Advisory Committee –
American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment
Year End Report, AY 11/12
This year we reached out to student groups and campus offices to get greater participation
across campus and involved a total of 23 individuals. Louesa Akin (EARTH), Tyler Chelf
(ITS), Cody Cook (fall, SGA), Terry Crowley (community), Jillian Embrey (fall, development),
Mike Hamm (history), Cindy Isenhour (ENS), Steve Jamison (finance), Erin Jansen (SGA),
Patrick Kagan-Moore (drama), Dan Kirchner (philosophy), Maria Lohr (GROWS), Scott Messer
(facilities management), Preston Miles (chem), Gina Nicoletti (athletics), Patrick Noltemeyer
(SLO), Endre Nyerges (anthro), Natalie Pope (spring, SGA), Barrie Schmitt (SGA), Evan
Shirley (ECCO), Judy Stanley (alumna), Elizabeth Trollinger (communications), Vicki Walker
(spring, development). Meetings were held during common hour on Oct. 8, Nov. 8, Jan. 10, Feb.
16, Mar. 15, Apr. 26.
Green Week Plus
The events organized around earth week this year were both more numerous and of better
quality. Activities were scheduled between the Norton Centre event, “We Are What We Eat”,
and the President’s Sustainability Convocation, by David Shi, “Taking the Long View: Adapting
to a More Sustainable Future”. Attendance at most events was very good. The Mountain
Witness Tour was an opportunity for students to see first-hand the environmental impact of fossil
The GreenWeekPlus events are summarized below and presented in the April 19
webstory, http://www.centre.edu/news/2012/green_week.html .
“We Are What We Eat” Marian Nestle & Newlin Hall subscription 4/17
Daphne Miller series
Young Farmers Panel Conversation with Gillespie Hall 4/18
Earth Day Service Project rain-out Central Kentucky Wildlife 4/21
“Dead Meat: Margaret Atwood’s Amanda Hagood, Ewen Room 4/23
Earth Poetry Lisa Williams Grissom Reading room 4/24
Dumpster Dive Competition ECCO Campus Center lawn 4/26
PCC Meeting David Shi Evans-Lively Room 4/26
“Environmental Values” Carmel Price, Evans-Lively Room 4/26
“Taking the Long View: David Shi President’s Sustainability 4/26
Adapting to a More Sustainable Convocation,
Future” Newlin Hall
Lecture Slam Various speakers Campus Center lawn 4/27
“The Real Story of the Three Trash theatre Spring Carnival 4/27
Little Pigs” and “Little Green
Mountain Witness Tour Cindy Isenhour Eastern Kentucky 4/28
Additionally, the Spring Carnival included booths by four student groups: ECCO (bicycle
powered smoothie maker), Club Compost (weighing food waste and distributing educational
materials), Society of Physics Students (bicycle power: mechanical equivalent of work),
GROWS (individual flower cups and herb sale).
Growing out of a Centreterm FYS course led by Professor Isenhour, Club Compost is a
new student group exploring the feasibility of composting on our campus. Questions being
investigated include: location, cost of equipment, volume of food and yard waste, and funding.
Two student interns continue this work during summer ’12.
This year saw the renewal of theme housing for students with environmental interests.
For AY 11/12, fourteen students were involved and were located in the 850 House on West
Walnut Street. The group held a weekly common meal and began a program to recycle the
ubiquitous “red solo cup” through the company Terracycle. The group obtained recognition
through Student Government Association and has adopted the name Environmental Action and
Responsibility Through Housing (EARTH). For coming year, the group has been reassigned to
second floor Bingham.
The oldest environmental organization on campus is Environmentally Conscious Centre
Organization (ECCO). This group organized a tour of the Mother Ann Lee facility on November
12, and worked with Cheryl Coulter of Facilities Management to conduct a waste audit
competition April 25.
GROWS is now in its’ third year and has adopted a stable pattern of types and amounts
of garden crops. Produce has been taken to the local food pantry, Harvesting Hope, as well as
campus dining service. A student intern is supporting that work during summer 2012.
Fall 2011, the Student Government Association approved purchase of a water bottle
filling station. Cody Cook worked with Mark Anderson to arrange installation in the hallway
just outside Hazelrigg Gymnasium during winter 2012. This makes the third such facility on
We are now a campus with over a million square feet of buildings, much of which is new
construction in past few years. Almost 40% of our total campus buildings areas have been
completed or seen major renovations since 2005 and all of these have incorporated best practices
for energy efficiency. The four most recent construction projects are Pearl Hall (2008, 56,000ft2,
LEED Gold), Campus Center (2010, 46,000ft2, LEED Silver), Young Hall addition (2012,
40,000ft2, LEED Gold), and major remodeling of Newlin/Grant (2010, 106,000ft2, LEED
existing buildings eligible). Two projects, Sutcliffe (2005, 124,000ft2) and Crounse/Doherty
(2005, 103,000ft2), were completed before Centre joined the ACUPCC and adopted USGBC as a
routine practice, but both of these buildings incorporated many energy efficiency features.
