Progress, Spring Semester 2016


Despite the lack of postings to this class blog, we have made significant progress in the Sustainability Practicum this semester.

Students have tackled the May Move Out, adjusting it to deal with no funds to run it this semester (and this has been accomplished) while working on marketing and communicating the May Move Out to students at OWU (including a new mascot, the Moooove Out Cow). The May Move Out is a go, and we are anticipating beating our 2015 haul of 9.5 tons of stuff donated to Goodwill.

We are also tackling the technical issues that have limited the use of the reusable food containers at HWCC. We hope to resolve those problems and be ready to go 100% reusable containers for the fall of 2016.

Best of all, we have a newly concocted OWU Sustainability Plan that is very different from the 40 page monster created in the spring of 2015. The new plan can be viewed in all its glory (with some background) here at OWU Sustainability Plan.


Week 4 Progress


Progress is being made!

Read and discussed Psychology of Sustainability and how it applies to the revision of the Sustainability Plan for OWU and other Spring 2016 projects.

Met with Sustainability Task Force (Tues January 26) and discussed revision of the Sustainability Plan for OWU. Memo here.

Ally & Blake: draft reusable food container strategy memo here and meeting with Gene Castelli (Tues Feb 2). Also to discuss continuing work on Real Food Challenge.

Zanna & James & Emily: draft May Move Out logistics memo; Goodwill and OWU B&G to be contacted about meeting.

Ally: vision stuff for food collaboration (contact Chris Fink, meeting of OWU, Stratford, MTSO). Tentative Vision Document here:


Chimney Swift Towers: meeting between student in Geog 360 and Dick Tuttle and others to discuss project implementation, Spring 2016

Meek Aquatic Center retention pond plantings: meeting between student and Delco contact to discuss project implementation, Spring 2016

Geog 499: First Meeting Spring 2016


Geography 499: Sustainability Practicum


The situation:

  • I’m not a sustainability expert, nor is anyone on campus or in this class, but we can make progress using our collective skills and knowledge.
  • I need your help to make this happen: this is a collaboration. You need to play an active role.
  • Sustainability in the real world is put into practice under circumstances like those here at OWU. Not ideal but workable. Experiences in this course will help you – whether in graduate school, in a job or in life in general. It’s about figuring out stuff and making things happen.
  • Work in this class is also tied to changes and developments in the Environmental Studies program:
    • “The proposed OWU Center for the Environment consists of an enhanced Environmental Studies program focused on active student learning about sustainability and environmental issues. A full time staff member and office facilities with a budget for speakers, visiting scholars, and student research will provide an intellectual and physical center for the program, greatly enhance the experience of current majors and attract new students. The Environmental Studies major will continue to consist of selected courses from across traditional disciplines, but the core of the major will focus on engagement in regional sustainability and environmental research projects. Environmental Studies will be the first major at OWU centered on theory-into-practice.”
    • Seeking funds from Alumni donors, grants (Government and private foundations)
    • Slow but progress: a budget for ES 2015-16!

A few more confessions:

  • I am extremely prepared and very much (planned) unprepared for this course!
  • Let’s look at the course as a cool project you are getting credit for

For Next Meeting:

1) Review the following sustainability plans:

1 page: Comments on various Sustainability Plans (including ours). Focus on moving our draft plan towards a more succinct, accessible and plan-like final form. What should that form be like?

2) Look at the course books and resources (tab) for the class

1 page: Review the course books and other resources (besides the Denison plan) at the end of the course syllabus and include a few comments on these materials so I know you looked at them. Regarding the course books: when to read? Substitutions? Role of readings in a course like this?

3) Review and reflect on the ideas and goals for the course (syllabus)

4) Think about how we should structure our work this semester (given the time we have, goals, etc.)

1 page: Construct, a rough schedule for the semester Suggest a general plan for the course that leads to our desired outcomes: In other words, how would you put together this class and project if you were in charge given time and resources?

Spring Semester 2016

Week 1: January 12/13
Week 2: January 19/21
Week 3: January 26/28
Week 4: February 2/4
Week 5: February 9/11
Week 6: February 16/18
Week 7: February 23/25
Week 8: March 1/3
Week 9: March 8/10: Spring Break
Week 10: March 15/17
Week 11: March 22/24
Week 12: March 29/31
Week 13: April 5/7
Week 14: April 12/14
Week 15: April 19/21: Earth Day Week!
Week 16: April 26

5) 1/2 Page: Jot down what you believe to be your personal strengths and weaknesses in the context of this course and our projects.


