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From Microgrids to Real Food: 2014-15 Environmental Council Convenes

From Microgrids to Real Food: 2014-15 Environmental Council Convenes

September 23, 2014

During the second week of the academic semester, the 2014–2015 Environmental Council convened to meet each other, divide into committees, and create an action plan for the sustainability and environmental topics that will be discussed over the year.

The Environmental Council is a group of students, staff, and faculty that advance the College’s sustainability and environmental citizenship. The Environmental Council makes policy recommendations to the College’s administration and manages a grant program to help fund environmental projects and initiatives—up to $2,500 per project.

This year, the Environmental Council consists of seventeen students, an additional student representative from the Student Government Association (SGA), six staff, and four faculty members. This group divided into three committees to focus on the following topics:

  • Campus Microgrid Feasibility: Building on work done by summer students at the Middlebury School of the Environment (MSoE), this committee will research and advise the College on the feasibility of establishing a microgrid on campus. A microgrid is self-contained system of localized electricity generation. While it is connected to the broader electric grid, it can be disconnected during power outages. This would allow the campus to remain “running” during extreme weather events, helping to increase the College’s resiliency to a changing climate.
  • Real Food in Dining Halls: The Envrionmental Council has worked with the Eat Real student group for several years to measure the College’s purchasing of “real” food, defined as locally sourced, ecologically produced, fair, and/or humane.  The analysis shows that 22% of Middlebury’s food expenditures are on “real food.” This year, the Council will help measure student support for real food and define future goals for the college’s food purchasing.
  • Environmental Social Governance / Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Implementation: Middlebury uses the STARS assessment to measure and track its progress on 140+ criteria related to sustainability. In tandem with the STARS effort the College is developing a set of principles and a “scorecard” to track its progress in socially responsible investing over time. This committee will collaborate with the Office of Sustainability Integration to inform the campus community about the results of the STARS assessment and to develop priorities for sustainability initiatives. The committee will also provide feedback and ideas for implementing the ESG scorecard.

For questions about the Environmental Council or Environmental Council Grants, contact Kris Smith at 802.443.2536 or

2014-2015 Environmental Council Members

Forrest Carroll ‘15 Tiffany Chang ‘17 Nate Cleveland ’16.5
Sarah Dohan ‘17.5 Kate Eiseman ‘15 Sarah Gledhill ‘17
Oscar Johansson ‘18 Alia Johnson ‘16 Shaojin Li ‘16
Mary "Wei Wei" Magnuson ‘16 Dylan McGarthwaite ‘15 Anahi Naranjo ‘17
Mariah Neilsen ‘18 Ethan Reilly ‘17 Erin Van Gessel ’17.5
Sophie Vaughan ‘17 Natalie Valentin ‘15 Lindsay April Warne ’15 (SGA Liaison)
David Allen, Biology
Natalie Eppelsheimer, German, Co-Chair
Kemi Fuentes-George, Political Science
Sallie Sheldon, Biology
Jack Byrne, Director, Office of Sustainability Integration. Co-Chair
Sophie Esser Calvi, Global Food Studies Coordinator
Paul Dow, PM Manager, Retail Food Ops
Francisca Drexel, Academic Dept. Coordinator, Film and Media Culture/Asst, CCSRE
Jennifer Herrera, Asst. Dir., Student Activities & Spec. Asst. to the Dean of the College
Victoria “Tori” Jones, Asst. Dir. Annual Giving