2015 News Archive

View News Archives: 2015 | 2014


  • Spring 2015 Temperature Measurement Project Begins this Week!
    • Training is going on this week for this great project so please act quickly if you'd like to be involved. You can:
      - Get paid, gain valuable work experience AND be involved in sustainability.
      - Survey building temperatures when it's convenient for you-choose hours you work.
      - Attend training provided by Energy Consultant Ron Perkins.
    • Please contact Victoria Mairal-Cruz for more information: mairalcruzv@xavier.edu.
  • Urban Farm Update
    • Xavier's team of students who are managing the on-campus Urban Farm are looking ahead at the upcoming growing season. This team of diverse majors has been hard at work since August, committed to sorting out the logistics of the farm as a viable business model while tending to the immediate needs of the land. With the help of advisory figures in the Entrepreneurial area of Xavier as well as various faculty members, this team has done a tremendous job in working together to ensure that our on-campus farm remains in good shape.
    • The team is looking ahead to February for early planting in the hoop house; crops will be chosen that respond to the various local market segments that are committed to sourcing from our very own garden. Xavier students may get a taste of the garden in our own Cafeteria! There are many facets to what this project has become, and the student team is incredibly grateful to all who have supported and offered their input.
    • Anyone who might be interested in being involved with the farm by any means may contact Rebecca Woodul, co-founder, at woodulr@xavier.edu
  • Xavier Partnering with Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities
    • Last Wednesday, January 7, 2015, Ann Dougherty (XU Sustainability Director) and Victoria Mairal-Cruz (XU student) met with Jennifer Eismeier (executive director of the Mill Creek Watershed Council), and John Mangan (volunteer) to discuss the opportunities for the Council and Xavier University to expand and activate our new partnership.
    • The Council would like to promote the involvement of Xavier's 7000 students, alumni and community members in the preservation of the Mill Creek, which Ms. Eismeier quoted a previous resident as calling "the most beautiful tributary on the Ohio River."
    • The Mill Creek Watershed is the local sink for all our stormwater runoff and sewage overflow in the Cincinnati area. The creek also provides recreational activities- paddling, ecosystem exploration, and ecosystem services. The goal of the Watershed Council is to make Mill Creek great again!
    • Xavier professors have already included the Mill Creek Watershed in coursework and class projects:
      - Mollie McIntosh has already been working with her students taking invertebrate samples of the creek
      - John Fairfield includes a study of the environmental history of the creek in his American History and Public Policy-oriented courses
      - Stan Hadeen wrote a book about Mill Creek - The Mill Creek: An Unnatural History of an Urban Stream, Blue Heron Press, 1994.
      - Nancy Bertaux involved students in studying the water-energy nexus: measuring how Xavier's water use contributes to Xavier's regional Carbon impact on the environment (developed and improved a regionalized version of EPA Carbon Calculator working with Williams Creek Consulting).
    • Pictured above: Watershed Council Executive Director Jennifer Eismeier presents an award recognizing Xavier's water stewardship and partnership with the Council to Nancy Bertaux and Dave Lococo. Look for this to be on display soon in the Sustainability Nook (first floor McDonald).