The new Brockman Commons 120 bed residential facility is scheduled for completion
fall 2012 and has been designed with the expectation of submission of application for LEED
Balancing the energy efficiency of the new construction is the 60% of our building space
that was constructed before 2005.
Air Travel Mitigation Fund
The ATMF serves to harmonize Centre’s interest in international study and concern for
minimizing the environmental impact of air travel. Students participating in study abroad are
given opportunity to contribute to this “internal offset” program and the funds are used for
energy/emissions reductions projects on our campus.
The summer of 2011 completed the first full cycle of the Air Travel Mitigation Fund.
Adopted in fall ’09, the program collected funds fall ’10 through spring’11 with an estimated
participation of 15%. Summer 2011, 40 motion sensor light fixtures were installed in
housekeeping closets across campus. Using conservative estimates of savings, this investment
will avoid the emission of 95 tons of carbon dioxide per year and have an overall return on
investment of 180%. One of the primary objectives of ATMF was that our first mitigation
project would be highly visible. Since these devices are installed inside a closet, we did not meet
Contributions in the AY 11/12 cycle were much smaller, only $175 was added to the
fund. At this point, no decision has been made on how those funds will be used. Greater
visibility and streamlined procedures for contributions we be implemented to achieve higher
participation in the future.
Local food use and the sustainability of dining hall operations became much more visible
questions this year. Professor Kirchner and Mike Nagorka arranged a well attended Farm to
Cafeteria dinner on Nov. 4 that brought representatives of local food organizations to our
During Centreterm 2012 there were three first-year studies courses offered that discussed
food questions from various perspectives: FYS 143 Food in Film, Fiction & Fine Arts, Finch;
FYS 158, The Chemistry of Food, Haile; FYS 163 Food & Campus Sustainability, Werner.
The Centre Institute for Food Ethics Research (http://web.centre.edu/phi/cifer/index.html)
grew out of the fall term course PHI 305 Ethics of Food, Kirchner.
On-campus menus, meals, and food service are one of the most effective settings in
which questions of sustainability and resource allocations can be addressed. Our committee
discussed the possibility of a careful audit of dining hall operations at Centre. Clean Air-Cool
Planet is the organization that provides the Campus Carbon Calculator that Centre uses to
monitor greenhouse gas emissions. The best available instrument to quantify the environmental
impact of food service is also offered by Clean Air- Cool Planet. CA-CP has available a ‘beta”
version of the program CHarting Emissions from Food Services (CHEFS) to allow calculation of
environmental impacts from the agriculture, processing, transportation, preparation, and waste of
food services. Significant time and funds would be necessary to conduct this study.
There are currently 16 students with declared minors in Environmental Studies, eight for
’13 and eight for ’14. Several self-designed majors have been submitted and are awaiting
The Environmental Studies program has submitted a request for full-time tenure track
faculty member. If approved, recruitment would occur fall 2012 and the candidate would join
the faculty in fall 2013.
Additionally, the Environmental Studies program committee has begun discussions about
recommending a major program. Professor Isenhour collected information on environmental
studies programs at benchmark institutions. Professor Shiba surveyed the role of environmental
geology and earth sciences in environmental science programs.
Campus and Community Awareness
After an absence of several months, Sustainable_Centre reappeared as a featured “button”
on the College’s webpage. http://www.centre.edu/sustainable_centre/index.html Mary
Kay Jones serves as contact for updates and additions to the website. During
GreenWeekPlus the background color for the Centre website was changed to green
(literally). In order to remain fresh, a website needs constant attention. This should
become a summer 2012 project.
Faculty Friday Hour presentation Sept 23, “Centre’s Efforts Toward Reduced
Fall film series. “Green Fire”, “The Last Mountain”, “Carbon Nation”
Fall convo. “Restoring Ecosystem Services on Surface Mines in Appalachia”, Oct. 18,
Dr. Chris Barton, Associate Professor of Forest Hydrology and Watershed Management,
University of Kentucky Department of Forestry.
Spring film series. “Burning the Future”, “Fuel”, “The Last Mountain”, “Gas Land”,
Spring convo. “Industrial Food Production and the Plight of Immigrant Workers”, April
3, Gerardo Reyes-Chavez
Orientation program. Cody Cook worked with Melissa Clarke to update and present a
Powerpoint slideshow before and after the major meetings for first-year students.
Comments and questions suggested this was effective at increasing awareness. Cook and
Clarke presented this approach as a seminar “Passive Training for Sustainability Issues”
at the 2012 Campus Community Partnership for Sustainability conference at Northern
Kentucky University, Nov 19.
The Cento published four feature articles and the College’s webpage included ten articles
on sustainability efforts this academic year.
Action Plan for Building Efficiency
Over 70% of the College’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the natural gas and
electricity we consume. Greenhouse gas emissions roughly follow the pattern for energy costs
and Olin, JVAC, Navy Building, Boles pool, Walnut St. House, and Campus Center have energy
costs of over $2.00 per square foot. Clearly, upgrade of the mechanical and architectural systems
in our older buildings is a key strategy to achieve our goals. We need to know what mechanical
systems and new technologies are available and with that information we can develop a timeline
for upgrade projects. But we do not have the staff time or expertise for that level of planning.
