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The inventory of Gettysburg's green¬house gas emissions showed that the College generated approximately 20,818 metric tons of CO2e in FY 2007 and 20,562 metric tons in FY 2008. That's about 6 metric tons of CO2e for each of the 3,400 members of the College community of students, faculty, and staff or 7.8 metric tons per student. These num¬bers do not reflect carbon offsets that the College purchased to miti¬gate its greenhouse gas emissions. Before the fall of 2007 the College purchased energy from wind farms and other renewable sources to help offset emissions, effectively reducing its emissions by 500.7 metric tons. In 2008 the College shifted to purchasing biomass energy, which offset its emissions by another 2,000 metric tons.
According to the ACUPCC 2008 annual report, other liberal arts colleges have emissions similar to Gettysburg's, including Franklin & Marshall, 21,464 metric tons of CO2e or 10.7 per student; Davidson, 23,387 or 14 per student; and McDaniel University, 20,678 or 8.5 per student.
Understanding the volume and sources of the College's carbon emissions is the first step in developing a plan to reduce damage to the environment and save money.
The students made several dozen recommendations to help the College reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral, from installing solar panels and wind turbines, to creating systems that encourage car pooling, purchasing more locally grown food, adding a student activity fee for sustainability education on campus, and hiring a sustainability coordinator. Students recommended the installa¬tion of energy-efficient appliances in residence halls, including waterless urinals, low-flow showerheads, tank-less water heaters, occupancy motion sensors, Energy-Star applia-nces, and fluorescent bulbs to reduce the use of water and electricity.
A computerized air temperature system could control building temperatures, reducing them in unoccupied spaces to achieve significant savings. A recent proposal to set a heating target of 68 degrees and a cooling target of 74 degrees would curb GHG emissions by more than 50 metric tons a year.
Purchasing locally grown food, implementing a trayless dining system, replacing plastic and Styrofoam serving pieces with Greenware products, eliminating bottled water, and strengthening the College's current recycling program are other activities that would move the College closer to its goal of carbon neutrality.
Some of the class's suggestions could be implemented immediately, such as hiring a sustainability coor¬dinator, while others were longer-range, like retrofitting older buildings. One change in focus is to integrate a comprehensive "green education" program into the experience of every Gettysburg student that highlights the value of sustainability. "Gettys¬burg students come from all walks of life and many are not environmentally aware," Merce said. "The undergrad¬uate experience can and should serve as the place to learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle."
A greener future
Gettysburg is commited to a carbon-neutral future. Success will require far-reaching systematic and behavioral changes, but the students believe Gettysburg will find the focus, commitment, and resources to be successful.
They also feel the capstone project advanced their own base of knowledge and skills and sharpened their interest in the field. "I think the GHG inventory was the perfect capstone for my ES major since it combines so many different aspects of the science. I would love to work with this type of inventory in the future," said Scope 2 team member Sara Campbell, who plans to study environmental studies in graduate school.
Prof. Sarah Principato (right), in the lab with Julie Markus '09. Principato teaches a variety of courses on environmental science, including earth system science, natural catastrophes and geologic hazards, glacial geology and records of climate change, and a first-year seminar on the geology of national parks. Her research focuses on glacial geology and climate change during the late Pleistocene and Holocene.
Principato often uses Gettysburg students as research assistants. "Undergraduate students participate in all aspects of my research from working in the field and lab to presenting and publishing co-authored papers," she said.
Principato received a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master's degree in geology from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Colorado. She speaks about glacial geology.
Jennifer Lazuta '07 never expected to become a media star. She simply thought it would be "cool to run a marathon in Africa."
Lazuta is a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country on the cusp of the Sahara that is one of the poorest in the world. It's also culturally conservative and maintains extremely traditional gender roles - which meant that when Lazuta heard about the 2009 Ouaga-Laye Marathon and went to sign up, she was at first told she couldn't participate.
"The reason: I was white. I was American. I was a girl," Lazuta said. Only after much checking around did the officials decide she could compete.
Although Lazuta had never run a race longer than 10 km, she managed the first half without too much difficulty. "But then the heat and the fatigue and the pain started to kick in," she said.
Lazuta persevered, however, inspired by the enthusiastic calls of "nasara" ("white girl") and a running buddy she picked up along the way who urged her to cross the finish line together with him - which they did, after four hours.
The finish was a "bit hazy" for Lazuta. "I remember lots of cheering," she said, "and I know some army guys escorted me through the crowd since I could barely stand. Then all of the sudden there were microphones and cameras in my face. I thought all the hype was because I was the white girl, but then I realized they were asking what it was like to be the 2009 female champion."
That night Lazuta was featured as headline news on multiple TV stations, and on Monday morning she was on the front page of all the local papers.
Lazuta can be reached at email@example.com.