Our heartfelt congratulations to Kelsey S., Frank R., and Shayne V.. While many of you have been told things about “the real world” after you graduate, these folks were doing the real work of sustainability on the ground at Unity College. All told, these three must have personally raised 500 lbs of chicken, diverted 18,000 lbs of waste from the landfill, and written 30,000 words on sustainability at Unity College. Their long-term commitment to our shared work has a made a real difference at Unity College. We’re grateful for your many contributions. Keep in touch.
Congratulations to our graduating students! Tomorrow’s commencement activities are a tremendous public celebration of our focus on sustainability science, and the real achievement of our students in the field. We know you’ll continue to do great things in your communities.
Graduates wearing the green ribbon at tomorrow’s ceremony have signed the Graduation Pledge, which states:
“I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work.”
By choosing Unity College, all of our students have committed themselves to a sustainable future. By signing the Graduation Pledge, they’ve made that commitment public on this important day.
– This post from Sustainability Assistant Jake M. –
In celebration of Earth Week and to “Get Out of the Landfill,” students sifted through sample bags of trash from each of the residence halls. Each residence had been given the challenge to trash as little recyclable waste as possible over the course of the week. The trash was then sorted between actual trash and materials that could have been recycled. Our recycling crew took the time earlier in the semester to establish a baseline of what kind of waste each residence was producing in terms of actual trash and recyclables put into the trash.
In raw percentage of potentially recycled material (figure 1) our best performers were Maplewood (15%) and East View (20%) while the worst performer was Woodhall (72.7%). When we looked at the percentage change from the baseline averages of each residence’s trash production (figure 2) our top performer was East View with a 54% reduction in the amount of recycled materials trashed while our TerraHaus/Cottages sample showed a 29% increase in lost recycling.
While there are many useful bits of information we can pull from this, perhaps the two most important are that first, as evidenced by East View, there is always room for improvement and it’s very easily done. Second, as evidenced by our lowest performers we still have plenty of opportunity to pick some low hanging fruit in our efforts to drive our overall waste production down. This will of course be a never ending team effort by everyone on campus; on campus and off campus, Students, Staff and Faculty alike. The good news is that we already doing well and we can continue to stay on the up and up with relative ease if we stay mindful of the challenges involved. But come on, who doesn’t like the sounds of perpetually winning?
-Jake McGinley 5/3/13
A new policy on how human and non-human animals can coexist respectfully will be added to the next edition of our Student Handbook. This language was crafted through student, staff, and faculty collaboration and approved by our Student Government Association. We hope to articulate our community’s ethic regarding the treatment of animals and continue to express our environmental mission as we use animals in an educational context.
Right now, the policy applies to our FFA chickens, critters in the animal room, and that sort of thing- but it also encompasses any animals we welcome to campus through future agricultural, wildlife, and captive wildlife care and education efforts.
Some thoughts from Gary Zane, Vice President for Student Affairs:
With the continuing expansion of our farm infrastructure and increased use of animals for many of our academic programs, we thought it prudent to develop a policy that would encourage proper use of our facilities and their resources, provide a safe environment for animals and our community members, and increase the awareness of the farm (and other animal facilities) and their role in the educational mission of Unity College.
The full language of the policy follows.
Unity College’s Policy for Campus-Owned Animals
Any animals located on the Unity College property serve both educational and experiential purposes. Students have the opportunity within classes and campus clubs to interact with the animals either formally or informally with permission. The UC campus policy has been set in place to uphold the highest possible standards of care for the campus animal collection. This policy supports Unity College’s Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee which operates in accordance with federal and state laws.
All campus-owned animals are to be respected and treated ethically. Violations of this policy include but are not limited to: tampering with, abusing, teasing, killing, tormenting, or inflicting any type of cruelty to campus animals. All signage specifying rules for access and conduct in animal areas should be followed. Animals are not to be removed from their enclosures unless specifically directed by the appropriate staff. Animals should not be fed by persons other than their caretakers unless directed. All Unity College students are encouraged to behave responsibly and in a way that promotes animal welfare and helps this campus to have a successful animal program for all majors. Students who observe an animal in distress, a violation in progress, or one that has already occurred are encouraged to report this situation immediately to public safety.
Penalties for violating the UC policy for campus-owned animals may include mandatory community service, fines, suspension of on-campus privileges and in some cases, suspension or expulsion from the college. Students may also be held legally accountable for violation of local, state, and federal laws.
We had a blast this year! …see for yourself.
Many thanks to all the students, clubs, offices, and faculty who sponsored a wide range of Earth Week events and to the entire planning crew: Sierra Marchacos, Dan Orlando, Makayla Syas, Martin Maines, Rebecca Neville, Jes Steele, Jesse Pyles, and Kalani Thorpe.