Q & A with SUNY Oswego Sustainability

“We cannot hope to create a sustainable culture with any but sustainable souls.”

-Derrick Jensen

 

Hi Readers,

Recently I had the pleasure of talking the school’s sustainability department, and I learned a lot about their role on campus, and why it is important to know what they do, as well as a few tidbits of information on the new science building and how students (just like you!) can contribute and get involved with these really cool guys on campus.

 

Q: First off, a little background info for the readers. Who/what all does the sustainability department comprise?

A:  The sustainability department basically is comprised of 4 people.
  • Jamie Adams        – Sustainability Programs Coordinator
  • Mike Lotito           – Sustainability Engineering Coordinator
  • Jason MacLeod      – Graduate Assistant
  • Stephanie Chytalo  – Intern
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Q: What exactly is the scope of your organization’s activities?
A:  The sustainability office is responsible for facilitating the implementation of academic and engineering sustainability-related initiatives throughout the SUNY Oswego Campus. Additionally, the sustainability department is responsible for calculating greenhouse gas emissions, compiling the annual campus carbon footprint, and completing all mandatory reporting (e.g., Executive Order 4 & 88).
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Q: What were the things your department was responsible for in the design and implementation of the Shineman Center?
A:  Currently, the way the sustainability department has been structured by the college, Mike Lotito works both for sustainability and the facilities planning and design team. Therefore, we cannot solely claim responsibility for any of the sustainable features of the building, because we have always collaborated with the larger planning, design, and construction team. So, we had say in many of sustainability features, such as, the energy dashboard system, solar array, and geothermal system just to name a few. However, we were also a part of the larger discussion of heating and ventilation systems, lighting, plumbing, and controls which are not commonly thought of as sustainable features, but do contribute substantially to why the building is efficient.
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Q: How much of Shineman’s energy is produced through renewable means (i.e. wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) and can you provide a breakdown of how much each source contributes?
A:  This is a tough question, and honestly the building is so new that we haven’t received enough data to provide a comprehensive breakdown of individual energy contributions. Typically, those types of statistics cannot be accurately projected until there has been at least one complete year of post-occupancy commissioning. However, I can accurately give you the specifications of the systems. We have installed a 36 kW solar array on the roof, and the geothermal system is comprised of 240 wells which are all 499 feet deep. The plan is to use the geothermal system to both supplement heating and cooling of the building throughout the year. Furthermore, there are two experimental areas of green roof installed on the east connector and south side of the building totally more than 2,000 sq. ft. In the future, we are hoping to have a few electric vehicle charging stations and a small vertical axis wind turbine installed as well. 
 
Since I can’t provide you with the exact data you are requesting, here are some additional statistics we have estimated in contrast to the previously occupied buildings.
  • Shineman is designed as a LEED Gold Building
  • Estimated to use 40% of the energy required to operate the old Piez and existing Snygg building, while Shineman is actually larger than the two buildings combined.
  • Designed to generate 38% less waste water than Piez and Snygg combined.
  • Designed to use 64% of the natural gas and 23% less electricity than the existing science buildings.
  • The geothermal system utilizes approximately 44 miles of piping.
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Q: What is/are the best way(s) for students to get involved with the sustainability department?
A:  The best way to get involved is to visit our website, do-one-thing a day, and make suggestions for improving campus-wide sustainability awareness. Additionally, if you are a student that wants to contribute for sustainability initiatives on campus, you can get credit for doing so by enrolling in SUS101-ECO Reps. 
 
Here is more information on becoming an Eco Rep at SUNY Oswego.
Or, visit our website:

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So, there you have it. If you ever have any questions for them concerning projects on campus or the like, you can also give the department a visit over in 165 Wilber Hall (located within the facilities design and construction office). They’re all very friendly people and are always happy to have a chat with a student!

 

 

A Moswego Movember to Remember

“There’s truth and honor in a mustache. And that’s why I started flying one on the flagpole outside of my house. 
”            – Jarod Kintz

Hey Readers!

