First Lunch of the Semester!

Publicity Photo of Sue McNeil with Civil & Environmental Engineering

Sue McNeil, Photo: udel.edu

Please join us NEXT Friday, September 23rd, from 12:15-1:15PM, in the Perkins Ewing Room for our first lunch of the semester.
We will be featuring UD’s Dr. Sue McNeil, a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Public Policy, and Administration. She will talk with us about her research on how cities and regions are incorporating climate change into their disaster preparedness plans.
This topic has become increasingly relevant, especially after events like Hurricane Sandy.
All are welcome and light refreshments will be served!

Take a Day Off! (From Meat)

Photo: The Humane League

Photo: The Humane League

For our last Green Liaisons Lunch of the semester, on November 19th, we had the pleasure of hosting UD senior, Clarke’ Snell, a biochemistry major and president and founder of the UD Veg Club, who shared with us her campaign to bring Meatless Monday to UD’s campus.

Clarke’ has partnered with the Humane League, a nonprofit specifically geared toward farm animal wellbeing, as well as students at Yale University who have embarked on similar campaigns, in order to promote Meatless Monday. During her talk, Clarke’ also provided for us in detail the benefits behind Meatless Monday, on both a global and university-wide scale: from the potential reversal in certain environmental effects of animal agriculture (for example, the increased greenhouse gases, land consumption, water consumption, and crop production, among others) to the potential reduction in spending (meat is costly) to the improvements in human health.

Clarke’ is already in talks with Dining to make Meatless Monday a reality, but she’d love to get your support by signing her petition here!

Clarke’ also broke down the impacts in numbers for our specific school were Meatless Monday to take effect–you can check out her talk here! If you’d like to get more involved with this campaign, contact Clarke’ at csnell@udel.edu.

A Visit from the Nation’s Oldest Environmental Advocate

This past September 25th, Green Liaisons hosted the always-energetic and endlessly passionate leader of the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club, Stephanie Herron, for our first luncheon of the semester.

Stephanie began with a brief overview of the history behind the Sierra Club–the nation’s oldest and most influential environmental organization, founded in 1892–and then led into those environmental issues that are of particular concern to both the national and state-wide chapters. These issues, on the broadest scale, are under the scope of health disparities, pollution, and sea level rise–all of which are under the even broader problem of climate change.

The DE Sierra Club has chosen to tackle climate change with its “Save the Energy to Save the World” Campaign, through which the Club is working toward a 23.3% energy reduction by 2025 in Delaware. Such energy reductsave energyions will be partially the job of Delaware’s Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, which is responsible for setting the targets for energy efficiency programs, but it will also depend on the consumer (us!) to both save energy in our own homes and make our support for energy reductions audible (for example, by signing the Club’s petition to DNREC or submitting a letter to the editor). The DE Sierra Club also recommends that anyone interested join their energy team (Contact Stephanie at stephanie.herron@sierraclub.org).

The DE Sierra Club also has a concurrent mission to mitigate the environmental issue of excess plastic pollution. In June, House Bill 202 that argued for a five-cent fee on single use bags was introduced in Delaware, but it has not yet had a committee hearing. If you are interested in helping with this campaign, the DE Sierra Club asks that you sign their petition to Delaware legislators, “like” the Delaware Plastic Pollution Action Coalition on Facebook, or call your legislators and ask them to support House Bill 202 (more info here).

Lastly, Stephanie told us that the DE Chapter has decided to re-launch one of the Sierra Club’s most well-known and loved features: outings! A few were planned for this past fall, but check on the DE Sierra Club’s Facebook for news on more!

 

New Weekly DENIN Lunchtime Lecture Series

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Every Monday from 12:30-2:00 PM during this Spring semester 2015, the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) will host a lecture concerning a relevant environmental issue in the ISE Lab. Known as the “Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratory Spring 2015 Lecture Series,” this event is a great way to get exposure to the environmental side of UD while interacting with like-minded UD faculty, staff, and students. The first lecture will be held this coming Monday, February 16th.

This upcoming lecture will feature two speakers: Doug Tallamy, a Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, discussing “Why Novel Ecosystems Won’t Work,” and Annette Giesecke, Interim Chairperson of the Dept. of Foreign Languages and Professor, on “the role of the garden in defining humanity’s relationship with nature.”

The schedule and more info on this awesome opportunity can be found here!

There will be refreshments served, but only to the first 30 people–register early by emailing doucette@udel.edu!

Why You Should Check Out the SCA for Your Summer Internship

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This past Wednesday, November 19th, the Green Liaisons had the pleasure of hosting Takeya Meggett, a recruiter for the Student Conservation Association (SCA), for our final GL Luncheon of the Fall Semester.

The SCA is a national non-profit that offers people (students or not) over 15 years old the opportunity to unite with the environmental agency of their dreams for an internship or job anywhere in the country. That could mean literally anything from National Parks (Yosemite, anyone?) to wildlife sanctuaries to historic sites to laboratories– and all in the name of environmental conservation.

