Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Purple, Gold, and Green

As you know, Saint Mike's colors are purple and gold. But did you also know how green our campus is? I'm not just talking trees - and technically those are red and gold right now - but also in terms of energy consumption and environmental consciousness. 

A few things you might be interested to know about:

1. Geothermal Energy
As a Phonathon student caller, I mention this a lot when people ask what we're doing to stay up-to-date with energy consumption (which comes up more than you might think). Our two newest buildings on campus, the Dion Student Center and Residence Hall IV (still waiting on a name), both use geothermal energy, which is much more efficient in terms of our heating and cooling systems.

2. Waste Not, Want Not
Saint Mike's is very conscious of our consumption patterns. We have recycling bins in all the buildings, which is fairly standard, and we have composted in Alliot for quite awhile. But because of the new Vermont law, we can now be proud to say that all of our campus is composting! Additionally, 100% of our copy paper (don't forget SMC students have free printing!) comes from recycled paper.

3. No Bottled Water 
Thanks to a student-led campaign in 2012, our campus is bottled-water free - we do not sell it, and bottle-filling stations all over campus make carrying your own bottle (Nalgenes and Camelbaks are currently on trend) ridiculously simple.

Rather than a picture of a waterbottle, this is my favorite tree on campus.
Founders Society may be a way for students to get involved with alumni and prospective students, but the meetings also go a long way in educating us about various parts of campus, from the Career Symposium to Athletics, to our Permaculture Farm - which I visited for the first time last week.

Before last week, I knew of the permaculture site but had never been there; I didn't even know where exactly it was on campus. I was very surprised to learn we have a fully functioning small farm on campus, complete with a young orchard. Although there is a program coordinator for the farm (who spoke with us at our meeting), the majority of the work put into our gardening - we also have an organic garden - comes from students. These are usually volunteers, but a good amount of hours are also put in by different classes and groups as well. 

As someone not involved in the farm, my favorite perk is our farmstand, held weekly outside Alliot. Although it just ended for the season, during the growing season expect to see a wide variety of flowers, tomatoes, leafy greens, and other produce that are much fresher than in a grocery store. If you're interested in learning more about the permaculture site, contact Kristyn Achilich, the program coordinator. 

There's nothing there right now - but this is where the farmstand is when it's open!
There are many more aspects of campus that promote sustainability and student involvement in the environment - these are just a few. Ask around, and I'm sure anyone could easily give you a few more ideas!

This isn't SMC - but a plane window view of Vermont is always worth sharing.

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