The Oberlin Review

Sustainability Crucial to AAPR Success

Johan Cavert and Brian James

April 5, 2019

This article is part of the Review’s Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, student senators will provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. During the week preceding spring break, the Academic and Administrative Program Review released findings from its yearlong effort to document and propose solutions to Oberlin’s current financial predicament. Integral to that assessment was evaluating the College’s institutional sustainability and recognizing that Oberlin must improve both environmentally and financially in order to make its continued success possible. In their report from March 29, AAPR members wrote that their goal “is to help...

Veganism Offers Sustainable Choice

Sheridan Blitz, Contributing Writer

September 29, 2017

I haven’t always been a vegan, but I have always loved animals. Even before I was aware that veganism existed, consuming animals for my own pleasure never made ethical sense to me. It wasn’t until around fifth grade that I was introduced to the concept of veganism and realized that there are no good reasons to not be vegan. The only thing holding me back from following through was myself. Thus began my journey of self-education about the impacts we have as consumers of animal products. According to the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, for every minute you spend reading this article, seven million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for human consumption in the United State...

Voters Can Correct City Council’s Mistakes

Steve Hammond and John Elder

September 22, 2017

To the Editors: Two issues related to the use of Oberlin’s renewable energy credits (RECs) will be on the ballot this November. Why? Because voters need the opportunity to correct two Oberlin City Council actions. In 2004 Oberlin College began seeking renewable energy, and in 2007 the City Council established by ordinance, with the College’s encouragement, a Sustainable Reserve Program “for the sole purpose” of depositing the revenue from the sale of what are now known as RECs for a Sustainable Reserve Fund “to provide funding opportunities for community-based, utility-related, environmentally-friendly initiatives demonstrating energy efficiency, energy conservation, greenhouse gas reductions and/or dev...

College Aims for Carbon Neutrality by 2025

College Aims for Carbon Neutrality by 2025

September 23, 2016

Scattered across the campus, various devices hint at environmental awareness, from the glowing orbs in each dorm that tell students how much energy they use to the composting bins filled to the brim in Stevenson Dining Hall. The Office of Environmental Sustainability hosted a Carbon Neutrality Forum Tuesday to showcase exactly how the College is planning fulfill its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. To reach the 2025 goal, the College brought in the environmental consulting firm Ever- Green Energy ...

Please Don’t Feed the Pipelines

Aliza Weidenbaum, Oberlin resident

December 11, 2015

To the Editors: As someone fully opposed to fossil fuel pipelines, I am thrilled that the city of Oberlin is able to engage the help of such an experienced attorney as Carolyn Elefant in litigating to prevent pipelines (not merely rerouting them). We need all the help that we can get. What still needs editorial focus is that Oberlin College built a new gas plant — yes, a new fossil gas-burning — when it can be expected to know better. It is precisely new gas plants — like Oberlin College’s — that “demand” gas from pipelines. Please don’t feed the pipelines. Consider Ball State University in Indiana — much less famous than Oberlin and much bigger, with around 21,000 students — which fac...

REC Reinvestment Upholds Oberlin’s Commitment to Sustainability

Editorial Board

November 20, 2015

The most pressing issue facing newly-elected City Council members is the allocation of Renewable Energy Certificates, a benefit of Oberlin’s EPA Green Power Partnership. RECs were originally intended to be reinvested in renewable energy and carbon reduction initiatives for communities to expand their green energy portfolio and abandon fossil fuels as energy sources. In 2007, the city decided to sell RECs to expand sustainable initiatives as part of its involvement with the Clinton Climate Initiative. According to the minutes from the Oct. 19 Council Work Session, City Council expects 2015 REC proceeds to total $776,000, bringing the full sum to $1.76 million. By the end of the 2016 calendar year, the projected net total o...

Council Delays REC Discussion Until Late December

Oliver Bok and Tyler Sloan

November 20, 2015

Oberlin’s City Council decided to table the issue of how to allocate $800,000 in Renewable Energy Credits until late December following weeks of tense debate. At Council’s weekly meeting on Monday, City Council President Scott Broadwell suggested that the group reconvene on the issue during a work session on Dec. 21. Council members are debating three options for how to spend the RECs. The first option would return 85 percent of the sales to the Sustainable Reserve Fund and 15 percent to ratepayers. Conversely, Council could decide to give 85 percent of the sales to ratepayers and the remainder to the Sustainable Reserve Fund. The third option puts the onus on ratepayers to decide whether to give the money to...

Planning Commission Sides Against Green Acres

Hannah Jackel-Dewhurst

March 13, 2015

Opposition from Oberlin residents and members of the Oberlin Planning Commission has called the future of the Green Acres Project into question. The Green Acres Project is a proposed mixed-income housing development located on 15 acres of land that have been vacant for a decade between East Lorain Street and East College Street. Community Builders, a nonprofit development company, has designed a plan for the project; however, the plan has generated controversy, and the Oberlin Planning Commission voted not to approve the request for rezoning this past Wednesday. The Green Acres Project is now on the City Council’s agenda for its April 6 meeting. The Council will vote then on whether or not to abide by the Planning...

For Sustainable Design, New Club Turns to Nature

Dyani Sabin

November 7, 2014

If you want to know how to create more sustainable architecture, you might want to ask the birds and the bees. At least that’s what the members of Oberlin’s first-ever Biomimicry Club, an organization that aims to bring Oberlin toward sustainable living based on designs found in nature, might tell you. According to its founder, College sophomore Olivia Scott, the purpose of biomimicry is essentially to “use nature to solve your problems,” or to base industrial and sustainable designs on those found in nature. “Nature has had 3.8 billion years of evolution, so you’re using that as a design but also as inspiration,” said Scott. Examples of possible biomimetic designs are air conditioners ...

Off the Cuff: Shazeen Attari, expert on the psychology of resource consumption

Maddie Stocker, News Editor

February 28, 2014

Shahzeen Attari, assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington, sat down with the Review this week to talk about energy consumption, motivations in social dilemmas, and the paper she will publish on Monday. Attari visited Oberlin to give a talk titled ‘Public Perceptions of Electricity and Water Use.’  How did you become interested in energy policy and efficiency? I actually started off as a Physics and Math major at [University of Illinois at] Urbana-Champaign, and I volunteered for nature conservancy one spring break as an undergrad, and I realized that [there were] many interesting questions about the environment. I actually grew up in the Mid...

The Oberlin Project: How sustainability education might transform a community

Elizabeth Dobbins, Staff Writer

September 21, 2012

This article is the first in a three-part series on the impact of the Oberlin Project. Down an ash road north of the athletic fields and tucked away in a grove of trees lies a 10-acre clearing filled with a forest of evenly-spaced, upright metal poles and the din of construction. It is the future site of a new super-sized, on-campus solar array¬ — one of many initiatives the Oberlin Project has had a hand in organizing. For the seemingly indefinable Oberlin Project this solar array appears unusually concrete, but the Oberlin Project is not as nebulous as general perception may lead one to believe. It’s just complex. “What the Project is really doing is providing a sort of larger vision and way of having a...

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