Sustainability Coordinator, Faculty, Department of Environment and Society
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.
Looking to get involved? Have an idea? Have questions? Reach out, I’d love to hear from you. Stop by the Center for Sustainability (Student Center 101) or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check us out on social media @pscsustainability (Instagram) Paul Smith’s College Center for Sustainability (Facebook).
Center for Sustainability Staff
Name: Sean Jackson ,
Title: Sustainability Fellow: Transportation
Major: Sustainability BS
Name: Nicole Distasio ,
Title: Sustainability Fellow: Sustainable Dining
Major: Sustainability BS, Minor: Entrepreneurial Business
By: Serenata Wright
When given time and support, most things could be possible. Things like staying sane, learning, and saving is possible. The chickens were bought during a very hard time. The Coronavirus has destroyed a lot, but not HOPE. Hope was found in these chickens, whether it was to keep each other sane, allow learning for the baby, allowing access for me to establish a sure thing. Cultivating and raising chickens will provide happiness, eggs, and potential money saving or acquiring action. With these egg-producers, money does not need to be spent on eggs. With these animals, they will become pets and loved. With these new things, a baby will learn about animals closely. My baby sister will be raised as a self-sustaining person. I am leading the way of green development, within my whole family as well. And in this situation, me and my family will learn to be self-sufficient, remain sane, save money, and be happy.
Tips on Raising Chickens!! by Kate Glenn
WHERE TO GET THEM: If you buy chicks online, THEY COME IN THE MAIL! Don’t worry, they are safe, mostly…. and they throw in a few extra birds just in case. You can also purchase chicks or slightly older pullets at your local tractor supply. Some people even hatch their own in a incubator (borrow from a friend or purchase online). I also like to talk to my local farmer friends and they will often gift me a few old layers- they don’t lay every day so the farmer is happy to give them away. If you are not looking for large numbers of eggs daily (couple for breakfast) than this might be a good option for you.
WHAT KIND SHOULD YOU GET: There are many breeds of chicken- Bard Rocks, Americanas, Australorp, Rhode Island Reds are just a few of the breeds known for being good egg layers. It’s worth doing a little research. Also ask your local farmer if they have any heritage or special breeds they would be wiling to share with you. I’m a fan of Rhode Island Reds, they are good egg layers and I’ve used them for meat birds as well. Although a variety of different breeds in your flock is also fun.
CARE FOR YOUR BIRDS: Chicks need a nice box (old plastic tub w/lid with holes is great). They will need some wood shavings, water, feed bowl, and heat lamp. Your local supply store should have everything you need. Although you don’ t need fancy supplies. See what you have around the house that you can use, before buying anything. When birds get bigger (and they will) they will need to be outside. Fresh waster and food every day- also make sure you lock them in your coop at night, and let them out in the morning.
THE COOP: You can buy a coop or build a coop, but you will need something warm (insulated), dry, and secure! Your chickens need a safe try place to roost at night where they can be protected from predators. Research some chicken coop plans online, find a used one on craigslsits for facebook marketpace, also consider buying new. A coop should last you a lifetime. I purchased my coop used from Jim Tucker and it’s got these great egg boxes with a door that mean I have easy access to eggs without disturbing the chickens. Clean out your coop- the poop is great fertilizer for your garden(it’s like gold).
FEED: Chickens eat food scraps, all sorts of food scraps including egg shells! Get your neighbors to give you their food scraps in exchange for eggs. Buying grain is also necessary to supplement your food scraps. Bulk is much cheaper if you can find it nearby. Any feed store in your area will carry chicken feed. Make sure you store your feed in a place where mice can’t get to it. I store my feed in a big metal trash can with secure lid.
LOVE YOUR CHICKENS!
Watching chickens is great entertainment for the whole family!
Written by: Hannah Rion
Center for Sustainability Education and Outreach Assistant
What is the Sustainability Grant?
The Sustainability Grant program has been running here at Paul Smith’s College since the Fall of 2013. Funds from the program are derived from a $30 fee that all students pay during the Spring semester. This allows there to be roughly $25,000 available annually for students, faculty, and staff to apply for. These funds are then used to support sustainable initiatives on campus and throughout the college community.
The program gives proposers options of applying for either an under $500 or over $500 grant. The under $500 grants are accepted on a rolling basis and are judged based upon a funding rubric by the Smitty Sustainability Committee. This committee is comprised of students who feel passionate about sustainability and enjoy enacting positive forms of change on campus. The over $500 grants are first reviewed by the committee, in accordance to the rubric. After this, the proposals are voted upon by the entire student body, once during each semester of the school year. If more than half of the students vote to pass the proposal(s), the grant has passed and funds are distributed.