  • Make the Mill Creek Great Again!
    • The Millcreek Watershed Council is updating its Strategic Plan and is seeking input. All are invited to attend one or more Mill Creek Watershed Charrettes in 2015! Join the discussion and have your voice heard on topics related to the future of our urban stream. Topics discussed will be Mill Creek related issues and opportunities, including flood reduction, water quality, stormwater management, recreation, economic development, quality of life, and more.
    • Next meeting:
      Time: 4:30pm - 6:30pm
      Date: Thursday, February 19th
      Location: American Sign Museum 1330 Monmouth Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45225
    • All are welcome to attend! The Council will provide drinks and snacks. Please contact Anne Rahall to RSVP or for more details: arahall@millcreekwatershed.org
  • Environmental Audits Available
    • Sustainability Director Ann Dougherty and Sustainability Communications Intern Taylor Roberts are developing a voluntary environmental audit to facilitate green office makeovers in Xavier's Community. For those interested in participating, the process will include a meeting to discuss current office practices and a short follow up with results and suggestions.
    • The goals of this project are to:
      - Raise awareness of environmental issues with the employees working in the Xavier community.
      - Develop an audit to assess environmental practices in the offices of Xavier University.
      - Develop an audit/document that other offices may use as a template for future environmental audits.
      - Deliver feedback and suggestions to improve practices relating to energy efficiency, composting, water consumption, waste reduction, transportation, and general environmental responsibility.
    • The Writing Center will be the first to receive a green makeover based on suggestions from the Office of Sustainability in Physical Plant and outside consultants within the Xavier Community. Dougherty and Roberts met with Rebecca Todd, the Writing Center Director on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, to discuss and assess the environmental practices of the Writing Center. Results to come!
    • We are looking for other offices willing to participate in this project. It will not require much of their time, but it will help them and the Xavier community. For more information contact Ann Dougherty at doughertya@xavier.edu or Taylor Roberts at robertst10@xavier.edu.
  • Mount St. Joseph University's Environmental Action Committee Presents: Years of Living Dangerously
    • Winner of the 2014 Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series", this groundbreaking Showtime television series explores the human impact of climate change. From the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy to the upheaval caused by drought in the Middle East, Years of Living Dangerously combines the blockbuster storytelling styles of top Hollywood movie makers with the reporting expertise of today's most respected journalists.
    • All screenings are free and open to all on Thursday nights from 7 pm - 9 pm in Mount St. Joseph's Recital Hall February 12 - April 16 ( No screening on March 12th due TO MSJU'S Spring Break). Each screening will be followed by a discussion session. If you have any questions, please contact Colleen McSwiggin at 513-244-4864 or colleen.mcswiggin@msj.edu
  • Consideration Campaign
    • During the week of February 8-14, the Office of Sustainability is running a Consideration Campaign in honor of Valentine's Day. The campaign will feature various posters hung strategically around Xavier's campus with slogans like Love Your Planet, Consider... Meatless Mondays, Taking the Stairs, Filling Up Your Water Bottle, Turning Off the Lights, Taking Shorter Showers. The Consideration Campaign will focus on optimizing optimism about environmental issues and raising awareness for more sustainable practices in the Xavier community. Senior Advertising Major Erin Crowley is designed the posters for the campaign.
  • Xavier University Advisory Board for Sustainability Programs
    • The first meeting of the Xavier Advisory Board for Sustainability Programs was held February 3, 2015. The advisory board is composed of 17 sustainability leaders in the community with Steve Melink, of Melink Corporation, as the chair of the board. Other organizations represented include Cincinnati Office of Environment and Sustainability, Cincinnati Park Board, Macy's, Fifth Third Bank, Hamilton County Planning and Development, Grailville, Kroger, Accenture, Green Umbrella, Ernst and Young, and more.
    • Three senior SUST/ECOS majors also attended the meeting: Joe McGrath, Mark Miller, and Mike Murray. They had the chance to tell the board members about their experience at Xavier and what their future plans are as well. They also got to mingle with the board members before and after the meeting, making some great contacts.
    • By serving on our advisory board, we hope these sustainability professionals will be able to help Xavier's sustainability program continue to grow and develop. They may:
      - Help with student academic and career development
      - Act as guest speakers
      - Assist with course and capstone projects as well as practicums and internships
      -Provide feedback and ideas on career choices, skills needed, curricula, and experiential aspects of sustainability.
      - Possibly even teach future courses.
    • We owe all of our advisory board members our gratitude for offering their time and talents!
  • Sustainability Heroes Gallery Opening and Reception
    • Monday, February 2, 4-5 pm: Come celebrate the life and values of Jim and Eileen Schenk, founders of Imago Earth Center and Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage. Outside Currito Burrito and Mission and Identity in Fenwick Hall. Contact Kathleen Smythe, smythe@xavier.edu Also watch for more information about these Sustainability Heroes coming soon on the Sustainability website.


  • 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!).
  • Sustainability Study in Peru, Spring Break 2015
    • "The worse off a country's economy is, the drier 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 a part 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



  • "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 web link with downloadable PDF can be found here and from your mobile device here
  • The Joe Peschel, SJ Award will be presented to Nancy Bertaux, Professor of Economics and 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!
  • 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


  • 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, and 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 an 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 the use of a solar generator, and Xavier donating the 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 1:30 pm 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.
  • 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