with the populations perpetuating them. We must engage with populations being victimized to develop a path forward together, rather than forcing our own “solutions on them.

The concerns of all groups at the Commission on Social Development converge under a sphere of sustainability. The foundation of these concerns appears to be a lack of respect for all human beings regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, and age, as well as a lack of respect for natural resources. While I do not have the ultimate solution, commissions like these that bring individuals together – and by extension the groups these people represent – are an excellent way to develop the understanding and respect necessary to move forward towards sustainable solutions.

Written by Megan.

Megan

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An Unbalanced Parking System is an Unsustainable Parking System: Faculty Parking Permits

February 17th, 2014 · 2 Comments

The University of New Hampshire has a well-developed transportation system that includes the reputable Wildcat Transit and Campus Connector systems.  However, parking at UNH has tended to be a more troublesome topic, due to the lack of a balanced parking permit system.  As UNH continues to work towards its goal of becoming a sustainable institution, it’s crucial that unsustainable facets of the university are adjusted.  Parking permit pricing, particularly that of faculty permits, is a financially unsustainable aspect that must be addressed.  Not only is the financial sustainability of the system an issue, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by faculty and staff driving to and from UNH also plays a major role.  It’s time to implement a balanced permitting system for faculty/staff parking permits, because a balanced system is a sustainable system.

Currently, UNH faculty, staff, and commuter students all pay a flat rate of $50 per year for a parking permit.  This price is part of the Faculty Union contract, which is negotiated every few years, and the only recent price change in the last 15 years was an increase from $37 to $50 in 2004.  Now, this price may not seem to be an issue at first glance.  However, let’s consider the amount of money required to maintain a single parking space every year: approximately $200.  According to the existing inventory of UNH’s Parking Department, this is the minimum amount of money required to preserve, clean, light, and secure a single parking space on campus.  The parking system’s two primary sources of revenue are parking permit sales (60%) and fines (40%), and currently the system is labeled as “healthy,” but if those percentages were switched, then the system would be “sick.”  Despite having a “healthy” system in terms of revenue sources, the $50 price of faculty/staff parking permits is harmful to the system.  Receiving only $50 for a parking space that costs at least $200 to maintain is just not financially sustainable.  This imbalance makes it impossible for the parking system to be self-sustaining.  If we also consider the potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could occur if fewer faculty members drove their cars to work everyday, then we have another reason to address this issue.

With this, a simple solution to the problem presents itself: increase the price of faculty/staff parking permits.  Even if the system was financially sustainable today, the price of a parking permit should be about $61 if we had just kept up with inflation since the 2004 price change.  The current price of $50 seems completely irrational when compared with parking permit sales of similar schools, such as UConn, which charges faculty and staff $350 per year for a regular permit.  In addition, UConn also offers an equity-based parking permit sales model for faculty and staff who park in perimeter campus lots.  An employee can pay $75/year if their salary is up to $37,500, $120/year if they make $37,501-$64,500, or $165/year if they make over $64,500 a year.  An equity-based permitting system such as this makes financial sense.  The University of Vermont operates on a pre-tax payroll deduction system, in which a percentage of each employee’s salary is deducted to pay for his or her permit.  Three types of permits are offered with payroll deduction percentages of 0.64%, 0.48%, and 0.32% based on how close to campus the permit allows you to park (i.e. main campus, proximate, or peripheral respectively).  The UNH Parking Department cannot depend on increased fines in order to increase revenue and risk creating a “sick” system, which existed a decade ago.  They must maintain their “healthy” system while developing an equity, geographic, or demand-based permitting model.

Faculty/staff parking permits are also tied to the Wildcat Transit System, which is primarily paid for by the Student Transportation Fee, a mandatory fee of $119 per year for fulltime students.  However, additional revenue generated from faculty/staff parking permit sales could be used to alleviate pressure from the Student Transportation Fee, which was increased by $10 this year.  As time goes on, and as federal funding decreases in certain areas, for example the purchase of new buses, this issue will become more and more pressing.  The last 10 buses purchased for the Wildcat Transit and Campus Connector systems were at least 80% federally funded; however, Transportation Services is currently buying 4 new buses, which are not federally funded, in order to meet the increasing demand for public transit.  Currently, a new compressed natural gas bus costs about $400,000-$450,000, and with 100% of this money coming from the University, major pressure will be put on funds such as the Student Transportation Fee, unless the price of faculty/staff permits is increased.  Sustainability is one of our core values here at UNH, so it’s about time we had a sustainable parking permit system.

