What is Sustain Champlain?

Sustain Champlain is a campus-wide initiative strives to infuse sustainability concepts and practices across Champlain College by coordinating and promoting best practices within four areas: our institution, academics, operations, and culture.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We're moving!

With the major renovation of the champlain.edu website about to happen, we're moving our blogs to a new site. Come visit!  http://sustain.champlain.edu/

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From the Sustainability Director's desk: Electronic Waste

Here's the question I received today:

I was hoping to learn more about your e-waste recycling program.  I am currently a student at Saint John's University and am researching an e-waste recycling program on campus.


You can see the details of our recycling program, which includes e-waste, here: http://www.champlain.edu/sustain-champlain/sustainable-operations/recycling-guidelines.html

You can also read an article from a couple years ago when we started the program that explains a bit more. http://www.champlain.edu/news-and-events/news/e-waste-collection.html.  

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

From the Sustainability Director's Desk: Sustainability & Business

Nearly every day (if not multiple times a day) I get emails from students, faculty, staff, and others with questions.  I love this!!  To me, this means that I am being the resource person I want to be.  In hopes of sharing these pearls of wisdom (or what I hope are at least helpful tips) with others, I'll try and post relevant Q&As.

Today's question, from a student:

Q.  I am doing a “multimedia” project in my technical writing class. My partner and I have taken on the clash of capitalism and sustainability. I am researching how to dismantle the stigma that sustainability is a cost and cannot be a source of profitability. My partner is taking on a political aspect exhibiting how entities that profit from anti-sustainable practices effectively leverage against sustainability at large. 

My underlying goal (and over achieving for this class) is to develop a viral video that invigorates consumers to demand sustainability from the companies they patronize as well as indirectly persuading business owners, large and small, to include sustainability into their business models.
Any articles, TED Talks, videos or anything at all would be helpful.  

A.   Great project!
Here are some of the resources I'd recommend:

1. Any books/talks, etc. by Hunter Lovins. See her website here http://www.natcapsolutions.org/  - especially the resource area, which looks like there is a ton of good stuff there.

2. Climate Counts http://www.climatecounts.org/, the Good Guide http://www.goodguide.com/, and Oxfam's Behind the Brands are three organizations/initiatives that are getting consumers more savvy about what they are purchasing, which is also pushing back on the producer/manufacturers as well. 

3. State of the World 2010 http://blogs.worldwatch.org/transformingcultures/contents/ is focused on consumption - a lot of great stuff there...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

4th Annual Biophysical Economics Conference

    I was lucky enough to attend the 4th Annual Biophysical Economics conference held this year at UVM. This three day event featured some of the most notable names in Ecological and Biophysical Economics. Such as Dennis Meadows author of Limits to Growth, Christopher Martenson author of, The Crash Course, and Charlie Hall, founder of Biophysical Economics, a field that focuses more on the biophysical effects of what we are doing to our planet. A field that is, in his own words, “sustainable sustainability”. These individuals and many other brilliant speakers gave several presentations over the three day event, subjects ranging from oil depletion, to food security, to gas taxes, to energy return on investment (EROI). This was a truly transformative experience to listen to professors, economists, physicists, and environmentalists and see how many facts there are that prove our economic system is killing the planet.


Dennis Meadows and all of the work he has done with exponential graphs told us that we are long past peak oil and on a steep downslope towards running out of our most important resource. Chris Martenson illustrates the “three E’s” Energy, Environment, and Economy. He showed how they all tie together to make up a super complex system and how the only way one can grow is by taking away from the other two. The way we have rapidly grown our economy rapidly depletes our energy and destroys our natural environment at an unprecedented rate. Charlie Hall gave us a chart that describes how high our EROI needs to be in order to maintain the way of life we have grown accustomed to. A way of life that is impossible to maintain without oil. A way of life that even if oil was infinite would destroy our planet as it already is doing.


This information is just the tip of the iceberg but it would require a whole new blog to truly delve into the world changing implications of this conference. Luckily there are a few of those http://www.theoildrum.com/ and http://www.peakprosperity.com/learn  and many more can be found through these websites and the networks they have created. I want to leave you with one small experience that had a major impact on me and hopefully will resonate with you also. I was talking with this eighty-something year old retired professor and I asked him how he got involved with all of this and he looked me right in the eye and said “I am trying to figure out how to save my family.”


