Green Committee Meeting Minutes
November 7, 2011
Present: Karen Busham-Newton, Robin (Bill) Gorham, Susi Matteisen, Rob Como, Dan Wells, Ray Bailey, Victor Zabielski, Jeannette Tucker, Gary Robinette, Callan Bentley, Kathleen Odige
Guests: Lenna Storm (GMU’s Sustainability Coordinator), Chris Baumgartner (GMU’s Sustainability Outreach/Marketing)
Via phone conference: Sam Hill
Via web conference: Kristyn Mosky, Kenny Trin (President of Green student club at LO), missed the name of the 3rd attendee
- Lenna Storm and Chris Baumgartner attended the meeting.
- Ray Bailey pointed out that as a committee, we are pretty limited in our function until a Sustainability Coordinator is hired at NOVA.
- Lenna reports directly to the Vice President of Facilities. She has three full-time employees who handle the following areas— (1)outreach/marketing, (2) climate initiative management & reporting (STARS-Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System—administrative, academic, and research); GMU received a silver rating this year, and (3) special projects—food-related projects, recycling, gardens, hydro-ecological efforts, buy local, etc. campaigning.
- GMU is trying to work to get their own farmer’s market in Fairfax, VA; farmer’s market contracts are rigorous.
- How did Lenna’s position come to be?
- She said she was at the right place at the right time; both academics and facilities were involved; students were heavily involved in asking that GMU did “more” in relation to sustainability efforts; they could hardly keep up with the demand.
- GMU’s academic sustainability component is exploding. They have sustainability majors for Bachelor’s, Master’s, and certification programs. Currently, there are 35 students majoring in sustainability programs. Check out the following website for more information http://sustainabilitystudies.gmu.edu/.
- Lenna expressed she would like to connect with NOVA and its WD/CE departments to offer sustainability academic programs.
- GMU’s sustainability student body base is residential, i.e., dorms; whereas, NOVA’s student body base are commuters.
- Ray restated that based on GMU’s accomplishments, this reinforces the committee is not enough. If/when a coordinator is hired, the committee should continue to serve in an advisory capacity.
- Lenna advised if the committee put forth issues and those issues are met with resistance, then present other issues that or more palpable to the decision makers.
- GMU is a member of AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) and they use STARS, which assesses the status of sustainability of universities.
- NOVA is most recently a member of SEED (Sustainability Education & Economic Development).
- GMU’s President signed a climate improvement plan per faculty/student petition on greenhouse gas inventory.
- An Auxiliary office staff member reports usage to Sustainability Coordinator office
- Dr. Sam Hill asked Lenna how she achieved this level engagement by the community.
- Lenna shared that GMU’s President was on board early on and other academics had to be persuaded; she suggested that we frame our sustainability goals to align with the college’s mission and culture.
- NOVA’s President will need to be more tuned in re: sustainability and one way to start is to approve the Sustainability Coordinator position.
Other shared information:
- GMU’s Student Environment Action Group approaches GMU’s sustainability office with various ideas; the Sustainability office also has a budget to pay student interns--$30K annual budget; the student interns spread the word about campus/community efforts and can get credit for work.
- Lenna also advised that it’s helpful to be charming and have coercive skills. It’s important to know that the Sustainability office has false authority, i.e., they can’t really enforce anything, so people have to be convinced.
- Ray Bailey asked to what degree does the food service play in their efforts?
-5% (???) from buying local
-See GMU’s dining webpage; Sustainability office was able to get school to purchase smaller trays, which leads to less food waste; food trash is pulped, therefore, is less weighty ; composting; use biodegradable products; they have food gardens at some campuses.
- Once a full-time sustainability staffer is hired at NOVA, much more will be accomplished, provided administrators are ready to come on board.
- Dr. Hill shared he will continue to champion the committee’s efforts to the Admin Council. He also suggested we change the committee’s name to give it more oomph, maybe Environmental Action Committee, similar to that of GMU’s student group.
- Lenna suggested we challenge Richmond’s directive re: restrictions on campus gardens per Victor.
- Victor asked about Lenna’s visions for collaboration with NOVA
- Happy to partner with us with whatever we need.
- What about grants?
- They applied and received a $35K community grant from Dominion Power; funding supports a half-time graduate student.
- Callan suggested that AV setup for web conferencing and phone conferencing at participating campuses and at the Brault conference room be set at least a half hour before the start of the meeting. Setting up is too disruptive when the meeting is in session.
- Reminder to all members: Speak to you Provosts about the need for a NOVA Sustainability Coordinator.
- Victor suggested that the NOVA Provosts meet with GMU’s Provost.
- Lenna wants to advertise at GMU what NOVA’s WD/CE is doing in the sustainability field.