Takeya herself not only recruits for the SCA, but was also an active member of the organization for a number of years. After college, she took advantage of the many employment positions available and has by now served as a crew leader in Nevada, an intern at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, a coordinator with the National Park Service Academy in Alaska, and a ton more. She is simply brimming with experience, and her passion for it was evident during her talk.

Takeya gave us a detailed tour of the SCA website, including how to search for positions, how to interpret those visible positions, and how to apply for them. The options are broken down by age range and you can find those descriptions here. (Most students end up looking at the Individual Internships in the Young Adult (18+) category).

The site is relatively easy to navigate: you simply narrow the search options here, depending on your particular location and timing preferences. Press Search, and then voilà! An old-growth forest of beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime experiences intended to give you the skills to become the next environmental activist, EPA scientist, or parks & rec director (hello, Leslie Knope) awaits your discovery.

Once you fill out the general application, you can apply it to any 20 of these aforementioned opportunities, at which point the SCA will work to match you with the option that best fits your experience level, relevant academic coursework, and other factors. Takeya’s tips: 1) Note when an opportunity says “Hot”– this means employers want to fill spots quickly, so you have a better chance of getting one of these, and 2) Note when an opportunity says “Local Applicants Only”– this means there will be no stipend provided because interns are expected to commute from their houses (AKA, if you don’t live nearby, probably don’t apply).

So, go, follow your dreams! Apply for the Grand Canyon or Alaska or maybe somewhere right in your backyard! The SCA awaits!

You can also watch Takeya’s talk here.

Implementing an Office of Sustainability

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Why does UD need an Office of Sustainability and how do we get one?

Last Wednesday, October 29th, we learned just that when we held our first Green Liaisons Luncheon of the semester. Our guest speakers were Becky Bronstein, a senior and member of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, Student Government Association, and the Sustainability Task Force, and Cesar Caro, a grad student and member of the Grad Student Government. Both Becky and Cesar have been involved with numerous other environmental activities on campus, but one of their biggest passion projects together, as we learned at the Luncheon, is that of the creation of an Office of Sustainability on campus.

A Bit of History

In the summer of 2013, shocked by the fact that UD did not yet have an Office of Sustainability, a small team of students that included Becky and Cesar set out to change that. A student named Grace Relf drafted a 27-page proposal for the Office, which led to a series of meetings held between this group of concerned students and UD’s Provost and Executive VP.

Taking into account the University’s feedback, Becky, Cesar, and Grace began conducting a comprehensive assessment of student and faculty support for the Office: they met with Facilities, Housing, DENIN, and professors, and then held a student poll, which showed 91% of those asked in support.

Knowing then that their efforts were worthwhile in the eyes of the UD community, this student team pressed on and proceeded to develop a plan for both funding and structure for the Office.

The Basics

Funding would be done by phased implementation, which would mean having one employee (the Director of Office) for a period of time. This employee, however, would immediately have one Graduate Fellow and a few undergrad interns. Eventually, the people employed would expand to include a variety of more specialized project managers under the Director. The money would come from a combo of grants and business partnerships.

The structure of the Office would be the following: within the Office itself would be one Director who oversees the Sustainability Task Force, student-led Green Senate, and various Project Managers. Outside of the Office–but still related–would be a Sustainability Planning Committee, comprised of various important players throughout the University, such as the VP for Facilities, VP of Student Life, and Energy Manager, who would all work to advise and monitor those within the actual Office.

On the Agenda

Becky and Cesar now are looking to write a two-pager in continuation of their work on planning the Office, and then meet again with the Provost and Executive VP. Otherwise, however, they welcome any help or ideas from students and faculty who are interested. This initiative is so significant because an Office could be the kind of body that could prevent another deal like the Power Plant from even being discussed.

Questions or want to get involved? Talk to Becky at rbronst@udel.edu or Cesar at ccaro@udel.edu!

And watch them present at the Lunch here.

Newark Backyard Habitat Tour

Join fellow Newark residents tomorrow, September 13th, as they explore the fifteen “certified backyard habitats” of Newark that were newly recognized as such by the National Wildlife Federation.

Each of these local backyards has been specifically designed to provide food, water, shelter, and protection for a variety of birds and animals. Owners have worked for years to attain this status, and they will now open their yards for tours. The tour tomorrow will be self-guided, last from 10am to 2pm, and begin at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark on 420 Willa Road.

A $20 donation is suggested, which will go toward improving habitats in city parks around Newark.

More info can be found here: http://www.newarkpostonline.com/news/article_18dfcb24-0439-535e-bee2-93834af4a1ca.html.

Photo credit: ourhabitatgarden.org.

Earth Week 2014

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Earth Week 2014 kicked off last week with a wonderful performance from Climbing PoeTree. The Earth Week committee has many more great events planned for the university community. Inspired by the original Earth Day in 1970, UD is putting environmental concerns front and center through teach-ins, discussions, and other educational opportunities and events.

To learn more about the events scheduled from April 21 through April 27, please visit:  http://www.udel.edu/earthweek/.

Green Liaisons will have a presence at the Green Expo on Thursday, April 24 and we will be having our monthly luncheon on April 25 at noon in the Perkins Alumni Lounge. More details to come!

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Happy Earth Day