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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Name Change!- Going Mindful

Hello, Fellow Beavers,
Just to let everyone know, I will be changing the name of my postings. I've realized that
Going Conscious is weird combination of words to say. Soooo, the new name will be Going Mindful.
Check in every Tuesday for a new blog post! I'll be emailing the school a Mindful Tip of the Week which will most likely correlate with the upcoming blog post. Thanks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bixi Burlington?

Earlier this week, a group of 14 Burlington-ites, including yours truly, went to Montreal to see the Bixi Public Bike System in action, and see if it is something that might work here in Burlington. The group's consensus? We're going to try! So shout it out if you'd like to see such a system on campus and in town...

Also check out Local Motion's blog posting about the trip, stay tuned for the articles in the Free Press on Sunday, and join in on the ride on Halloween.
BFP articles: Is Burlington ready for Bike Share? and Bixi's in My Backyard

Finally, Burlington City Council recently enacted ordinance changes for bike riders and pedestrians, in addition to clarifying outdated provisions of the ordinances. The changes include:

• Bikes ridden at night must now be equipped with a red light in the rear, as well as a white light in the front;

• Motor vehicles passing bikes must now leave at least 3 feet of space between their vehicle and the bike;

• In order to ensure that all riders are aware of the rules of the road, bike shops and bike rental businesses must now disseminate safety information to everyone who purchases or rents a bike;

• When riding on the sidewalk (where it is not otherwise prohibited) bikes are now required to yield to pedestrians, give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian, operate at a reasonable speed, and come to a complete stop before crossing a street;

• Clarifying language to improve enforcement and understanding, such as it is now illegal to lock a bike to a tree.

These comprehensive updates and changes will make the ordinances easier to understand while providing the Police Department the tools it needs to make Burlington a safer place to ride a bike.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Introduction to Going Conscious!

Hey everyone,
I’m Jocellyn Harvey and this is the year I’m going to start caring about the things I do, be they big or small, and how they affect the environment and community. A little about myself: I spent my high school years at an environmentally conscious school in New Hampshire. We gardened, composted, conducted electricity challenges, and chastised those who threw their plastic bottles in the trash instead of the labeled recycling bin. I did carbon footprints, created a light bulb policy, and planted the idea for a school wide Carbon Seminar. I was the ‘non-hippy’ poster gal for sustainability. But how sustainable or eco-friendly was I? Well, I still drank lots of bottled water, and drove places I could have easily walked, and left the house lights on when my parents were gone….Okay, I admit that was out of fear more than laziness, but still I talked a big talk and like most didn’t put my money where my mouth was. I wasn’t doing it on purpose, honestly. I just didn’t realize that inspiring others is pretty hard when you haven’t gone through the experiences yourself.

So, at the ripe old age of nineteen, I’ve figured it’s time for me to jump outside of my comfort and convenience zone of wasteful (though relaxing) long showers, and buying whatever is cheapest regardless of god-knows-what ingredients are in it. This year, I, Jocellyn Harvey, am GOING CONSCIOUS!!! Note: Not to be confused with going green. That is a yucky and trendy phrase which I’m banning from this blog. People, this isn’t a trend we’re going through right now! This is how we have to live in the 21st century. Anywho, when I say conscious I mean not only will I be making changes, but I’ll understand them. I’ll be talking to local farmers, owners of eco-friendly companies, and die-hard commuters. I’ll help debunk tricky market ploys. For example, that lovely bottle that has trees and rolling hills and says natural on it, um, might not be so natural.

Being kind to the planet doesn’t mean slapping a recycling sticker on your car and being done with it. It means changing habits that are so ingrained in our culture. Is this going to be easy? Well, not entirely or I don’t think I’d be writing this blog. Even the easiest changes, like buying energy efficient bulbs or power strips, are going to cost more than normal. And most of us love a good deal. Some of these things are going to force me to research and spend more time when I’m shopping for food and other products. Still, my hopes are that by going through the steps I can have an actual understanding of what it means to care for myself, the world, others, and the future. Also, I’m hoping that anyone reading this will see that maybe it isn’t so bad and the chain effect will happen. I—and hopefully we’ll – be taking baby steps. Going Conscious doesn’t mean immediately selling your SUV, buying a Prius and converting to a 100% locavore, organic diet right away. That’d kind of be like trying to run a half marathon one day when you can only run two miles; even if you accomplished it you’d probably be pretty angry with yourself. Once again, think baby steps.

Next week I’ll be utilizing my awesome Sustain Champlain canteen and going cold turkey on bottled beverages. Also, I’ll be finding out how I easy (or not easy) it is to use my mug around town on those days I want to slip into a coffee shop and get something to drink. See you next week!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The moral of the story? Bring your own cup

A recent article in Fast Company shows the complexity of the trash-recycling-composting systems and trying to "solve" the issue of one-use items -- notably, coffee cups. The moral of the story? Bring your own. You often get a discount on top of the moral gratitude of not adding more to the waste chain (think: before & after you use the cup, stuff is dug up, cut down, processed, bought, and sold; repeat in the opposite order. )

At our own Jazzman's cafe, they are upgrading the coffee cups so that they can be composted (and yes, there is a compost bin in the cafe, alongside trash and recycling). BUT! They also offer a discount on refills when you use a refillable mug.

Thanks to Marcelle Difalco in the Marketing Department for passing on the article.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How I want to travel...

Last week I attended the 2010 AASHE Conference in Denver -- with 2,000 people who work in campus sustainability. Talk about inspiring! While I've been around this crowd for several years, I still learn new things. Most fun idea I heard about? The Buscycle.

According to their website, "the Busycle is a 15-person pedal-powered bus that travels in neighborhoods throughout the United States. The Busycle runs solely on the energy of its passengers. Anyone willing to pull their weight and pedal can be a Busycle passenger. The Busycle requires individuals to use their own will and physical strength to come together as a group to go from point A to point B."

Heck yah! How 'bout one of these babies rolling around B-ton? I can just see it now... Champlain students peddling in from Quarry Hill. Forget those belching diesel yellow buses! Until then, there are now eight bikes, helmets, and locks, available to Quarry students to borrow fore their ride to campus. You just need to contact faculty-in-residence, Gary Scudder, and he will grant you access.

Other transportation related projects around campus include a bike rack inventory & plan for putting more covered racks on campus. And, a group of folks from various transportation agencies and organizations are going up to Montreal to meet with the Bixi-bike company, to see if Burlington might host a bike sharing system of its own. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Right to Dry

I just received an e-newsletter from Project Laundry List, an organization that helps communities get the right to dry -- a right we have here in Vermont. Can you believe that there are places where you cannot use the sun to dry your clothes?? It's true!

Stay tuned for a new documentary, called Drying for Freedom, to come out later this year. How about some laundry lines behind Champlain residence halls?