A Year of Sustainability | April is Earth Matters Month
The end of the 2012-13 academic year is fast approaching, so it seems appropriate to reflect a bit on our year-long focus on sustainability and the wide range of related activities that have occurred throughout the year. We have had some excellent speakers including Dr. Sandra Steingraber (author of the common reading Living Downstream), Winona LaDuke (fall Convocation), Dr. Bridgette Brawner (2012 Sipple Lecture) and Dr. Julian Agyeman (2013 MLK lecture). Two more talks will be held in early April, both with appropriate themes for sustainability and our annual Earth Matters celebration.
There have been brown bag lunch discussions, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, environmental films have been shown (with one more to come in April), and delegates represented the college at the United Nations climate change conference (COP18) for the fourth consecutive year. Members of our delegation were featured in articles in the Huffington Post and interviewed by NPR.Faculty and students have been engaged in scholarly activities related to sustainability, some of which has resulted in Honors theses and/or presentations at the national level.
This semester, we have a record number of students doing internships with the Campus Sustainability Initiative of the Alliance for Sustainable Communities-Lehigh Valley. A special thanks to Peter Crownfield from the Alliance is in order; he has been provided internship opportunities to students from Moravian since 2004. One student had an internship with the Buy Fresh-Buy Local organization (see below); a thank you to Lynn Prior for this opportunity as well.
This year saw the resurrection of EcoSpirit – with three wonderful student contributions. The Sustainability Committee has been busy throughout the year. There have been many informal conversations about sustainability, including how to infuse this theme into our educational offerings. Still, much needs to be done to make the campus more sustainable in terms of energy use, our carbon footprint, and our overall sense of security for the future.
We started to explore the possibilities of an environmental humanities track at Moravian. Notice was drawn to the new online journal "Environmental Humanities" and exploratory discussions with several humanities faculty were held. Such a program would respond to recent calls for more interdisciplinary work in environmental and sustainability studies including some from Moravian students. Hopefully interested faculty will continue the discussions. Grant funding is becoming more available for such initiatives. Mellon Foundation has provided $2.9 million to the University of Virginia humanities division for new hires in two "emerging areas of cross-disciplinary research" one of which is "Environmental Humanities," the other "Comparative Cultures of the Pre-modern World."
Overall, it was a goal of ours to define sustainability in broad terms and as well as to offer...
members of the Moravian college community an opportunity to confront these questions and challenges both intellectually and in practice. As a principal and ongoing theme in the College’s curricular and co-curricular programming, members of the College community can explore the meaning of sustainability as they pertain to life on campus, in the local region, the nation and the world.
We would love to hear from you as to whether or not we have begun to meet these goals, and as to what we might do in the future to make Moravian College a model for sustainability.
Diane W. Husic, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Don St. John
Emeritus Professor of Religion
Co-directors of the Sustainability Center of Investigation
Moravian's Saving Energy: Lutron Case Study
Recently Moravian replaced its inefficient, high intensity discharge (HID) lighting with Lutron gymnasium fixtures and digital fluorescent dimming ballasts in Johnston Hall and the Breidegam Field House. The energy savings have been so good, Lutron has chosen Moravian as subject in a case study they are developing to tout the system.
The College also installed preset lighting controls, eliminating the guesswork previously required to create the right light level. With just a touch of a button, the staff is able to prepare the space for sports competitions, guest speakers and other frequently-held events. To make sure those lights were turned off or dimmed whenever a space was not being used, the college also installed wireless occupancy sensors. The new system made it easy to adjust the lighting, creating a more comfortable environment for the athletes while cutting costs.
In addition to these renovations, Moravian's state-of-the-art fitness center utilizes technology to save energy. Digital dimming technology made it possible to provide flexible lighting controls, and a Lutron automatic shading system helped to minimize glare and heat gain. These simple, yet highly efficient installations reduced the demand on the HVAC.
The energy savings from these efforts has been significant. Compared to the original high intensity lighting, the new system has already saved 83 percent of the electric output in the Breidegam Field House and 71 percent in the Johnston Hall. Overall, the system has cut costs by more than $10,000 a year in these areas alone. In the new fitness center, Lutron’s dimming and shading technologies have delivered a 43 percent saving compared to lighting without dimmers or shades.
In Focus 2013-14 | Healthcare...A Look Ahead
As the current academic year heads toward the home stretch, Moravian will begin to turn its focus to the 2013-14 academic year and our In Focus theme of healthcare. Our co-chairs will be Virginia Adams O'Connell, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Kerry H. Cheever, Professor of Nursing and Chair of the Department
The College will welcome 2013 convocation speaker Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D., the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics, the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Sociology, and the Director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University.
Dr. Wolpe has authored over 100 articles, editorials and book chapters focusing on the social, religious and ideological impact of biotechnology on the human condition. Considered one of the founders of the field of neuroethics, which examines the ethical implications of neuroscience, he also writes about other emerging technologies, such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology and prosthetics, in addition to his work across many other fields of bioethics. He sits on many national and international non-profit organizational boards, and consults for academic institutions and the biomedical industry.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim's Book Examines Consumerism
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, associate professor of doctrinal theology and director of the MATS Program has authored a book “Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit” (Palgrave Pivot, April 2013) that “examines ways of rethinking and reimagining ourselves, helping us to work in more just directions for a safer, sustainable planet,” Dr. Ji-Sun Kim explains. “Empowering ourselves to act more justly includes reimagining and renewing our inspiration from God who is the transformative Spirit who gives, sustains and empowers life to all.”
