November 2019

Pink Goes Green - Delta Zeta

by Adam Smith

Delta Zeta is redefining how Greek Life can contribute to sustainable efforts at BGSU. The BGSU sorority sets a wonderful example of environmental education and sustainable action with their Sustainability Chair, which is a nationwide position! The purpose and mission of the Sustainability chair is to work, “at the grassroots level to improve the environment, educate the public on what they can do and help them do it, and empower those they impact with the knowledge that just one person can make a difference to protect the environment and enrich our planet.” The current sustainability chair for Delta Zeta—Gamma Tau chapter (at BGSU) is Hannah Salo. 

            Hannah shares her experiences and responsibility as Sustainability Chair. She has a great amount of freedom within her position! She educates and encourages the chapter to buy sustainably sourced and reusable items; in addition, she promotes environmental events to the chapter throughout the year! Delta Zeta has been a huge supporter of the Office of Campus Sustainability over the past few years. The chapter makes it a priority to attend the tree planting events each year. 

            Last Spring, Hannah was able to advise her chapter on buying reusable/collapsible straws to reduce their use of plastics. In previous years, the Sustainability Chair has also played a vital role in purchasing reusable water bottles.  Reducing plastic-use is a huge priority for the chapter. Hannah has not only dedicated herself to taking action in implementing sustainable initiatives, but she has also been creative in educational opportunities. This year she has been making a Kahoot (trivia/questionnaire app) each week dedicated to something in relation to sustainability—ranging from: climate change to recycling! Hannah states, “we were able to keep our chapter engaged, while also informing our women of the importance of our voices in leading change for the betterment of the environment”. 

            Delta Zeta is taking steps to implement change outside their chapter, as well. This past Spring semester the chapter attended BGSU’s Eco Fair and educated attendees on the hazardous effects of plastic pollution on Sea Turtles. Chapter members also volunteer with the Office of Campus Sustainability during Green Game Days, Friday Night Lights, and Sustainability Week! Hannah describes the impact that these actions have had on her chapter, “through this consistent participation with environmental events, our members have been well educated and now have the passion for helping the environment of which I am so proud!”. 

            The Sustainability Chair position has inspired others to take action, as well. In fact, Phi Mu Alpha inquired about the Sustainability Chair, and ended up creating their own Environmental Chair for their BGSU Chapter. Hannah has been influential in the sustainable movement here on campus, and she displays great enthusiasm for what the future holds for Delta Zeta and sustainable change! 

            Hannah is a junior studying Business with a specialization in Supply Chain Management. She has been a part of Delta Zeta since Fall of 2018. Her other involvements include: College Panhellenic Conference, Order of Omega, and the Office of Residence Life. She is the Student Desk Manager in Kreischer Compton/Darrow Hall. Hannah stated, “Holding the position of DZ’s Sustainability Chair has been such an eye-opening experience, and Delta Zeta is truly honored to have worked so well with the Office of Campus Sustainability! Thank you for your commitment to the environment: we admire all that you do”. 


Are you initiating sustainable change on BGSU’s campus? If so, share your story with Campus Sustainability (greenbg@bgsu.edu), and have a chance at being hosting in our next newsletter!

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Building Bird Houses for Our Feathered Friends

by Jacob Kern

Many native Ohio birds are struggling because of habitat loss, intense agricultural production, climate change, and feral cats. Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds (pictured to the side) are no exception. The increase in agricultural practices is taking away a lot of habitat that these birds rely on to survive. Not only that, but they also must compete with many invasive species like the European Starling. Starlings nest in just about any cavity they can find which takes away needed nesting areas for Tree Swallows and Bluebirds. These birds also must live with the danger of feral cats, which are known to hunt and kill many birds. With the number of feral cats growing, many bird populations are being threatened with extinction. All of these factors have caused the North American bird population to decrease by nearly 3 billion since 1970 (Rosenberg et al. 2019). Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds are loved by many gardeners and farmers since they eat insect pests that would harm their plants.

One way to help Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds fight these issues is by building bird houses that are specifically made for them. Bird houses provide much needed shelter, especially when their habitat is being destroyed. Therefore, The Office of Campus Sustainability hosted a workshop during Sustainability Week, which was the week of October 21st, that consisted of building Tree Swallow and Bluebird houses out of reclaimed pallet wood. These bird houses were specially made for Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds to give them more of a fighting chance. Invasive species, like starlings, cannot enter them since the entrance is too small. This helps the Tree Swallows and Bluebirds compete with invasive species. Bird houses also provide protection from feral cats as well. The bird houses will be on a five to ten-foot pole to help protect them from feral cats. These houses are going to be put up on campus behind lot R in a very large open area where these birds can thrive. This area will also be a great place for students to relax and watch the thriving Tree Swallows and Bluebird families.

Building birdhouses is a great activity that anyone can do to help native Ohio birds. The specifications to this specific birdhouse and many other ones are on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website. They also have the blueprints and information on many birdfeeders made specially for native Ohio birds. If you don’t have anywhere to put a birdhouse or feeder you can donate them to local parks for them to use. Build your own by following the link below. 