Written by Peter.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Climate & energy · Culture & Sustainability · Uncategorized

Climate Fellows Program, Campus Carbon Calculator Come Home to UNH

February 10th, 2014 · No Comments

Big news: Clean Air-Cool Planet will be dissolving in 2014, but two of its signature programs — the Climate Fellows Program and the Campus Carbon Calculator – will live on at the Sustainability Institute at UNH.

Developed in partnership with the Sustainability Institute in 2000, the Campus Carbon Calculator is used by thousands of campuses and institutions across the United States and abroad to track their greenhouse gas emissions. More than 90 percent of the U.S. colleges and universities that publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions use the calculator. In partnership with Sightlines, a new online version also exists called CarbonMap (the Carbon Management and Analysis Platform).

Since 2008, the Climate Fellows Program has been attracting undergraduate and graduate students from across the country to work on high-priority climate solutions projects with a variety of partners, from municipalities to companies to nonprofits. Through this highly competitive program, students receive skills training, mentoring, networking opportunities, and a stipend for full-time summer projects.

“Transitioning the Climate Fellows Program and Campus Carbon Calculator to the Sustainability Institute feels like coming home,” says Jennifer Andrews, former acting executive director of the Portsmouth-based Clean Air-Cool Planet. “UNH has long been a close partner of Clean Air-Cool Planet. We’ve worked together for nearly 13 years to advance sustainable solutions to the climate challenges we face.”

Andrews stresses that users of the Campus Carbon Calculator and CarbonMap will see no changes in their use of and support for these tools. The 2014 Climate Fellows Program application process will be announced later this month.

“When we considered the next chapter for Clean Air-Cool Planet’s assets and legacy, we logically turned to the Sustainability Institute,” says Susan Tierney, a founder and former chair of the Clean Air-Cool Planet board of directors and managing principal at the Analysis Group in Boston. “UNH was instrumental in helping to create the Campus Carbon Calculator and in working with us to establish it as the gold standard for tracking greenhouse gas emissions at colleges and universities.”

“The Climate Fellows Program and the calculator represent the kinds of innovative tools and learning experiences that are responsive to the grand challenge of climate change. The calculator supports institutions of higher education, towns and cities, businesses, and nonprofits to develop data-driven strategies for reducing emissions, and the Climate Fellows Program serves as a spring board for high-level undergraduates to put their education to work and chart their next phase of professional development,” says Tom Kelly, UNH’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Sustainability Institute. “Both programs directly advance our public research university mission to engage in collaboration to find solutions to challenges and opportunities that impact our quality of life for the long-term, and climate change is clearly in that category.”

 

Written by Sara.

Sara

→ No CommentsTags: Climate & energy · Higher Education

This semester is all about sustainability!

January 21st, 2014 · No Comments

Looking for something to do this semester? Do we have a list for you.

Below is a list of just some of the sustainability-related events happening on campus this semester. Join us!

Climate Change, Water and Winter in New England Event: Jan 28

Colleagues’ Luncheon: 12:30-2pm; Gregg Hall, Rm 320
Event: 5-8pm; MUB Granite State Room (light refreshments provided)

Contact: Amy Cunningham, Discovery Program, amy.cunningham@unh.edu

Film screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary Chasing Ice, the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Talk with these UNH professors at the screening:

  • Jennifer Jacobs – Professor, Civil Engineering; Director of the Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet)
  • Mimi Larsen Becker – Assoc. Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Cameron P. Wake – Josephine A. Lamprey Fellow in Climate and Sustainability and Research Assoc. Professor, Climatology & Glaciology, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space

This is a “Let’s Talk About Water” event and part of the UNH Discovery Program University Dialogue Water, Water Everywhere?: A University Dialogue on the World’s Most Critical Resource. Sponsors: UNH Discovery Program; Dept. of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences; UNH Environmental Research Group; Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science (CUAHSI). 

