Minutes from May Sustainability Committee Meeting

Sustainability Committee


5/10/12                           Chair: Kevin O’Brien3:45-5:00 PM                 Treasurer: Ethan Mathey

UC 134                              Secretary:  Stena Troyer                                            Pro-Tem Secretary: Romey Haberle

Members Present:

Ethan Manthey, Emma Straus, Chrissy Cooley, Carmen Eyssautier, Gretchen Howell, Caitlyn Jackson, Carolyn Hylander, Saiyare Refaei, Brett Rousseau, Kenny Stancil, Tyler Wilson, Emily Dooley, Romey Haberle, Susan Harmon, Kevin O’Brien, Wendy Robbins, Joe Bell, Joe Kowalczyk, Sheri Tonn, Rose McKenney, and Nathalie op de Beeck.

1. Reports from 2011-12 Sustainability Fellows

Carrie Hylander –      Food Justice and PLU: Carrie reported on her study of food justice in the Parkland and Pierce County community.  She researched what issues face those living in poverty to have access to healthy food. Although Parkland is not a food desert, with two major grocers in the area selling fresh produce, options here are more limited than in higher income Pierce County areas such as North Tacoma, Steilacoom, and Gig Harbor.  She proposed building a Farm-to-School approach by using the PLU After School Enrichment Program (ASEP-Big Buddies) at James Sales Elementary School. She suggests setting up a relationship using the Big Buddies program to link with a local farm or farmers for farm visits as well as supply fresh produce directly to the school.

Caitlyn Jackson –       The Sustainability of Sustainability. Caitlyn studied the degree to which sustainability programming is reaching students and if it changes behavior.  She conducted a review of sustainability programs on other campuses, organized focus groups and conducted interviews of 20 students.  She found that it was difficult to get students willing to participate who weren’t all ready interested in or involved in consciously making sustainably aware choices.  Some suggestions as to what is working here at PLU is out great infrastructure (recycling bins, composting, for example), a general culture shift (and peer pressure), and little things (Daily Flyer, Unplugged) that increase awareness. Specific suggestions for how PLU could do better in the future is to continue to engage more people to think critically about Sustainability, by incorporating sustainability themes into the curriculum through a course requirement that is balanced with the diversity requirement.  Additionally, moving the Sustainability Office closer into the center of campus would make it more accessible and raise its profile.

Brett Rousseau –       Sustainability in the Curriculum: Brett’s work focused on how to better integrate sustainability into the classroom at PLU.  She conducted a student retreat to start the conversation, and this retreat will now be an annual event.  She also conducted a survey of departments and schools on campus to unearth all classes in which sustainability themes are incorporated into at least part of the curriculum.  109 courses currently do just that, and reach about 890% of our students.  To further integrate sustainability learning into the curriculum, Brett has organized 20 faculty members interested and willing to participate in running a forum at University Conference 2012 to address the possibility of a Sustainability academic requirement for all PLU students, similar to the Diversity requirement.

 2. Introduction of 2012-13 Sustainability Fellows

Saiyare Refaei –         Carbon Emissions & Meat Consumption – Saiyare proposes studying the carbon footprint of meat consumption on PLU campus, conduct a survey to investigate changes in student consumption, and develop a green guide for students to reduce meat eating.

Kenneth Stancil –      Examining Irrigation Practices & Rainwater Usage – Kenny will be studying ways in with the campus may reduce irrigation by reusing storm water through rain barrels and other rain catchment systems.

Tyler Wilson –           Restoration of the Morken Meadow – Tyler will research how other Puget Sound institutions have successfully restored South Puget Sound Prairie to develop a plan for restoration of our Morken Meadow, which although blessed with some natives (including the 1000s of camas bulbs moved out of bulldozers’ way in March 2012 by student volunteers), the field is choked with non-native weeds.



3. Approval of Minutes from April 12 Meeting: The meetings were unanimously approved, with the addition of Gretchen Howell to the attendees.

 4. Election of a Chair for Next Year: Geosciences professor Rose McKenney was nominated and elected unanimously to serve as Chair of the committee for 2012-2013.

 5.  Announcements and Requests

-Dining Services has converted to all compostable flatware, saving 140lbs of plastic waste per years.  The new compostable sandwich wraps are saving 3,500 feet of plastic wrap, and lids have been found for the existing 16oz plastic tumblers used in the dining halls, thus allowing them to serve as To Go containers.

– There is approximately $5000 left in Grean Fees.  This money will be used for several small projects in Facilities unless last minute proposals come in from students.

– The new Campus entrance in front of Harstaad will be paved with pervious concrete and incorporate rain gardens.

– Eastvold Phase II construction has a goal of reaching Lied Gold.  Phase I (the North Wing) is Lied Platinum.

– The Solar panel installation on Facilities has been delayed as the installer is currently working in C. American installing panels on orphanages and health clinics.  He will resume work upon his return in July.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s