When students and faculty walked through the entrance of Paresky Commons this week, they were greeted by eco-vendors — many of whom supply Paresky with fresh food — showcasing their practices to promote sustainable dining.
In addition to eco-vendor visits, EcoAction club members, faculty and staff organized several events throughout the week in celebration of National Earth Day. Through these events, they hoped to raise student awareness of the administration’s current efforts to help Andover become a “greener blue.”
“People come, they get their meals, but they have no idea that there are very intentional choices being made while selecting the food that is served in [Paresky]. Wherever we can, we try to bring in organic, locally-sourced food, offering vegetarian meals — those types of things that have a broader, sustainable impact on the local community,” said Debra Shepard, Sustainability Coordinator.
“The reality is that we are doing a lot [regarding sustainability], and we haven’t really necessarily done a good job advertising it. This is an opportunity… to highlight some of the good practices people are doing on campus so people know that we’re trying to make things better,” she continued.
Sid Wainer, a vendor who provides daily produce for Paresky, was featured in Paresky on Monday. Stonyfield Organic Yogurt representatives visited on Tuesday, and Brick Ends Farm, Paresky’s composting vendor, demonstrated composting techniques used in Paresky on Wednesday. Representatives from High Lawn Farm, Paresky’s local milk provider, set up their booth on Thursday. North Coast Seafood, Paresky’s seafood provider, will visit today.
On Wednesday, students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to follow Rusty Langlois, Chief Engineer at the Office of Physical Plant (OPP), for a tour around the power plant and learn about how OPP provides heat and electricity for campus.
“The intent of the tour was to educate the attendees on how we power the campus. By revealing some of the behind-the-scenes operations, we hope that they will have a better appreciation of the scale and impacts of campus energy consumption,” wrote Shepard in an email to The Phillipian.
“Also, it’s important to recognize the work which has been done by OPP over the years to maintain a consistent supply of heat and power while reducing local air emissions and greenhouse gases through switching from oil to natural gas [and] employing cogeneration and emission controls technology,” she continued.
Shepard also organized an Earth Day Art Contest, asking students to create a piece of artwork that fits under the theme of either Earth Day celebration or Andover’s future in sustainability. Artwork will be displayed in the OWHL, and prizes will be awarded to the top entries in each category. The submission deadline is April 25 at noon, according to Shepard.
On Thursday, Vivian Zeng, Sustainability Coordinator for Aramark, the corporation that provides Andover’s dining services, toured students through Paresky, demonstrating the the eco-friendly features that make Paresky a LEED Silver Certified building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green-building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.
According to Zeng, many of the ovens currently used in Paresky are much more energy-efficient than conventional ovens. Furthermore, an “electronic eye” system is used for cooling, which means that the ventilation system is engaged only when a sensor detects that oven temperatures are too high. By using more efficient conventional fans in all other circumstances, Paresky has been able to reduce energy use.
Earth Week celebrations will continue over the weekend, with EcoAction hosting an “Earth Day Fair” on Saturday for students to enjoy activities such as tie dying, “adopt” a plant and green trivia.
“We hope that our Earth Day festival will increase awareness about environmental issues on campus, give students a chance to learn a little bit more about what EcoAction has been doing and get students excited about the environment through fun, low-key activities,” said Lily Grossbard ’15, Co-Head of EcoAction.
Jessica Gammon ’14, Co-Head of EcoAction, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “It’s important for Andover students to better recognize the consequences of their actions. We need to see where our trash goes, how much energy we consume and how much pollution we produce before we’ll be motivated to change our habits or make any kind of difference.”