For this year’s Campus Sustainability Day, October 28th, Green Liaisons partnered with the Campus Sustainability Day Working Group to host UD’s very new Sustainability Manager, Michelle Bennett, for a noontime lunch.
Michelle joined UD as the pioneer in this position this past summer following a long campaign by several university parties, including some exceptionally dedicated students (see our luncheon post from early fall 2014). Students and faculty alike have been eager to hear from Michelle her vision for sustainability at UD, as well as to ask some questions of her. You can check out her talk on Youtube here!
This past April 24th, we held a special two-for-one Green Liaisons Lunch in honor of Earth Month featuring both Zach Platsis, UD’s Energy Manager, and Brenna Goggin, the Delaware Nature Society’s Advocacy Manager.
Zach led a great talk detailing the University’s rather recent solar initiative, which includes solar arrays atop Clayton Hall, 461 Wyoming Road, and the Delaware Field House. The arrays generate approximately 1000 total Mwh each year, which is out of UD’s overall 150,000 annual Mwh usage.
We actually learned quite a bit about some lesser known aspects of solar energy itself, such as how to discern and interpret the difference between “AC” and “DC” energy output, what conditions allow arrays to function most efficiently (it should be relatively cool), and the fact that arrays cannot run on max power for very long, which means that their advertised energy output can sometimes be misleading to the public.
Zach also told us about some of the University’s new energy initiatives, such as their sub-metering project, which will, in an effort to better target energy-consuming utilities, put several individual meters where there are currently full-building meters.
Next, we heard from Brenna about the Delaware Nature Society’s 2015 campaign, Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice, an effort to secure funding for cleaner waters in DE. Delaware, as Brenna explained, has had a long history of contaminated water, beginning with industries such as National Vulcanized Fiber (NVF), which operated without safe building regulations throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and thus released toxic chemicals like zinc and mercury into DE waterways that remain to this day. Delaware water also still receives a regular dose of Dupont chemicals, agricultural runoff, and combined sewer overflow from wastewater treatment plants (which especially affects the Brandywine), in addition to residential runoff from homeowner lawn management and storm drains.
The problem that needs addressing now is that none of that runoff is treated: it goes straight to local waterways. The only way to remedy this on a truly effective scale would be to fund solutions (like rain barrels, best management practices, and pervious outdoor surfaces), and of course, finding that funding is the difficult part. The job of the Delaware Nature Society then, in addition to raising awareness about the state of Delaware’s water, is to secure that funding by way of an increase on property taxes. Residents would have a certain annual rate, and, although perhaps unconventional, larger, otherwise-exempt locations like the University of Delaware (which contributes a great portion of pollution to DE water) would be required to pay an appropriate fee, all in the name of making the water we interact with every single day that much safer.
Thank you to Zach and Brenna for these great talks! If you’d like to learn more about UD’s solar energy, check out the live-stream solar generation tracker, and if you’d like to learn more about the Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice campaign, check out their Facebook page!
This was actually our last talk of the Spring semester, so check back with us in the fall to see what talks we have planned for next semester!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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.
Are you getting ready to move out of your dorm or apartment? Do you have unwanted household items that you don’t want to lug home? No need to throw those items out during move-out week. Donate them to Dumpster Detour!
Dumpster Detour will be providing moving trucks and drop-off tables stationed throughout campus to collect items that you no longer want and will donate the collection to UDon’t Need It, who provides the items to people in need. What a great way to keep reusable items out of our landfills and help others!
Look out for orange and black signs around campus. Collections are from May 21-24.
Contact Nick Kaufman if you have any questions, email@example.com.
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!
Happy Earth Day
DENIN’s Student Programs Committee will be kicking off the UD’s Earth Week festivities on Wednesday, April 16, by hosting a performance of the Brooklyn-based duo Climbing PoeTree.
Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman, the women of Climbing PoeTree, interweave spoken word, hip hop, and award-winning multimedia theatre to tell powerful stories of liberation, state and personal violence, social, environmental, racial and sexual justice, women’s empowerment, love and human transcendence.
Climbing PoeTree will be performing segments from their acclaimed multimedia production Hurricane Season: The Hidden Messages in Water, which uses poetry, shadow art, dance, film and animation to examine the unnatural disasters facing humanity on a daily basis through the lens of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
The FREE event will start at 7:00pm in Perkins Student Center’s West Lounge.