Monthly Archives: August 2014

Good News from the United States Green Building Council

It happened! I got an email back from Steve Muzzy yesterday. Steve had some good news for me in addition to having a killer name. About a week or so ago I sat down and wrote out a grant application for a Green Apple Day of Service grant through The United States Green Building Council (USGBC), National Grid, and NSTAR. The requirements for the grant were pretty straight forward: supply them with a project that would likely “result in greater energy awareness or energy reduction.” The hope is that my Energy Saver Checklist will do both of those things. So now I know I have some money to spend on these calendars, which is pretty important. It’s also cool to know that other people out there like my idea and work I’ve done. Validation and that whole thing isn’t terrible, you know? The only thing left to do is formally register my project on their website so they know where to send the check to. After that Clark will be one of three schools in Massachusetts to receive money from this grant.

This project has come a long way since the beginning of June, and it’s been fun. I’ve learned a lot about energy consumption and saving. I’ve learned how to network with a wide range of people and how to communicate effectively. I learned all about and met the people who work behind the scenes to make Clark run as seamlessly as it does. Now that classes have started I can already tell that the work I did this summer will come in handy (I’m enrolled in some really interesting geography courses in case you were curious). All in all it was a learning filled summer. But the work is not done yet.

Next to do is keep working on the calendar itself and hammer out a final draft. That means playing around with formatting some more and tweaking the checklists and brief statements that will accompany each month. I also have to finalize things with the President’s office and see if they’ll get down and provide some incentive for people to use the checklist. I’m hoping that name dropping a grant I just won from the USGBC might aid in that process a little, but that’s to be determined. It’s also about time to start thinking and plan out how I will roll out and promote my calendar. I think I’ll hire a mariachi band to help out. Either that or a whole slew of accordion players. I haven’t decided yet. I’m envisioning a huge banquet hall right on a beachfront with a seven course meal for those who come. I’ll see if Clark’s Student Council will throw me some more money for that.

While there’s no denying that that would be intimidating and maybe fun, I’ll probably stick to email, social media, and to some kind of in person deal to advertise the Energy Saver Calendar. I also still need to get a quote from Alpha Graphics… I know I complained in my last blog post about this and I still have reason to now due to the fact that I have yet to get one back. I don’t think I’ll ever stop making trips down to their offices in the UC at this point. I’m more or less a regular down there now.

So, that’s that. Another post on this here blog. LEEP and this project made my summer good and productive. Now it’s on to classes, The Local Root, and finishing this whole project. For now, though, I think I’ll celebrate winning this Green Apple Day of Service grant by going and eating some eggs.

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Green Apples are for Grants, Not Snacking and Don’t Go to the 7th Floor of the Geography Building

Welp. I guess it has been a little bit since my last blog post. But, with summer winding down and classes starting soon my mind has been a bit scattered. Though I tend to stick to my guns and just write about my internship up in here, I took a trip to New York last weekend for my cousin’s wedding. A grand time was had by all. Since I’ve been back in Worcester my mind has been focused on Clark and this project, though. Earlier this week I received an email from Jenny with a link to a grant being given out by USGBC. This grant is designed specifically for “projects that will result in greater energy awareness and reduction in their school.” They are giving out six grants, each totaling $400. I wrote my grant proposal for the ‘Energy Saver’ checklist I have been working on. In writing the grant I think we finally found a name for the calendar, hence the ‘Energy Saver’ bit. Makes sense.

I have still yet to receive an email from Alpha Graphics with a quote for what I will need to have printed. I’ve also been hashing out new ideas in regard to the format of the calendars once they are printed. Now the plan is something in the lines of this: twelve sheets of cardstock held together by that tacky-glue stuff that has been known to frequent the tops of pads of paper and the likes. Doing it that way would sure be cheaper than actually binding each calendar. It would even be cheaper than doing a saddle stich across the top. Things still need to get hammered out, and I really need to get a quote back from Alpha Graphics. It’s been a good while since I sent my document to them. I have started to wonder if they would be treating this (my project) with more sincerity if I was not a student. Faculty members seem to waltz in and out of their basement office to pick things up whenever I’m down there. Does it really take three weeks just to get a quote?