“Colonialism, globalization and consumerism have devastated large parts of our world. For the past five centuries, the West has nurtured self-worth through the accumulation of worldly goods, serving our own selfish interests and exploiting others,” Ji-Sun Kim explains. “This has been disastrous not only to human beings but to the whole ecology of the planet. Consumerism drives trade, but consumer buying is now like an unchained beast with tooth and claw causing han (unjust suffering) for exploited peoples as well as for other species and even for planet Earth.”
Internship Focus | Buy Fresh...Buy Local
This semester I was lucky enough to become an intern at Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley (BFBL-GLV) which is based out of the Nurture Nature Center in Easton. The non-profit helps residents and farmers of Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton counties to connect within the local food economy.
BFBL’s specific work begins with educating consumers about locally-grown food through monthly newsletters, a farm to school program, as well as movie screenings and events that showcase local food. BFBL’s partnerships with local farmers, restaurants, wineries and other establishments that provide local food to consumers is in place to provide marketing assistance and promotion for Local Food providers. BFBL is also working towards improving fresh food access in Low income neighborhoods through a CSA program as well as helping the Nature Nurture Center to host a winters farmers market in their building.
This semester so far I have had the opportunity to work on a policy assessment of our local food economy for the Fresh Food Access Plan, a part of the Lehigh Valley Sustainability Initiative. I also helped reach out to farmers and other partners so that BFBL could update and expand their 2013 Lehigh Valley wholesale farmer directory and their 2013-14 Local Foods Guide.
Take a look at Buy Fresh Buy Local’s website at www.buylocalgreaterlehighvalley.org
if you have an interest in attending any upcoming events, purchasing from local farms or visiting some restaurants in the area that serve local produce, meats and dairy.
By Kirby White '13
Buy Fresh Buy Local Intern
Internship Focus | Sustainability on Campus
With a unique focus on campus sustainability this year, I began my spring semester internship with the goal of reducing the school’s energy consumption. It was very important to me that what I do as an intern have a tangible affect in making the campus more sustainable. As many know, it is not uncommon to see unoccupied classrooms around campus with their lights left on. To help combat this problem, I have placed a number of stickers near light switches around campus to help remind us to turn the lights off once we are finished using a room. Additionally, several posters have been strategically placed around campus. Ideally, the stickers and posters will act to spark a behavioral shift throughout the Moravian campus. I'm attempting to trigger a sort of bandwagon-effect as more of us on campus begin to grow accustomed to remembering to turn the lights off. If this happens, it would be a major step towards achieving this project’s primary goal of reducing energy consumption at Moravian.
Raising awareness of reducing our energy consumption and helping to modify the behavior of students, faculty members and staff to think seriously about their impact on the environment is just one piece of the puzzle regarding sustainability at Moravian and my internship. My efforts are now focused on developing recommendations and rationale to encourage Moravian to implement an ongoing reporting framework to measure our sustainability. This framework will include categories such as education in the curriculum, campus operations, planning, and public engagement. The benefits of incorporating such a framework will enrich our understanding of sustainability, help create goals and incentives towards continually improving sustainability on campus and in the surrounding community.
By Garth Denton-Borhaug '13
Alliance for Sustainability - Lehigh Valley Intern
Internship Focus | Alliance for Sustainable Communities
“I have enjoyed working with students from Moravian since the early days of the Alliance, and we've had more interns from Moravian than any other school -- which seems very appropriate considering the teachings of Comenius and the importance of experiential education,” said Peter Crownfield, internship coordinator for Alliance for a Sustainable Communities Lehigh Valley. “Currently, Moravian students Garth Denton-Borhaug ’13 and Grant Pellitteri ’13 are working with the alliance.”
In 2007, Moravian College student Elyse Jurgen became the Alliance’s first campus sustainability intern. In addition to organizing the first sustainability task force to make Moravian more sustainable, she worked with Crownfield to develop the program at other colleges in the Lehigh Valley.”
Some students from Lehigh Valley colleges say they “learned more from my internship with the Alliance than any of my classes,” Crownfield notes proudly.
The Alliance is dedicated to working for community sustainability. This will involve wholistic approaches to the environment, social justice, health, participatory democracy, and local economies. We are committed to active, collaborative approaches to achieving long-term positive outcomes. For internship opportunities....
Spring Break | The C3 Grand Canyon Trip
Moravian's C3 group had an amazing experience over spring break. During their alternative spring break experience at the Grand Canyon, they performed about 300 hours of service helping to remove tree hazards— trees damaged or destroyed by insect infestations or R.V.'s. The group also worked with the director of concessions to problem solve some issues they are dealing with (expansion for the public in terms of concessions and recreation vs. protecting the natural resources) and serving as secret shoppers to evaluation the restaurants in the lodges in the park. The students had a chance to learn all sorts of amazing things about conservation, the National Park Service, and sustainability, and they got rave reviews from the park employees they worked with. Check out the great photos on the blog they used to document the trip.
Students making the trip were Sam Blake, Sherri Hughes, Meghan Santamaria, Matthew Gist, Jennifer Nitzsche, Alex and Sam Bundrick, Allissa Hoffman, and Jacob Fritz. Click on image to see larger photo