Beginning in the fall 2009, we met with several possible energy engineering consultants, and in
fall 2010 we identified 8760 Engineering as consultants that can lead us in developing a strategic
plan for building efficiency. We have been in negotiation with 8760 Engineering since that time
and their most recent proposal was beyond our budget capability.
In the absence of an action plan, we do not know the extent to which our building GHG
emissions can be reduced or what investments will be necessary to accomplish those reductions.
Centre participated in the RecycleMania program again this year. This competition
continues to be an effective program to encourage recycling. Less important are the relative
rankings (2012- #152/339, 11.1 lb/person; 2011- #102/363, 15.5 lb/person; 2010 - #114/346,
Our recycling records are calculated September through August in order to include the
significant amount of material recycled from summer construction projects. Through the first
nine months (Sept 11-May12) of this year we have recycled 41.4 tons of all materials. This is
slightly less than this point last year. Subjectively, we suspect this may be due to an increase in
double-sided printing and reusable rather than single-use water bottles. As comparison, the full
year total for 10/11 was 72.4 tons, and for 09/10 was 74.2 tons.
Tyler Chelf led an effort in which the Centre College ITS department partnered with
Global Environmental Systems for proper disposal of all ewaste created on campus.
Additionally, ITS will accept personal electronic waste for proper disposal. The personal
program was free during GreenWeekPlus and continues every Friday afternoon with a modest
fee for personal items. A complete description of the program is available through the ITS Wiki
Achieving net zero GHG emissions, can also be achieved by using energy sources that do
not produce greenhouse gases. In our region, the likely approaches are solar thermal, wind, solar
photovoltaic, biomass, hydroelectric, and combined heat and power. The Student Green Fund
continues to purchase renewable energy certificates (REC) from Lock 7 Hydropartners. The
4,142 REC’s to be purchased from Dec 1, 2011 through Dec 1, 2012 will represent about 30% of
our electricity consumption. A proposal for solar water heating for Boles pool was prepared for
consideration in the 2011 Capital Projects Plan. We’ve begun preliminary investigations of
feasibility of both roof-mounted and free-standing solar photovoltaic installations. We’ve had
preliminary discussions with Iberdrola, Inc. about long-term contracts to purchase electricity
from a new wind farm in southern Ohio. We’ve had conversations with representatives of
Windstream, Inc., about their small “turbomill” product.
In May, a research project was approved to evaluate the feasibility of wind energy in our
area. Anemometers and wind vanes will be attached at three elevations on a cell phone tower
about a half-mile southwest of our campus. Wind energy data collected over 18 months will be
used to evaluate the feasibility of a major investment. Instrumentation was purchased through
the Kresge Science Endowment. Installation, tower rental and removal costs will be provided by
the President’s Office.
This year, the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment
(ACUPCC) added a requirement of periodic progress reports. The Progress Report is intended to
help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined in their Climate Action Plans
and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public. The Centre report was
submitted on January 30 and is available at http://rs.acupcc.org/progress/249/
Our Communications Department has selected Forest Stewardship Council paper for
Admissions publications. This could be extended to other campus publications.
In our second meeting of the year we decided to develop a sub-committee structure. Four
work groups were developed (Curriculum and Student Engagement, Kagan-Moore; ACUPCC
Progress Report, Miles; Capital Improvements, Noltemeyer; Dining Hall Questions, Nicoletti).
We may have made these sub-groups too large, because they became somewhat ungainly. In
February through April, an informal work group led by Isenhour and Kagan-Moore, developed
to coordinate the GreenWeekPlus activities.
We collaborated with Gary Bugg and the Student Life Office to investigate car sharing.
The We-Car program of Enterprise Rent-A-Car will be on campus beginning fall ’12.
Anticipated benefits include financial savings for some students and their families, reduced
parking on campus, and possibly a modest reduction in car travel.
David Shi met with the PCC on April 26. Dr. Shi made the following points to
committee members: sustainability is the ideal enterprise for the liberal arts education, can be an
excellent venue for experiential learning, and is a fertile area for collaboration across campus and
between institutions. He advised that if we hope to achieve the goals of ACUPCC, we must seek
the endorsement of the College Council, the Staff Council, the Faculty and ultimately of the
Board of Trustees. Incorporation of ACUPCC commitment into Centre’s Strategic Plan is a
What We Didn’t Get Done
At our first meeting each year, it has become our custom to set out some goals for the
committee. Most of the priorities we identified in October received at least some attention and
are discussed above. Ideas that were missed include: an all-campus survey of awareness,
attitudes and actions that people have on sustainability issues, a green roof for Crounse Hall,
glass recycling, STARS, parking spaces for EV and LEV, and a solar garage for golf carts.
These ideas will be taken up early in AY 12/13.
We are encouraged by the increased interest our students have in environmental
questions. We made progress in both informal education and academic offerings related to
sustainability. Challenges remain in reducing net greenhouse gas emissions.