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Sustainability Newsletter Archive

Fall 2018

17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development

In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  Ambitious, inclusive and universal, the goals require action by governments, businesses and civil society in concert with the United Nations to improve the lives of people everywhere.

The DCCCD Sustainability Team has adopted the 17 goals as its framework for teaching and learning about sustainability.  Many of these broad and varied goals already are represented in the District's mission, for example, #4 Quality Education, #2 Zero Hunger and #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth.  Undoubtedly, educators at Brookhaven and throughout the DCCCD already are addressing many of the SDGs, and with some scrutiny of course objectives, could integrate more.  To learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals, check out the Teaching Sustainability Resources on the Sustainable Brookhaven website.

Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals serve as the theme of the 8th annual DCCCD Sustainability Summit scheduled for Nov. 9 at Richland College.  The free, day-long conference will feature morning and luncheon keynote addresses and break-out sessions that focus on the 17 Global Goals.  The Summit is open to all DCCCD students, employees and members of the community.  Read more about the speakers.  Registration will begin soon.

Teaching Sustainability Mini-Pilot Project

Ten Brookhaven College faculty members have committed to teach some aspect of sustainability in their classes this fall. The diverse group, primarily members of the President's Sustainability Committee, represents five divisions. 

The pilot project is the brainchild of Christopher Grice, sociology professor, who leads the committee's academic team. The goal is for the instructors to share their experiences and learn from each other in order to launch Brookhaven's participation in the DCCCD Sustainable Scholars Program. Now under development by faculty, sustainability staff and the LeCroy Center, the Sustainable Scholars Program encourages college faculty to develop unique content within a network structure so students who move between colleges can maintain their participation, achieve completion and receive special recognition.

Signed on for the mini-pilot project are (pictured, r-l) David Griggs, government; Wes Smith, visual communications; Christopher Grice, sociology; and Nathan Bell, philosophy (not pictured) Jamileh Stroman, English for speakers of other languages; David Cameron, biology; Fred Busche and Lanna Bradshaw, geology; Cherilyn Cox, kinesthesiology; and Adam Knoche, art.

According to Grice, "This mini-pilot aligns to Brookhaven's mission of equipping students with the skills and relationships for 21st century leadership. It is my hope that students and faculty discover innovative ways to turn lecture halls into learning laboratories."

Lighting up the Stage – Brighter, Better, Cheaper

By George Hagele, Technical Theatre Specialist

As if to celebrate Brookhaven's 40th anniversary, the Drama Department has extinguished its antique theatre lighting and upgraded to LEDs.

In an attempt to save energy in the theatre, we determined that lighting the cyclorama used a large amount of energy and produced a great deal of heat.  The cyclorama is the screen at the rear of the stage that is lit with various colors to set the mood of a scene.  The fixtures we were using for the top and bottom of the cyc all used incandescent bulbs.  To light the bottom, we needed five fixtures with 45 lamps at 300 watts each and the cyc top used three fixtures with three lamps at 1000 watts.  In total, they consumed 22,500 watts of electricity.  Walking by these fixtures when they were on full was like being in a convection oven.

This year Electric Theater Control introduced the ColorSource CYC LED fixtures.  These fixtures change color as well as dim, and each fixture uses a mere 133 watts.  To replace our old lights we needed 12 ColorSource CYCs that consume only 1,596 watts and give off hardly any heat.  All that comes in a fixture that is smaller than a toaster.  The energy saved is a total of 20,904 watts, an 86 percent savings.  Color changing is now done in the light control console, not with hand-cut colored gels.  So we also saving materials and labor.  And, our students now will work with the latest LED technology in all Performance Hall shows. 

But wait there's more.  While we were looking into LED lighting, we found that we could replace the incandescent work lights in the theatre with LED fixtures.  The 12 year-old work lights used 500 watt lamps and were not that bright.  The 16 LED replacement work lights use 48 watts and give off much more light.  This conversion gave us a brighter, more evenly lit stage that is safer to work on.  These fixtures came from the building supply store and were adapted by the staff for theatre use.

Brookhaven Votes!

The lead-up to the mid-term election Nov. 6 is creating a lot of excitement.  Brookhaven Votes is a college effort that has registered thousands of new voters over the past four years.  Asmara Saleemi, government professor, has led the Brookhaven Votes team that includes student groups Ignite, Student Government Association and Green Team Coalition along with community partners.  This fall, voter registration help comes from the regular local volunteer deputy registrars led by neighborhood activist Susie McMinn, the League of Women Voters and, new this year, Jolt, a Texas-based organization primarily mobilizing Latinos.

