Collegetown ART — Art, Recycle, Trashcans — is an initiative to replace the trashcans in Collegetown. Headed by Chelsea Clarke ’10 and Whitney Larson ’10, its goals are to eliminate litter on the streets of Collegetown, to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills by promoting recycling and to beautify the streets.
“The current receptacles are unsightly and overflowing,” Larson said. Part of the problem is that household garbage is illegally dumped in public trashcans. Collegetown ART plans to combat this with smaller deposit holes so that larger bags cannot fit.
The new cans will feature art installations to be determined by a contest. “We’re currently wrapping up the art contest,” Larson said. “Designs are due on Monday and we’re still welcoming submissions.” They hope to have a few designs in place by this May.
Drive Not to Drive
Drive Not To Drive is an initiative to encourage people to sign up to commit to living more sustainably for a week, according to coordinator Jocelyn Kluger ’12.
Participants chose from seven different pledges, which include not driving, going vegetarian or vegan, not using plastic water bottles or bags, and using natural light.
The week began last Thursday, on Apr. 15. About 350 people from Cornell and the surrounding Ithaca area participated.
“This year we extended [the initiative] to multiple pledges because we want people to think of more ways to be sustainable,” Kluger said.
Kluger opted to go vegetarian. “If a meat-eater decides to go vegetarian, this prevents 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions for a year,” she said.
Lights Off Cornell
About 300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and $60,000 in electricity costs can be saved from Cornell buildings every year, according to Jolyon Bloomfield grad, head of the Lights Off Cornell project, which aims to organize volunteers to go around and turn off unnecessary lights on campus.
According to Bloomfield, the pilot program is about to finish. There are currently five people who go around Rockefeller Hall and Baker Lab to turn the lights off every night — a total of 752 lights.
Bloomfield plans to expand the program over the summer, and his ultimate goal is to get enough volunteers to turn off every light in every building every night of the year. In order to do this Bloomfield is trying to find a way to increase incentives for volunteers or to get members of Greek life to participate as part of their philanthropy efforts.
Take Back the Tap
Take Back the Tap is a Sustainability Hub initiative that focuses on educational discussions about the impacts of bottled water primarily through panel discussions, displays in Mann Library and film screenings. These films include Tapped, Addicted to Plastic and Blue Gold.
“We’ve worked with the Global Development Club too,” Kathleen Alvey ’12, the president of the Sustainability Hub said. “We discuss the global development and human rights aspects as well as the consumer side.”
Take Back the Tap has also done a tour of the Cornell water filtration plant.
“We’re trying to reduce the demand for bottled water and then the supply,” Alvey said.
In order to increase awareness of green building, the Cornell chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council — started in May 2009 — hosted a showcase of the features of green buildings on campus.
Cornell uses LEED certification guidelines when it designs new buildings, according to Jamie Estreller ’10, president of Cornell USGBC. Currently, Weill Hall and Alice Cook House are the only buildings that are certified, but eight buildings under construction that are on target to meet LEED standards, including the new Plant Science building which will be completed by next year.
“Education and awareness are the main focus right now,” Estreller said. “It’s still very new and not a lot of people know about it.”
Members of the USGBC are looking to get certified in LEED in order to education people about green building with expert advice, according to Estreller. In order to do this, they are collaborating with Habitat for Humanity for the opportunity to go into the field and construct sustainable homes.
Cornell 100+ MPG Team
To help develop cars that will reduce power consumption and emissions, a group of Cornell students built a car that can get 100 miles-per-gallon for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize Competition, the first stage of which will begin on May 1.
Cornell’s 100+ MPG team is the only university-registered team that will compete. Most of the competitors are start-up companies or small-time venture funded capital.
The competition is a one-time deal and the prize is $5 million, according to Jon Liu ’10, the president of the club.
The team was founded in 2007 by a group of Johnson School MBA students.
The group now has a total of 55 graduate and undergraduate members, consisting mostly of engineers, and is advised by four faculty members.
“Back in 2008, we started a prototype,” Liu said. “We transformed a Geo Metro and converted it into a hybrid to test all systems and electrical components and then transferred technical knowledge to the final competition car.”
The competition car is completely custom-fabricated, with parts from different places. “It’s a Frankencar,” Liu said.
All of the components cost $200,000, according to Liu, not including the thousands of hours of free man power. However, the club received funding through corporate sponsors, the College of Engineering, and some donations.
The goal of competition is to get 100 MPG equivalent, according to Liu. This factors in energy pulled in from power grid while recharging the battery. “There’s strict regulation and no free energy.”
For example, the Chevy Bolt, a plug in vehicle that will come out in 2011 is toting a 230 MPG, but that doesn’t factor in equivalence.
“The car is painted and the body panels are on,” Liu said. “It looks gorgeous.”
The competition runs through racecourses as well as some urban driving. “We’ve been test driving it for the past few weeks and it’s surpassing the 100 MPG mark,” Liu said.
Greeks Go Green
The goal of the initiative is to make Cornell’s Greek community more sustainable.
On Tuesday, Greeks Go Green sponsored a clothing swap, which was largely successful, according to Kristen Vitro ’12, a coordinator for Greeks Go Green. The idea of the swap was to promote the idea of reuse, she said.
“It’s a fun way to promote sustainable habits and revamp your wardrobe,” said Kathleen Alvey ’12, president of the Sustainability Hub.
According to Vitro, there were more than 500 unclaimed articles of clothing left to donate. The clothes will probably go to Catholic Charities or the women’s crisis center, she said.
Other initiatives include promoting composting in chapters. “We do presentations for chapters that are interested in starting,” Vitro said. As a master composter, Vitro can teach others how to compost. According to Vitro, many chapters use Cayuga Compost, which will come pick up the compost and process it accordingly. One chapter composted 2,000 lbs this semester alone.
Greeks Go Green also teamed up with Hillel and helped foster a switch to Compact Florescent Lightbulbs in greek houses.
According to Vitro, they are planning on instituting a Green rating system for Greek houses similar to the LEED process, which will rate chapters on sustainability.
Farm to Cornell
Farm to Cornell collaborates with Cornell Dining and other student groups in order to increase awareness about local and sustainable foods.
According to Sarah Fuller ’10, the initiative started five years ago. The initiative contains both grads and undergrads and is comprised mainly of students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Hotel School.
“We promote sustainability by encouraging people to think about the agriculture behind the food that they eat. By eating locally, you are able to know that you’re buying from producers who have good agricultural practices. When you can talk with the people who are producing your food, you can ask them about what they do to manage water, nutrients and pests on their farm. In addition to eating food that tastes really good, you can support activities that maintain the integrity of our landscape,” Fuller said in an e-mail.
Farm to Cornell hosts potlucks to discuss local food initiatives around Ithaca.
“We also incorporate outreach by hosting and promoting campus events that pertain to food and agricultural issues and by educating the student body about their source of food and the benefits of eating locally,” Fuller said in an e-mail.