EC Grants 2008-09

The following projects were funded, or partially funded, through Environmental Council grants during the 2008-2009 academic year.


Power Shift 2009

Applicant(s): Sarah Simonds ’11, Jane Williams ’11
Partners: Sarah Simonds’11, Jane Williams’11, Michaela Skiles’11, Amanda Warren’11, Nathan Blumenshine’10

February 27th to March 2nd, 2009 Middlebury students joined thousands of young climate activists for Power Shift in Washington DC. Participants held a rally on the capital steps and met with elected officials from all 50 states, urging congress to support renewable, clean energy and other initiatives to address climate change. Middlebury had one of the largest groups of students from any school in the nation with 195 students.


Middlebury College Weather Station

Applicant(s): Tim Parsons (Landscape Horticulturist), Luther Tenny (Assist. Dir. of Facilities Services)

The weather station installed at Dragone Track measures temperature, relative humidity, wind, rainfall, and barometric pressure, as well as soil temperature, leaf wetness, UV radiation, and soil moisture. It has multiple applications on including Integrated Pest Management, irrigation, and snow removal on campus, as well as useful data for classroom research and for local farmers.

This past winter campus specific weather information aided in snow removal efforts and in the application of Ice Ban, an environmentally friendly alternative to sand and salt in winter, which needs to be applied at certain temperatures before storm events.

This information will be very useful in the timing and application of compost and fertilizers and will reduce the amount of irrigation for athletic fields. The weather station also tracks temperature for growing degree days which is used to predict the emergence of pest populations. By looking at leaf moisture and temperature, fungal pathogens that attack leaves and plants can also be controlled quicker and safer.

Bike Week

Applicant(s): Will Drucker '08.5
Partners: Stephen Heck '10, Laura Asermily (Middlebury Town Contact)

Bike Week, October 27-31 featured a town-wide Halloween Bike Ride, a bicycle safety class, free bike maintenance, a film screening, slide show, and a game of bicycle polo. Will Drucker '09, along with the College’s Sunday Night Group and campus Bike Shop organized a five-day event to promote bicycle use and other sustainable modes of transportation. More...

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poznan, Poland

Applicant(s): Benjamin K. Wessel '11

Middlebury student Ben Wessel participated in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Poznan, Poland this past December as part of the youth delegation from SustainUS, an organization of young Americans advocating for sustainable development. In Poznan, he had the opportunity to interact and share ideas with negotiators, NGOs, and members of the US state department.

MEAL- Middlebury Eats All Local

Applicant(s): Michaela Skiles ’11
Partners: Michaela Skiles ’11, Amanda Warren’11, Rachel Pentecost ’10, Leah Bevis’09, Samantha Collier '09, Samantha Parry ’12, Robert McKay ’09, Jay Leshinsky (adviser to the College’s organic garden), Rebecca Gould (Faculty Advisor for Weybridge House)

In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, lead healthier lives, and provide an educational opportunity for the wider community, Weybridge House has made the decision to eat an all-local diet (Vermont products or food produced within a 100-mile radius of Middlebury) through the 2009-10 academic year. To help in the process they applied for an EC grant to purchase an additional freezer and a food dehydrator. Several people that will be around during the summer for various lengths of time to harvest, freeze, dry, and can food for the winter.

Ski Team Waste Vegetable Oil Truck Project

Applicant(s): Andrew Gardner (Sustainability Liaison for Athletics, Head Coach, Men's and Women's Nordic Skiing)Partners: Phebe Meyers ‘11 (Student Member: SNG), Ashley Bairos ’10, Bill McKibben (Nordic Team Faculty Affiliate)

The Nordic Ski team worked with Facilities and Dining Services to set up a filtration system in the athletic complex to convert waste vegetable oil from the dinning halls to biodiesel. This biodiesel is used in the Nordic Ski Team’s biodiesel truck that pulls the team trailer and gear to competitions around the northeast. More…

Production of Hydrogen using Pedal Power

Applicant(s): Addison Godine ’11
Partners: Green Engineers Club-Chester Curme ’11, Noah Graham (Faculty Advisor)

These students received an EC grant to build an example of sustainable technology on campus, converting a stationary bicycle into hydrogen producing bike. They removed the shell covering the mechanical parts of the bicycle and attached high strength magnets and coils of wires inside the wheel. When someone pedals the bike, the magnets rotate past the coils of wire creating electricity. The electricity flows into a handmade electrolytic cell (a tub of water with two upside down water bottles, with one wire going into each bottle) where hydrogen and oxygen ions separate due to electrolysis (2H20 (l) -> 2H2(g) + 02(g)). Thus, one bottle fills with oxygen and the other fills with hydrogen.

College Lands Ecological Evaluation

Applicant(s): Marc Lapin (Faculty, ES)

The ecological lands evaluation project will document important ecological and agroecological characteristics of college-owned lands the summer of 2009. Two students, Clare Crosby and Jordan Valen have been hired to work with Marc Lapin to conduct the evaluation. Fieldwork will be completed in the summer and project completion will be near the end of the calendar year.