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Where are they now!?

by Christina Deehr

Over the years, many interns have walked in and out of The Office of Campus Sustainability doors. These interns have made major contributions and impacts that have marked successful milestones for the Office of Campus Sustainability. We wanted to know what these interns have been up to and how the work they did as an intern has impacted their lives. Therefore, we have started the new newsletter series “Where Are They Now?”. 

Josh Chamberland

Sustainability Assistant: May 2014-August 2017

Environmental Policy & Analysis (2014) Masters of Public Administration (2017)

During his time with the Office of Campus Sustainability Josh Chamberland kept busy by organizing a wide variety of activities to help meet the initiatives outlined in the BGSU President’s Climate Action Plan. Josh was lucky, as he was heavily involved in planning major activities on campus such as Sustainability Month and Earth Week. Having such a major role in these high profile events on campus provided Josh with many skills he uses today such as planning and implementing sustainable initiatives.

Today, you can find Josh planning and implementing programs for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville as their Waste Minimization Coordinator. Here, Josh is responsible for managing the Pioneer ReStore which sells gently used items at a campus thrift store and online public auctions. With these sales, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville can fund other sustainability initiatives such as residence hall composting, electronic waste recycling and ink recycling. Josh has applied much of what he learned at BGSU in the Sustainability Office to become a valued staff member at his current place of employment.

When asked to reflect on his time at BGSU, Josh said that he most enjoyed the staff and collaboration. BGSU staff is welcoming and fun, making every day at work, a good day. When it comes to relationships and networking, Josh said he wishes he had “more meetings over lunch or coffee with full-time staff members. It’s an easy way to make new connections & improve working relationships with co-workers in a less formal setting than traditional meetings. This can break up the workday and make it more fun.” Networking and good working relationships are such an important part of moving BGSU’s sustainability initiatives forward. Josh’s collaborative abilities while working here set a great example of what can be done with a good network and solid mission.

He recommends that current students become more involved in environmental activities. Josh explained that by being involved in environmental activism encourages businesses to prioritize sustainability. Simply put, the market will meet the demand. Therefore, if students are actively seeking sustainable changes then business will strive to meet those demands. “It also makes those sustainability/ environmental jobs more relevant to the daily operations of public & private organizations, which you’ll appreciate when you’re out in the world pursuing your careers! Don’t be afraid to set ambitious goals – our world needs them and soon!”

When Josh isn’t at work he is busy engaging in his Wisconsin community. He participates in a bowling league and has managed to maintain a 126 average. Fly fishing for trout has become another favorite hobby. Wisconsin boasts over 13,000 miles of trout streams with over 5,000 classified as high quality, class I trout streams so he has a lot of stream to cover.

Do you have any special memories of Campus Sustainability interns? Let us know at Greenbg@bgsu.edu.

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Thrifty and Nifty: Saving Money at the reStore 

by Remey Schneider

What do you typically do with a shirt or a pair of pants that you no longer want? Or what about slightly used supplies like pens, notebooks, books, holiday decorations, and anything else you do not want or need? Some people would throw these items away and say, “I don’t want this so I don’t think anyone else wants it either”. The Office of Campus Sustainability is trying to change that thought process. These types of items and many more still have use and can be repurposed. The Campus reStore is the place where this all happens and you can be part of BGSU’s waste reduction efforts. This is why this office runs the Campus reStore, to find new homes for slightly worn items while reducing waste from campus and the community. 

Tracy Susko, Senior Secretary in the International Studies Program, shared her story about reuse and the reStore. Every summer Tracy is a counselor at a 3-day camp for kids. During the three days of camp, children and counselors traverse all the areas. While venturing around the camp most people carry water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, a towel, and more. Tracy was actually able to find a large amount of clinch bags; instead of these bags going into the landfill, Tracy is going to pass out these bags to all the counselors and kids at the camp! Tracy stated, “it is also a nice way to get BGSU’s name out to the kids since they take the bags home and will continue to use them". Tracy’s story is one of many where students, faculty, and staff are creating greener communities through reuse at the reStore!

Campus Sustainability hosts Campus reStore events throughout the semester in the Kriescher Sundial. Our space is held within the Sundial but is directly left of the main dining concourse. Events drew an astounding attendance of students, faculty, and staff; totaling over 300 people so far this semester. While everything in the reStore is free, we do ask our customers to only take as much as they need. So please, help yourself within reason when you come to the reStore.

Each reStore event takes plenty of effort to collect and organize the donations that are given to us by BGSU departments, offices, and individuals. Our inventory includes general homeware/decor, clothing, office supplies, toys/games, sporting goods, books, decorations, electronics, and much more. We are always seeking volunteers to help us prepare for these events. If you are looking to volunteer, or even donate items, please email us atgreenbg@bgsu.edu.

The next reStore event is coming up soon! We will be open on November 20th, 2019 from 11 am to 1 pm and this will be the last time the reStore will be open for the rest of the fall semester. Make sure to spread the word to other university community members.

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