Michelle Strachan | Contributing Writer
What do you call an event that brings students, faculty, and local businesses together to promote awareness on important environmental issues? A success! Community, hope, and positivity were abundant here on campus April 18 at the 2nd Annual Earth Day Sustainability Fair.
Sponsored by the LBCC Green Club and Sustainability Committee, the fair was coordinated by Green Club Adviser Lori Fluge-Brunker to showcase different programs that help with sustainability around campus.
Graphic arts student Jasper Hostler proudly autographed and handed out posters he created to promote awareness on recycling. He worked with art instructor Gary Westford and design instructor John Aikman on this project, putting together several variations of his artwork to appeal to different demographics. Five different designs, all with one great message to, “join the sustainability revolution.”
The Sustainability Committee and Green Club started fundraising for compost and recycling receptacles in the fall of last year and have already been able to purchase six receptacles around campus, with two more coming soon. They plan to expand to the Benton Center and Lebanon campus next. The receptacles are color coded and will be the same at every campus to get people more familiar with the idea of recycling and composting.
Students interested in helping the cause can purchase the black and green LBCC sweatshirts, t-shirts, water bottles, and lanyards at the bookstore. All profits go right back into the campus.
Have you ever noticed how fresh the produce is in the cafeteria and the salad bar? All of the greens used by the culinary arts are actually grown organically right here on campus by the Horticulture Club. For this event they gave tours of the Green Roof and the organic farm and garden, as well as offering a farmers market where they sold garlic and bags full of mixed greens that contained rainbow chard, chervil, arugula, and three varieties of lettuce, all picked from the campus garden that morning.
The Horticulture Club President, Liz Shinn, spoke about a “hot trend” right now called community supported agriculture, a food subscription program with local farmers for people interested in fresh, local, sustainably grown produce. “Linn-Benton and the Hort. Club are hoping to start a student CSA program here on campus where we would grow the food and open it up to students, staff, and faculty.” says Shinn.
For anyone interested in upcoming events, things going on in the community, or finding out about volunteering, club meetings are held at the greenhouse from 12-1 on Tuesdays. Tom Ten Pas represented the City of Albany, and provided information on the Talking Water Gardens, an engineered wetland used to cool the water before it goes back into the Willamette.
“In 2006 the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality mandated new limits on the total maximum daily loads that public and private entities can place into the Willamette River, intended to lower river temperature and remove additional pollutants before the treated water is safely returned to rivers and streams.”
Instead of using cooling towers, the Cities of Albany and Millersburg teamed up to create a wetland which would “not only take out harmful nutrients that aren’t good to go back into the river but would also add two to three miles of trails for people to enjoy.” says Ten Pas, manager of the project.
They’ve not only exceeded requirements of the DEQ, but created a beautiful area with waterfalls, wildlife watching, environmental education, and miles of trails to enjoy. Talking Water Gardens is open to the public and will be having a grand opening ceremony on June 20. In attendance will be representatives of senate and congress, the governor, and possibly First Lady Michelle Obama. For more information on the project, visit www.talkingwatergardens.com.
Mechatronics instructor Denis Green demonstrated a solar water heating system, use of solar panels, and efficiency of compact fluorescent bulbs versus incandescent light bulbs. He is teaching a brand new class this year called “Energy Efficiency and Sustainability.”
There are lots of things you can do to be more energy efficient, says Green. “Is your house insulated? Turn off your dang lights! Get a digital tire gauge for your car. Check your tire pressures. Turn down the hot water heater temperature. Pull the blinds at night. There’s so much to be gained. Twenty to thirty percent of our savings could come just from straight efficiency.”
The Green Team of Albany First United Methodist Church handed out a new directory this year titled “What should I do with it?” which lists several locations in Albany and Corvallis to take “worn-out stuff” that cannot be reused or recycled. They also distributed their “Reuse Directory” which was launched last year to promote the reuse of items in an effort to reduce solid waste and save landfill space. Both directories can be downloaded at www.albanymethodist.org.
Bryan Schiedler, 2nd year instructor of the automotive program, explained methanol fuel cell technology, and the impact natural gas and electric cars could have on our country. “We talk about wanting better jobs and better pay and better benefits. I really think that when we start moving over to something that we can invest in the United States instead of a foreign country, you’re gonna see that start to happen.”
Karen Kos helped to sign up students and visitors for Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program at her booth. Opting to sign up for this voluntary program is one way people have of “making every day Earth day” says Kos. By choosing to go with Blue Sky, you are choosing to do business with the wind farms through your utility, using renewable energy generated in our region. Visit www.pacificpower.net/bluesky for more information.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone involved in making this event a success and for bringing so much awareness to all who attended. We all have the chance to make a difference, and it starts here. Like Hostler said in each of his posters:
“There are thousands of us on this campus. If we all make the choice to recycle, it WILL make a difference.”