Green month initiatives promote sustainablility

Castleton State College’s sustainability month concluded the week students went home for April break after four weeks, each with a different goal.
The month long event was a joint effort between the Green Campus Working Group and the Sustainability Club said Megan Harris, Student Co-coordinator of the Green Campus Initiative.
“One of the things our school really prides itself on is our sustainability,” Harris said.
The first week was pledge week, which involved getting students to be more mindful of ways they could reduce waste or resources by doing things like turning the water off while brushing their teeth. Harris said over 150 students pledged along with staff and faculty members.
The second week was about getting students to reduce the amount of resources that they possibly waste. Tyler LaRose, Sustainability Club President and Green Campus Working Group Student Co-coordinator with Harris, wrote about the plans for the week of sustainability month in an email sent to all Castleton students, staff and faculty.
“We urge you to fully utilize Moodle and to print double-sided, and we will provide the location of double-sided printers at all non-applicable printing sites! Help us identify small and large ways we can be more sustainable,” wrote LaRose in the email.
The third week was survivor week. Harris said the plan for that week was to turn down the heat on campus and take other possible measures like possibly even turning off the water on campus for one day.
The capstone of the month was “Do it in the Dark” week.
According to science professor Andrew Vermilyea, the goal is to get students and faculty to reduce their use of electricity and take more of advantage of the fact the sun is out a little more now and spring is finally arriving.
Vermilyea noted he likes to practice what he preaches and was sitting in his office in Jeffords 106 with the lights off and the shade up when the interview was taking place.
Vermilyea, who in addition to being an assistant professor of chemistry and part of the Green Campus Working Group, is also president of the Green Campus initiative and the leading force behind the last week of sustainability month.
According to Vermilyea, there are smart meters installed on nearly every building on campus, except Woodruff, Jeffords and Babcock halls.
An ice cream social party was promised to the dorm that reduced its energy usage percentage the most.
Although originally there was only going to be one dorm to get the ice cream, Vermilyea said they decided to award it to two when the final numbers were so close at the end of the week.
“It got better as the week went on,” Vermilyea said. “The dorms surprised me … all had a reduction in energy.”
While each dorm on campus reduced its electricity usage, two came out the clear winners.
Audet House came in first reducing its usage by 10.90 percent, finishing just ahead of Morrill Hall’s 10.79 percent reduction, according to a chart supplied by Vermilyea.
Campus wide, energy usage was down by 3.7 percent over the week, according to Vermilyea, which was a little short of the 5 or 6 percent goal.
While the numbers might not have been exactly where he would have liked them to be, he was still happy about them regardless.
“Our students seem to be motivated about this, based on the numbers,” Vermilyea said.
He said one personal hope for the future is to get the mindset of sustainability entrenched in more students.
Harris also shared that same hope for a day when sustainability is even bigger here on campus and even more engrained with the school.
Regardless, Harris said she is still happy with what happened this year.
“I think given what we did, we were pretty successful. It makes me feel like we did something,” she said.

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