Posts Tagged ‘Delta College’

By Christie-Joy Hartman, Executive Director, Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, James Madison University; Linda Petee, Sustainability & Risk Management Coordinator, Delta College; Jennifer Andrews, Director of Program Planning & Coordination and Tim Ryder, Undergraduate Climate Fellow, Clean Air-Cool Planet; Rita Alison, National Senior Manager Sustainability & Environmental Stewardship, ARAMARK

(This article appears in the September, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

Food consumption is a potentially significant Scope 3 source not currently included in many universities’ emissions inventories. Faithful readers of The Implementer, may recall an article from 2010 discussing the development of the CHarting Emissions from Food Services (CHEFS) calculator that estimates food-related climate impact. CHEFS is a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) tool that accounts for emissions associated with the production, use, and disposal of campus food-related products. The CHEFS tool, developed by Clean Air-Cool Planet with initial support from ARAMARK, is currently completing a beta test following successful pilot testing in 2011. The beta test entails four campus sustainability coordinators working with ARAMARK staff to collaboratively detail and tally a semester’s worth of campus choices in menu planning, purchasing, and dining-related operations.  The data is entered into the CHEFS web-based interface, producing the food-related carbon dioxide equivalent emissions for each campus.

With finite resources and a myriad of environmental project possibilities, campus sustainability coordinators need to consider and often justify measuring and reporting yet another set of metrics. The intent of CHEFS is to help determine the relative significance of Scope 3 food-related emissions by quantifying the magnitude and effect of the food product lifecycle. For example, preliminary results from one of the beta-testing schools indicate that meat represents 55% of that campus’ total food-related carbon dioxide equivalent emissions and removing one day’s worth of meat reduces approximately 8% of those emissions.  These kinds of results could provide valuable information for prioritizing institutional and individual food purchasing actions. James Madison University (JMU) and Delta College, two of the higher education institutions who are participating in the CHEFS beta test, are investing time in CHEFS with the goals of not only enhancing institutional decision making and informing consumer choice, but also enhancing education.

Delta College, which has a self-run dining service program, has collaborated with pilot projects in the past and found them to be mutually beneficial, and it approached the CHEFS project with the goal that it would serve as the campus food operations base year data.  Delta’s institutional strategic planning leads it to benchmark its programs, to assess progress, and to set measurable goals for continuous improvement.  With the purchasing data Delta collected through the CHEFS pilot, it now has a solid foundation of information from which to identify objectives toward more sustainable dining.  As a start, Delta’s office of sustainability is now developing data entry forms so their food service staff can more easily capture their inventory for a seamless transfer to the CHEFS software moving forward.  They found that CHEFS provided them a template and pointed them in the right direction to start tackling the climate impact of their dining services!

Delta College administrators can utilize the results in the context of their broader institutional emissions profile.  For example, the purchasing data that Delta collected for the beta test, while still quite preliminary, suggests that in some instances food purchases alone have more impact than the total of Scope 1 emissions and nearly half of all Scope 2 emissions.

JMU’s dining services is using CHEFS to obtain a preliminary estimate of lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from food-related operations for 2011. A JMU graduate assistant is exploring employing CHEFS to analyze a variety of possible future paths, such as adding more vegetarian dishes, developing seasonal menus, and simply operating more efficiently.  Ideally, the results would be used by ARAMARK in combination with cost and feasibility information to reduce emissions.

JMU’s Office of Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability also hopes to use the results to help achieve one of its main goals–challenging citizens to think critically about their roles as environmental stewards. Dining is a focal point at JMU (where on campus dining is ranked by The Princeton Review in the top 10 in the nation) that presents an opportunity to connect with consumers not necessarily already actively engaged in sustainability conversations.  JMU is exploring conducting a second scenario analysis in CHEFS that focuses on individual behaviors such as throwing away less food, utilizing less take-out packaging, and eating less meat. Results could then be communicated to consumers via methods such as the qualitative labeling system that is being developed as part of CHEFS.  The analyses itself could provide opportunities for scholarly articles by students and faculty members as well as material for interdisciplinary undergraduate environmental issues courses.

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By Linda Petee, Sustainability & Risk Management Coordinator, Delta College
(This article appears in the September, 2012 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Scope 3 emissions can escalate a carbon footprint significantly if not monitored and tracked diligently.  To provide a comprehensive analysis, Delta College chose to report additional Scope 3 categories, including solid waste, right from the start.

Recycling was introduced in 1991 and our program quickly earned recognition as a statewide best practice in 1995.  Early on, area waste haulers were not equipped to collect recyclables and sorting facilities were limited.  Our fledgling program partnered with a local rehabilitation center for sorting and bundling. Later, as residential programs took hold, we piggybacked on municipal collections. Eventually, local material recovery centers were established. Having an established program has allowed us to refine our processes and provide guidelines to aid collection.

