Coordinator’s Corner

Coordinator’s Corner: Goodbye OEP!

I’m leaving OEP after a wonderful year of working here! I have had so much fun at our different events, Green Gamedays, Campus Sustainability Day, Earth Day Spring Fling! My favorite part about this job is all of the wonderful people I got to work with. Working with our immensely talented and hardworking student interns has been a privilege. I wish all of them, especially our recent graduates, Andy, Eric, and Katie, good luck in the future! It was also wonderful to learn more about how sustainability works at UConn, and the number of really amazing initiatives we have that help UConn be more sustainable.  I will be leaving the OEP in the very capable hands of our new Sustainability Coordinator, Sarah Munro and Eric Grulke, our former intern, who will be re-joining the OEP as the assistant sustainability coordinator as he begins his graduate degree in Engineering.  I can’t wait to see what the interns will do next year! I will be spending the next year finishing my dissertation on the institutionalization of the right to water, so I will gone, but not away from campus, and I plan to check in every so often to say hi!

All the best,


Coordinator’s Corner: Everywhere you look…

Since I started working at the OEP in May I’ve learned a lot and worked on a lot of different projects.  I expected to be busy, and I expected gain a new perspective on how sustainability works at UConn.  What I didn’t expect was how sustainability would change the way I see EVERYTHING!

When I walk through campus, or through town, I notice every time I see a trash can without a recycling bin next to it.  On my walk from my other office in Oak hall to where I park, there are 8 trashcans without recycling containers within easy reach.  I ended up carrying a soda can all the way to my car so that I could recycle it at home, rather than putting it in the trash.  When I went to a conference in Boston, I stayed at a Doubletree Hotel and appreciated that their trash bins actually had separate containers for trash and recycling (and mentioned it to the front desk).  When I see someone go to throw something recyclable away, I try to stop them and direct them to the correct bin.

When people complain about something (like they lack a recycling bin in their office or at the band field) or  ask questions about something, like they don’t know why our power plant is called the co-gen, I have solutions and answers.

It’s really exciting learning how everything actually runs at UConn, and it’s really empowering to be able to help address problems, or answer questions, instead of just sitting around talking about something.


Coordinator’s Corner: GHG emissions when traveling

I’ve been doing a bit of traveling this summer.  I visited family in various places in Ohio, and next I’m heading to Chicago at the end of the month for the American Political Science Association annual meeting.  As I’ve made my travel plans, I wondered whether it was better to fly or drive.  I decided to investigate!

I found a calculator online to answer my question.

Here’s my scenario – my husband and son were going to the beach in North Carolina with my in-laws for a week. They needed a car while there, so they drove. I was then meeting them in Columbus to visit with my family, and then we were driving up to Cleveland to visit some friends and more in-laws, then driving back to Connecticut.  I was originally planning to fly down to Columbus, but then I thought about how much carbon a plane emits.  Would it be greener if I drove myself to Ohio?

Using the above calculator, I figured out that with our backup car (which only gets about 26 mpg on the highway), driving alone, it would be slightly more environmentally friendly to fly to Columbus.  However, the big carbon savings comes when I join my husband and child and we do all the rest of our driving in one car.  If I brought our other car down, we would have to drive two cars back up to Connecticut – super wasteful!

Heading to Chicago later this month, it’s much better to drive than to fly with three people in the car!

Next time you plan a trip, figure out whether it’s better to fly or drive (or even better, take a train or a bus!)