Green Committee Meeting Minutes
April 20, 2009
Ray Bailey (chairman, MA), Les Krogh (WO), Callan Bentley (AN), Victor Zabielski (AL), Denny May (AL), Ruth Stanton (ME), Kathleen Odige (ME), and Ed Mellon.
The meeting began at 3:30 pm in the small board room in the Brault Building.
The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed and approved by acclamation.
Ray reviewed happenings since the previous meeting. Denny May had composed a draft letter to Dr. Templin, and suggested that a refined version of this letter would be available before the May 4, 2009 meeting. Review of that letter will be a major focus of the final meeting of the year.
Ed Mellon gave an update of where we stand on the recycling contract issue. He reminded us that there are two contracts which have importance for this issue: (1) janitorial and (2) haul-away. Ed’s opinion is that the important one is the janitorial contract. This contract says that the contractor is ‘compelled to follow the College’s recycling program,’ but Ed reminded the committee that the College doesn’t have a College-wide recycling program. Instead, we have a collection of campus programs.
The purchasing staff is going through orals now. Their committee is reviewing five total bids. Three have been invited in to answer oral questions. Probably the contract will be awarded in May, within 30 days.
Ray asked if, under the new contract, we would continue to do things as they are done (or not done) now. Ed responded that you can’t improve upon individual campus programs until we actually institute a College-wide program/policy. Ray wondered if we were more or less likely to achieve a College-wide policy if we continued pursuing separate strategies on separate campuses.
Victor asked if it would be possible to change the wording of the contract from “College policy’ to ‘campus policy.’ Ed replied that it was not possible: What we need at this point is a College-wide policy, but the wording of the contract is general enough that a contractor is bound to abide by it. Denny asked if there was an effort underway to develop a College-wide policy. Ray replied that perhaps that will be part of the committee’s overall recommendations to Dr. Templin at the end of the year.
Denny asked if the new contract has language about campus plans, whether that was in writing anywhere. Ed replied that it was not, and cautioned that the purchasing department needs to be very clear about the language. Under the existing contracts, any campus is able to recycle:
- Office paper
- Plastic and metal (beverage containers)
Denny asked Ed if the Green Committee was the only ones coming up with a new recycling policy. Ed replied that yes; that was his understanding.
Ed continued that the current plan is to “back out the bid,” extending the AAA contract until the end of June. This is the haul-off contract. The expectation is that at the end of June, that contract will likely be awarded to the lowest available bid. He noted that there is a low market for recycling at the moment. We have the right to go back and renegotiate if circumstances change. The contractor has this right too. If there is a financial incentive either way, we can take care of that.
Ray asked about collection containers: if there are insufficient numbers of containers provided, can they provide more/ bigger ones? Ed replied “yes.”
Ray asked who makes the call as to how many different commodities get recycled. Ed responded with a statement that if the contractor is getting a contaminated recycling stream, he will send it all to the trash. In other words, it’s not so much about the haul-off contract: the janitorial contract is 90% of the solution. They are the major part; the trash & recycling haul-off is the simple part of it. Ed summarized that we really need a College-wide policy, and then left the meeting.
Ray moved on to other business: the President has given the committee a “task item.” The VCCS task force is going to have a public meeting on Friday, May 1, at 9am in the CE Theater at the Annandale campus. He asked, “How do we ensure that there is a good faculty response to the questionnaire? How do we ensure good participation at the meeting?” An e-mail from the President’s office was suggested, since most faculty will pay close attention to that.
The student survey was discussed. Callan noted that it had some pretty bizarre wording and choice of topics in its seven questions. Victor interpreted it as an approval process of a pre-determined agenda. Ruth asked what will be done with the data, and Ray offered to check with Bill Chamberlin about that.
Ray clarified that the initiative from the state level is coming from the Chancellor’s office, not the governor or the legislature. Having a strong recycling program is a priority from the top, down. The VCCS Task Force is moving quickly, he noted.
In discussing the public hearing, Callan noted that 9am on a Friday morning is a challenging time to schedule something if you want it to be well-attended. Ideas were suggested for publicizing the hearing: a note in Intercom, an e-mail to campus-level ‘green’ committees, a notice on the marquee sign in front of the Annandale campus, an announcement on WAMU, and a post on Craigslist. Ray asked how many of the committee’s members would be able to make it? Victor and Kathleen said they would be there. Callan and Ray both had other responsibilities or plans.
Kathleen asked what the Green Committee representatives should aim to discuss at the meeting. Ray suggested the list we compiled in February, and also listening to see what our colleagues were saying.
Ray brought up the issue of committee representation for next year. If this year’s committee members want to continue serving for next year, they should go talk to their Committee on Committees representative (on each campus) and ask to put on the list for next year. Ray also asked whether he should invite Lena Strom, the sustainability coordinator from GMU, to one of our meetings. All replied, “yes.”
Ray ended the meeting at 4:54 pm.