Voter education also is important.  On Sept. 10, the Institute of Political Science hosted the national Vote Smart Facts Matter tour.  Vote Smart is a nonpartisan nonprofit that provides free access to info on candidates and public officials.

Likewise, inspiring voters is critical.  Brookhaven Student Government Association will host a viewing of One Vote Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. in B240.   Filmed in five locations on election day 2016, the documentary follows several voters to reveal that "every vote tells a story."  Director Christine Woodhouse will participate in a Q/A after the showing, and voter registration will be available.

The last day to register or renew your voter registration Is Oct. 9. 

For Brookhaven students and employees who live in Dallas County, getting to the poll should be easy.  The college will be a Dallas County early voting location Oct. 29-31 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. in Building H.

Shiny Objects from Cat Food Cans

By Adam Knoche, Instructional Specialist and Adjunct Professor

Reusing materials, especially glass, metal and clay, is a common practice in the art department.

Over the summer, I worked on a recycling project with student Bill Snelson who has been collecting aluminum cat food cans. We melted them all down and poured them into ingots for our aluminum pour this fall.

The cat food cans were turned into 19 ingots which will allow students to have free aluminum for the pour. We typically do a pour near the end of each semester for Sculpture and 3D Design classes at all levels. This is an example of the art department's ongoing efforts to operate sustainably for the college, students, and the environment.

Viewing Sustainability through a Social Justice Lens

Social equity is essential to achieving a healthy, desirable future for all people.   In November, Sustainable DCCCD will host two opportunities to learn more about the social justice issues of diversity and inclusion within the broader framework of sustainability.

Heather Hackman is a consultant, trainer and former college professor who has been teaching about social justice issues since 1992.  She will present a keynote address open to all DCCCD students and employees at North Lake College Nov. 27 at 11 a.m. in H-200.  For a deeper understanding of how issues of race, gender and class are integral to achieving sustainability goals, attend a day-long workshop Nov. 28 from 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. at the Bill J. Priest Institute.   Workshop participation will be limited to 60 DCCCD employees.  Professional development credit will be offered.

Upcoming Events for your Sustainability Calendar

Good NeighBEAR Service Projects beginning Sept. 20

Working with local service agencies, our Service Learning Office addresses a variety of issues that link to the Global Goals.  Frequently, transportation is provided for these activities to aid student participation.  Learn more about Good NeighBEAR experiential learning opportunities scheduled for fall 2018.

Dallas Sierra Club, Oct. 9

Get an overview of environmentally-friendly candidates in races across the state presented by David Griggs, political chair of the Dallas Sierra Club, 7 p.m. in Bldg. H.

Arbor Day, Nov. 1

Join Brookhaven's 6th annual Arbor Day tree-planting event, noon at Bldg. H.

Edible Plants, Nov. 12

Prepare for the feasting season with a presentation about edible landscaping by Daniel Cunningham, horticulturist at Texas AgriLife aka TX Plant Guy, noon – 1 p.m. Location TBD.

Fall 2017

Employee Survey Shows Support for Sustainability Efforts

More than two hundred Brookhaven College employees participated in the first-ever Employee Sustainability Survey deployed to all full- and part-time employees in late September 2017.  The survey’s purpose was to gauge levels of employee awareness and perception of college sustainability efforts and initiatives, as well as individual involvement in sustainable practices.  (Surveys in 2014 and 2016 queried faculty about teaching sustainability.)

Of the 211 respondents, the majority agreed that college sustainability programs are important to the environment, our students and our community.  Also, most respondents indicated a willingness to participate in additional voluntary programs, such as a “green curriculum” or a “green work group.”

“The survey yielded a lot of positive feedback, but it also confirmed that we must continue to improve programs, build support and grow awareness,” said Carrie Schweitzer, director of sustainability. 

The survey was a project of the President’s Sustainability Committee and the Office of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness.

To read the survey results, click here.

Citizen Action: Climate Advocacy Training Feb. 22

Learn how you and your students can help solve one of the most critical issues of our time, climate change.  The DCCCD Sustainability Team will collaborate with Citizens' Climate Lobby to host a free Climate Advocate Training Workshop Feb. 22 from 1-4 p.m. at Mountain View College.

Citizens' Climate Lobby is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for a Carbon Tax and Dividend via citizen education, training and direct engagement with our legislators to stop climate change, protect people and improve our economy.  Learn more about Citizens Climate Lobby.

