2011-2012 Grant Recipients

Local Through the Mouths of Locals

Project leader: Jordie Ricigliano

Project description: Local Through the Mouths of Locals is an independent summer project that investigates the nuances of local food by engaging in the stories, projects, and practices of the locals themselves.  For six weeks, we will travel from coast to coast investigating alternative models of agriculture and food consumption by meeting locals on their level.  We will tell stories through a variety of media, including film, audio, photography, and blogging, that we will bring back to campus next fall in order to spark broader conversations of local food-system sustainability. 

Food Studies Advocacy Events

Project leader: Amanda Warren

Project description: The Food Studies Minor proposal is locked up in committee meetings; however, as members of the food subcommittee of environmental council, we want to keep the momentum moving forward. We plan to host a series of events to advocate for the minor, and keep student enthusiasm high for food issues in general. By both bringing in an intellectually challenging speaker and hosting a series of culinary workshops, Middlebury students can begin to study food in an academic fashion despite the lack of a formal outlet.

Middlebury College Solar Decathlon 2013

Project leader: Laura Romig

Project description: Middlebury College was recently selected to compete in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, a Department of Energy-sponsored  biennial competition that challenges colleges and universities worldwide to  design and build a solar-powered house. We are requesting that the Environmental Council provide $2,200 in funding to help cover the initial  start-up costs of this exciting project. Support from the Council will also allow us to integrate the Middlebury College community in the design of  "In-fill," our sustainable home. Education is a critical component of the Solar Decathlon competition and our involvement is an opportunity for students to engage directly with a real sustainable building solution. In the next few months we will be organizing campus and community design events, which will allow students and members of the Middlebury community to partake in the discussion of sustainability.

Spring Self Sufficiency Series

Project leader: Katie Michels

Project description: We would host a series of workshops on practical skills that are quickly being forgotten in our consumer culture, skills which can help us to reduce our dependence on foreign imports. Though some of the workshops focus on traditional food-making skills, practical skills like wood carving or foraging will be also taught. These workshops would be taught by students and by community members and open to all members of the college community.

Yoga as a Path for Increasing Ecological Awareness

Project leader: Cassy Charyn and Lilah Leopold

Project description: We are proposing that the College host a two-day series of yoga workshops with an emphasis on ecological awareness and environmental sustainability.  We hope to provide five different workshops over the course of two days, offering different perspectives on the potential of yoga to deepen our connection with the environment.

The Role of GIS in Grassroots Health Initiatives

Project leader: Anna Clements and Hannah Judge

Project description: We propose to explore how grassroots organizations can utilize free geographic information systems (GIS) to both improve program efficiency and better demonstrate impact to donors using Gardens for Health International (a partner of GlobeMed at Middlebury), an organization that works in Rwanda to provide sustainable agricultural  solutions to health problems. Our project consists of field work followed by dissemination and further work at Middlebury. In the field, our goals are to use GIS to produce (1) a model workflow for evaluating suitability of health centers for expansion based on spatial indicators that we will compile; (2) a map showing where GHI works for development and communications purposes; (3) on-site trainings to facilitate the continued use of GIS in the daily workflow of GHI. Once back at Middlebury, we will give a public talk on our results, use our findings to strengthen our partnership with GHI, and pursue senior geography work on this topic next fall. This proposal seeks partial support for the field work portion of this project.

Terracycle Sin Bins

Project leader: Craig Thompson

Project description: Terracycle Sin Bins is the idea that by partnering with Terracycle (http://www.terracycle.net), a non-profit that engineers sustainable solutions for non-recyclable materials, the College can reduce waste (and waste fines) by sending solo cups, candy wrappers, and condom wrappers to Terracycle. These materials would be collected in designated containers, which we call "Sin Bins", and sorted by the students themselves. The grant would pay for the physical bins as well as provide funding for a student job or custodial staff member to transport the materials to the recycling plant. Once initial funding is in place, this venture is actually profitable for the college, since Terracycle will pay $0.02 per item (i.e. per individual solo cup) as well as all shipping costs.

Greening Orientation: Paperless First-Year Orientation Welcome Packets

Project leaders: JJ Boggs and Brittany Gendron

Project description: In order to begin the further greening of Orientation, we will be utilizing flash drives to distribute all of the welcome materials to the Class of 2015.5 during February 2012 Orientation. The 2GB flash-drives will not only enable the elimination of wasteful printing of over 20 fliers and welcome materials traditionally given via paper copies, but will empower students to use this flash drive as a storage device for all of their years at Middlebury and beyond.

