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Archive for the 'Sustainability' Category

Ian Gallo ’14 will spend summer as fellow at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Sometimes, it takes a natural disaster to find one’s calling. After Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, Ian Gallo ’14 traveled to the ravaged country on a medical mission trip. “That was my first time out of the country,” said Gallo, “and it was a little bit of a shock from my white, suburban upbringing. After seeing the great disparity between the life I was accustomed to and what I saw in Haiti, I began to question many of the systems that enabled my life to be different from those in Haiti.”

Messiah College provided the environment in which he could explore exactly those questions he brought back from Haiti. As a sustainability studies major with a minor in peace and conflict studies, he signed up for the first-year seminar course, “In the Pursuit of Green,” an examination of issues that result from an insatiable consumerist culture and how Christians are called to respond to them. “The class was a wonderful and entirely overwhelming critique of the state of creation care,” said Gallo. “The social and environmental destruction that came about as a result of the exploitation of our neighbors around the world deeply inspired me to change part of the systems that enabled these crimes against God and humanity.” (more…)

Resilience, sustainability and the humanities: Majora Carter encourages community development and resiliency

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

“True resiliency is not about surviving; it’s about thriving,” said Majora Carter during Messiah College’s annual Humanities Symposium Feb. 26-28. Carter, an urban revitalization strategist and keynote speaker for the symposium, spoke about the idea of resiliency and community development, and their positive implications on society. A South Bronx native, Carter has a passion for creating social cohesion and economic diversity in underdeveloped communities.  Her dreams have created amazing realities for many people in the South Bronx and beyond. (more…)

Students lead initiative to bring “real” food to campus

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Julie Price ’14, Shannon Cochran ’14 and Courtney Walton ’16 all have one thing in common: a genuine care for sustainable food. That’s why, together, they are bringing the Real Food Challenge to Messiah College.

The Real Food Challenge is a nationwide initiative that aims to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards real food—defined as ecologically sound, fair, humane and local—by 2020.

The Challenge begins with researching two months of dining’s purchases. Using invoices from October and February (chosen for seasonal variety) Price, Cochran and Walton sift through purchases and enter data such cost, brand and vendor into the Real Food Calculator. The students emphasize the Challenge is about much more than simply entering data though. They research each company to find out who is producing the food, where it is being grown and what the production process entails to decide if the food meets the necessary criteria. (more…)

Trash or treasure?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

On almost any given night of channel-surfing, viewers can tune into one of a dozen or so reality television shows about people who make their living finding treasures in trash. Whether bidding on storage lockers, bargaining with antique collectors, or haggling for the best deal at a pawn shop, junk-hunting television shows feature larger-than-life characters motivated by finding treasure and making a significant profit.

“The allure of finding treasure in trash is something a lot of people get excited about,” says Randy Brown ’05, a fan of “American Pickers,” a History channel show that follows “picker” partners Mike and Frank as they travel the American countryside looking for old, unique pieces to sell in their two Midwestern shops. Brown says, it’s easy to sit in your living room and think anyone can do what these guys do, “but it takes a lot of hard work, knowledge and luck to be successful.”

Maris Miller `08 knows firsthand about the hard work involved in the re-selling of other people’s goods. Miller’s father has been an auctioneer in eastern Pennsylvania for nearly 20 years. “Some shows glamorize auctions, but in reality the auction business is time consuming, demanding and labor intensive,” she says, “The auctioneer often works closely with people who are experiencing transitions related to things such as aging, divorce or death.”

The long hours, back-breaking work and literal piles of trash don’t seem to discourage junk-hunting stars though. Rather, they (and the viewers who tune in week after week) seem highly motivated by their quest to find value—monetary, nostalgic, artist or otherwise—in the most unsuspecting places. (more…)

“Turn it Off” encourages Messiah College students to be responsible power users

Monday, November 28th, 2011

When we roll out of bed each morning a similar routine typically ensues: flip on the lights, take a shower, start the coffee maker, watch the news, pop bread in the toaster, read e-mails, blow dry hair, and open the garage door. What often gets overlooked in this whole process is the amount of electricity we use. Students at Messiah, however, are combating over-use of electricity by encouraging each other to “turn it off.”

