- Develop, Support, Review Sustainability Grant projects.
- Attend speakers, field trips, conferences, and design programs for campus.
- Build a more resilient campus and community!
I am often asked what a Sustainability Coordinator does, the primary focus of my position is to help make our campus and community more resilient, by mitigating and adapting to the affects of climate change. I focus mostly on reducing the college’s greenhouse gas emissions levels, I champion and oversee renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on campus. I also coordinate our STARS (Sustainable Tracking and Rating System) strategic plan and reporting. This includes various initiatives regarding sustainable dining, waste minimization, and other initiatives related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I’ve been teaching for about 7 years. I teach about four classes a year, primarily upper division classes in our Sustainability BS program. check out my faculty page to learn more about myself the classes I teach. I also direct the Center for Sustainability, this semester we have a staff of about 4 student employees and Sustainability Fellows working on various campus initiatives and programs.
Center for Sustainability Staff
Title: Sustainability Fellow: Transportation
Major: Sustainability BS
Name: Nicole Distasio ,
Title: Sustainability Fellow: Sustainable Dining
Major: Sustainability BS, Minor: Entrepreneurial Business
Paul Smith’s College has a long history of supporting and promoting renewable energy on campus and in the surrounding region. The college is in the process of updating it’s Climate Action Plan in accordance with it’s goals for Carbon Neutrality, as part of the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment. Paul Smith’s College will be working with L&S Energy Inc out of Saratoga over the next 8 months to complete a three phased project which will assist College in understanding it’s energy use, identify cost effective energy efficiency improvements, and integrate those improvements into the college’s overall sustainability and growth plans including our updated Climate Action Plan and g2g emissions reduction goals.
The result of this work will include a multi‐year plan for building efficiency and operations, in support of PSC’s Strategic Plan and Climate Action Plan. This plan will establish goals to:
- Set multi‐year targets
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Establish systems to benchmark and track energy use
- Improve energy efficiency
- Ensure energy efficiency gains are maintained over time
- Increase use of renewable energy
Phase one of the project is “Preliminary Analysis and Energy Benchmarking” , this includes Utility Analysis, Benchmarking, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Profile. Essentially L&S will be collecting and examining about 2 years of the colleges past energy bills (electricity and heating oil) and completing an updated greenhouse gas emissions report.
Phase two of the project includes completing a “Campus Energy Assessment” which includes an on campus energy audit of the colleges campus buildings. L&S Energy will conduct a walk-though survey of campus infrastructure, identify and analyze low cost/no cost energy efficiency measures, identify and analyze capital measures, as well as review mechanical and electrical designs of campus buildings, conditions and operations of campus systems and maintenance (O&M) practices.
The third phase of the project is to develop an Energy Master Plan for campus and update the colleges Climate Action Plan. Phase three consists of also identifying grants and funding opportunities to support the colleges energy goals, as well as developing a STARS (Sustainable Tracking and Rating System) standard operating procedure for STARS reporting.
Throughout this process, L&S Energy will be reporting out on their findings and working with our Smitty Sustainability Committee as well as students, faculty, and staff. The college is very excited about this process and is looking forward to reviewing and implementing the recommendations from L&S Energy as we updated our Climate Action Plan.
Coming soon to campus ! NO-Mow Pollinator Protection Zones. Paul Smith’s College is establishing No-Mow zones across campus this summer, the college will stop mowing certain sections of campus. The initiative not only provides expanded habitat for wildlife but also reduces green house gas emissions, saves money, and provides an opportunity for long-term restoration ecology studies. The initiative was started on a trail basis last summer and students have begun studies of vegetation and soils, and these will be expanded to various areas around campus today. The college will be partnering with ADK Action’s ADK Pollinator Project to put up signage signaling which areas of campus are No-Mow Pollinator Protection Zones. Check out our no-mow map and stay tuned for more information.
by Serenata Wright
Composting on Paul Smith’s campus in not a new venture. The school has been incorporating composting into their waste minimization program through the dining hall and culinary program. All food that isn’t used by the students and or staff is sent to Moonstone farm in Saranac Lake NY. Food waste is tracked and sent to the farm in order to yield a sustainable result. As once stated, “The food waste serves a variety of purposes on the farm, such as feeding chickens directly, feeding mealworms and black soldier flies which eventually feed the chickens, while the rest is “…composted to create organic matter for our greenhouses, hopyard, fruit trees/bushes, and vegetable fields.”(retrieved from https://www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability/2019/04/05/we-are-composting-food-waste-on-campus/).
This program is a collaboration between The Dining Hall, Center for Sustainability, The Culinary Department and Moonstone Farm! Diverting solid food waste produced on campus not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but it provides the college with a valuable connection and educational opportunity in the farming community. Moonstone farm is working consistently to improve soil health, creating compost from food waste from local residences in Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s College provides the farm with a great source of soil fertilizer.
Having a place to store and use food waste is problematic for the college, with the conflict of figuring out where to store it so it can be used properly. Paul Smith’s could compost and use their own food waste to use for gardening, but with the addition of moonstone farm, that food waste becomes a resource to support local agriculture. Moonstone could go out and buy a bag of fertilizer and feed for their farm from a store, but Moonstone chooses to connect Paul Smiths College and produce more food waste than they themselves can handle. Our campus produces food waste, but it really doesn’t stay waste because of sustainability within our community and the farming community. A strong connection between nature and what it produces is important to the people who live, work, and are theoretically, a part of a farm.
This spring, our community worked together to develop and fund four sustainability grant projects, these projects are developed by students in collaboration with faculty and staff. Projects are reviewed, supported, and approved by the Smitty Sustainability Committee, then voted on by the student body. If you have a project idea of your own, or are interested in learning more, contact Sustainability Coordinator Kate Glenn or check out our Sustainability Grant website, to review past Sustainability Grant Projects.
