Bowdoin Celebrates Earth Week 2015

Eco Service Day 2014 brought students to Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick, where they were growing seeds for the Bowdoin Organic Garden. Image from the new Sustainability website. Click photo to visit site.

Eco Service Day 2014 brought students to Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick, where they were growing seeds for the Bowdoin Organic Garden. Image from the new Sustainability website; click photo to visit.

Refreshing Sustainability

Click image to visit new Sustainability website.

Click image to visit new Sustainability website.

Bowdoin’s longstanding commitment to sustainability is evident in efforts ranging from the installation of the state’s largest solar power project and the construction of LEED-certified buildings, such as the Buck Center, Osher and West Halls, and the new student residence at 52 Harpswell Road, to the symposia and other programs sponsored by Environmental Studies, and the addition of an electric car to the campus fleet.

“In big ways and small, from our solar installations to our cogeneration plant, the College continues to move forward in its commitment to support renewable energy,” says Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration & Treasurer S. Catherine Longley, chair of the Sustainability Implementation Committee. “It all helps to advance Bowdoin’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2020.”

In order to better tell the story of Bowdoin’s sustainability efforts, the College’s Sustainability website has been refreshed, offering easy access to five main areas of interest: Carbon Neutrality, Energy Solutions, Green Bowdoin, Research and Education, and Get Involved.

The site also features an interactive timeline of initiatives and projects from 2005 to the present. You may also track energy usage building-by-building across campus, and read stories of Bowdoin students, faculty and staff engaged in environmentally conscious efforts and activities.

Visit the Sustainability site.

Bowdoin has stretched Earth Day to a whole Earth Week, offering several days of environmentally themed activities and festivities.

The week launched April 18 with the annual Spring Service Day, when students volunteered at local environmental agencies, and it runs through Ivies this Saturday.

This year’s Ivies — Bowdoin’s annual campus-wide party — will be “zero-waste,” according to the Sustainability office.

“We will be composting all of our food and dining-ware at the Saturday concert with a Green Team staff of about 10-12 people and other volunteers,” said Keisha Payson, the coordinator for a Sustainable Bowdoin.

Between Spring Service Day and Ivies, Bowdoin students have been invited to “upcycle,” by decorating their plastic or glass bottles and their reusable bags at crafting events.

Educational signs have been placed around campus with information about campus sustainability and the different ways people can honor Earth Day.

Bowdoin Colby energy competition

The winner of a month-long energy competition between Colby and Bowdoin colleges will be announced this evening.

Also, on Wednesday evening, the winner of a month-long energy competition between Colby and Bowdoin colleges was announced. Bowdoin won by reducing its electricity use by 8.6 percent. Colby reported a reduction of 6.9 percent. The Bowdoin dorm with the greatest reduction was Howell House, cutting its use by 30.9%.

For the first time, the two colleges faced off in the “Bowdoin vs. Colby Dorm Energy Competition” to see which school could reduce their energy consumption the most between March 30 and April 22.

Sponsored by the sustainability offices of both Colby and Bowdoin, the competition was designed to increase awareness about energy consumption and the little things students can do to make big changes in their dorms, according to Olivia Pfeifer ’16, who promotes events for Bowdoin’s Sustainability office. In total, the competition saved both colleges $2,873 and 17,061 pounds of CO2, the equivalent of taking three cars of the road for an entire year. 

Students took the stairs rather than the elevator, unplugged appliances and chargers when not in use, and turned off lights.

Progress was tracked on Bowdoin’s Dashboard website to compare individual dorms and the two colleges. 

For dinner at Thorne, students who work for the Bowdoin Organic Garden, also demonstrated (and offered samples to taste) how to make corn tortillas from scratch, using corn from Bowdoin’s garden and a traditional grinder commonly used in Latin America.

Later on Wednesday, Bowdoin Eco-Reps hosted an Earth Day Coffeehouse at Jack Magee’s Pub in the Smith Union, featuring a cappella groups and student bands, a raffle (only open to people who bring a reusable cup), and free hot drinks and desserts.

In between musical acts, the Eco-Reps provided sustainability tips.

Photographs by Busra Eriz ’16

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