News Archive

2015

  • Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit
    • Friday May 1, 2015 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Cintas Center at Xavier University
    • Green Umbrella (GU) is partnering with the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council, U.S. Green Building Council (Cincinnati Chapter) and the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue at Xavier University, to present a daylong conference to share the latest ideas and best practices in environmental sustainability on a regional level.
    • Highlights of the day will include panels with mayors and sustainability directors from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky and breakout sessions to explore specific areas of sustainability with industry leaders. The Summit presents knowledge that attendees can use: successful ideas, new trends, and amazing ingenuity. Student registration is only $10.00.
    • Conference registration site
    • Great article about the conference and sustainability efforts in Cincinnati
  • A Special Goodbye to our First Graduating Seniors in the Sustainability Program!
    • Michael Murray has been studying economics and sustainability.  He hopes to use his data analysis skills to work in a quantitative way on problems facing society, and has accepted a post-graduation position as a Data Scientist in the Nielsen Company's Emerging Leaders Program. He'll work in Chicago and two other major cities over the next two years.
    • Joe McGrath will be receiving a BSBA in Sustainability. He has studied economics in Ireland and has held internships at the Flying Pig Marathon and the Civic Garden Center. He is currently working on local food issues, and he has accepted a post-graduation management position with Macy’s.
    • Mark Miller is a double major in sustainability and mathematics. He studied abroad in India on Xavier’s semester-long service learning program, and would like to work in the area of sustainability policy.
  • XU Class Partners with Flying Pig Marathon and Taking Root Campaign to Plant Trees
    • In Spring 2015, a Xavier University economics class, “Environment, Economics & Policy” has worked on a class project with the Flying Pig Marathon, focused on their "green event” re-certification. Professor Nancy Bertaux explains, "Students have really risen to the challenge.  They have calculated the marathon’s carbon footprint, organized "carbon offsetting” (offsetting the carbon emissions associated with the event with activities that absorb CO from the atmosphere), and conducted innovative analysis of greener transportation to and from the event.  Students also organized first-time use of renewable energy for the marathon, including Dovetail Solar donating use of a solar generator, and Xavier donating use of a solar golf cart.

       

