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How much is 20,562 metric tons of CO2e?
Gettysburg's annual emissions equal the amount of CO2 emitted by driving a car more than 41 million miles, which is like circling the planet 1,654 times or 85 round trips to the moon.
• The biggest source of CO2e for both FY 2007 and 2008 was electricity, comprising 48 percent of emissions for both years.
• In FY 2008, 21 percent of emissions were from on-campus heating.
• Emissions for on-campus heating rose 43 percent the year after the Science Building opened in 2003.
• Other major contributors to carbon emissions included study-abroad travel (12 percent of the total for FY 2008), funded air travel to conferences (6 percent), faculty and staff commuting (6 percent).
Data for other College operations were not available to the students, including refrigerants and commuting emissions associated with students living off campus. Neither is considered major, however, especially the latter as most off-campus students walk or bike.
What's a carbon footprint and how is it measured?
A carbon footprint is a measure of our impact on the environment, particularly global warming. In our day-to-day lives, we all are responsible for the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, either directly by driving our cars and heating our homes or indirectly through energy needed to manufacture and distribute the products we use. For both campuses and homes, GHG sources are similar. The class collected data on three distinct sources of GHGs. Scope 1 includes direct emissions such as gasoline use by campus vehicles and natural gas and oil used to heat campus buildings. Scope 2 includes purchased electricity. Scope 3 includes indirect emissions such as commuting, conference travel, and off-campus study travel.
Gettysburg's GHG emissions were calculated using the most recent available data for fiscal year 2007 and 2008. Data came from a variety of sources around campus - facilities, transportation, financial services, public safety, and off-campus studies. Students also conducted an online survey of faculty and staff commuting data.
Katelyn McGill '09, who plans to study environmental protection and wildlife conservation in graduate school, considered the need to dig for data and interact with individuals across campus as great "real-world experience."All the data went into the Clean Air-Cool Planet Carbon Calculator, a tool that assesses direct and indirect emissions in terms of metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), making it easier to compare one institution to another.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.