There is but one week left in this year’s Movember rally! “What’s Movember?” you ask? Check out this page to learn all about the campaign to raise awareness for men’s health issues (AKA prostate and testicular cancer).

Yes, I am.

So, why am I posting about this? I’m on Oswego’s Movember team, of course! See?

There’s me, with my beautiful Movember ‘stache.

So, if you have a minute, check out our team web page; and if you can muster it, donate a few bucks for the cause!

I mean, how could you not after seeing that pretty face?

LiNK and the Global Awareness Conference

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

― Elie Wiesel

 

Hey readers!

Last weekend, the campus showed it’s activist spirit at the annual Global Awareness Conference in Hart Hall, a HUGE event with speakers, demonstrations, and activities showcasing our college’s global spirit! It was a fun festival full of interesting mini-events, with the organizers running the gamut – from local speakers and professors to world-renowned activists. The keynote speakers this year were Gabriel Bol Deng, an activist and former Sudanese “lost-boy” who is working on educational and health programs in the newly formed South Sudan, and Jessica Minhas, a renowned humanitarian working on exploitation and abuse issues around the world through the use of new media.

My club, Students for Global Change, gave a talk about the crisis in North Korea, and had visiting guests in the “Northeast Nomads”, a group of individuals who promote Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) and its cause to college campuses across the country. The Nomads showed a documentary about Danny, a refugee that LiNK helped rescue and start a new life. Shameless plug: If this stuff sounds interesting to you, feel free to come to Student’s for Global Change’s club meetings, Wednesdays at 8:30 in Campus Center 133, and join our facebook group to stay updated with what we are doing!

 

Club Prez Sarah with the Northeast Nomads!

To close out this post, I’d just like to take this opportunity to remind you, dear readers, that it doesn’t take much to be an “active citizen”, but it is a VERY important thing to be. Next time you walk through the campus center, don’t be discouraged by all the groups who seem to be asking you for money; go up to their tables and talk to them! Get to know them, and if you find that they are trying to raise awareness for an issue that you care about, ask how you can get involved. Dedicate time and energy to a cause worth fighting for – I promise you, its worth more than any amount of money in the world.

 

Hack Upstate, Fall ’13

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”  -William James

Hi Readers,

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a local engineering event open to the public (provided advanced registration was duly made online) called Hack Upstate, which this year, was held at “The Tech Garden” in nearby Syracuse. This was a gathering of bright minds from all over New York state, who got together with the sole purpose of seeing what kinds of crazy projects could be attempted (and even more, completed!) over the course of an ever-so-short 24 hour window. The word “hack” in the name might imply a certain affinity for computer programming, and while there were certainly a majority of code projects on display, the competition is not limited to them in any way. There were some incredible feats of electrical and computer engineering accomplished for such a short amount of work time, and that is just the tip of the iceberg! The purpose of the competition is to utilize existing technologies in interesting ways – apart from that, there are virtually no restrictions on what can be attempted.

The Gathering Room

The Presentation Room

There were people from all walks of life present – even non tech-oriented types who simply had ideas they wanted to see realized. It truly was a melting pot for innovation. One group materialized a web-based game utilizing the popular Bandcamp website, wherein players could vote on randomly generated bands in order to find the so-called “best band on Bandcamp”. Another group created a website where stories are dynamically created by the users of the site – any user could add new branches or alternate endings, etc.. to an existing story, at will. Cool stuff.

Now, this probably sounds like all work and no fun, right? Think again! Organized by the show-runners of Syracuse Startup Weekend, Hack Upstate is a less formal event that takes place twice a year, and is a rockin’ good time meant to encourage interaction amongst the participants in fun ways. It starts with idea pitching, where anyone can come up in front of the audience and try to sell their idea to everyone in the hopes of finding talent to help work on it. After the competition begins, its just a party, with practically unlimited pizza and subs and free reign to do pretty much whatever you want. (There’s even an award given to the most social/engaging group of the competition!) A few of us groups got together and decided to go to a local venue nearby and do work while listening to some live music – truly a memorable experience.