Dining Services Highlight: local burger lunch


Some notes from Lorey Duprey, our Dining Services Director, on highlights from today’s lunch:

“Tuesday lunch we will be featuring burgers with all local products, including award-winning Raye’s mustard and Northern Girl veggie fries.  So come on in and enjoy your lunch.  Celebrate local foods with an all local burger lunch!”

Our delicious lunch included:

Thanks, Lorey and crew!

AASHE Member Benefits

AASHE member webIf you’re a student or employee at Unity College, you’re also an AASHE member.  The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education maintains a robust resource center, manages the comprehensive Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), and provides valuable professional development and networking opportunities.  Importantly, AASHE has also recently established their Academic Commons — intended to be a one-stop-shop for faculty and academic administrators for all things sustainability education (think syllabi, lab exercises, presentations, research, etc.).  Unity College folks can access member-only resources by registering an AASHE account with your “@unity.edu” email address.

For a weekly round-up of sustainability news, events, and opportunities in higher ed., subscribe to the AASHE Bulletin.

Among the benefits highlighted on AASHE’s website:

Access to Member-only Resources – AASHE’s Resource Center is a clearinghouse for campus sustainability information. Members gain access to an extensive collection of policy databases, best practices, case studies, planning and assessment tools, surveys, reports, how-to guides, job descriptions, campus profiles, and many other invaluable resources.

Event Discounts – members receive discounts on AASHE’s annual conference, workshops, and other AASHE-sponsored events throughout the year.

Newsletters – AASHE Newsletters include AASHE Announcements, STARS Update, AASHE Events, and the premier e-newsletter on campus sustainability – AASHE Bulletin – which contains the latest news, invaluable resources, opportunities, and events related to sustainability in higher education.

Publicity – AASHE publicizes and celebrates member achievements through its newsletter, blog, publications, and other communications. In addition, campus members may: apply to be featured in the monthly Member Spotlight section of AASHE’s website, highlighting the sustainability efforts of your campus; use the AASHE Member Logo on your website, brochures, and other materials to emphasize your institution’s commitment to campus sustainability; use the Press Release Template to announce your institution’s AASHE membership to the campus and local community; and be listed on AASHE’s website – see list of members.

Professional Development and Networking – AASHE offers premier opportunities to network with colleagues at regional, national, and international levels. AASHE’s annual conference & expo is the largest of its kind, bringing together and engaging a diverse and inspired community with individuals from all sectors of higher education throughout the world, and includes a student summit. Other professional development activites include workshops, webinars, and discussion forums for sharing knowledge and resources.

Commuter Vanpool Interest

Unity College is exploring commuter vanpool options for employees and committed students.

Vanpool Benefits

  • Save money – The vanpool will cost riders between $100 and $160 per month depending on your location and contract.  See table below for projected cost comparison.
  • Reduce wear on your vehicle.
  • Decrease emissions – emissions from employee and student commuting annually account for 15-20% the campus’s carbon footprint.
  • Transit tax benefit – Employees can pay for the vanpool pre-tax with our Choice Strategies Transit/Parking Benefit.  More online here (open’s word document): http://goo.gl/MaBWCn.
  • Guaranteed ride home. Vanpool contractors will offer  ride service in the case of an emergency or unanticipated schedule change.

Interested Unity College community members can fill out the online Commuter Vanpool Interest form here.  (must log in with @Unity.edu Google account).

Click image to go to form.

Student Positions | Barn Crew

The Sustainability Office will fill four work-study barn positions this fall.

Eligible Unity College students can apply online here: http://goo.gl/1Pfipk

CampusLivestock SustRec

Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the barn crew here at Unity College. If you are selected from our list of applicants, you will become part of a team that oversees the general husbandry of the livestock on campus including: Chickens, Goats, Sheep and Rabbits. Duties will include but are not limited to: feeding, cleaning, handling, observing and keeping records of livestock, lifting up to 50 lbs, maintaining barn facilities/fencing, and completing other barn-related tasks as necessary.

Contact Barn Manager Meg Anderson at: MAnderson[@]unity.edu

We Did It! Solar on the White House


Nearly three years after they committed to do so, the Obama administration is installing solar panels on the White House this week. The administration knows that this is an important symbol to an America desperate for climate leadership. In fact, we told them that in person when a crew of Unity College students teamed up with Bill McKibben and 350.org to launch an epic solar road trip from Unity College to Washington in 2010. Along the way, we rallied the troops in Boston, New York, and DC, before delivering a petition of over 40,000 signatures to the White House Council on Environmental Quality with a simple message for Obama: put solar back on the White House and show real leadership on meaningful climate policy.

Courtyard Panels

Since 1991, Unity College has been the proud steward of the solar hot water panels that were installed on the White House roof by the Jimmy Carter administration in 1979. Those panels were removed during the Reagan administration in 1986 and languished in government storage until Unity’s Peter Marbach secured them and brought them to Unity College. Sixteen of those panels heated water on our own cafeteria roof for over twelve years and many others have been restored by energy lab students and Professor Mick Womersley for museum loan and public display.

Two of those restored panels were featured in the 2010 documentary A Road Not Taken, which followed Unity College (now) alums Sara Trunzo and Jason Reynolds on a solar road trip of their own. The film — by Swiss artists Christina Hemauer and Roman Keller — uses the delivery of those panels to the National History Museum in DC and the Carter Center in Atlanta to explore the unrealized hope for a renewable American energy future.