Protecting Pollinators: Wildflower Insectory Beds at the Organic Garden

Applicant(s): Professor Helen Young (Associate Professor of Biology)
Partners: Tim Parsons (Landscape Horticulturist), Jay Leshinsky (adviser to the College’s organic garden), Emily May ’10, Corinne Almquist ’09, Anne Runkel ’11, Meredith Ruhl ’12, Daniel Kane ’09, Simone Weisman ’09

This project will increase the variety of native wildflowers in beds surrounding the southern border of the organic garden in order to enhance the nectar and pollen resources for pollinating insects. This will support pollinators for the organic garden as well as the surrounding fields. Since the first opportunity to seed the wildflowers was March, this project is only in its beginning stage, but it will continue to expand over the summer.

Vermont Energy Income Tax Credits

Applicant(s): Lois Parshley ’11
Partners: Professor Nicholas Muller

Lois Parshley has been working on research exploring the similarities between Efficiency Vermont’s successful rebate programs and newly enacted solar tax credit and Oregon’s similar Energy Trust rebate programs and the Department of Energy’s Business Energy Tax Credit with Pass Through Partner Program. Through research and lobbying she hopes that with her efforts the Vermont legislature will adopt a similar program to Oregon, which would expand opportunities for the creation of renewable energy and energy conservation projects.

Jocks and Treehuggers

Applicant(s): Andrew Gardner
Partners: Erin Quinn (Director of Athletics), Ashley Bairos ’10, Tim Reynolds ‘09

Andrew Gardner, Nordic Ski Coach and Environmental Liaison for Athletics, coordinated a panel discussion by people involved with athletics and sustainability. NFL star Dhani Jones, Pro-soccer player Natalie Spilger, and Sports Illustrated Writer Alex Wolff answered questions from Middlebury Athletes on sustainability issues.

Power Strip: How much can you take off?

Applicant(s): Katie Scott (Sustainability Integration Office) Partners: Jack Byrne (Director, Sustainability Integration Office)

The Sustainability Integration Office organized a pilot project where students competed to reduce electricity in their dorm rooms. This competition differed from other campus competitions because it focused on individual use rather than building use, allowing participants to see exactly how much electricity they were using and reducing. Each team member had a Kill-a-Watt meter to track their electricity and a smart power strip to ensure they turned off electronic devices. Teams participated for two weeks- one week to measure their baseline electricity use and one week to measure the amount they could conserve.

Composting Expansion Pilot Project

Applicant(s): Samantha Collier ’09, Michaela Skiles ’11, Amanda Warren ’11
Partners: Missy Beckwith (Waste Management), Samantha Collier ’09, Michaela Skiles ’11, Amanda Warren ’11

A team of students and Waste Management staff members are collaborating to expand the collection of compost on campus. Currently, composting is limited to the dining halls and the Grille and Juice Bar. This pilot project will place small compost collection containers in a few key locations around campus, spreading awareness of the College’s excellent composting program and introducing students to the benefits of composting.

Sustainable Urbanism Lecture by Doug Farr

Applicant(s): Will Drucker ’09

This lecture engaged students, faculty, and townspeople in a discussion about the role cities play in our dependence on foreign energy as well as the opportunity the built environment has to preserve ecological future. Doug Farr has committed himself to understanding how the sprawling, auto-dependent development pattern of our urban areas forces Americans to use energy wastefully. In response, Doug Farr has developed a new urban planning scheme that stresses walkable and transit-served communities that contain a diversity of goods and services and are powered by local sustainable resources.

Old Courthouse energy improvement and cooperation project

Applicant(s): Robert Keren
Partners: Shelley Glassner (College Advancement), Michael McKenna (Communications)

This project is aimed at creating a building wide effort to conserve energy, promote sustainability, and reduce carbon. It will engage people in an office setting to work together to preserve the environment and save money. It will also serve as a pilot project for other College employees in buildings on campus that contain two or more departments.

Environmental Art Auction

Applicant(s): Kate Lupo ’10

The goal of an Environmental Art Auction is to raise awareness about sustainability on campus and explore the complex definition of sustainability through art. Middlebury artists will create 2D and 3D artworks using recycled materials, which will be gathered in collaboration with the recycling center. Art will be auctioned at affordable prices to students and all money raised will be donated to the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

Bookstore Sustainability Rewards

Applicant(s): Bob Jansen (College Bookstore)
Partners: Sustainability Integration Office

The new Middlebury College Bookstore will be opening in May 2009 and we are looking to increase and promote our new lines of sustainable products both in-store and online. Bookstore Sustainability Rewards will take the form of a gift card that will be used to reward sustainable practices on campus, and that gift card can ONLY be used to purchase sustainable products in the Bookstore. Product could include used textbooks, and various lines of products we designate as sustainable in a special section of the Bookstore. We will partner with the Sustainability Integration Office to award gift cards.

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest

531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753