Why “Turn it Off?”
The “Turn if Off” campaign, funded by a PA Department of Environmental Protection grant, is a student initiative born out of Earthkeepers, the biology club that educates students about Christian stewardship to God’s creation, and the Restoration House, a community of students living in an off-campus house who commit to limit energy use and reduce waste. The energy reduction campaign they proposed inspired creative and fun competition among students living in campus apartments.

The real objective of the “Turn if Off” campaign goes much farther than friendly competition; it serves a dual purpose of preparing students to receive and understand real utility bills and also to track their energy use in campus apartments. Students residing in apartments receive monthly electric bills, showing them the amount of kilowatt hours they consumed, how much their apartment’s electric costs and the overall use of each apartment building. By sending students mock bills, the College hopes to bring awareness to lifestyle choices, promote responsible living as stewards of God’s creation and lower overall electricity consumption at Messiah. (more…)

Living off the sun: Alum builds solar-powered house

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Paul Gustafson, ’09, enjoys reading, climbing trees, working on his truck and most importantly, learning how computers and electronics work. Since graduating, he has moved to Vermont, started a renewable energy business and built a home. But, not just any home. Gustafson and his family designed and constructed a home that is completely off the grid, running entirely on solar power.

The blueprint
While growing up, Gustafson was raised with a non-consumerist philosophy: if his family could make or do something themselves instead of paying for it, they would. When he was 10 years old, they installed a small photovoltaic system, which is a system that uses one or more solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. After the panels were up and running, Gustafson and his father turned off everything in the house and went outside to watch the meter turn backwards. He claims this was his first step into the solar industry. (more…)

Growing pineapples in Grantham

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

What do college students do when they are bored? Most would play videogames, watch a movie, or search the Internet. Discover environmental studies major Paul Nickerson being bored and you’ll find him using fish to grow pineapples in his dorm room. 

How does pineapple grow from fish?
Using fish to fertilize plants is known as aquaculture, a sustainable way of using hydroponics. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Typically, hydroponic systems require five gallon buckets and just water, stones and a multitude of mixed chemicals. 

Aquaculture replaces chemical use with fish; a fish tank holds the fish and their wastewater is pumped into the plants. The fish waste supplies the plants with nutrients just as well as chemicals would. Nickerson has built a dorm room aquaculture system, which currently grows pineapples.  (more…)

Intersection of human need and ecology

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Laura Meitzner Yoder (right), her son Micah, and two colleagues enjoy beautiful Michigan, a location of the AuSable Institute for Environmental Studies.

As early as high school, Laura Meitzner Yoder ’93 was concerned with justice matters. Some of her other favorite subjects included biological sciences and politics, which combined to launch her interest in learning about and getting involved in world hunger issues. These interests then united with agricultural and environmental concerns in tropical areas, which eventually led her to work on land access issues of importance to rural people.

Yoder grew up in a rural area of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and lived on a small farm with her family. At the time, Yoder enjoyed playing around the nearby pond and stream, which likely encouraged her current fascination of nature. (more…)

How our garden grows

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

A team of Messiah College students and staff dedicate countless hours to the College’s quarter-acre, community organic garden located in the heart of campus. Produce harvested from the garden is sold to shareholders in a community-supported agriculture model. These photos demonstrate how a barren patch of land can become a bountiful garden through the hard work and commitment of a few dedicated gardeners. (more…)


Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Tree path on campusIt is officially Earth Week – the start of an all-week celebration leading up to Earth Day on April 22.  This year Earth Day celebrates its 40th anniversary, and Messiah College, in commemoration of this significant anniversary, is launching Green@Messiah, a website devoted to sharing the College’s sustainability efforts over the past 40 years.

And, yes, Messiah has been actively caring for creation for nearly 40 years!

In 1971, just months after the first Earth Day, Messiah was offering a course – “Man and His Environmental Problems” – that inspired students to organize an Environmental Concerns committee on campus. Since then, many Messiah students have been passionate about environmental issues and have partnered with the College on exciting projects like planting and harvesting a community garden, engineering and constructing solar vehicles, and restoring the banks of the on-campus Yellow Breeches Creek.

It’s true that environmental stewardship isn’t just the latest trend at Messiah College. It’s a way of life.