      As part of the carbon offset study, students focused on the planting of trees here in the Cincinnati area, and initiated a partnership with the Flying Pig Marathon and the Taking Root campaign of Cincinnati (Taking Root seeks to plant 20 million trees in the area by 2020, and includes some 18 partners, including Hamilton County Parks, the Cincinnati Zoo, OKI Regional Council of Governments, Green Umbrella, and many more).  As a direct result of this XU-Flying Pig-Taking Root collaboration:
    • There will be a kick-off tree planting event on Saturday, April 25th at 1:30pm on just east of the intersection of Adams Landing and Riverside Dr.  Xavier students and officials of the Flying Pig Marathon and Taking Root will all be present. 
    • The XU-Flying Pig Marathon-Taking Root partnership will continue and grow, with the following plans:
      • a larger planting on "Make a Difference" Day (Oct. 25, 2015), paired with the Queen Bee half Marathon, which the Flying Pig office directs.
      • "26 Trees for 26 Miles": This program will involve planting at least 26 trees each year, throughout the course of the marathon, through coordination with 17 different neighborhoods.
      • donations of a large number of saplings for distribution to marathon participants in 2016 are being sought.
  • "Invested in Change: Climate, Capital and the Power of Collaboration"
    • Join us on Wednesday, April 29 at 8:00 PM at the Cintas Center as we convene a panel of thought leaders from the corporate, investment, academic and NGO communities to discuss practical solutions and approaches to finding and funding climate change solutions.
    • A weblink with downloadable PDF can be found here and from your mobile device here
  • Sustainability Study in Peru, Spring Break 2015
    • "The worse off a country’s economy is, the direr their water situation seems to be. In Peru, this was extremely evident from day one. Small children were drinking muddy water while oil refineries watered their lawns in deserts. Freshwater has been apart of Peruvian culture since before it was a country, dating back to Incan “Water Gods”. Not all aspects of Peru’s water situation is devastating; some towns are run completely on hydroelectric power and even the poorest do what they can to protect this beautiful planet. The country of Peru has some of the dirtiest water in the world, yet seem to be making some of the greenest efforts."  - Emily Mulligan, class of 2016
  • The Joe Peschel, SJ Award  will be presented to Nancy Bertaux, Professor of Economics & Sustainability, at the 17th Annual Labor-Religion Dinner-Dialogue, 4100 Colerain Ave., 5:30 PM on Monday,  April 13, 2015.  The event benefits the Cincinnati Interfaith Committee on Worker Justice. Each year  the Fr. Joe Peschel, S.J. Award is presented to someone from the Greater Cincinnati Area whose efforts on behalf of worker justice deserve recognition and commendation. The Committee states, “Dr. Bertaux’s research and lectures have contributed to deepening our understanding of the impact of income inequality on working families." Congratulations to Dr. Bertaux!
  • Next year, the Sustainability Committee is planning a Consumption Justice Sustainability Series, and we plan to work together with the Brueggeman Center, the Ethics/Religion and Society program, and the Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice on speakers for fall and spring.  This series will challenge our thinking and practices around consumption, which currently drives our economy, but is having profoundly negative effects on the natural world.
  • Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council Wins 2015 Green Advocacy Award
    • The Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council is composed of some of the leading companies in Greater Cincinnati, including Xavier University. The annual award from the Cincinnati Business Courier and the Cincinnati Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council  recognizes an organization that provides educational awareness about sustainability, GCGBC was presented the award in the nonprofit category in recognition of their waste management initiatives at a ceremony held on March 5. See the entire press release about the award.
    • Right: Sustainability Director Ann Dougherty and Professor Nancy Bertaux appear with other members of the council (wearing green, of course!).
  • Fast Charger Now at Xavier
    • Xavier now has a new fast charger near the main entrance to the Cintas Center.  The station can recharge the average electric car in about 20 minutes.  This unit was made available through a grant from Nissan. Stations have also been installed at the Cincinnati Zoo, Findlay Market, UC, and Cincinnati State. Dr. Nancy Bertaux was one of the speakers at the unveiling event at the Zoo on April 7. See her remarks.
  • Earth Week 2015, April 20-25, Mon-Sat, Activities every day.  Join us!
  • Capital, Climate and the Power of Collaboration, 5:30-8 pm, Wed April 29, at Cintas Center Hall of Fame. Registration required. 
  • Student Sustainability Intern Applications due March 20! Application form here.
  • NEXUS Community Garden 2015 applications are available now. Forms are here for New Gardeners and Returning Gardeners. These plots fill fast!
  • We have lots of sustainable fun planned for Spring Semester! See what field trips we have planned and join in on the fun! XU Spring 2015 Sustainability Field Trips
  • Check out our latest issue of the Sustainability Program Newsletter.  
  • Check out Part 2 of the Alter Hall Sustainability Story to see the green future of Alter Hall.

2014

  • Sustainability Annual Update: It goes without saying that our collective work is a reflection of the commitments and passion of many on this campus. At its best, sustainability is integrated seamlessly with the Jesuit mission, as one factor among many driving its operations, education and plans. This is the overarching goal for all the work we do. View a compilation of our 2014 accomplishments here.

