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Clarkson plans trash dump during Sustainability Week


POTSDAM - When one day’s worth of trash from Clarkson University’s Student Center ends up on the lawn Oct. 23, it won’t be a serious sanitation engineering error.

Instead, it will be a chance for students to sort through the trash like archaeologists, separating out recyclables, compostable food waste, etc.

It’s one of the many events that will make up Clarkson’s Campus Sustainability Week celebration from Oct. 17 to 24.

“Sustainability Week is an opportunity to join with institutions from across the country in these types of events, while focusing on the opportunities we have on our own campus,” says Susan E. Powers, associate director for sustainability and Spence Professor in Sustainable Environmental Systems. “The goal of this event is to raise awareness of the issues and to find the solutions needed to make a difference to better our environment, society and the economy.”

The week kicks off on Thursday when Clarkson plays host to National Bioenergy Day events in the Student Center. Activities include a tour of biomass demonstration projects, including an energy cabin and greenhouse digester, at 1 p.m.; a 2:15 p.m. poster session and reception featuring biomass projects across the region; a 3 p.m. talk by Mark Bryden, program director of the U.S. Department of Energy Ames Laboratory Simulation, Modeling and Decision Science Research Program; a 3:45 p.m. presentation by Senior Project Manager Ellen Burkhard, who will about NYSERDA’s Biomass Combustion Programs; and a 4 p.m. panel discussion with state and regional biomass energy researchers and development partners. Full details are at .

Sustainability takes the spotlight at the men’s hockey games on Oct. 18 and 19 and Oct. 25 and 26. As part of the “Let’s Make Cheel Sustainable!” effort, students will be stationed around Cheel Arena to guide hockey fans into making the proper recycling choices when disposing of their waste. There will also be a lobby display from Casella Waste Systems explaining the recycling process.

Arnie and Maggie Gundersen, former nuclear industry whistleblowers, will speak at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Student Center Multipurpose Rooms.

The couple, with a combined 60-plus years of experience in the nuclear field, will address ethics, science and public health through the lens of nuclear power. They will discuss their personal experiences as whistleblowers in the nuclear industry, as well as the current situation in Japan after Fukushima Daiichi.

Topics addressed will include the suppression of Japanese scientists and doctors before and after the 2011 triple meltdown, the Daubert decision and its impact on science and law, and industry control over peer-reviewed scientific journals.

National Sustainability Day on Oct. 23 will see multiple events on campus.

Throughout the day on the Student Center lawn, students will sort through one day’s worth of waste from the Student Center. Approaching the pile scientifically, they’ll separate recyclables and compostable food waste from the garbage, weighing their results to demonstrate the savings - both to the environment and financially - that could be occur through better separation of waste at the source.

From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Campus Dining will offer food tasting in the Cheel Campus Center from local food providers. Samples will include Kilcoyne beef sliders and jerky, local apples, vegetables and more.

The Institute for a Sustainable Environment and Clarkson’s Adirondack Semester program will host an open house from 2-4 p.m. in Technology Advancement Center Room 122. Students will find out how they can live a semester as a resident explorer, entrepreneur, environmental scientist, poet and policy advocate of the Adirondack Park, one of the largest protected landscapes in North America. The Institute for a Sustainable Environment will also share information about environmental activities associated with research, interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate degree programs, and outreach programs.

On Oct. 24, Clarkson University is going “print-free.” Faculty, staff and students will be challenged not to print anything for 24 hours - including printing, copying, paper faxing, and distribution of printed information - except exams, as needed.

The campus community will also be invited to learn about and value of using electronic processes - like PeopleSoft, Nolij, Moodle, etc. - o share information.

Sustainability Week wraps up on the evening of Oct.24 with a local foods dinner in the Ross-Brooks Dining Hall from 4-8 p.m.

For more information about these events and sustainability at Clarkson, see the links at .

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