  • Please email me a copy of your ideas before our next meeting
  • Please feel free to talk to me about any of this
  • Don’t freak out



Week 15 Progress & Wrapping Up

Hungry dog

As the end of the semester nears, we need to ensure that your work and recommendations for future efforts are documented in a concise and coherent way.

Everyone: Comments on the Draft Sustainability Report: Please compile comments received about the report in the April 4 STF meeting. Please add the comments to the Google Drive draft plan at appropriate locations in the document.

Everyone: Grants / Foundations: Please put information you documented along with your name in the document in the Action: Grants / Foundation folder.

Group UC160: Please create a brief report on your recommendations for a section of UC160 focused on Sustainability. Resources and report in folder Action: UC160 Sustainability.

Group Student Symposium: Please create a brief report on the presentation (date, time, questions, etc.) and your recommendations for future similar presentations or outreach. Resources and report in folder Action: Student Symposium.

Group Dominion Foundation Grant: Please create a brief report on the Dominion Foundation Grant – Building Energy Monitors – and recommendations about writing this grant. We have basic information about these monitors but could use ideas for how to actually use them (building vs building or floor vs floor competitions to reduce energy use). Resources and report in Action: Grants / Foundations. Resources:

  • Energy_OWU.pdf: Student project report: see page 3 for recommendation for building energy monitors; the rest of this report sets the context for how we could document and compare energy data.
  • NSF_TUES_Grant.pdf: see page 7-8 in this grant proposal.

Group Badges: Please create a brief report on information and ideas for using Badges to promote sustainability and sustainability efforts on campus. Please look back at my discussion on the Week 11 Progress posting on this blog and include links to resources.

Group Food: Please create a brief report focused on the four goals we discussed with Gene Castelli for the food section of the sustainability report:

  • Real Food Challenge: Gene will update on his progress
  • Composting: Gene will get data (food scraps waste and Trim Trax program); summarize data from Geography 360 project on composting
  • Dishwasher and Reusable Dinnerware: Gene will get data on use of disposable dinnerware before and after introduction of reusable dinnerware (HWCC). Summarize data from Geography 360 project on dishwasher and reusable dinnerware (Allie France)
  • Bottled Water: Gene will get data on amount of bottled water sold on campus and continue to collect this data so we can monitor. Summarize data from Geography 360 project focused on water bottles and Ban the Bottle (Olivia Lease).
  • Student Position: Need for 10-15 hours per week of student labor to compile data. This could be the Legacy Internship position or potentially a new position created by the STF. Include a proposal for this position for fall of 2015.
  • Local Food Outreach: Finally, include as a goal OWU outreach to both Stratford and MTSO regarding their farms/gardens. Briefly summarize what each are doing. Also include mention of the Delaware Community Market.


Finishing Up The Semester


I. Against Sustainability: 2 or so pages

Echo chambers are not good! This situation occurs when all in a group believe just about the same thing and only interact with those who share similar beliefs. To throw a different voice into our efforts as we close the semester, I would like each of you to read a recent invective focused on sustainability on college campuses written by the National Association of Scholars (NAS). 

The NAS is a “think tank” funded by a small number of politically conservative organizations (Sarah Scaife Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the Castle Rock Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation – all linked to in the Wikipedia article on the NAS). These foundations were built as an alternative source of “scholarly” efforts outside of colleges and universities (which are seen as being too liberal and unsympathetic to conservative causes).

Conservative organizations have targeted environmental studies and sustainability in higher education for several decades and the recent report is a good example of their concerns. Along with such critiques come efforts to focus research efforts in government and higher education on topics other than the environment. For example, the official Republican Party Platform has been erasing environmental issues from the science policy section of their platform and instead focusing on issues such as space exploration and neuroscience. Some have suggested that the funding (particularly from private donations) for neuroscience programs in higher education, for example, is an effort to shift focus away from typically popular environmental studies/science and sustainability programs. Curious!