 By Tucker Malone, Class of 2016

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Environmental Leadership Conference

E2 Environmental Leadership Conference
A few weekends ago I had the pleasure to attend a conference at ECHO. http://www.echovermont.org/events/viewevent.html?event=516 The conference was centered around getting people involved in the movement for environmental sustainability and social justice. This conference was the precursor to an even bigger event ECHO will be holding on January 21st called the Environment and Equity Summit. At the October conference there were representatives from student environmental clubs from UVM, Saint Mikes, and of course Champlain College. We spent the day discussing a variety of challenges we face in raising awareness to environmental and social issues. We also spend a great deal of time coming up with simple solutions to the complex problems society has created. 
There were some brilliant presentations and discussions about a variety of different topics the most notable of which was transportation. Chapin Spencer, the executive director of Local Motion, lead a discussion about how we can make our transportation system in Burlington and Vermont as a whole more efficient and more sustainable. We ended up coming to a consensus that the only way to do that is to get people motivated so that people are willing to give up there comfy cars and walk or bike to work or school. We discovered that a large number of people live within a few blocks from where they work but they still decide to use their cars rather than just walking. So how do we motivate these people and others to start doing the right thing for the planet? That's where Matt McGrath of the Vermont Workers Center came in. He gave a wonderful presentation about how to get the word out and motivate people to get involved. It turns out the best way to get people to do things is not though multimillion dollar ad campaigns (sorry Koch brothers, it just doesn't work). It is actually just going out and talking to people and letting movements build though word of mouth. The Vermont Workers Center has had great success using this simple strategy and we can to! Come give us your ideas and get involved. The Champlain College Environmental Club meets every Tuesday in fireside lounge! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Champlain-College-Environmental-Club/180133277258

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Copy Paper Reduction

Good News! We're Cutting Costs, Not More Trees!

As you know Champlain College has made as strong push to reduce our paper consumption. We have made a big shift from desktop printers to shared multifunction printers, which reduce cost from 1 penny per page to 1/1000 of a penny per page. Those savings add up very quickly! We have also encouraged professors to utilize Angel drop boxes which has made a huge impact!   
How is this all paying off? 

According to recent analysis of our 2012FY paper usage it is paying of BIG TIME!
Thanks to your efforts we have cut costs by about $6000 in the last year alone! We spent 18% less on copying in the 2012FY than the previous year! We REDUCED the amount of paper we used by 10% compared to last year and 19% compared to 2006. That's right in just 5 short years Champlain College has cut its paper usage by almost 1/5, which is certainly progress from the Champ Support article written last year. But wait there's more! 82% of the copy paper that we use is made up at least partially of RECYCLED paper. Overall we are making a significant environmental as well as financial impact.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Over the past several years we have all become used to seeing the school bus type shuttle  making its way back and forth from main campus to Lakeside… if you look very carefully at the photo below you can actually see Ned Mahoney clinging to the roof.. he’s the one wearing a white shirt.

However there have been discussions going on at the very highest levels …

The Board of Trustees:

The President’s Office:

The Faculty Senate:

…to replace the existing familiar shuttle with something that has a bit more style.
  Unfortunately the Batmobile was not available. But we continued to look…

And look…

Other means of transport were considered:

We even considered:

We had managed to talk David Provost into being “test fired” out the prototype but at the last moment we (he) decided to go with another option: Jim Mackin. One of our own.  Unfortunately Jim revived during the loading process and put up such a spirited defense we had to stop trying to load him. The mission was scrubbed.

We even asked Joe Biden for an opinion but were unable to wake him up.


Announcing and coming soon to a shuttle route near you: 

The 2013 Freightliner Sprinter Van

(At this point I’d like to ask all of you to quietly hum to yourself the “ Battle Hymn of the Republic” as you read the description of the van below. ‘Mine eyes have yada, yada..terrible swift sword.. grapes of wrath..you remember.)

With air conditioning, more comfortable cloth seats, a whisper quiet Mercedes low sulfur emission engine, tinted windows and increased headroom this new addition to our shuttle system will soon be running back and forth from Lakeside to main campus. And Yes, Virginia, there will eventually be a bike rack; we’re looking at options.

The primary vehicle that runs from 7am-6pm will have our name and emblem on it to help identify it.  The second Sprinter which will come online down the road (sorry- couldn’t resist) will run the peak times of 7:30-9:30am and 5:00-7:00pm.

It’s going to look a lot like this…

To promote the usage of this vehicle we are going to be offering valuable incentives to our faculty and staff.

First prize will be an evening shooting rats at the local landfill with yours truly.