Thursday, September 23, 2010

Green Team Southwestern Hosts Speakers in the Green Construction Field

On September 23, Green Team Southwestern hosted Blaine Kohpay and Clint Fiechtlas a part of the annual Lunches with Leaders seminar series. Both Kohpay and Fiechtl shared of their extensive work in the rebuilding process of Greensburg, Kansas following the devastating tornado in May of 2007. They have been instrumental in the reconstruction of at least a dozen buildings in Greensburg and most have been built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Enviornmental Design) standards.

E. Blaine Kohpay has over a decade of experience as a Construction Administrator, and has extensive experience in the LEED Certification process. He is part of the team helping to rebuild Greensburg, Kansas, having provided construction administration services for the Greensburg Business Incubator (LEED-NC Platinum Certified), the Kiowa County Courthouse (seeking LEED-NC Gold Certification) and the Greensburg Public Works facility (seeking LEED-NC Gold Certification), as well as Kiowa County Commons (seeking LEED-NC Platinum Certification), currently under construction. In addition, Blaine is currently providing construction administration for the City of Wichita Transit Facility (seeking LEED-NC Silver Certification), upgrades for the Kansas Air National Guard at Smoky Hill in Salina (seeking LEED-NC Silver Certification) and the Army Reserve Center in Sinton, Texas (seeking LEED-NC Silver Certification).

Clint Fiechtl, P.E., a mechanical project engineer, is a Senior Associate of Professional Engineering Consultants, P.A., (PEC), a multi-discipline engineering firm located in Wichita. In addition to design and project management, Mr. Fiechtl is involved with management of the Test and Balance Department (TAB) and is a NEBB qualified Building Systems Commissioning Administrator. He is trained for technical commissioning. Prior to joining PEC, Mr. Fiechtl served as a Controls System Specialist at Building Controls and Services, Inc. (BCS), and as a project manager at a local mechanical contracting firm. He has more than 19 years of mechanical systems experience.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Southwestern College Deets Library Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

The director and staff of the Southwestern College Harold and Mary Ellen Deets Library are seeking out ways to be more environmentally friendly.

“We are trying to take a page from the financial aid department here at Southwestern, they have gone paperless,” says Veronica McAsey, director of the Deets Library. “This triggered something with us. We wanted to see how to handle the consumption of paper in our office and tried out a couple of ideas.”

For Earth Day 2010 (April 22) the library celebrated by not providing paper coffee cups for the day. Its success in encouraging patrons to use reusable cups demonstrated that the library does not need to provide paper coffee cups next year. This will save about 5,000 cups from the landfill and $600 of the library’s budget.

The library also started to use the bookseller Better World Books for some of its book purchases. Sixty-nine used books were bought from Better World Books, which saved these books from the landfill. The purchases also supported world literacy programs with a portion of the sale going to various organizations. Approximately 350 withdrawn library books or donated textbooks were shipped to Better World Books to be sold online or recycled. A portion of the sales funded Worldfund, a Latin American literacy program that the library selected to sponsor.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Be Free to Be Green - Greening Your Dorm Room

Southwestern College and the Crew from the KSCW have teamed up to bring you Be Free to Be Green tips on how to save money and care for the planet. This vignette discusses the tips on how to Green your dorm room.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Building for the Future

As a farmer and a pilot, the earth and sky were important to Norman Hege ’64. “When I’m flying over farms I wish I was down there farming. When I’m farming and I see a plane fly over, I wish I was up there flying. I have a very good life,” he told his family. Norman died in a car accident in 1987, but an endowment established by Keith ’56 and Elizabeth Hege has now ensured that he will be remembered by others who love the land. Flanked by Keith and Elizabeth, Norman’s widow, Phyllis, cut a ribbon to open the Norman Hege Educational Center at Southwestern College’s Floyd and Edna Moore Biological Field Station.

For nearly a decade students have studied an astonishingly diverse array of ecosystems at the 240-acre field station, from tallgrass prairie to the rockbottom Dutch Creek. Faculty taught in the open air, and classes have taken shelter from the elements in an old barn on the property. The Hege Center will change that.The newly-constructed log cabin is a large classroom with access to power for light microscopes, overhead projectors, aquarium pumps, and other scientific instruments. Students can plug in their laptops and work on reports just feet from where they are gathering data. And the center is unique among the college’s facilities: It is completely off the grid, generating its own power using solar panels and a wind turbine. Banks of batteries store up to 20 kilowatt hours of power, and are constantly being recharged by the renewable power sources. A composting toilet (underwritten by Kent and Sharon Olmstead) provides for sanitation needs.

This center, Keith Hege told about 60 guests at the ribbon-cutting, represents the Biblical mustard seed in the college’s goal of sustainable living. “We are planting a little green plant,” he said, “and it will put down roots. And we will watch this little mustard seed grow into something that transcends the college.”

Builders in the Building

The construction of the Norman Hege Education Center brought together the talents and contributions of many Moundbuilders: Jeff Camp ’82, contractor for construction of the cabin. Brian Robinson ’05 and Justin Cates, Cates Supply, construction of wind turbine. Alex Gottlob ’09, trees and landscaping.

(Excerpted from remarks by Patrick Ross, head of the Division of Natural Sciences)

Before us stands a simple log cabin, perhaps not too much larger than the sod houses that the early settlers might have built. Our hope is that this cabin will become an important nexus for the study of the ecology of the prairie landscape that surrounds us. But it means even more to us than that. Now more than ever we need to reach out to the next generation to help them learn about the delicate interlocking nature of the prairie ecosystem and all of Earth’s ecosystems. If there is one idea that all of my ecology students learn, it is that you can’t change just one thing. All life is interconnected. All actions are interrelated.

In one sense this lesson teaches us some terrible truths about the devastating environmental impacts that have been produced by some of our species’ foolish missteps. But from this idea also comes hope, a hope that small changes for the good can result in an interwoven cascade of effects with far-reaching consequence for the betterment of our home and the species that we share it with. Small changes like the building of this cabin.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Green Team Southwestern Welcomes New Students

As the 2010-2011 school year has begun, Southwestern College welcomed one of the largest incoming classes in recent memory. Green Team Southwestern is excited to welcome 9 new students to the team, bringing the total number of students to 17. The plan for the growth of Green Team Southwestern is to add 8-12 new students each year.

The new members of Green Team Southwestern include Stephen Strecker (Tonkawa, OK), Erica Dunigan (Hutchinson, KS), Ashley LeJuerrne (Wichita, KS), Autumn East (Royse City, TX), Christian Pressley (Andover, KS), Trinity Brooks (Stillwater, OK), Joey Tran (Arlington, TX), Maggie Collett (Wardsville, MO), and Daniel Van Sickle (Maize, KS).

Green Team Southwestern Vision

Recognizing that the majority of private colleges are located in rural areas and are the economic drivers of their communities, Green Team Southwestern serves to create a model of sustainable living that will transform both higher education and the people it serves.

Green Team Southwestern Mission

Green Team Southwestern is a service-learning program dedicated to responsible citizenship and environmental sustainability.

Mission Interpreted: The Green Team is dedicated to:
  • Creating a living laboratory of sustainable learning in which all members of the community develop healthy habits of environmental stewardship.
  • Implementing organizational changes that result in carbon neutrality.
  • Infusing the broader communities of Winfield, Cowley County and beyond with the principles and practical applications of environmental sustainability.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Be Free to be GREEN - Energy Efficient Lighting

Southwestern College and the Crew from the KSCW have teamed up to bring you Be Free to Be Green tips on how to save money and care for the planet. This vignette discusses the benefits of using energy efficient lighting in your home.