Lower St. Regis Lake Shoreline Restoration Demonstration on Paul Smith’s College. Total Awarded: $5,360
Project Leader:: Craig Milewski, PhD, MFA. Co-participants: Ryan Novak, Julie Capito, Joshua Young, Patrick Mullen Mechtly, Jason Messenger, Matthew Merritt. Other participants will include students in the Ecological Restoration program, the Student Association for the Society for Ecological Restoration, and students from related programs, and others who have interests.
The overarching goal of the project: Create a shoreline restoration demonstration site that is educationally engaging, ecologically functional, aesthetically pleasing to the public; and in alignment with the mission of the college, the academic programs, and the faculty statement on our identity.
The specific objectives are:
- Remove the failing break wall, grade the slope to 30%, and restore natural vegetation at water’s edge.
- Create a meadow/pollinator plot between the shoreline and the sidewalk.
- Prevent geese use of the shoreline and the unhealthy accumulation of their fecal matter.
- Create an attractive pathway along the shore through the re-established natural vegetation and install 5 benches for shoreline visitors.
- Post educational signage that describes the ecological, social-cultural and economic benefits of a functional shoreline.
- Increase visitation and use of the shoreline by visitors and prospective students.
- Reduce lawn related labor, maintenance cost, and use of fossil fuels.
Proposed By: Madeline Roth- Draft Horse Club President, Tom Curiale- Draft Horse Club Secretary Addy Balliett,-Draft Horse Club Treasurer
Abstract: Recently it has been brought to our attention that the college’s horse trailer is getting unsafe for transporting our current team of horses (Dana and Dodge). A horse trailer is a necessary implement for owning and caring for live animals. Trailers are used for emergency transportation, events, and for regular transport between campus facilities. Purpose Statement: The purpose of this proposal is to (1) procure funding necessary to purchase a newer horse trailer for our team, (2) increase the financial sustainability of the PSC Draft Horse Program, and (3) enable the college draft horses to be utilized by multiple academic departments in off-site educational programs, intercollegiate events, logging / agricultural demonstrations, and community outreach initiatives.]
*Please note the following 3 proposals are in support of a NYSERDA Technical Assistance for Roadmaps Grant for 56k, PSC Cost Share total was $27,817
Preliminary Energy Analysis and Benchmarking (Task 1) Amount Awarded: $4,816
Project Leader: Katharine Glenn, Co-participants: Ryan Godfrey, Caitlin Reilly, Kyle Ruddy, Riley Prokop, Cody Liguori, Caden Belisle, and Michael Gaulin (SUS350 Alternative Energy)
Project Goals: We are requesting $4,816 to cover Paul smith’s colleges cost share to complete Task One of the proposed projects. Task one is entitled “Preliminary Energy Analysis and Benchmarking”. The first stage or task of this 3 task project is to collect and evaluate our current utility bills with help from L&S Energy Service professional engineers. L&S will then suggest what Paul Smiths College could do to help improve our utility billing. L& S will complete a campus wide greenhouse gas emissions report and benchmarking.
Campus Energy Assessment, (Task 2) Amount Awarded: $13,939
Project Leader: Katharine Glenn. Co-participants: Joshua Campbell,Connor Edmonds, Will Mason-Hill, Anthony Sena, Justin Shannon, and Chase Delisle. (SUS350 Alternative Energy)
Project Goals: The overall objective of this grant proposal is to conduct the necessary steps to complete a campus energy assessment and obtain data on the school’s use of energy and its efficiency. This goal will be achieved through three major components or Tasks that make up this energy assessment. The second Task is entitled, Campus Energy Assessment. Steps in this phase are to conduct a walk-through survey to gather building data for energy analysis, identify and analyze low cost or no cost efficiency measures, identify and analyze capital measures, and review mechanical and electrical designs, conditions, operations, and maintenance practices. All of these steps will provide invaluable data to be compiled into a comprehensive campus wide energy assessment.
Energy Master Plan Development and Sustainability Plan Updates. Amount Awarded $4,246
Project Lead: Katharine Glenn, Co-Participants Elliott Hoth, David Laframboise, Chris Robinson, Taylor Wise, Karly Romeo & Sean Jackson (SUS350 Alternative Energy)
Project Goals: Paul Smith’s college wishes to increase campus sustainability with assistance from L&S energy services with funding from the NYSERDA REV Campus Challenge Technical Assistance for Roadmaps Program PON 3438. This increase in the sustainability for the college would come from the development of an Energy Master Plan as well as updating the Climate Action Plan. The Energy Master Plan is a long‐term document that takes into account the multi‐year goals of Paul Smith’s College, the service life of equipment, and financial constraints.
The energy master plan will be presented to the climate action planning committee and new energy action items will be integrated into the 2020 Climate Action Plan, specifically outlining energy efficiency measures, renewable energy “Roadmap” strategic plan for reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions. These recommendations will also include cost estimates and recommended funding strategies. L&S also wishes to provide assistance to PSC to identify and apply for grants in support of implementing the Energy Master Plan and Climate Action Plan, including energy efficiency and green energy.
On-Campus Housing Composting Initiative, Amount Awarded: $485
Project Lead; Bethany Garretson, Co-Participants: Emily Nelson, and Janey Rolfe
Project Summary: Currently Paul Smith’s College has a functioning composting program in the dining hall and in the culinary labs. This composting program has opened the doors to sustainable waste management on the Paul Smith’s College campus. However, many students living in the residence halls with a kitchen, whether private or communal, cook for themselves and are simply discarding compostable materials into the garbage. Since composting on campus is already available, we believe that making composting bins available for those living in dorms with a kitchen would be ideal.