This current White House solar installation brings us closer to that future. Symbols are important, and solar on the White House is a stirring symbol of climate commitment from the top. May this public statement and the President’s full Climate Action Plan portend even bolder climate leadership to come; our students demand and deserve no less.  Thank you, Mr. President, for heeding their call.

Summer Solar

library solar crop

This week we fired up the third inverter and so the full three arrays of our library solar project (click link to read more about our unique Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with our partners at ReVision Energy). Installed in September, the 144-panel, 37.44 kW solar photo-voltaic system was just big enough to require some unforeseen upgrades — namely the utility company’s replacement of the transformer and pole that feed into (and out of!) the library. We were approved to energize two-thirds of the system in April before that work was completed, but it wasn’t until the transformer replacement this past Monday that we had the go-ahead to energize the full system, and just in time for the summer solstice.

We’re in peak solar season right now, with the longest sunlight days of the year and a great recent run of clear days. In fact, on its first day of full operation this week, our system produced 254.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity — which would meet about half the monthly average electricity consumption for a Maine household. Yes, we made more electricity on one day than you and your family likely use in two weeks. The excess electricity that we produce during these peak months earns us a credit from the utility company which will be applied in our favor during the less productive times of the year. Over the course of the year, we expect the system to generate about 80% of the library’s total annual electricity usage.

The image below shows you the system production for May, when only two-thirds of the system was up and running.  Production in May totaled 3,529 kWh, while electricity use in the library was only 3,040 kWh. Welcome solar summer!

May '13 solar production

Campus Livestock Update

This post from new Barn Manager Meg Anderson with some brief details on campus animal planning.

“First, I want to thank the Faculty and Staff for welcoming me back to my alma mater with open arms, I can’t imagine working in a place where I felt more at home than I do here at UC.  I am so encouraged by the changes I see around campus and the ever-evolving curriculum. I feel very fortunate to be an integral part of the revitalization process.

Click for more barn photos

Click for more barn photos

The sustainability staff is thrilled to relay that projects surrounding the completion of the livestock barn are filled with energy and support from all members of the UC community.  After the completion of the barn renovations and permanent perimeter fencing (slated for completion in early August) we will be bringing in some of New England’s signature breeds including Katahdins – a hair sheep originally bred by Michael Piel in Northern Maine in the 1950’s and Delaware dual purpose chickens – developed by George Ellis in the 1940’s in, you guessed it, Delaware!

We will also be introducing a small herd of San Clemente Island goats, one of only two registered herds in the state of Maine and 4 out of less than 500 animals in existence. San Clemente goat populations are considered ‘Critical’ on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s Conservation Priority list. Also on the ALBC Conservation Priority List as a ‘Threatened’ breed originating in the United States, a pair of Silver Fox rabbits will make themselves at home in the barn to provide insight into small breed management practices.

Please feel free to contact me at manderson[@]unity.edu if you have any questions or concerns regarding the campus farm or just want to chat, I’d be happy to!”

Welcome, Sarah!

“I look at the world and ask,  ‘What needs to happen?’  Then I see how my passion can fit those needs.”

Who said that?  How do we get them working with our team?

Sarah B 1Sarah Bicknell, a current Sustainable Agriculture student at Unity, has joined the Sustainability Office as Food and Farm Projects Technician for the summer months.  We’re thrilled to pieces!

This student position, which was made possible with the generous support of the Sewall Foundation, is designed to further the hunger relief mission of Veggies For All by providing support in the veggie fields and creating more connectivity between the College and community food work.  Sarah will also manage some summer greenhouse projects and assist in other food security collaborations we maintain with local partners, such as the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry and Unity Barn Raisers, the administrative home of VFA.

Sarah is a continuous source of positivity and initiative on the worksite.  If you’re lucky enough to work with her- you will find yourself laughing a lot and working hard.   She is also an independent and dedicated team member who is not afraid to dig into tasks.  Her passion for this work is crystal clear!

Her experience includes an AmeriCorps Apprenticeship at The Youth Garden Project in Moab, Utah, an internship with Maine Farmland Trust’s Farm Viability office here in Unity, and volunteer-student greenhouse manager during the last semester.

She works on gardens and other projects at her off-the-grid homestead in Freedom when she’s not doing good work out in the community.

We have a feeling this is going to be a great year…

Welcome, Sarah!

Welcome Barn Manager

We’re thrilled to welcome back Megan Anderson, ’09 as Unity College’s new Barn Manager.  Meg brings a wealth of experience in animal and vegetable agriculture having exhausted the western Waldo County farm circuit before landing in international sales at Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Meg raises her own goats, rabbits, chickens and more right here in Unity, and has wasted no time identifying breeds to best meet our educational and operational goals.

Megan Anderson

As you know, the campus animal barn has undergone some recent renovations in preparation for adding college-owned livestock to campus, and Meg’s here to make sure we do it right.  Over the summer, she’ll finalize barn renovations, develop a rotational grazing fence system, and prepare safety and management protocol for effective use of the barn. When she’s not in the field this summer, you might catch her in the Sustainability Office during this planning phase.  Look for her in her new barn office in the fall . . . . she’s the one with two legs (no wings).

Welcome, Meg.  We’re so glad you’re on the job.

Sustainability Team Graduates

kelsey frank shayne 2Our 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.


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