 
 
 
Tar Sands Exposed: Exploring theHuman and Environmental Costs: Jan 28
7:00 PM, MUB Theater II
Contact: Kaity Thompson, SEAC, kathryn0818@gmail.com
350.org is hosting a regional speaking tour about tar sands and the Portland-Montreal pipeline, and they’re making UNH the New Hampshire stop! The tour will feature an award-winning National Geographic photographer and two First Nations speakers, in addition to a local voice.
  • Garth Lenz, award winning National Geographic photographer
  • Eriel Deranger, member of Athabasca Chipewan First Nation
  • Crystal Lameman, member of Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, Sierra Club Prairie Chapter, and Alberta Climate and Energy Campaigner
  • Kaity Thomson & Brett Chamberlin, senior environmental science major at UNH & NYU graduate of journalism and political science, NH native and regional political organizer. They will share stories of New England communities and ecosystems at risk to a pipeline spill.
 
Sponsored by SEAC
 
 
 
 
Tapping into the Wisdom of Traditional Farmers: Sustainably Growing Food in the Face of Climate Uncertainty by Gary Paul Nabhan: Jan 30 
4:00 – 6:00 PM, MUB Theater I
Contact: Colleen Flaherty, UNHSI, colleen.flaherty@unh.edu
With climatic uncertainty now “the new normal,” many farmers, gardeners, and orchardists in North America are desperately seeking ways to adapt how they grow food in the face of climate change. The solutions may be at our back door. In Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, Nabhan, one of the world’s experts on the agricultural traditions of arid lands, draws from the knowledge of traditional farmers in the Gobi Desert, the Arabian Peninsula, the Sahara Desert, and Andalusia, as well as the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Painted deserts of North America. Sponsored by The Sustainability Institute, the Dual Major in EcoGastronomy, and the Center for the Humanities.

 
To B or Not To B: Are Benefit Corporations the Corporate Governance Architecture of the 21st century?”: Feb 4
5:00 – 6:00 PM Welcome Reception, 6:00 – 7:30 PM Keynotes and Panel Discussion
Huddleston Ballroom
Contact: Sara Cleaves, UNHSI, sara.cleaves@unh.edu
 
http://cola.unh.edu/llc/rgscp

Join world class thinkers as they examine capitalism past, present, and future; explore the foundations underpinning B Corps certification and benefit corporation legislation; and share lessons learned from those at the forefront of the movement. Benefit corporations are for-profit businesses that focus on society and the environment as well as profits. By meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, benefit corporations are tasked to make decisions that are ethical and sustainable and drive profitable growth in ways that respect the constraints of earth’s limited resources and the needs of individuals. Speakers include:
  • Bart Houlahan, co-founder of B Lab.
  • Jim Post, John F. Smith Professor of Management, Boston University School of Management.
  • Peter Graham, chairman of the board, Seventh Generation, a Certified B Corporation.
  • Anders Ferguson, founding principal of Veris Wealth Partners, a Certified B Corporation.
  • Rebecca Hamilton, director of product development at W.S. Badger Company, Inc., N.H.’s first Certified B Corporation.
  • N.H. Sen. Molly Kelly (D-Keene), cosponsor of legislation to create the new legal corporate status, benefit corporation, in New Hampshire
Sponsored by the UNH Responsible Governance and Sustainable Citizenship Project, the Sustainability Institute, and the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics
 
 
Martin Luther King Celebration Events: February 5 – 12
 
This year, the theme is Complex Roots: Intertwining Identities.  Our goal is to engage members of the campus and local community in conversations that recognize the diversity of experiences of people with intersecting identities. This year, we are particularly proud to announce that Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate of the United States, will be delivering the Commemorative Address and taking part in a community conversation aimed at broadening our understanding about difference.
 
COMMEMORATIVE PRESENTATION: Natasha Trethewey, United States Poet Laureate
Wednesday, February 5, 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Johnson Theatre, Paul Creative Arts Center
 
CONVERSATION with Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate and David Kaye, Professor, Theatre & Dance, and Delia Konzett, Assoc. Professor, English
Changing the World: One Poem at a Time
How does art help us explore difficult issues?
Thursday, February 6, 12:40- 2:00 PM
MUB Strafford Room
 
MLK Activism Roundtable Discussion 2014: Walking the Walk: Intersections of Food Insecurity and Food Justice
Mon, 02/10/2014 - 12:45pm - 2:00pm
Strafford Room, MUB
Hear from UNH social justice activists and join roundtable discussions on fair food distribution.  Discover the power of UNH student orgs taking steps for food justice over barriers of race, poverty and power imbalance.
 
