DIY gifts, save $ & the planet! (or at least decrease environmental impact)

Repurposing otherwise obsolete items is a great way to recycle and decrease the environmental impact of waste. Sometimes it’s call upcycling. Whatever you call it- let’s do it! Upcycle craft ideas are all over the web and in light of the Holiday Season, I know many are still thinking…”What should I get for Aunt…” well, here you go. How about a cool caddy to keep wires and small electronics in place while charging? Have a baker in the family who always needs hot pads? Or maybe someone that would appreciate a book of tasty recipes? Check out

@Sierra_Magazine Who Asks: Want to save some green? Make these 10 DIY gifts to save and be green.

Happy Holidays, Y’all, take good care of yourselves and our planet!


Going green saves green for the students

Going green saves green for the students

Dawn Countryman, Instructor of Anatomy & Physiology


With the college’s initiative to become more sustainable, the Biology department has worked to make our courses more sustainable. Recently, the department made a change to the General Biology I and II (Biology 111 and 112) lab manual, a required component for both courses, to reduce paper waste. Prior to the Fall semester 2011, students who took either Biology 111 or 112 needed to purchase one combined 2-semester Biology 111 and 112 manual. The combined lab manual was a total of 324 pages with 162 pages used for Biology 111 and 162 pages used for Biology 112. While this worked well for students who took both 111 and 112, it became apparent to instructors in the Biology department that a lot of paper was being wasted because most students do not take both Biology 111 and 112. Many students who purchased the lab manual for just one course ended up discarding the unused half.


In the Fall 2011, the authors of the lab manual, Gretchen Bernard and Edward Devine, made the decision to switch from a 2-semester combined lab manual to a separate lab manual for Biology 111 and Biology 112.  With each new separate lab manual containing 162 pages, it is estimated that this change saved over 500,000 pages (250,000 double-sided printing) during the period from Fall 2011 through Fall 2012. In addition to reducing paper waste, this switch has also saved students money because those that only take Biology 111 or Biology 112 are buying a lab manual at half of the cost they normally may have paid. For the Biology department, going green while saving the students money was definitely a win-win scenario.



Melting permafrost exposes huge risks

Melting permafrost being ignored at climate talks, experts warn
More on the melting permafrost can be found in a story by Miguel Llanos of NBC News. Llanos sites an over view of the huge risks at hand and quotes U.N. Environment Program Director Achim Steiner who in announcing the report by top permafrost scientists said,

“Permafrost is one of the keys to the planet’s future because it contains large stores of frozen organic matter that, if thawed and released into the atmosphere, would amplify current global warming… Continuing to ignore the challenges of warming permafrost is not an option…”

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MVCC Library Strives for Sustainability

MVCC Library Strives for Sustainability – Terra Jacobson, Manager of Library Services.

This past year the MVCC Library has worked together with other campus departments to enact three major sustainability efforts.  In collaboration with the college Foundation, the Center for Sustainability, and our outside vendors we have achieved great success that reduces our waste and helps our bottom line.

Our first effort was completed using efficiencies available in our Library database system, with the direction of Library Assistants, Frank Hoak and Fran Kroll, and Systems Librarian, Marie Martino.  This past fall we enabled our check-out system to send overdue notices via email as opposed to printing and mailing them out.  This has reduced our printing from over 600 pages a month to less than 15 pages a month and has saved the college money in paper, envelopes, and postage.  Now all overdue and billing notices are auto-generated by our system daily and only those patrons without e-mail accounts receive printed notices through “snail mail”. All of our Library’s Circulation Desk employees work hard to make sure each e-mail address is up-to-date and accurate to have the maximum impact on reducing our paper consumption!

The largest effort towards sustainability is our Library book recycling program.  This was enacted at the start of the spring 2012 semester.  As our damaged and old books are removed from our library collection, we donate these books through a literacy partner.  In return we receive a monetary donation towards our college’s Foundation which they can use for scholarships and other programs.  Like they say,” one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Over 200 books have been reused through this program resulting in over $200.00 donated to our college’s Foundation.  This effort is made possible with the assistance of the campus shipping and receiving department and our Library’s Technical Service Department. Their extra effort really pays off for the Foundation and in our goal of becoming a more sustainable Library.

Our most recent sustainability effort was the collaboration with the Center for Sustainability.  The Center purchased duplexers for our Library printers to help reduce paper waste.  We recently installed these new duplexers in our machines with the assistance of the Help Desk staff and our printing vendor TBS.  Not only does this save paper, but it saves students $.05 for every two pages they print when they print back-to-back as opposed to single-sided. This system was recently installed in mid-July and is up and rolling for the new group of students this fall.  We do not have any statistics yet for this effort, but we hope to save on the amount of paper students’ use as a result of the new duplexing printers.

The Library is proud to do our part with sustainability efforts on our campus, and we continue to look for new ways to reduce waste and change our practices to be even more sustainable.  These little changes make a big difference for our Library, our patrons, and our bottom line.  We think it is important to be a good steward of the resources that the college provides us and our sustainability efforts have made that even more possible.