Colgate’s sustainability groups gathered Tuesday in the Ho Science Center atrium for the first Greentivities Fair, an effort to raise awareness about their work, recruit new members, and offer tips to help students act more environmentally friendly. An added benefit was that those like-minded students with green goals had the chance to get together and discuss future collaboration.
Green Gates and the Clean Water Coalition are working on several ideas for teaming up — from screening the documentary Flow to performing a play together to putting on a “trash fashion show” later this year.
Stephanie Fitch ’14 of the Clean Water Coalition showed photos of their endeavors to beautify the Chenango Canal — surveying the needs, removing overgrowth, and devising plans to plant bulbs and have the water tested.
“We’d like to make a section of the canal for people to picnic, fish for trout, and ride bikes,” explained Fitch, the co-president. The group strives to raise awareness about unclean water — not just in developing countries, but also right here in Madison County.
The Clean Water Coalition started locally by adopting a mile of the canal, and as they continue improving that area this semester, they will raise money to build a well in a developing country.
Also at the event, Colgate’s sustainability coordinator John Pumilio gave an overview of the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan — the university’s mission to become carbon neutral by 2019 — in which several of the students who were present play a role.
Annemarie Heinrich ’12, who is taking the Community-based Study of Environmental Issues course, is helping research water consumption in different buildings on campus, and her team will ultimately make recommendations to the university.
Heinrich helped organize Greentivities as a member of the Greek Sustainability Council, which brainstorms ways to improve sustainability in the sorority and fraternity houses as well as on campus.
Students attending the fair learned how they can decrease their own carbon footprints, starting in their own kitchens. Many signed up at the Composting Club table to receive compost bins, which the club will get from Frank Dining Hall and then distribute.
Spearheaded by executive chef Michael Stagnaro, the dinner menu featured produce grown by local farmers who regularly sell to Colgate’s Sodexho Campus Services.
Students chowed down on farm-fresh goodies like pattypan squash stuffed with greens, heirloom tomatoes with feta cheese and fresh herbs, and carnival squash cooked with an orange cranberry sauce.
Highland Farms and Common Thread were two of the participating farms. The growers stood next to the entrees featuring their produce so that they could talk to students about their farms.
“I wanted the students to connect the food with the farmer,” Stagnaro explained. “I think it’s important that you see the face of the person who’s growing your food.”
Stagnaro is planning another Farm to College event for the first week in November.