Take a look at the report, linked below, and we will discuss during our last meeting (Thursday April 30). I would like you to write up a few pages of your thoughts on this report as part of your final efforts in the class (Due Thursday May 7 at noon).



2. Course & Personal Assessment: 2-4 pages

One page or so: your thoughts on the course, its structure, and the way we worked out the goal (creating a draft Sustainability Plan). Did the wheels come off? Or not? Did we do more than throw a pinecone (see below)? Do you think our effort will affect sustainability efforts on campus? Or are you more pessimistic? Given that I will offer the course again next spring, document 3 things that worked well, and 3 that could use some work and/or ideas for what the course should focus on. Your suggestions for next year are very much appreciated.

One page or so: assessment of your personal efforts in the course. Describe what you did (specifically) and your role in the class (compared to other students in the class). As usual, given your efforts, let me know what you think you deserve for a letter grade.

Also due Thursday May 7 at noon.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 6.38.09 AM

Week 11 Progress

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Progress on Goals for Draft Sustainability Plan

  • Groups are generating goals for Plan and adding as comments to document
  • Deadline: class, Tuesday March 31
  • STF Meeting: Wednesday April 4th at 4pm in 311 HWCC
  • Basic Framework: include a range of goals:
    • Goals for Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students
    • Annual / Biannual or short term vs long term goals
  • Please talk to me about goals for input, and indicate (with a comment) when your goals for a section are complete.

2015-16 UC160 Course

  • Committed to teaching a section of UC 160 The OWU Experience with a sustainability & environment focus Spring 2016
  • Coordinate with this course, also being taught Spring 2016
  • Post ideas for this course in the shared document (Geog 499 folder) called Action: UC160 Sustainability

2015 Student Symposium: April 15

We need a few class members to speak, and the rest to develop presentation materials. Post ideas for this presentation in the shared document (Geog 499 folder) called Action: 2015 Student Symposium

Panel 7: Social Sciences
Faculty Moderator: Dr. Christopher Fink, Health and Human Kinetics
5:15 – 5:50 SCSC 161

5:15 Nathan Madonich and Sara Scinto, An Exploration of the Structure, Dynamics, and Impact on Quality of Life of Selected Short Food Supply Chains (SFSCs) in Italy and the United States

5:30 GEOG 499 – Seminar: OWU Campus Sustainability Plan, Draft Sustainability Plan for OWU

The room is equipped with a projector and a computer so you can use any visual material you choose. Each talk is scheduled for 10 minutes with 5 minutes for questions and answers. There are 5 minutes for transition between panelists. I encourage you to arrive early to load your presentation on the local computer to speed up the transitions. You are expected to stay and listen to all of the papers presented at your panel. You are also invited to the reception during the Poster Session at 6:15 in the SCSC Atrium.

Grants & 2015 Dominion Foundation Grant

  • Dominion Foundation information here
  • PDF of grant content (content starts on page 6 – under Request Information) here
  • Share additional grant opportunities you have found (as per previous request) in the shared document (Geog 499 folder) called Action: Grants / Foundations

QR Codes and Sustainability at OWU


Alumni Emily Hau sent along a Yale (where she works) thing that we may be able to do something with – a QR code that goes to the sustainability web site or potentially goes to info about specific programs. Not sure if people use these codes much but may be worth thinking about ideas.

  • Post ideas for how we might use QR codes in the shared document (Geog 499 folder) called Action: QR Codes / Sustainability

Badges! We need some Stinkin’ Badges!

You are probably familiar with Boy or Girl Scout merit badges. The point was simple, an organization set up guidelines for a goal or task and, when completed, the badge is issued. For the Scouts, the badge is a recognition of effort and accomplishment.

Think about your experience in college. You get credits and eventually a degree: all similar in a way to a scout badge. Specific courses and a degree are all recognition of effort and accomplishment. There are, however, many things you do as part of your college education that are not officially recognized: internships, volunteer projects, SLU projects. An increasing number of efforts like this on campus are related to sustainability and environment. You can put these on your resume, but why not go a step further with some kind of formal recognition for non-credit accomplishments: this is the idea of Digital or Open Badges.