Weybridge House Root Cellar

Project leader: Hannah Rae (Rae) Murphy

We have been given permission by Facilities to build a root cellar in the basement of Weybridge House for storing root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, etc. The estimate (provided by Facilities) came to $2,700. As Weybridge operates on a very tight budget, this is simply too much of a hit for our budget to sustain. A root cellar is desperately needed in Weybridge as we currently have no way to store the vegetables listed above through the winter, and as a result end up wasting a large portion of those that we buy.

Bakken Oil and North Dakota's Changing Landscape

Project leader: Alex Gellar

Project description: After examining how the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling of the Bakken Shale formation has impacted western North Dakota's environmental and human landscape, I hope to write a non-fiction narrative complemented by original maps and edited audio interviews of my findings. I want to incorporate mapping (the impact of the drilling and fracking) and edited audio narratives (from interviews) into the final product so that I can better illustrate the environmental and human impact of the region's oil boom. My background in writing, data collection, interviews, ArcGIS, and Soundcut Pro will all contribute to my research methods and final product.

Athletic Fields Irrigation Controller

Project leader: Tim Parsons

Project description: We would like to replace the irrigation controller at Dragone Track with a model that has the capability to automatically turn off in the rain, so that we aren't using water needlessly.

Geothermal System for Self-Reliance

Project leader: Addison Godine

Project description: Self-Reliance is back on campus after placing fourth in the 2011 U.S. Department Solar Decathlon! Because of Vermont's long, cold winters, the team needs to swap out the heating/cooling unit that was used in D.C. for a geothermal heat pump that will be both more effective and more energy efficient. We are requesting funds to help pay for the installation of this system.

Collaboration Middlebury School Abroad in Chile and Southern Nature for Environmental Education with Disadvantaged Youth

Project leader: Jeff Stevenson

Project description: We will carry out environmental education with Chilean youth from public schools in order to teach them the importance of the environment in such way that they develop a desire to interact with  nature in the future and be supporters of the conservation of Chile’s  natural resources. The recipients of these educational interventions will be youth from the lowest quartiles of Chilean society in terms of family income,  thus promoting the creation of a society that more members feel a part of in  this way, we will be promoting social sustainability.

CFA Trees

Project leader: Shannon Bohler-Small

Project description: The Mahaney Center for the Arts has a beautiful view of the Green Mountains, but very little green within it.  In order to bring the outside in, we propose purchasing several trees and plants to revitalize and reinvigorate our interior lobby spaces.  These spaces are often used for studying, meetings, or even a quick catnap by students. As host to hundreds of events throughout the year, the common lobby spaces are  also used extensively in the evenings. The building is climate controlled, so we are unable to open the windows and fresh air does not circulate. Although we already have several ficus trees, more plants and trees in the space will  help enhance our air quality, in addition to beautifying the space. Because the MCA roof has rows of skylights, we get more natural light than occurs in  other buildings on campus, making it an optimum space for a variety of plant  life.  We would work in conjunction with Tim Parsons on selecting plants that would thrive in our building, help our air quality, and generally improve and enliven our space.  We propose purchasing $2000 worth of plants and trees for this project.


YouPower: A Bike Room that Produces Electricity

Project leader: Astrid Schanz-Garbassi

Project description: I want to open a bike room on campus that uses the mechanical work supplied by riders to produce electricity.  The bike room would be a source of alternative energy to the college, educate students about energy consumption, and promote health and fitness on campus buy providing an extra location for working out.  The room would be a place for individual workouts, cycling classes and energy production competitions  "watt-a-tons".

Patagonia Rising

Project leader:  Evan Doyle

Project description: I am studying the "Patagonia Sin Represas" environmental movement, a movement started in Chile but with international reach, that seeks to stop the plans of a transnational corporation that wants  to dam five rivers in northern Chilean Patagonia. This documentary,  "Patagonia Rising" was just released in May 2011 and is based in Patagonia.  It showcases the people whose lives would be changed by the dams and the impact of the dams on the physical landscape in calling attention to the issue of the transnational business vs. local fight over water and power.  From the documentary's website, "Patagonia Rising brings voice to the frontier people caught in the crossfire of Chile’s energy demands.  Juxtaposing the pro-dam business sector with renewable energy experts, the documentary brings awareness and solutions to this global conflict over water  and power." With funds raised by screenings in the U.S., the producers are promoting the film and the issue to Chileans in a call to action for more Chileans to  mobilize against the project.

Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest

531 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753