Kayla Adolph, Dustin Braden, Meg Edwards, Genaro Garcia, Ayla Maycomber, and Celeste Wallick

“Sustainability Efforts at OWU”

As the concept of sustainability grows in importance, so does the need for tangible, applied efforts to realize sustainability as a daily practice for individuals and organizations. The ENVS 399: Sustainability Practicum puts sustainability principles into practice on the OWU campus and in Delaware, Ohio. Followed by discussion of selected readings on sustainability, and building on coursework, group efforts and collaborations (with campus organizations, regional organizations, OWU's Buildings & Grounds, OWU's food service: AVI, OWU ResLife and other individuals and groups) attempt to actualize the goals of our campus sustainability plan. Students in the course worked with our campus Sustainability Task Force to evaluate and modify our campus sustainability plan as needed. Highlighted projects for the semester include the Ugly Mug project, Delaware Run Restoration, Chimney Swift Tower, Manic May Move-Out, Solar Array, and Virtual Earth Week Events. Each project aligns with sustainability principles, with some major themes of waste reduction, restoration or replication of natural habitats, promotion of environmentally friendly habits, and community adaptability.

OWU's 'Scrappy' Sustainability Plan- Meg Edwards

The new version is not yet complete, but the release of an updated Sustainability Plan is expected before 2021.

Our analysis is that the plan needs updated on two fronts. First, goals and benchmarks need to be updated to reflect our current progress since 2016. Second, the plan lacks mechanisms for accountability and follow through. These should be included in the updated plan and could include:

  • An endorsement of the plan from the Board of Trustees
  • Cost projections for specific projects, allowing the STF to budget for and execute these goals
  • Fundraising plans and the creation of an account accessible to both students and faculty for sustainability projects
  • Surveys to measure student engagement in sustainability efforts
  • Ohio Wesleyan needs to follow Ohio State’s example in using empirical research to conduct a survey of students’ and partners’ environmental attitudes, habits, and priorities. This makes it possible to pursue projects that will better campus and the student experience.
  • By working with economics students as well as E&S students, and in partnership with Alden Shepherd and Invenergy (a solar-energy group), the STF can build an analysis of the costs to making campus more sustainable- as well as the long-term costs of inaction.

Delaware Run- Dustin Braden

Originally we considered funding a campus Delaware Run restoration project by latching onto a grant being undertaken by Caroline Cicerchi and the Olentangy Watershed Association (OWA). Their nine element plan is part of the process for applying for an EPA grant and requires a restoration project and monitoring. It was decided that a project on campus might be too large of a project to include initially in the grant, so the current goal is a project with high impact and less work. Caroline and OWA could still use some help on the nine element plan, so for the remaining weeks of the semester students will attempt to assist in pushing that forward.

As far as the on campus Delaware Run restoration project, we subsequently met with Laura Fay to discuss other funding opportunities. One of her ideas with serious potential was FEMA’s BRIC program (Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities). Further, considering the Delaware Run’s tendency to overflow and block traffic during flood events, creating a map showing 100 and 500 year flood maps (as well as some more recent events if possible) would make a grant application much more competitive. Another possibility is going through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for restoration mitigation they need. They prefer to fund tangible projects with established monitoring programs (many grants would like to see established e coli monitoring efforts) and small to medium price tags (looking for high impact, low price tag) and could be considered for funding projects further upstream to assist with flooding downtown. Several other options discussed have already been researched by other students (here, and here).

Ugly Mug Project- Genaro Garcia


This project’s goal, is reducing and curving the overall use of disposable coffee cups provided by dining services. Use of mugs will reduce landfill input, as well as make some issues of sustainability more personal to individuals. Mugs will be and should be cheap, “ceramic” or any mug material non-toxic, and not produced specifically for donation. Only used mugs should be donated.

The goal of this project is to curb use of single use paper and plastics that are found in disposable coffee cups around campus. With that goal in mind, planning of this project should take into account possible problems that will arise. While not many, some problems seen have been

  • Lack of understanding with the general concept among campus members.
  • Promotional materials that are sustainable, yet eye-catching.
  • Accessibility of Mug-drop off and pick up locations.



Goodwill of Delaware, AVI Foodsystems™

AVI ; provides space for mug drop-off and pick-up. Provide washing of mugs for re-use.

Goodwill; donations of mugs as well as T-shirts for promotional tie in.

Personal donations of mugs from faculty/staff and students.

May Move-Out-Celeste Wallick

May Move-out was planned in its traditional sense, with a 'mini' May Move-out scheduled for March, to remind students of the tradition, and a larger May Move-out scheduled for exam week, with several donation pods provided by our partners at Goodwill.

With most students rushed off campus after an extended Spring Break, Meg Edwards spear-headed "Manic" Move-out in place of Mini May Move-out since Goodwill was still willing to bring a truck to campus. Unfortunately the turn out was a little less than we were hoping but I think that had more to do with the pandemic than planning or advertising.

Solar Array-Kayla Adolph


-Conduct a solar variability study in order to establish how much energy can be produced on any given day. 

-Assess the feasibility of a larger solar array on campus

-Implement Educational Purposes: Dr. Rowley’s GEOG 235 (energy Resources), GEOG 245 (Weather and Climate)

Parking lot between Beeghly and Corns

Potential ways to Implement

  •  Advancement may be interested in University-owned electric shuttles, with the capacity to be charged at a parking lot canopy
  • A smaller project that is more interactive for current students, such as a solar panel picnic table.
  • Educational and promotional grants

Chimney Swift Tower- Dustin Braden

Before COVID-19 swept in, this project was moving forward and simply requiring city approval. The construction of this project can likely continue to move forward despite the quarantine due to construction services being deemed essential and the work taking place outside with just one person or a small handful of people. If the city approval comes promptly and the contractor can move forward with construction, the work can likely be finished before the start of fall semester 2020.

Previous Research

Virtual Earth Day- ENVS 399 students and Meg Edwards

Earth Week

Originally, students had been planning a series of events on campus in conjunction with the Sustainability Task Force and other campus partners. In lieu of in-person events, the week had a series of virtual events that inspired participants to celebrate 50 years of Earth day.

Nature Photos

The week kicked off on Sunday with participants following #OWUENVS encouraged to take a photo of the Earth around them and tag it with #OWUENVS

#StopTheSpread of pollution and #FlattenTheCurve on CO₂ emissions. 

The second day entailed use of the above hashtags, as well as using this FootPrintCalculator to find out how many Earths it would take to sustain each participant's lifestyle for everyone, and how we can all take steps to scale back. 

Signs and Found art

For the third day, participants were asked to upcycle signs, declaring their commitment to the Earth and leave it in a visible place for the rest of the week. They were also encouraged to make art using natural elements or found objects in their surroundings

Earth Day and Anote’s Ark screening

 Anote's Ark is a film documenting the struggle of the island nation of Kiribati, one of the first to face being wiped off the map by rising seas and students were able to meet over Zoom to watch and comment in real time.

Active Participation Day

On the fifth day, participants were asked to use Citizen Climate Lobby’s calling tool and our Green Stimulus Talking Points to reach out to lawmakers to encourage them to include the environment in the next COVID-19 stimulus package to protect public health and the economy in the long term.

Sustainable plant-based Cooking

Chef Del Sroufe taught an interactive course on sustainable plant-based cooking, and students learned how the food they eat impacts the world daily.