Digital or Open Badges are getting the most attention in the growing world of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses). MOOCs are free online courses, typically offered by institutions of higher learning or organizations. You can learn stuff, but typically you don’t get any credit for the effort (eg., they don’t count towards a degree). So credentials are something you have to pay for. Digital Badges, associated with the completion of MOOCs offer some semblance of a credit (or credential) in contexts where you are not getting official university credit. They are, in essence, a way around the pay for a credit or degree model of education.

There are many models of Digital Badges but most require some kind of official organization to set guidelines which, when met, result in a badge. It is preferable if the requirements for the badge is set up and overseen by educators and professionals familiar with the content the badge represents. The badge is not issued until there is clear evidence that the specified tasks have been completed.

What about a series of sustainability and environment badges for efforts by students (and staff and faculty) at OWU? I envision an oversight group (maybe STF, but it would be good to include off campus professionals). While symbolic, the idea is that the badge is a more official and potentially meaningful way to recognize effort and accomplishment than a line on a resume.

Look over some resources on Badges and lets discuss if and how we might consider implementing a system here at OWU.

Post ideas for how we might use QR codes in the shared document (Geog 499 folder) called Action: Stinkin’ Badges

  • Question: badges vs. .25 credit (like physical education courses)

Week 9 Progress and Post Spring Break Work


Week 9 Progress

  • Waiting on feedback on draft sustainability plan from STF (meeting Wednesday March 4th at 4pm in 311 HWCC) and alumni reviewers
  • Submitted Legacy Internship proposal for Food Sustainability
  • Considering teaching a section of UC 160 The OWU Experience with a sustainability & environment focus (Fall 2015 or Spring 2016)

Post Spring Break Work: updated Monday March 16

A few new additions in red below.

1. Put Thursday April 9 4pm meeting of STF on your calendar. Let me know who can attend.

2. Potential grant opportunities and fundable projects: please identify a minimum of three foundations and their specific grants we can consider.

  • Foundation Center (Karen Crosman has a subscription and can search more options through the Center; I suggest compiling any questions you have or searches you suggest and we will send her a list from all of us).
  • Columbus Foundation: several people with OWU connections are in significant positions at this Foundation, which is more or less a “meta” foundation which administers many smaller foundations and grant sources. Some are limited to the City of Columbus or Franklin Co., but others are available to Delaware Co.
  • General Foundation Search: keep in mind what Karen talked to us about foundations and search for additional options. Sometimes it helps to have a project or projects in mind (dishwasher, natural gas powered vans) other times it helps to see what a foundation funds (to get ideas for possibilities on campus).

3. Review entire draft of sustainability plan and document ideas for specific, measurable goals. Please generate a minimum of ten sustainability goals for our sustainability plan.

  • Determine which groups are covering which sections.
  • Meeting with Gene Castelli (Chartwell’s related content).
  • Review other sustainability plans for goal ideas and examples.
  • Review President’s Climate Commitment page on Geog 499 Class blog (in tabs at top of page, or here) for ideas for sustainability plan goals. We have to review the 2009 report and focus on the issues which led to OWU not signing the Commitment and address those.
  • Another source of ideas for goals are the Ceres Principles.
  • Practice Greenhealth has a relatively succinct overview of how to put sustainability goals into practice. While aimed at hospitals, the principles seem to by and large work well for an academic institution:

Week 8 Progress



  • Krygier has completed a first draft of Sustainability Plan and opened it up to comments from Geog 499 students.
  • Krygier has revised President’s Climate Commitment page on Geog 499 Class blog (in tabs at top of page, or here). Use this Commitment to generate some goals for the Sustainability Plan.
  • May Move Out meeting Tuesday Feb 24 at noon (207 Sci Ctr) to review draft of May Move Out plan and schedule.
  • Proposal for Legacy Internship position for Food Sustainability distributed for comments. Due Friday, Feb. 27.

For the next week:

  • Review draft sustainability plan for adjustments prior to distribution to STF members. Discussion in class Tues., Feb. 24The draft goes to STF members on Wednesday Feb 25 in preparation for the Wednesday March 4 STF meeting at 4pm. Please plan to attend that meeting if possible.
  • Review President’s Climate Commitment page on Geog 499 Class blog (in tabs at top of page, or here) for ideas for sustainability plan goals. We have to review the 2009 report and focus on the issues which led to OWU not signing the Commitment and address those.
  • Another source of ideas for goals are the Ceres Principles.
  • Hold off on the grants issue until next week.


