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Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
A New Academic Year, A New Agenda
Construction begins on eco-friendly aparments
Along with the newest sustainable technology, the residence hall will also feature outdoor barbeques and kitchens, volleyball and bocce ball courts. Apartments range in size from one bedroom, one bathroom to four bedrooms, two bathrooms. Applications for the new community with be accepted beginning February 1 at 5:30 p.m.
Frugal Innovation Comes to SCU
A new frugal innovation initiative created by the School of Engineering and SCU's Center for Science, Technology and Society (CSTS) will "provide a mechanism for faculty and students to apply their intellectual rigor while working on meaningful projects that not only serve the world, but also contribute to the success of our economy here at home," School of Engineering Dean Godfrey Mungal said.
With emerging markets in underdevelolped countries, like China, India and Africa, expected to account for 70% of global economic growth, there is a huge market to provide basic services to the masses. Which is why the initiative also includes a partnership with the Leavey School of Business to address the needs of these emerging markets in what is being called lean entrepreneurship.
This initiative adds to the ever-growing list of responses to Father Engh's call to action in his inagural address when he said, "SCU is uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to achieving a more just and sustainable future."
Sustainable Projects in Engineering
Using Haiti's disatrous earthquake as a jumping off point, Professor Reynaud Serrett’s Strucutral Systems engineering class was charged to design a two-room house that would utilize local materials, thus stimulating the local economy, while considering the culture. Students studied Haiti's different sustainable materials, the soil and weather conditions of the area, and even contacted the World Bank and United Nations for advice. Even though the final design was conceptual, students learned how to integrate the science of engineering with social and cultural concerns.
On a more local level, Associate Professor Christopher Kitt's Smart Product Design class, worked on designing, creating and then marketing smart vending machines. Both reusable water bottles and the reusable and sustainable take-out container Eco Tray were dispensed in what one team called “The Eco Dispenser.” Another team realized a “one-stop shopping” vending machine complete with snacks, beverages, and a hot entrée. Both teams’ designing products ended up promoting sustainability and saving money for the University.
Update on STARS
The Office of Sustainability is excited about the final report and expects the University will receive at least a STARS bronze certification.
The Grand Reunion
The Solar Decathlon house was a big draw for former engineering students. Mechanical engineering professor, Tim Hight, electrical engineering professor Tim Healy, along with the 2009 Solar Decathlon team welcomed former Broncos with freshly baked cookies from the 2007 house's energy-efficient oven. The professors and students pointed out the sustainable features of the house to the visitors, and also compared it to the 2009 house, which was in the process of being assembled nearby.
Alumni who ventured to The Forge Garden, with Environmental Studies Executive Director Leslie Gray, sampled fresh strawberries and mingled with the resident chickens. Senior Evie O'Connor discussed the many ways students are involved in the garden, including drop-in volunteering and AmeriCorp placements.
Campus Sustainability Week
The two-day event included a talk by Anthony “Van” Jones, environmental activist, author of The Green Collar Economy, and former Special Advisor for Green Jobs for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The second day focused on participatory action research, featuring many community leaders and members from a spectrum of organizations, specific talks on different types of partnerships in environmental justice research, and how environmental justice can gain momentum as a movement.
The symposium featured two SCU professors, Christopher Bacon of the Environmental Studies Institute, and Perlita Dicochea of the Ethnic Studies department, both spoke on their research with international communities.
Where do your apples come from?
Gizdich, who brought several crates of apples with him for event attendees to enjoy, explained his agricultural techniques, which center around integrated pest management (IPM) methods. He also talked about how to stay competitive in a market where his product is not unique, nor does he have a desire to expand the ranch's operations.
At forty acres, Gizdich claims the ranch is at capacity, but he sees value in keeping the size of his business small. Becuase he ships only as far south as Carmel and as far north as San Francisco, the products from his farm are always fresh when they reach consumers. This quality of product, which Gizdich oversees through each stage of its growth and production, is what gives him pride in his business and keeps customers returning.
The Follow Your Food Series is jointly sponsored by the Food and Agribusiness Institute and SCU Dining Services by Bon Appétit. For more information check out the schedule of upcoming Food & Agricusiness Institute events.
Sustainability and the Jesuit tradition
After a public key-note address on the afternoon of October 22, by visiting Notre Dame professor Kristin Shrader-Frechette, the conference began with an overview of the Penstemon Project and SCU's Office of Sustainability. Visiting faculty then braved the rain with a visit to the Forge Community Garden and experienced SCU's new building initiatives with a tour of Lucas Hall.
In addition to showcasing SCU's sustainability initiatives, the conference was a place for different faculty to brainstorm and network for their respective campuses. Some universities are radically adopting sustainable practices, while others do not yet have a central Office of Sustainability.
Conference director, Kevin Quinn, S.J. explained that throughout the weekend faculty broke into small groups according to discipline or home university "to discuss how to bring sustainability into the classroom and into the way we live and operate. They talked about the next steps," Quinn said.
While sustainability is a common theme on college campuses around the country, sustainability through a Catholic and Jesuit tradition is not. Quinn noted that sustainability and the environment became a major topic of discussion in Jesuit circles 20 years ago. "It was around the same time as the Catholic Church, in 1990, definitively stated that sustainability and protecting the environment were important," Quinn said.
Solar panels on the White House
Students: to lower your energy consumption, sign up for Living Green in the Neighborhood (off-campus residents) and the Residence Energy Challenge (RLC's and off-campus houses) which will begin winter quarter.
Voters say 'No' to Prop 23
AB 32 aims to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels, approximately 25%of current levels, by 2020 through new regualtions and market incentives, specifically cap-and-trade taxes.