Delta College Recycling List & Guidelines
Batteries (PDF)
Beverage Containers (PDF)
Cardboard (PDF)
Cell Phones, PDA, MP3 (PDF)
Junk Mail and Fax Ads (PDF)
Mixed Paper – Public Spaces
Mixed Paper – Offices (PDF)
Newspaper (PDF)
Packing Materials (PDF)
Phone Books (PDF)
Print Cartridges (PDF)
Snack Bags (PDF)
Shredding (PDF)
Transparencies (PDF)

Acceptable materials and bin locations are available on our website. Instructional posters are installed in all labs, classrooms, and copy service areas. New employees are introduced to campus greening with a ‘green welcome packet’ and students attend tabling events. The Sustainability Office measures progress and evaluates new materials to strive for maximum diversion by conducting a comprehensive waste stream evaluation including life-cycle assessment, procurement, inventory, and storage. We keep in close contact with the waste hauler for the transfer of waste to the landfill.  The landfill reports that 11% of the methane generated by our campus waste is ‘flared off’ while the remaining 89% is used to generate electricity.

Although waste had been tracked since day one, it was the ACUPCC and initial greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting (2000-2008) that clearly demonstrated the benefit. Because of our improved waste stream analysis, education, and better record keeping, we found that from FY06 to FY08 about 15% more materials were being diverted toward recycling or reuse.  Our most recent GHG report shows that, on average, diversion has increased about 7% each year. In 2006, seven tons of archival documents were shredded and recycled. The following year, an improved archival and retention process reduced that quantity by half with further reductions each year since.  A junk mail reduction campaign, monitored by Eco Reps, reduced unwanted mail by 72% in a single a year.

GHG reporting makes apparent areas that need attention.  In our case, it pointed directly to retired furniture, fixtures, and

Delta College EcoReps

equipment. The College had operated an asset management process whereby property was evaluated for potential reuse, then resale, recycling, and eventually disposal.  It was a labor-intensive process.  This year it was streamlined to an efficient online public surplus auction.  Items from light fixtures to backhoes now move more efficiently from campus-owned to community reuse.

A closer look at the electronic media waste stream proved both a learning experience and resulted in a more effective method. In the past, e-waste generally found its way to a haphazard pile in the corridor.  A newly launched online portal now notifies campus Eco Reps to arrange a meet up.  Together, the requestor and the Eco Reps sort, box, and tag the waste. This imparts responsibility and an understanding that what comes in eventually must go out. Adopting a ‘department pay’ system vs. the college picking up the tab encourages prudent planning of product need and consideration for life cycle.

Solid waste management also offers an opportunity for student clubs to fundraise or to donate to charitable organizations.  Eco Reps say it’s a great way to create awareness of the Triple Bottom Line.  Club members sign up to collect returnable beverage containers. This also requires them to empty the non-returnable receptacles, thus saving Facilities Management labor costs.  Clubs have financed projects like alternative spring breaks, conference fees, and team equipment.

Delta College has long been committed to making an investment in campus waste reduction. We hope that through further reduction, repurposing, reuse, and recycling that we one day will be producing zero waste.

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By Steve Muzzy, Senior Associate, Second Nature

(This article appears in the November, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


The 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Climate Leadership Summit met October 12-13 in Denver, CO. The nearly 200 participants got right to work sharing challenges and best practices and outlining the future direction of the commitment. Highlights from the Summit follow.

James WoolseyJames Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton, provided the opening keynote address. Mr. Woolsey’s presentation focused on the impending threats to national security that are being posed by an increasingly unstable climate. His perspective creatively threaded the current and future social and environmental implications of our reigning energy policy as well as provided some promising existing mechanisms to scale renewable energy production. Note: Mr. Woolsey’s presentation and all Summit presentations will be available on the ACUPCC website soon. (more…)

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Delta College President, Jean Goodnow receives Second Nature’s 1st Annual Climate Leadership Award for Outstanding Individual Climate Leadership. Award recipients were recognized at the 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment Summit in Denver, CO on October 12th.

President Jean Goodnow has been making sustainability a strategic imperative by integrating it into Delta College’s (MI), educational, administrative, and operational activities. In 2007, President Goodnow signed the ACUPCC and convened a Sustainability Task Force. In 2008, she assembled a college-wide Green Summit during which sustainable concepts were introduced and input from the campus community was invited. As a result, Green Fridays, a four-day work-week, was piloted. Green Fridays has been established as a successful measure of carbon reduction and expanded each year.

In early 2009, the College Board of Trustees passed a recommendation to elect sustainability as a Guiding Principle. This prompted the college’s Accreditation Steering Committee to identify sustainability as an Academic Quality Improvement Process (AQIP) and was added to the AQIP Action Plan in 2008/09 and in 2009/10. The integration of sustainability throughout the accreditation process has steadily progressed with its adoption as a Systems Portfolio Distinctive Objective in the 2009/10 academic year. In 2010/11, sustainability will take a leading role as an Institutional Strategic Action Plan. Delta College convened an academic sustainability team to begin the development of a sustainable curriculum. Sustainability-related courses are debuting in the fall 2010 semester. An ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ course is being launched and serves as the foundation of the Sustainability Certificate Program.

Dr. Goodnow has immersed Delta College in the vision of the Great Lakes Bay region, as well.  As an integral member of the ‘Visions of Green’ network, she was instrumental in bringing together stakeholders to expedite local and statewide efforts to preserve the natural corridors between tri-county recreation areas.  She is a strong proponent for developing partnerships in business and industry, especially in the emerging alternative energies. Click here to learn more about President Goodnow and Delta College’s sustainability efforts.

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