Week 7 Progress



  • drafts of content sections complete and to Krygier for review & revision
  • draft of May Move Out plan and schedule completed
  • draft of proposal for Legacy Internship position for Food Sustainability
  • meeting with Karen Crosman & discussion of Dominion Foundation grant

For the next week:

  • prepare yourself for specific requests from Krygier as he reviews the content of the content sections. The draft goes to STF members on Wednesday Feb 25 in preparation for the Wednesday March 4 STF meeting at 4pm. Please plan to attend that meeting if possible.
  • review key sites related to foundation funding and begin to document potential projects and foundations for funding the projects
  • Foundation Center (Karen Crosman has a subscription and can search more options through the Center; I suggest compiling any questions you have or searches you suggest and we will send her a list from all of us).
  • Columbus Foundation: several people with OWU connections are in significant positions at this Foundation, which is more or less a “meta” foundation which administers many smaller foundations and grant sources. Some are limited to the City of Columbus or Franklin Co., but others are available to Delaware Co.
  • General Foundation Search: keep in mind what Karen talked to us about foundations and search for additional options. Sometimes it helps to have a project or projects in mind (dishwasher, natural gas powered vans) other times it helps to see what a foundation funds (to get ideas for possibilities on campus).
  • Document what you find with links and questions and we will compile this information together as part of the Sustainability Plan.

Week 6 Progress


As we scoot towards our rough draft of the sustainability plan by Thursday Feb 19 make sure you review the additional student projects I uploaded to the Geog 499 shared folder:

Info: More Past Student Projects


Building on the excellent news about the May Move Out Grant, Thursday we also have Karen Crosman (OWU Development) coming to talk about the Dominion Foundation Grant – take a look at the details before we meet Thursday.


First round of interviews: make sure you have your answers typed in the form in the shared folder.

Second round of interviews: I am thinking this is the round (a different group takes over) where we talk to (email, Skype, phone, in person) alumni, Sustainable Delaware, etc. I propose we wait until we have a revised draft of the plan (Wed Feb 25). I think we can also include Mary’s idea of random interviews of selected students, faculty, staff.

A third round of interviews can happen in early April after we have a 2nd draft of the plan. This can be an online survey, in part to get feedback from as many people as possible but also to help promote the plan.

External Reviews:

External Reviews of OWU’s Sustainability Efforts: One more task (probably in the Co-curricular & Community category – Sarah, Thomas, Cindy) is to compile the various places OWU sustainability efforts are documented and review them for accuracy. There seem to be cases where students submitted information, other cases where we are not sure who submitted the information. The Sustainability Task Force can oversee these external reports in the future, but we need to gather the relevant information in one place. A few of these (I am sure there are more):

Campus Sustainability Report Card

The Princeton Review Green Colleges

Digital Tasks for Each of You

Please do the following:

Follow this blog so you get an email when I put up a new posting (this is not working at the moment, will let you know when it is)

Follow the Sustainability and Environment blog

Join the OWU Alumni LinkedIn group, and also the Environmental Studies Sub Group.

Scrappy Sustainability

Finally, in an interview with the OWU Magazine I talked up our efforts and suggested they get a photograph of our group for the article. I also started calling what we are doing “Scrappy Sustainability” as per our discussion about schools with large endowments (who can easily afford the costs of sustainability) vs. our situation at OWU. Might be a good sound bite, but we should discuss more.

Live long and vesper,

John K.

Week 5: Progress

Look of uncertainty

Week 5:

News: May Move out is a Go (grant money or not)!

1) updates from the interview group on progress (Thursday at 10:30)

2) updates on alumni outreach and ideas for how to use LinkedIn contacts

3) updates on the content groups

  • make sure to organize your sections per our discussion last week:
    • current practice
    • recommendations / goals
    • responsible persons, offices, people
  • any impediments to progress, people who need to be contacted
  • we should continue to discuss any changes in format you think may be
    appropriate – ultimately, the sections need to follow the same format
    so any insights you get while working should be shared.
  • ideas for continued work towards a draft (see calendar) Feb 19

4) Meeting with Karen Crosman regarding Dominion Foundation grant: Feb 19

5) Query from Rev. Casto. How to respond to this, from the perspective of
campus sustainability?