MUB Speaker Series: Lee Daniels
Director of The Butler, Precious, and Monster’s Ball will talk about his road to box office triumph and breaking ground as an African American director in Hollywood.
Wednesday, February 12, 7 – 8:00 p.m.
MUB Granite State Room
 
 
 
The Beat on the Street: Second Lines, Mardi Gras Indians, and the Photography of Gary Samson: Opening Feb 12
Film showing: 3:00 – 5:00 PM, MUB Theater I
Opening reception: 5:30 – 7:00 PM, University Museum, Dimond Library, Room 101
Contact: Jessica Fish, Center for the Humanities, jessica.fish@unh.edu
 
The exhibition of photographs and folk art will focus on the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans. This working class, African American tradition is distinctively part of New Orleans’s parade culture, and more broadly related to black Carnival celebrations throughout the world. The exhibit will run from Monday, February 10th through March 28, 2014 with its formal opening on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. The opening includes the showing of the film, Bury the Hatchet, which traces the Mardi Gras Indian tradition through the eyes of three “big chiefs” or leaders of these Mardi Gras Indian gangs. The event will feature special guest Big Chief Alfred Doucette of the Flaming Arrows, who also appears in the documentary. 
 
 
 
Sila By Chantal Bilodeau, Directed by Deborah Kinghorn: Feb 19-23
Johnson Theater, UNH Durham
Contact: Deb Kinghorn, UNH Theatre and Dance, deb.kinghorn@unh.edu
 
 

Sila examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Set on Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, it follows a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard officers, an Inuit elder and two polar bears as they see their values challenged and their lives become intricately intertwined. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, Sila uses puppetry, projections, spoken word poetry and three different languages; English, French & Inuktitut. Sustainability-related groups will table outside play showings, and panelists of speakers will answer questions post-show. Made possible by Cultural Stages: The Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative with support from the UNH Sustainability Institute.

 
 
Student Sustainability Creative Contest: Feb 19 – March 31
For all current UNH students
Prizes to be announced
Contact: Jackie Cullen, UNHSI, jackie.cullen@unh.edu
The Sustainability Institute is partnering with the Theater and Dance Department for the third annual Student Sustainability Creative Contest, this year adding an option to respond with written work in addition to video and images. Students should attend the play Sila and consider this quotation in their response:“See? That’s sila. And with each breath, sila reminds us that we are never alone. Each and every one of us is connected to every other living creature.” 

After watching the play, students are asked to respond with an  image, video, or creative written piece to the statement above. Winners will be judged by the Culture and Sustainability Task Force.

 
Eating Concerns Awareness Week: Feb 24-28
Contact: Dawn Zitney, Health Services, dawn.zitney@unh.edu
This week provides the community an opportunity to learn about the prevalence of eating concerns among college students and learn ways to promote body acceptance.  Sponsored by the Eating Concerns Mentors, a Health Services Peer Education Group.

National Nutrition Month Expo: March 27 

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Strafford Room, MUB

Contact: Dawn Zitney, Health Services, dawn.zitney@unh.edu 
http://www.unh.edu/health-services/ohep/nutrition/national-nutrition-month-expo

  • Win Prizes
  • Learn About Nutrition
  • Watch Live Cooking Demonstrations
  • Get Involved with Campus Organizations
  • And Much More!
The expo will create interactive and fun opportunities for you to learn more about nutrition, improve your overall health and explore the food and nutrition resources available at UNH and in the local community. There will also be live cooking demonstrations provided by the UNH Dining Services and guest students chefs. Sponsored by SPIN (Students Promoting Information About Nutrition), a Health Services Peer Education Group. : 
 
 
 
Winter in the Blood Film Showing and Conversation with Director Alex Smith: April 2
Time TBD (Evening)
MUB Theater II
Contact: Jessica Fish, Center for the Humanities, jessica.fish@unh.edu
 
Winter in the Blood (1974) was the first novel written by canonical Native American writer James Welch (Blackfeet/Gros Ventre), a founding author of the Native American Renaissance of the late 1960s and 1970s. Filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith have directed the film version of this novel, set in the Hi-Line country where they and Welch grew up. The movie, starring Chaske Spencer (most recently of Twilight fame), has been traveling the film festival circuit, where it has been well-received: it won six nominations and two awards (Best Director and Best Actor) in the American Indian Film Institute’s Motion Picture Awards and Grand Prize at the Montreal First Peoples Festival. The Smith brothers have brought to the screen a story that works against stereotypes of the “drunken Indian” by illuminating some of the oft-obscured reasons for the high rate of alcoholism among Natives as well as, in Alex Smith’s words, “why they might stop drinking.” Co-sponsored by the UNH Sustainability Institute.
Written by Sara.