Throughout the program’s seven years of existence, more than $150,000 has been awarded to support projects focused on sustainability. These projects have ranged from installing LED light posts all across campus, to even starting the Beekeeping Club. If you have an idea you are excited about and would like to bring it to fruition, please reach out to the Center for Sustainability at email@example.com. We are currently accepting under $500 submissions up until April 20th. We encourage you to take a look at past grants, which can be found by visiting the Center for Sustainability’s website at www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability.
Over $500 Grant Awards
Coastal Climate Stories Documentary – $2,876
Sean Jackson, Paul Smith’s College Climate Fellow, had the chance to travel throughout coastal communities along the East Coast of the United States during the Summer of 2019. During his time doing this, Sean collected numerous interviews from individuals willing to share their own experiences with the effects of climate change. After conducting several interviews, he felt as though there was a disconnect between his interview transcripts and the emotional stories he was hearing. This disconnect led him to transforming the project into a documentary. Sean further believed that collecting these stories in a documentary form would create a much more relatable medium for audiences.
Sean will be using the funds he received from the Sustainability Grant to further build off of his fellowship by completing the film in its entirety and submitting the film in hopes of entry into fourteen film festivals throughout the United States. The Center for Sustainability is excited that Sean has dedicated so much time to spreading awareness of the true stories many people in the United States are facing due to the effects of the climate crisis. We look forward to the final release of the film and wish him luck in his entries into the film festivals.
Lower Textbook Costs Initiative – $6,000
The Joan Weill Adirondack Library is initiating an Open Educational Resources (OER) pilot project to help make textbook costs for students more sustainable. The program is designed to incentivize and support faculty to redesign, plan, and teach courses using free or low cost OER materials and eTextbooks in order to lower the overall cost of PSC student’s education. The startling costs of textbooks can prove to be extremely difficult for many students to pay for. This initiative will assist those students by lowering the overall cost of their textbooks for select courses. In some cases, this project may lead to courses offering free textbooks to students.
The awarded funds will be directly allocated to departments and is to be used as seed money for numerous faculty members to redesign their courses around OER. This money will then incentivize faculty to take time and adjust their course to align better with OER textbooks, rather than the current text they use. The library chose to take this project on because they see the value in the college offering more hybrid class models, as well as offering affordable materials for students. It is with great anticipation that we work with both the library and faculty to see this initiative come to fruition.
Under $500 Grant Awards
The High Art and Subtle Science of Scrounging Book Purchase – $500
Nancy Dow and Bruce Kilgore, adjunct professors at Paul Smith’s College, teach one of the most beloved courses the college has to offer. Conservation Design: Green Construction (SUS 310) exposes students to topics such as cordwood construction, various renewable energy sources, affordable living, and much more. The course also hosts numerous guest speakers that discuss their experiences in “green” living. One speaker that paid a visit to the class during the Fall 2019 semester was James Juczak, self-proclaimed “scrounger”. Similar to how Mr. Juczak shared his expertise with students, he also wrote a book showcasing self-reliance, food growing and preservation techniques, as well as mortgage-free or alternative construction. His book, titled “The High Art and Subtle Science of Scrounging”, takes a unique perspective on day-to-day living. In order to provide the twenty-six students of the class with this text, Nancy submitted a Sustainability Grant. Once awarded, these funds supported the purchase of the book for students and provided them with literature to practice in their own life. We were extremely happy to support this project that directly benefits students.
On-Campus Housing Composting Initiative – $485
Charlie Ritter, along with several other students saw a disconnect between the college’s commitment to sustainable practices and how food waste is managed in the dorms. In order to solve this issue, the students developed the idea of providing residents with the opportunity to compost their food scraps in their living quarters. The project idea was developed for a class project in Politics of the Environment and quickly gained backing by both Greta Hovland, Director of Dining Services, and Lou Kaminski, Director of Residence Life and Housing. These collaborations have allowed the project to continue to progress onto the next step of implementation. The program will be implemented throughout the Spring 2020 semester with buckets being distributed to dorm buildings within the coming weeks.
The food waste in both the dining hall and Cantwell labs is already diverted to Moonstone Farm, a small farm located on the outskirts of Saranac Lake. This established partnership fit perfectly for implementing this widespread composting initiative. The students saw importance in making this program an opt-in model to avoid contamination or misuse of the buckets. Educating students on the college’s current practices, as well as the overall benefits of composting is a critical part of this program. Each bucket will be accompanied with a guide distinguishing what can and cannot be placed in the bucket. Furthermore, the students hope to work with the Smitty Sustainability Committee to host outreach events that will continue to educate students. The Center for Sustainability anticipates this to be a longstanding initiative on campus and looks forward to the continued development of the program and partnerships.