2013

2012

2011

  • Parking Forum: "We need to re-think comm-unity and commuting."
    • The Parking Forum held on October 24, 2011 was sponsored by the Sustainability Committee, and organized by committee member Doug Olberding of Sports Management. The purpose was to challenge the status quo here at Xavier University, Olberding explained. If we truly want to be a green sustainable campus, we need to re-think comm-unity and commuting. Speakers presented a range of concerns. Bob Sheeran of Physical Plant showed aerial photos of available parking on campus. Liz Blume of Community Building Institute challenged our commitment to public transportation and urban density. Kevin Tighe of Student Government Association asked if Zipcar wouldworkon campus. Jim Tracy of Cintas Center described the parking needs of the center on basketball game nights close, numbered and reserved for ticket holders. In the next weeks, each of these presentations and others will be highlighted in separate postings. In our final post, next steps for public transportation and commuting options will be presented. To view Professor Olberding's Prezi for the Parking Forum, showing the questions that we need to answer, click here for Prezi Parking Forum.
  • Xavier Welcomes New Sustainability Coordinator
    • The Sustainability Committee is pleased to welcome Ann Dougherty, our new Sustainability Coordinator to campus. She joined our community on October 24. Current co-chairs, Dave Lococo and Kathleen Smythe will work closely with her for the remainder of the year as she transitions into her new position and we adjust our roles within the Committee. Ann brings a remarkable range of experience to this role. She is a professional engineer with a Masters in Manufacturing Engineering and work experience as the director of environmental and process technology with Portland Cement Association. More recently, she has been the founder/owner of Learn Great Foods Co., a food knowledge business offering culinary farm tours and retreats in five Midwest states. She has written and lectured on a variety of topics related to agriculture, tourism and entrepreneurship as well as industrial ecology, air emissions and safety in the cement industry, and rotary kilns. Ann is witty, talented and perhaps as impressed by us as we are by her! I am honored to be on staff at this unique institution, and look forward to working with everyone, she smiles. We welcome you, Ann, to our community and our collective efforts. Her office is in Alter Hall Rm. 104A-1 and you can reach her atdoughertya@xavier.eduor ext. 1938.
  • Sustainability Committee Hosts Parking Forum
    • Join a diverse group of people from the University (Physical Plant, Cintas Center, Commuter Council, SGA, CBI, Faculty Committee and the Sustainability Committee) to discuss future ways that we might better serve the parking needs of Xavier faculty, staff, students, and Cintas guests while also achieving sustainability goals for a reducing groundwater runoff; reduced use of private vehicles by faculty, staff and student; and making room for more green space and new educational initiatives. Reworking our parking and transportation models will be among the most challenging tasks we face as a community, so come join us as we begin to craft a vision for a greener, healthier, and more civilly engaged parking and transportation infrastructure. The discussion takes place Monday, 24 October from 3-4:30 pm in the GSC Theater.
  • Last spring three students created The Xavier University Guide to a Green Cincinnati as part of a class assignment. The 22-page Guide contains facts about Xavier's sustainability progress and practical information about alternative transportation, where to find local food and locally-owned businesses and how to reduce energy use both in dorm rooms as well as the dining room and much more. Today, September 16 the guide is being electronically distributed to all Xavier students in the residence halls. All students, faculty and staff can locate it on our sustainability website at http://www.xavier.edu/green/students.cfm.Elle Ross, a Student Sustainability Intern, will be updating the Guide for next year, so please pass along suggestions to her at rosse2@xavier.edu.

2010

  • Xavier University Employees Win Sustainability Award
    • Phil Taylor and Doug Hanson in Technology Support received the 2010 Lamplighter Award from the Cincinnati Computer Cooperative (CCC) this summer.

      Walt Fischer, Cincinnati Computer Cooperative board chair; Judy Molnar, Xavier University director of technology support; Phil Taylor, Xavier technology support engineer and Doug Hanson, Xavier technology support engineer.

      Xavier University has been donating our out-of-cycle computers to the Cooperative for the past four years. They are refurbished and then donated to schools, students, senior citizens or people receiving state or federal assistance. Donating the computers to CCC saves the University money as well, since we don't pay anyone to dispose of our old computers.

      Even more remarkably, eighty-five percent of the equipment CCC receives is recycled. Parts that cannot be reused go to certified end-of-life recyclers after the hard drives have been removed and crushed. Nothing goes overseas or into landfills. This is a remarkable achievement as eighty per cent of electronic trash (including computers but also cell phones and other items) end up in suburban dumps overseas where those without other opportunities seek to recycle what they can and try to retrieve data from hard drives. What can't be used eventually gets burned, releasing often precious and toxic chemicals into the air, water, and soil.

