Friday, Aug 23, 2019

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The OHIO Ecohouse is the only off-campus living experience for students that is focused on teaching sustainable living habits. Applications are now available for residents in the 2016-2017 school year.

Photo courtesy of: Office of Sustainability


Ohio University’s new bicycle repair station is located outside the Silas Bingham House. A special event teaching bicyclists how to use this station will be held on September 10, 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (offered twice) at the Bingham House.

Photo courtesy of: Office of Sustainability


The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway repairs were completed in July and have allowed bicycle commuters a smooth ride to their destinations.

Photo courtesy of: Office of Sustainability

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Ohio University celebrates summer sustainability accomplishments

As Ohio University students, faculty and staff settle back into the rhythm of a new academic year, University officials are celebrating many sustainability-related accomplishments that took place in the past four months.  

1.) The newly formed Sustainability Alumni Society hosted its first event during the alumni On The Green Weekend. The event was held in Silas Bingham House where refreshments were served while alums were able to walk around the house to various kiosks explaining the University’s efforts toward sustainable infrastructure and behavior change.

2.) Ohio University began the transition to single stream recycling through a competitive bid process.  Ultimately, Athens Hocking Recycling Center was selected to provide single stream pick-up service to the entire Athens campus. This means that all traditional recycling on campus can be placed in a single bin rather than being separated. The “Bobcats Recycle” outreach campaign will continue to engage the campus community throughout the year to educate the campus community about this change. More information is available at www.ohio.edu/recycle

a. Cardboard will be maintained as a separate category in select high volume locations including the dining halls, central foods, central receiving, printing services, the mail room, and Campus Recycling.

3.) Steam tunnel repairs occurred throughout campus during the steam shut-down in early summer in which 37% of existing steam traps were repairs and 14 structural repairs were made to tunnels. Such repairs were funded by the Energy Infrastructure Projects Initiative. Preliminary data suggests that these repairs have yielded an average of 30% savings in water reductions and 20% savings in energy reductions for the months of June and July.  

4.) Sierra Club announced its list of the top 153 “Coolest Schools” (sustainable institutions) of 2015. Ohio University made the list, being ranked #93 in the nation. The university scored high in the category of “Innovation” and received its highest comparative ranking in the category of “Investments.”

5.) Ohio University's Office of Transportation and Parking Services added several new Leaf and Volt electric/hybrid vehicles to its campus fleet. These vehicles are available for rent through the University's motor pool rental process. Students, faculty and staff will be able to utilize the vehicles at Baker Center and Human Resources and Training Center through an on-campus car-sharing program and can utilize the Agile Fleet Commander software to rent the motor pool vehicles.  

6.) Students, faculty and staff at Ohio University are now able to charge their electric vehicles while on campus. Charging stations have been installed at 5 strategic locations:

a.  LOT 90- Double Charging Station (near Morton)
b.   LOT 111-Double Charging Station (near Stocker)
c.   LOT 122-Double wall mount station in lower level and a future double station at surface level (near Baker) 
d.   LOT 132-Double Charging Station (near Peden)
e.   LOT 147-Double Charging Station (near Human Resources) 

7.) Ohio University's Office of Sustainability announced the transition of two part-time employees to full-time status. Elaine Goetz and Sam Crowl have been working with the office as part-time employees for the past year and their transition to full-time is allowing the Office of Sustainability to take a more proactive approach to implementing sustainable programs on campus. 

8.) In Spring 2015, the Foundation Board announced the disclosure of their endowment investments. Office of Sustainability staff spent the summer reviewing the mutual funds associated with these investments to assess the institution’s current financial commitments to both fossil-free investing and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing. While ESG results are still not available, it was calculated that current mutual funds, fixed income and most private equity investments held by the Ohio University Foundation Board have 8.48% invested in the fossil fuel industry. That total does not include hedge funds and a small portion of private equity investments.

9.) The Facilities Management Department conducted a national search for the Director of Utilities and hired Joel Baetens, who will begin work on September 8. Baetens, a Certified Energy Manager and Professional Engineer, previously served as the manager of Energy and Utilities at Eastern Michigan University. He has a M.S. in Renewable Clean Energy from the University of Dayton and a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oakland University.

10.) Students, faculty, staff, community members and visitors to Athens County can now commute around campus in a more comfortable and sustainable manner thanks to the newly completed upgrades to the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway along the University’s portion of the path. In the past two years, nearly two miles of the pathway have been repaired by Ohio University to increase safety and active transportation in the City of Athens. A ribbon cutting ceremony of these upgrades was hosted alongside the City of Athens in July as they celebrated the City’s recent designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.  

11.) To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the OHIO Ecohouse updated its garden and landscape plantings to qualify as a Monarch Waystation and National Wildlife Federation Certified Habitat. Both certifications were received this summer and signage will soon be placed at the Ecohouse to announce these accomplishments. 

12.) Alden Library instituted a new printing program with one of the intended objectives to be a decrease in institutional printing. The One Card Office and the Office of Information Technology are working together to modernize and improve the public printing experience on campus. Public printers in Alden Library have now transitioned to the Student & Public Printing system. For students, printing will be done using your Bobcat Cash account rather than being billed to your student account. For guests and departmental users, public printing will be done using a Guest/Departmental Print Card.

13.) The first Sustainability Living Floor was established, events were planned throughout the summer and its first residents moved in the week before fall semester classes began. The theme of “Sustainable Living” will be promoted in all Office of Sustainability events in Fall 2015 to help celebrate the opening of this floor and, simultaneously, the 10th anniversary of the OHIO Ecohouse. The full listing of events is available at www.ohio.edu/sustainability/Calendar.cfm.

Get Involved: 
The Ohio University Office of Sustainability is dedicated to supporting sustainable behaviors, programs and policies within Ohio University by ensuring the University’s actions are inclusive of the triple bottom line: people, planet and prosperity. To learn about various sustainable efforts that departments and other groups are exploring at OHIO, please check out Sustainable Ohio University Leaders. More information about SOUL and the Office of Sustainability can be found at www.ohio.edu/sustainability or by calling (740) 593-0460.

This article was provided by Ohio University's Office of Sustainability.