This article was written by PSC Student and Sustainability Assistant Hannah Rion
Do you ever think about the amount of food you produce in a day, a week, or a month? How about the amount of food that doesn’t even see a fork or spoon, but just gets tossed in the trash? That has been the sad story for the food scraps that are produced in our culinary labs here at Paul Smith’s College. In fact, three years ago there was a campus-wide program known as “Food Scraps for Pigs” where pre-consumer food waste from Cantwell, as well as the dining hall was being used by Atlas Hoofed It Farm, in Vermontville, NY, to feed pigs. There were challenges with pickup and consistent collection of scraps, so the program wasn’t continued, but recently Emily Sommer’s Farm to Table class has partnered with Sustainability Coordinator Kate Glenn and Jake Vennie-Vollrath of Moonstone Farm, to collect and donate our food scraps to Moonstone Farm for animal feed and compost.
The Farm to Table culinary class, part of the new two-year accelerated culinary program, was visiting Moonstone Farm on a monthly basis, “to get their hands dirty and learn more about the ins and outs of running a small farm in the Adirondacks”, as Jake explained to me. The class also started to brainstorm ideas on how to solve some of the problems the farm was facing. One of these lurking issues happened to be “inputs” and soil health, which Jake was currently sourcing compost from Vermont to solve. Thus caused Emily and the class to start thinking they could have a real potential impact if they were to start diverting the pre-consumer waste from the culinary labs here on campus to Moonstone Farm. Emily then mentioned the project to Kate Glenn, Sustainability Coordinator for the college, and so the wheels began to turn. Kate Glenn then organized a planning meeting with the facilities department, Sodexo, and Emily to develop and establish a written plan and procedures for the project. During the meeting it was discussed who would collect the buckets, how they would be delivered and other remaining logistics. With the purchase of five gallon buckets, funded by the Sustainability Grant, the project was officially up-and-running. Additionally, Kate brought in the support from Sodexo to have the dining hall’s pre-consumer food waste also be diverted to the farm.
“Moonstone Farm specializes in growing heirloom vegetables organically and healthy soils grow tastier vegetables”, says Jake. 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.” In the short time of a month, the dining hall has collected 218.2 pounds of pre-consumer food waste thanks to the help of Sodexo employees. Meanwhile, the Culinary Department has gathered 251.2 pounds with the help of students and instructors. Evidently, this diversion of food waste is serving an extremely more purposeful objective than it would sitting in a landfill spewing off methane gas Furthermore, this practice allows for a decrease in the heavy food waste facilities has to dispose of, and can be reflected on the college’s Greenhouse Gas Report, which tracks the production of methane.
Pre-consumer food waste is often overlooked when discussing composting practices, causing it to become a growing problem. This type of composting specifically focuses on the scraps that are a byproduct of food preparation. Food loss and waste accounts for about 4.4 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per year. To put this in perspective, if food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest GHG emitter – surpassed only by China and the United States” (“Food Waste Facts”). A large portion of this food waste could be gold for many farmers in helping them restore nutrients to their soil. Jake shares that, “Not only is reducing food waste (or redirecting it to better uses) economically smart, it might be the easiest thing that we can do to address global warming.” The implementation of more programs like these across the United States is essential to help combat the negative effects of food waste. This project serves as a perfect example of discovering an issue and developing a working solution.
Both Emily and Jake believe the program is working extremely well, however, they share high hopes for the future. Jake shared with me that this partnership has inspired him to “think bigger” and someday he hopes “…to soon obtain all of PSC’s food waste for composting and assist the college in making it completely food waste free.” The farm is also currently working on plans for a larger drum composter that could handle more volume and produce compost more efficiently than the existing compost piles. As for Emily and her Farm to Table class, she says, “The main reason for our Farm to Table class was so that the students can appreciate more where their food is coming from, how much work goes into getting it in their fridges and on their tables. So adding the composting buckets was just another step into appreciating our food that much more.”
The Smitty Sustainability Committee fully supports the efforts of all the people involved in this project, especially the students who are filling the buckets with proper pre-consumer food scraps. The committee is currently working with the dining hall to design an effective program to tackle post-consumer food waste on campus. We will be implementing a separate bin labeled compost and providing signage that educates students on what they can scrape into the bin later in the spring semester. Combating food waste is an extremely critical issue that needs action sooner, rather than later. By keeping the conversation and programs like this going, everyone involved hopes to have a significant positive impact.
Would you like to make a difference on campus? You can learn more about the possibility of funding from the Sustainability Grant by reaching out to Hannah Rion, Sustainability Grant and Office Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting https://www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability/campus-sustainability-fund/
Jordan, Tom, and Julie here. When sorting though this weeks recycling we noted that there were a lot of coffee cups and Doritos bags in the recycling bags – these items are not recyclable. Common issues also include containers not being emptied and rinsed of food and/or drinks. PLEASE RINSE CONTAINERS OUT BEFORE YOU RECYCLE THEM. We also did not appreciate the dead animal left by the dumpster. If you are a hunter, please properly dispose of any animals carcasses.
Thank you and happy recycling!