      To view the article published in the Northeast edition of the Community Press, please visit: this article
  • College of Arts & Sciences Sustainability Goals
    • A few months ago, we reported on steps that the Division of Student Life and Leadership has taken to implement elements of the Campus Sustainability Plan into their short-term and long-term goals. Recently, Janice Walker, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, submitted six goals to the President that she and others in the college will be focusing on this year, including inviting a member of the Sustainability Committee to her annual fall Chairs' retreat and providing three modest grants next summer for faculty to revise or create courses addressing sustainability issues. Most other divisions are working on similar processes and you will see updates on their progress from time to time over the course of the year. To learn more about the Campus Sustainability Plan and what you can do to be a part of the efforts to achieve Xavier's goal of carbon neutrality, please visit www.xavier.edu/green
  • Sustainability Coordinator Hiring Committee Named
    • A new Sustainability Coordinator position has been approved for this fiscal year. The Sustainability Committee named a hiring committee recently, comprised of Committee members and two University representatives, one from Biology and one from Student Life and Leadership, with whom the Coordinator is likely to work closely. The members are: Dave Lococo, chair (Physical Plant and Committee); Carol Reid (SLL); Dottie Engle (Boiology); Dan Marschner (Admissions and Committee); Laura Wallace (student and former Sustainability Intern). The position will report to Dave Lococo, Exec. Director of Physical Plant. The Coordinator's office space, however, will be more centrally located to facilitate contact with students, faculty and staff across the University. The timeline calls for making a final selection by the end of August.

      Click here for a link to the Sustainability Coordinator Announcement.
  • YSU Sustainable Energy Forum
    • Carbon Vision presented at the YSU Sustainability Forum on the afternoon of June 8 on the topic of the financial and educational benefits of solar installations at schools and colleges. The prior week Carbon Vision and Youngstown State entered into an Agreement in Principle for the installation of a 60 KW Solar PV system on the rooftop of the University's Moser Hall. Ohio U. S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and Dr. David Sweet, President of Youngstown State University were all in attendance at the signing of the Agreement for the solar installation. Dr. Martin Abraham of the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) announced that the installation would also include a solar panel rooftop racking system supplied by the local Youngstown-based company, Northern States Metals. This project combines green energy, local jobs creation, and renewable energy instruction for students.

      Click here for WFMJ video coverage of this event
  • Ohio Passes New Financing and Tax Legislation for Renewable Energy Projects
    • On June 17, 2010, State Legislation in the form of Senate Bill 232 was signed into law by Ohio Governor Strickland. SB 232 eliminates the tangible personal property tax and energy generation tax on advanced energy projects in the State. These taxes were a significant disincentive to renewable energy projects. Their elimination helps the State extend its leadership in the emerging energy market and will assist in the creation of more new jobs in this sector. The Bill exempts renewable energy systems installed between 1/1/2009 and 1/1/2012. Eligible renewable energy systems which qualify are also those that meet Ohio's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard and include solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass, fuel cells, and energy derived from solid waste. Projects must create a certain amount of Ohio jobs to be eligible. Additionally, projects larger than 5 MW in scope must obtain approval from their local County Commissioner for the tax exemption to take effect. Projects with a nameplate capacity of less than 250 KW will be permanently exempt from personal property taxation.

      SB 232 also expanded eligibility for creation of Special Improvement District (SID) Financing. SID financing for Ohio was initially authorized in July 2009 when Ohio House Bill 1 was signed into law. It permits property owners to pay for the costs of certain projects through their real-estate taxes with payback durations of up to 30 years. Until recently, these projects were limited to solar, but SB 232 expanded the SID, or Property Assessed Clean Energy (P.A.C.E.) financing to include energy efficiency, solar PV, solar thermal, geothermal, wind, biomass, and gasification technologies. Currently the City of Cleveland and 16 suburbs are working to enact specific legislation for PACE financing in their respective municipalities. The 16 cities are all member cities of theFirst Suburbs Development Council. http://www.fscdc.org

      What this means for property owners:

      Combined with current state and federal incentives, the use of PACE financing allows property owners to install a renewable energy system with virtually no up-front costs. The portion of the system cost not covered by cash incentives or tax credits can be paid for over an extended duration of up to 30 years by adding the costs to your existing real-estate taxes, making it more affordable than traditional borrowing. The First Suburbs Development Council is working with the Cleveland Port Authority to generate the first $5 Million of PACE financing availability.