This workshop is a great opportunity to include a sustainability topic in your course, to expose students to an impactful civic engagement process and to learn about a climate change proposal that already has bi-partisan support.   Mark your calendar now.  To catch a ride in the college van, contact cschweitzer@dcccd.edu. Register today for the training.

Hands-on Earth Science Project Integrates Sustainability into Curriculum

Katy Evans, public health manager in Farmers Branch’s office of sustainability and environmental quality, needed some help testing water samples at the city’s 60-plus water outfalls.  Enter Brookhaven College earth science students.

Students in Professor Fred Busche’s GEOG 2005 (environmental science) typically participate in multiple field trips and project-based learning.  For example, last spring the class tested soil samples in the college’s “North 40,” north of the creek.  Fred knew his students would enjoy the field work and hands-on “real science” that the water testing required.  And, because they were providing a service to the city, he linked with the Office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement.

Once the students received a project overview and locations of the outfalls, they established a testing protocol, practiced with the testing kits, divided up in teams of two and tested sites over a seven-week period, noting their test results and observations in a database.  Ultimately, 61 percent of the sites were tested, including locations on the college campus.  The students developed a final report which was presented to the city. 

Fred Busche is bullish on this science/service/sustainability assignment: “The students were able to not only learn the principals of environmental science but were also able to participate in a project that was focused upon characterization of an area with a project designed to assess the impact of man on his environment. Samples of water at outflow locations were tested with respect to their chemistry and contaminant content to assess the impact of their effect on the environment.”
Right now Katy Evans is considering how to build on to the results of the study.  Students may tackle another sustainability issue this spring. 

BC Library Links to Sustainability Resources

Students – or anyone – researching sustainability issues will want to begin with a few computer clicks on the Brookhaven Library web page.  Dana Corbin, instruction librarian and tech wiz, developed the links to efficiently guide searchers through such wide-ranging topics as alternative energy, environmental ethics, sustainable agriculture, pollution and many more. 

To take a look starting on the Brookhaven web site, search for “Library.”  Once there, click on “Research Guides,” and then scroll through “Subject Guides” to sustainability.  From the sustainability Quick Starts site, you can review books, databases and websites, including Sustainable Brookhaven.  (There you will find more teaching resources that include suggested ways to connect sustainability to the current Open Book selection For Love of Country.)  Back at Quick Starts, do look at the “Sustainability Guide,” where there is a link to a vast collection of resources in the Virtual Sustainability Library at North Lake College.

How Does the Windmill Garden Grow?  With Your Support

In spring 2016, a crowd-funding campaign with the DCCCD Foundation garnered $9,300 and financially ensured Phase 1 of the Windmill Garden for native plants and pollinators.  Garden coordinator Amy Monroy has been an excellent steward of that budget and has developed an amazingly successful learning resource for the college and community.  Now, with eyes turned to more lush blooms, more student visits and more community programs, it is time to fundraise again.

This March, the Windmill Garden will launch a campaign for $5,000 using the same successful methods – email and social media posts to friends, families and colleagues.  Brookhaven employees were extremely generous in 2016.  Please be on the look-out this spring for the opportunity to make the Windmill Garden a thriving educational and ecological landmark.

For Windmill Garden highlights since spring 2016, view the poster, Grow Native, presented by Amy Monroy at the national meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), last October.  Poster design by Kevin Pha, graphic artist in the Marketing and Creative Services Office.

DCCCD Names First District Sustainability Officer

The DCCCD Board of Trustees approved Georgeann Moss as executive administrator of Sustainability Outreach and Initiatives at its meeting last November.   In this new position, Georgeann will work collaboratively across the District and in the community to advance sustainability efforts that support teaching, learning, energy efficiency and more.  Formerly the District's director of internet publishing, Georgeann brings years of experience to her new role, particularly as the chair/co-chair of the DCCCD Sustainability Team since 2008.  As co-chair, she launched the DCCCD Sustainability Summit in 2011.  In 2015 Georgeann received the Green Source DFW Lifetime Achievement Award.  Read more here about Georgeann and the District's enhanced support of sustainability.

Earth Day Fest, April 3

Brookhaven’s annual party for the planet is set for April 3 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Commons Courtyard.  All the usual fun and learning will occur – music, food, sustainability info booth, free swag. 

Plus, enjoy something brand new – Trashionista, a fashion show where every outfit is constructed from recycled objects.  Contestant entry is free and open to all college students and employees.  Be creative!  Plan to participate.  More details are coming soon.