Keep the change: Paul Smith's removes vending machines - 2008-09-03
Expects to save at least $12,000 in energy costs by axing nearly 50 machines
CONTACT: Kenneth Aaron, director of communications, (518) 327-6297
PAUL SMITHS – When Paul Smith's College students returned to campus last weekend, they found something missing.
The college removed nearly every vending machine over the summer – almost 50 of them - as part of ongoing campus efforts to encourage environmental sustainability.
Taking out the food and drink machines will save at least $12,000 in electricity costs every year, officials said.
"This is just another small step we're taking as we look at everything we do, every day, that has an effect on the environment," said college President John W. Mills. "This suggestion came from students. I'm very grateful for this kind of community support as we work together on thoughtful, productive initiatives to get greener."
Taking out the machines is the latest among several student suggestions that have led to environmentally friendly measures on campus, such as the college's decision to rely entirely on wind energy for its electricity needs.
"Students for Environmental Action is excited about the school's decision to eliminate vending machines almost entirely from campus," said Lauren Richard, secretary of Students for Environmental Action, a campus club. "We worked with Pat Clelland, our staff advisor, to push for the change because besides costing the school more money than they made, they were wasting a lot of energy. We hope Paul Smith's will continue to take steps to reduce its environmental footprint."
Unplugging the vending machines will result in several benefits besides cost. Delivery trucks won't need to burn fuel to stock those machines, for example. And the energy that would have gone to operate the vending machines can be used elsewhere – reducing the stress on the nation's generation and supply infrastructure.
Additionally, the money the college saves from the added electricity costs can be put into other sustainability measures.
The campus has taken several steps to reduce its environmental footprint. Recently, the campus replaced 112 washing machines and dryers with high-efficiency Energy Star models, a step that is expected to save at least $6,000 a year. And it was among the first to take trays away from its dining hall, a step that not only reduces water and energy used to clean the trays but also curbs food waste.
Additionally, Mills is a charter signatory to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, which calls on campuses to become climate neutral. More than 500 other presidents have joined him on that pledge.
While nearly 50 vending machines have been removed since the beginning of the year, two will remain in a 24-hour study room in the Joan Weill Adirondack Library. In addition to those locations, food and beverages remain for sale in the Pack Basket, the college's bookstore; in addition, students purchasing a meal plan receive a travel mug they can fill for free as they leave the dining hall.
At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. The college, whose campus is on the shores of Lower St. Regis Lake, is the only four-year institution of higher education in the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park of New York State. Our programs, in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship, the sciences, and many others, draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere.