From school color to school policy: Making Hudson Valley green


Tyler McNeil

Creative Editor

On a cool, cloudy late-fall day, members of the Environmental Sustainability Committee discussed biking, gardening and solar energy during the committee’s second meeting of the semester on Nov. 3. Since meeting, many intitiatives, such as garden club are already underway.

Since its 2009 founding, the mission of the Sustainability Committee has been to promote conservation and the efficient use of natural resources on campus. The committee’s aims to teach students and faculty the benefits of sustainable living.

“There are a lot of opportunities for this committee and students and other people to get involved,” said Vivekanand. “We try to get to students the best we can. This is worth getting involved.”

TEC-SMART

TEC-SMART’s newest club, the Solar Energy Club, was approved by the student senate and given $200 in funding at the senate meeting last Monday. To date, 12 students have signed up to join the organization.

“We already have field trips planned,” said Hill.

Solarcity, an American provider of energy services, has partnered with TEC-SMART to install the institution’s photovoltaic charging station.

TEC-SMART has also partnered with General Electric GRC to install a 50 kW fuel cell. Hill also stated that Hudson Valley will be driving a curriculum around fuel cells.

“They expect in ten years to have 20,000 people in New York State alone employed in the storage of fuel cells,” she said.

On Nov. 7 and 8, the New York Solar Energy Society Solar Thermal Conference was held at TEC-SMART. Courses and speakers addressed subjects ranging from ground source heat pumps to the union of passive and active technology in modern living. Attendees could choose to receive continuing education credits for the courses they attended.

TEC-SMART also has a Clean Energy Management program that is currently in the process of being approved by SUNY’s. Hill hopes that, by 2015, the program will be offered at TEC-SMART

Transportation and Traffic

CDTA is looking to start a sustainable energy council comprising of students representing colleges along local CDTA routes.

“It sounds very interesting. If you want to be a token student, I recommend joining the council,” Vivekanand said.

The Environmental Sustainability Committee advocated for the student-driven unlimited ridership program that was launched in fall 2013.

The committee discussed two complaints of Cheri Grey, an entrepreneurship major. One was the bike friendliness of Hudson Valley. 41 higher education institutions across the country, including UAlbany, are currently deemed “Bike Friendly” by the League for a Bicycle Friendly America. Hudson Valley is not Bike Friendly. Members of the committee agreed to conduct a survey to see how many people commute via bicycle to and from Hudson Valley before advancing the issue of bike friendliness.

Grey also suggested creating a path between Price Chopper and College Hill Apartments. “I actually spoke to a sustainability coordinator at [the] Golub [Corporation] and he’s willing to do it but has to survey the area before we come to a final conclusion.”

Horticulture

Students are in the process of starting a garden club that will work with the Environmental Sustainability Committee. Jason Noondamien is the club’s prospective prseident.

“It would be really nice to see a brighter, less gloomy campus,” Joe Tleiji, business marketing major said on Nov. 13.

“I’m really excited for this. Just to get some good maintenance going on in the spring, we’re looking forward to what this could do. The fun part is planting and replanting and starting new beds and making them your own,” Vivekanand said.

Vivekanand also proposed growing native plants around the Marvin Library.

According the Carrie Farley, Secretary of Dean of Liberal Arts, “Were always looking for students to help water the plants in [the Science Center]. So I’m still waiting on Garden Club.”

“Between the Library and the BTC [there are plants] in the lower lot that’s still there from what we’ve planted, but a lot of the stuff from the emergency door to the back door of the library got washed out. We wish to fix that,” said Jennifer Acker, senior clerk for the library.

“These clubs have big ideas what they want to do on the campus, they just don’t feel very assertive, so I think the sustainability committee can just help in making things happen,” said Vivekanand.

Food

John Poole, director of food services, with the support of Mary Hazerensk, professor in the dental hygiene department, recently made a proposal to the Faculty Student Association to have healthier choices at campus vending machines.

Poole, the newest member of the committee, has also looked into food composting.

“There’s not enough community involvement at this point to work with,” said James Kurtz, electrical engineering major on Nov. 13.

“Organic produce is ideal, but it’s difficult to have at a reasonable price,” Molly Irvine, psychology major said with Kurtz.

“There’s so many resources to compost locally. It’s not as if it’s impossible to compost here [at Hudson Valley],” Vivekanand said.

Student Involvement

The group also urged students to attend the Nov. 8 Environmental Consortium of Colleges & Universities’ 11th annual conference at Russell Sage. The student entrance fee was $20, a number Carlene Sheehan, coordinator of Information Technology Services, believes should be much lower.

“[For these events] students should be able to get in for free. It’s their lunch money and education,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan is focused on switching computers to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in an effort to save energy. “It’s a project we’ve been working on throughout the past year, we’ve already had it done throughout certain areas but we’re testing it in others,” she said.

The committee plans to host the 2015 Sustainability Fair during Spring Fest on Apr. 23, just after Earth Day on Apr. 22. “That way we have a captive audience. We have all the students outside here. It seemed to have worked out well last year. We had more people attend both events,” Vivekanand said.

The committee’s next meeting is set for Feb. 9 in the BTC to discuss project updates and further Earth Day planning.

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