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Goddard Sustainability Progress Report - July 2014

Catherine Lowther, PhD, MA's picture
BA in Sustainability Blog
Goddard Sustainability Progress Report - July 2014

Background

The sustainability team was formed in 2007 when Goddard’s then president Marc Schulman signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. We conducted a carbon inventory, created a climate action plan, and began working to reduce emissions. Our goal is to be carbon neutral in fuels burned on campus and electricity usage by 2020. At the same time, we are working to increase energy efficiency, reduce consumption and waste, and integrate sustainability into all aspects of college activities.

Socially Responsible Investment

The Goddard Board of Trustees has approved investing our endowment in socially responsible funds, which would include divestment from any fossil fuel companies. We are currently gathering information on alternative socially responsible investment options for the Board to use in moving the funds.

Energy Efficiency and Reduced Fuel Usage

As a result of building retrofits and upgrades in appliances and lighting since our inventory in 2007, we have reduced the annual use of heating oil by 31% (from 62,268 gal. to 43,582 gal.) and the annual use of electricity by 30% (from 730 to 508 MWH). We are using an energy audit of the library and of exterior lighting to guide further improvements. We would like to continue to conserve energy wherever possible and welcome your ideas.

Food Service

We get nearly all our foods from local farms and vendors and from the Goddard garden and have ended our contracts with Sysco and Pepsi. Our goal is to make the food served in the Plainfield campus Dining Hall 100% sourced in Vermont. In the summer, the garden supplies all of our herbs and salad greens. Hundreds of tomato and squash plants will produce around 1200 lbs. of tomatoes and 1500 lbs. of winter squash that will be preserved to carry us through the winter. All our baked goods are made in the Goddard kitchen from whole wheat grown at Butterworks Farm in Westfield, VT, flour milled at Champlain Mills, and Cabot butter. Joey Klein at Littlewood Farm in Plainfield will be growing several crops for the Goddard kitchen, and we continue to get produce from Two Rivers Center in Montpelier and Black River Produce in Springfield, VT. We get tea from The Vermont Liberty Tea Co. that grows and packs its own teas and herbs in Waterbury, VT.

Clean Energy Fund

We have a voluntary $10 per semester clean energy fee that can be paid at pre-registration by students who want to be stakeholders in the advancement of sustainability and renewable energy at the Vermont campus. The fund was initiated after a March 2013 survey of students found that 73% of respondents would donate to a voluntary clean energy fund. The fund is kept in an account to be used only for sustainability and clean energy projects and is not part of the general budget. The fund could support projects such as a solar thermal system to help heat water, on-demand hot water heaters to reduce standby losses, updated lighting and equipment, continued building retrofits to reduce our use of heating oil, and enlarging our campus vegetable garden.

Green Revolving Fund

We have a small green revolving fund that we are using to support energy upgrades. A green revolving fund is “funded” by the cost savings resulting from using energy more efficiently and provides an ongoing dedicated source of capital for sustainability projects that continue to save money.

Reduced Mowing

We are mowing some areas of the campus less often and other areas not at all to reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions and to protect wildlife habitats.

Travel to Campus

There is a ride share board at http://gnet.goddard.edu/ under Goddard Community, Ride Share Postings.

Goddard Sustainability Entrepreneurs' Grant                                                                                   

The Sustainability Entrepreneurs’ Grant Program offers an annual $2500 grant to a Goddard student who is starting or developing a business or non-profit that offers solutions to local or global sustainability issues. The goal of the program is to cultivate responsible action towards nature, society, and future generations by supporting a business or non-profit that promotes sustainable living, social equity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and ecological protection and restoration. Applications are due by January 15 of each year, and a winner is announced at the BA in Sustainability spring residency in March.

For information about how to apply for the grant, see this link.

Climate Leadership Award

On June 5, 2013, Goddard was one of ten colleges to receive the National Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature, the parent organization of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

Sustainability Listserv

The sustainability listserv begun in Spring 2008 to send weekly messages about local and global news and resources to the Goddard community now has 364 members. If you would like to be added, you can let us know by emailing catherine.lowther@goddard.edu.

Plans for FY 2014

Along with ongoing projects to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions, we are researching the installation of a solar array that would generate some of our electricity.

Feedback

We welcome your input about ways to further integrate sustainability into all areas of the college. You can send comments by emailing catherine.lowther@goddard.edu.

The Goddard Sustainability Team

Bob Kenny,  Goddard College Interim President
Scott Blanchard, Director of Facilities
Bob Buchanan, Undergraduate Faculty
Calyb Hare, student
Catherine Lowther, Undergraduate Faculty

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