In other news it finally happened. I set off an alarm while doing a building audit. I was finishing up an audit in Atwood and realized that I had neglected the tower in the Geography building that houses, among other things, GIS labs and Gender Studies. As soon as I put my key into a room labeled “Clark Phone Room,” or something along those lines, an alarm went off. I stood there for a bit, shut the door, and, to be honest, booked it down seven flights of stairs. I stood outside the building assuming University Police would show up to check it out, but I didn’t see anybody coming in the time I spent out there. So, I went home and enjoyed a nice glass of orange juice courtesy of Tropicana. While doing so I realized that I probably should go over to UP and explain to them what happened. When I got over there and explained what happened the guy there responded with “were you told to come here?” I guess they were looking into the alarm going off… “No,” I said. All in all they were really nice about it and even asked me if I wanted to go back up there and finish things off. I decided that that was a good enough way to cap off my day and decided not to go back to the tip top of the Geography Building.

I also got an email back from President Angel saying that he would think about my proposal of his hosting a luncheon to reward faculty and staff for completing my ‘Energy Saver’ Checklist. Haven’t heard anything more than that, but hey, it’s a start.

So, to cap this week off: I applied for my first grant, set off an alarm that went straight to UP, and continue to contact our President. Wish me luck.

Meetings and Audits… What Else is New?

I decided to take a break from drafting an email to President Angel to write this blog post. As I was writing my email to him I started to link him to this blog and, in doing so, realized that I was about due to write a post. So. Let’s back track a little, shall we? What’s new. The most important thing might be that I have a draft of what my checklist will more or less look like now. This checklist is designed specifically for Clark’s 652 staff and faculty members that have their own offices on campus. The checklist I came up with resembles a calendar. In fact, if you were to block out the right margin all you might see would be a calendar with little boxes in the corners of each day. It’s what’s on the right hand column of each month that makes what I have been working on more than just a calendar. Here lies the checklist. Because the calendar functions as a monthly calendar it becomes simple to tailor what the checklist says depending on the season. For example, you are likely to take different precautionary actions in order to save energy based on whether it is summer or winter.

Sample of the checklist that will hopefully go out to faculty and staff.

Sample of the checklist that will hopefully go out to faculty and staff.

As you might have guessed, the limiting factor of whether or not my checklist becomes an institutionalized practice here at Clark is more or less dependent on how much it will cost to print. 652 is a huge number. Especially when each of those 652 people need to receive a full calendar each. That’s 12 pages each, or 7,824 pages in all. In order to save costs the plan is to print them in black and white but on colored card stock. That way they will still be appealing to the eye but will not become more expensive to print than they need to be. I’m still waiting on a quote from Alpha Graphics, and I am gearing up to ask local printing places in my own area that I know do great work from past experience. Suppose I should drop a line to places like Staples and see what they say, too. The good thing is that Mike Dawley and Physical Plant are on board. They like the idea of being connected with LEEP and academics here at Clark. They do a whole lot more than just fix broken things and this would be a good push to get people in our community to realize this.

The checklist is designed to work in the following manner. Whenever a faculty member leaves his or her office at the end of the day the hope is that they will run through my checklist. Once they have completed the list for that day they will check off or initial the box located in the upper left corner of that day’s section on the calendar. Once an entire month has been filled out the page will be removed from the calendar and handed in to an overseer, who will likely be Jenny Isler. If an individual accumulates enough completed months they earn some type of reward. Now. Here’s the reason why I am emailing President Angel. I’m doing so in hopes of setting up a meeting. What if, now hear me out, everyone who completes the checklist for the designated period of time is invited to a luncheon at the President’s home. Not only does this bring people with similar interests into the same room (they all are devoted to sustainability as they filled out my checklist), but it also gives the President a chance to continue his personal commitment to our Climate Action Plan and green action in general.  My plan is to generate a separate checklist designed for our custodial staff, too.  The next step is to actually design this and lay out a template. Maybe I’ll start that after I finish this email to David Angel…

In other news I audited Estabrook recently. The whole building has brand new windows, and it’s looking like the same will be true for Atwood before much longer. Other than that I did not note a whole lot of items in Estabrook. While there are no window shades installed in there now, they will be installed before too long. At various points around the building there are even signs reminding people to turn off lights as they exit a space. Looks like there’s a relatively strong community in Estabrook working to make their building more efficient. Next on my list of buildings to tackle are the Lasry Center for Bioscience, the Little Center, and maybe, maybe, Traina.