      Reference:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_SB_232

      SOURCE:
      Carbon Vision, LLC Newsletter, Vol 3, June 2010
      Carbon Vision, LLC | 20600 Chagrin Blvd | Suite 1100 | Shaker Heights | OH | 44122
  • Celebrating the twentieth year of the conference, this year's AJCU Facilities, Public Safety & Sustainability Conference will make an historic mark, adding Sustainability for the first time. It will take place at Xavier University from April 18-21, 2010. For more information, visit the conference web site here.

2009

  • Report: 2009 Sustainability Lunches Feedback
    • Xavier's Sustainability Committee hosted four open lunch discussions over the spring semester 2009. These events were conducted with support from the Office of University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., and had two primary goals: to share with the Xavier community the results of the University's greenhouse gas inventory, and to begin a collective dialogue about where we are now as an institution and the directions we want to take in creating a more sustainable campus.

      In all, more than 90 people attended these discussions. They contributed information concerning sustainable actions already underway in their particular areas of the University as well as thoughts and ideas concerning actions the University could or should take in the future. Their ideas were collected and recorded, and will be reviewed this fall as the committee drafts the Campus Action Plan to achieve climate neutrality.

      Here's a look at some of the sustainable actions and ideas that came to light during the lunch discussions. It's important to note that the current actions listed reflect the efforts of individuals or groups of individuals in one or more areas of the University and are not as yet campus-wide efforts.
    • Current Actions:
      • Some offices are working to reduce paper mailings, to rely more on electronic communications, to use paper with greater recycled content and to recycle more paper.
      • The Student Government Association is working to make double-sided printing more readily available.
      • The Office of Student Involvement is working to use two-sided copying as much as possible.
      • The Office of Student Life works to ensure that everyone has access to a recycling bin
      • Physical Plant installed energy efficient lights, dimmer switches and motion detectors to control those lights.
      • Physical Plant installed low-E windows and upgraded to more efficient equipment.
      • The new Hoff Academic Quad is being constructed to meet LEED Silver specifications.
      • More bike racks have been placed around the campus.
      • The O'Connor Sports Center provides shower facilities for those who walk or bike to work.
      • Some employees report turning off lights and computers when leaving the office at the end of the day.
      • The O'Connor Sports Center staff turns off all equipment at night.
      • Peace and Justice Programs hosts weekly vegetarian meals with reusable dishes and has launched a community gardens program.
      • The McGrath Health and Counseling Center encourages everyone to bring their own water bottles for refilling.
      • The Office of Student Involvement hosted a rummage sale and sponsored their own green day during which they served organic food.
    • Suggestions for the Future
      • Create a bike-loan program.
      • Use the student shuttle to reduce student use of cars around campus.
      • If parking becomes fee-based, offer a discount for those who carpool or use other sources of transportation.
      • Promote carpooling.
      • Add an employee benefit option of paid or discounted Metro passes.
      • Explore the possibility of flexible work schedules and telecommuting.
      • Allow employees to work from home one or two days per week.
      • Integrate environmental issues into the core curriculum.
      • Post signs around campus highlighting the environmental initiatives under way and their impact on Xavier's carbon footprint.
      • Meter energy use in all buildings.
      • Keep buildings warmer during the summer and cooler during the winter.
      • Add locally grown, organic food to choices in the cafeteria.
      • Many attendees commented on the campus' low rate of recycling and the need for better education and more publicity around Recyclemania.
      • Do all interdepartmental charges electronically.
      • Promote toner and battery recycling.

This is just the beginning of our sustainability journey together. Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate directly. And, to any who did not have a chance, feel free to discuss your ideas with any of the committee members.

Dave Lococo
Sustainability Co-chair