Sara

→ No CommentsTags: Biodiversity & health · Climate & energy · Culture & Sustainability · Food, agriculture, & nutrition · Higher Education

Functional Public Art: The UNH Bike Rack Project

December 3rd, 2013 · No Comments

Bike racks are scattered throughout campus. Our sustainable community likes to embrace the alternative form of transportation and racks are found near most campus buildings. However, typical bike racks are not necessarily pleasing to the eye. To address this, many places around the country have set up bike rack art sculptures to add an intrigue to the environment. The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Ken Fuld, was visiting his son’s west coast campus when he was first introduced to a new kind of bike rack—one which not only functions as a rack, but also acts as a public art sculpture. Dean Fuld brought the idea back to campus and proposed a project to the Committee for Campus Aesthetics. Who knew that this committee even existed? The Sustainability Institute is part of this committee and advocates for public arts to “enhance and enliven the UNH campus”. The website indicates the goals of public art to “enrich student learning about the role of art in our cultural environment, stimulate public discourse about art, and foster a sense of community and institutional identity.” The Committee for Campus Aesthetics commissioned the Wildcat Statue in 2006, and most recently established three modern sculptures in the courtyard of the Paul College of Business and Economics, done by UNH Professor Michael McConnell. The bike rack project is unique in that all the designs are by students. Engaging the student body in such a permanent project gives meaning to students’ work.

Professor Ben Cariens embraced the idea and has integrated the project into his course in the Art Department: “Sculpture Workshop: Metal Fabrication”. Led by Cariens and his assistant, Adam Pearson, nine students in the class developed small model designs and presented to the University Aesthetics Committee. The Committee chose four pieces, surprising Cariens and the class, who were expecting a more modest response. Cariens was expecting the committee to choose two.

To prepare, the class talked to individuals involved in the campus bike culture to understand the needs of the market. Cariens wanted to make sure the designs would not interfere with the practicality of storing bikes. The class found out that many of the current bike racks don’t even fit typical bike sizes. They have a lone bike rack in the alley behind the metal shop to display “what not to do” with the racks. It’s an average campus bike rack, with most of the spaces too small to fit a standard bike wheel.

The class meets for three hours, twice a week, but most students put four to six hours of their own time into the work. This project is much larger than those of the past and may likely run into next semester to complete. Many of the students have not touched metal before and are facing a steep learning curve. However, they have taken up the challenge and are completing the bike racks in addition to personal projects.

Details of placements are still being worked out, but it’s likely the sculptures won’t be placed until Fall 2014. Possible locations include outside the Paul Creative Arts Center, near the Dairy Bar, by Dean Fuld’s office, around Morse Hall, or around Conant Hall’s courtyard. The location depends on multiple factors including the size of the sculpture, where it would fit best aesthetically, and what kind of traffic crosses the location.

cage

One of the sculptures designed as an intertwined net of metal will hang 11 feet high. This, as well as a high-hanging spider web design, is structured as a few units, which may be placed as a group or individually.
spider web model
spider web outside
Spider web design in a proposed site of Conant Hall’s courtyard.

circel model
Another sculpture is a series of connected circles, with smaller circles looping throughout the piece.

handlebar model
handlebar outside
The most complicated design is a 15-foot-long handlebar structure. The class usually works only with steel, but this structure is made of aluminum, a metal much more difficult to work with.

Professor Cariens says this is only the beginning, and Dean Fuld visions all bike racks on campus to one day be public art sculptures. For now, students are happy working on projects that will remain on campus long after they graduate.

student working
A student works on a piece of a bike rack in the metal studio.

Photos by Professor Julee Holcombe and Professor Ben Cariens

Written by Ann.

→ No CommentsTags: Uncategorized