Saturday, July 18, 2009

Enter Colgate's Greenest Videos Contest!

Do you want to be more involved on green activities on campus? Do you also want to become one of Colgate’s celebrities? Then enter Colgate’s Greenest Videos Contest – a contest to educate and inspire sustainable living at Colgate.

It’s really easy to participate. Just get together with a group of friends, choose any environmental issue that Colgate students face, and film a video. Videos must be between 30 seconds to four minutes in length.

Possible topic ideas are: turn off the lights, conserve water, recycle, use reusable water bottles, reduce food waste, switch to energy efficient light bulbs, support local/organic food, turn the heat down, print double- sided, and carpool. If you have any other green ideas, we welcome the creativity!

Once submitted, your video can win prizes in any of the four categories – funniest, most informative, most innovative, and “greenest.” And everyone will receive a small prize for participating.

Submit your video between Monday, September 7, to Friday, October 2. Ready to submit your video? Contact Ray Nardelli in ITS for help (ext. 6793). The videos will be posted online on the portal by Monday, October 5. You have until Friday, October 16 to vote for your favority videos. Vote for winners in each of the four categories!

The contest will culminate in a viewing of all the winning videos. On Thursday, October 22, come join us at Donovan’s pub! Bring all your friends to support your video and see what your classmates have made. There will be free pizza and the first 75 students will receive a free organic t-shirt! If you’ve taken Colgate’s sustainability pledge, you will also be entered in a drawing to win a prize! Click here to take the pledge.

Videos can be as simple or as professional as you want. Use your digital camera or borrow a video camera from the IT desk in Case-Geyer library. ITS can help you edit and transfer the video onto a DVD. View our demonstration video here.

More and more, Colgate is making a commitment to sustainability. From the administration, to academic programming, to student groups, Colgate is taking huge strides to advance sustainability. To jump-start some new initiatives and breathe life into some stale ones, Colgate held the 8th Green Summit in February 2009. One of these initiatives was the Environmental Education group, which aims to educate the Colgate community, especially first-year students, about ways to reduce personal ecological footprints. From this think-tank, the video contest was born.

This contest is open to all students, faculty, and staff. Click here for more information and for the official contest rules.

Help educate and inspire the Colgate community to strive for a more sustainable lifestyle!

Want to take even more action? Visit Colgate’s Green Campus Initiative Website for more information. Or, help Colgate compete in America’s Greenest Campus Challenge!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Yesterday the Government Accountability Office and the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, released a report recommending that bottled water be labeled with the same level of detail as municipal tap water.
The report supports the efforts of Colgate students who for several years now have been advocating the boycott of bottled water on campus. There are three compelling reasons to support the students:

1) Health. Bottled water is less regulated, and possibly less safe than tap water. In the U.S., public water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires multiple daily tests for bacteria and makes results available to the public. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates bottled water, only requires weekly testing and does not share its findings with the EPA or the public. The government report released yesterday noted the FDA has yet to set standards for DEHP, one of several chemicals known as phthalates that are found in many household products, while the EPA limits the presence of phthalates in tap water. Furthermore, polyethylene terephthalate, PET, is a potential human cancer agent that can leach from the plastic into the water under certain conditions.

2) Environment. Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.'s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion plastic water bottles - more than $1 billion worth of plastic - are contaminating our environment each year. Chris Jordan's famous photos (below) put our consumption rates in perspective.

3) Cost. Tap water on average costs $0.002 per gallon whereas bottled water ranges front $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon. In total, the bottled water industry was worth $16 billion last year.

Next time you host an event on campus consider the health impacts, the environmental impacts, and the unnecessary expense of purchasing bottled water. Advise guests to bring their own refillable bottle or mug. With a little creativity we can all do the right thing and elimate the purchase and use of bottled water on campus.

Monday, July 6, 2009

America's Greenest Campus Competition

Ever wonder what your personal carbon footprint is? Well, Climate Culture has a nifty little online calculator to help you estimate it in about 5 to 10 minutes. It's not perfect science but it'll make you think about a few things and offer suggestions on how you can reduce your footprint.

Oh, did I mention that this is also part of a national competition with cash prizes! While we will not be able to compete with the huge universities signing up 100s or even 1,000s of people we can win the greatest per capita reduction. The Leaderboard will keep track of where we are relative to other schools.

Everyone knows that Colgate has great competitive spirit. Well, I guess it's time to prove it again! It's the right cause to get involved with.

So, here is what you can do: 1) sign up; 2) calculate your carbon footprint; 3) commit to activities that will reduce your footprint; and 4) invite all your colleagues and classmates to sign up. All faculty, staff, and students with a e-mail are eligible (alumni should be soon). It's that simple.

I'm thinking faculty and staff are more committed than Colgate students and it is time you humbled them. :-)

By the time students return in late August, we can have many, many dozens of Colgate employees signed up. Then, if students want to win, they'll have to play catch-up - big time!

Click here to get started.

See your impact on global warming in your customized world, find the best ways to reduce your impact, deck out your avatar, and play a new game, Scrubble, against your friends. Saving the planet has never been so easy, fun and rewarding!