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Sustainability News

Johanna Rayl '16 wins PSF funds to install new bicycle repair station at Smith Campus Center

There's a lot happening here on campus! Stay tuned to this page for announcements, events, updates, and mentions of sustainability programs in campus and other media sources.

Sign up for the sustainability newsletter and see archived newsletters here.
For info about upcoming events, see the calendar at the Pomona EA website.

Summer 2014

Brush Fire Turns Bernard Field Station into “Living Lab” for Fire Ecology - Campus News
Schuler Scholars from Chicago Get Hands-On Experience at Pomona's Farm - Campus News
Pomona's Class Day Goes Green - Campus News

Spring 2014

Pomona Students Place in Top Five in National Water Conservation Competition - Campus News
Claremont Colleges compete in Power Down - Campus news
EcoReps expand coverage, promote sustainable habits - Campus news
5C Dining Halls Make Progress on Composting - Campus News
No Impact Week promotes environmental consciousness in daily activities - Campus news
Pomona College's bioswales capture rainwater and help fight drought - Campus news
Water Scarcity Conference at Claremont Colleges - Campus news
New Bicycle Repair Station Offers 24/7 Self Repairs for Sustainable Transportation - Campus news 
Pomona's Annual Sustainability Report highlights achievements toward a greener campus - Campus news

Fall 2013

Pomona College recognized as one of nation's most environmentally friendly colleges - Campus news
ReCoop: Recycled couches, lamps, electronics and more provide great deals to students - Campus news
Pomona dorms win big - Media mention
Pomona EA professor Char Miller honored with conservation award - Campus news
Pomona's composting program featured on Compostory.org - Media mention
Pomona College evaluates endowment impact of fossil fuel divestment - Campus news
Pomona College electric vehicle charging stations part of workplace case study [pdf] - Off campus publication
"Free As Air" explores air and air quality through theatre and dance - Campus news
Char Miller's new book "Seeking the Greatest Good" examines founder of Forest Service - Campus news

Fall 2011

Pomona is a STARS Gold rated institution  - Campus news
Pomona's new residence halls receive LEED Platinum certification - Campus news

 Summer 2011

Pomona's Green Office Program mentioned - Media mention
Profile on Pomona's Clean Sweep program - Campus news

Spring 2011

Pomona's SolTrain wins national award - Campus news
Pomona wins campus Power Down competition - Campus news

Fall 2010

Pomona dining halls move toward sustainability - Campus news
Pomona tops the class at the Green Report Card! - Media mention/Campus news
Pomona releases 2009-10 Sustainability Annual Report - Campus news
Pomona students start food and farming internship for local high school students - Campus news
Sierra Club Cool Schools results are in - Media mention

Compost program expanded
- Campus news
New Sustainable Food Coordinator - Campus news

Summer 2010

President Oxtoby interview in Science News - Media mention
Pomona Launches Green Office Certification Program - Campus news
Pomona hosts liberal arts sustainability workshop - Campus news

Spring 2010

Pomona debuts use of chemical-free Activeion cleaning units - Campus news
New residential composting locations - Campus news
Dahon blog features Pomona's folding bikes - Media mention
Kicking T12s to the curb - Campus news

Fall 2009

Students and staff build herb garden for Oldenborg Dining Hall - Campus news
Pomona Students and Faculty Attend Copenhagen Climate Change Conference - Campus news
Pomona receives gift for sustainable residence hall - Campus news
Forbes calls Pomona one of "America's Greenest Colleges" - Media mention
Pomona awarded A- in Green Report Card - Campus news/Media mention
Pomona hosts US World Wide Views meetings on climate change - Campus news

Spring 2009

Updated Environmental Policy Approved - Campus news
Sierra Magazine Cool Schools - Media mention
Fox11 News - Laundry Racks - Media mention
Trustees and Faculty Discuss Sustainability at Retreat - Campus news
NWF's ClimateEdu eNewsletter - Climate Action Planning - Media mention
Chronicle of Higher Education - Young, Green, and in Charge! - Media mention
New Items Available for Checkout! - Campus news
Pomona Spreads the Sustainable Word - Campus news

Fall 2008

Folding Bikes Ready for Checkout! - Campus news
Pomona Sends a Group to the AASHE Conference - Campus news
Pomona Launches a New Sustainability Website - Campus news
Announcing the Sustainability Action Fellowship - Campus news
The Audit is Here! - Campus news

News Stories

Summer 2014

Brush Fire Turns Bernard Field Station into “Living Lab” for Fire Ecology Three Pomona professors received a grant from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation to examine the impact of the recent BFS fire on ecological succession in an endangered coastal sage scrub ecosystem. Professors Jonathan Wright, Wallace Meyer, and Char Miller will use the grant to involve students in research and a new biology course to be offered in spring 2015. Read more here.

Schuler Scholars from Chicago Get Hands-On Experience at Pomona's Farm Six students from the Schuler Scholars Program, which provides high-achieving, underserved students with an intensive college access experience, spent a week doing hands-on activities at the Pomona Farm. The trip was made possible by a proposal written by Julia Neaves '13 and Adam Long '13. Read the full story here.

Pomona's Class Day Goes Green Class Day, a ceremony and dinner celebrating the achievements of the graduating class, had some new sustainability features this year. Facilities and Campus Services arranged for an outside composting contract so that compostable diningware and food scraps could be diverted from the landfill. Read more about the event here.

Spring 2014

Pomona Students Place in Top Five in National Water Conservation Competition Pomona College was among the top five schools in the Campus Conservation Nationals 2014 water conservation competition, with students living in residence halls reducing their water use by 65,904 gallons, or 5.4%, below a baseline measure. Joining Pomona in the top five were Oberlin College; UC Santa Barbara; the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and Wake Forest University. Read the full article here.

Claremont Colleges compete in Power Down The five Claremont Colleges competed to reduce energy and water use as part of Campus Conservation Nationals, a nationwide event. The colleges competed against one another and against peer institutions nationwide, and dorms competed against one another within each campus. Nearly 900 members of the 5C community pledged to participate. Read more here.


EcoReps expand coverage, promote sustainable habits The new EcoRep program promotes peer-to-peer student environmental leadership by designating one EcoRep per dorm. These representatives serve as dorm captains for sustainability-related outreach and educational activities, and helped captain their respective dorms in the PowerDown/Get WaterWise competition. Read more about the program here.


5C Dining Halls Make Progress on Composting
To reduce food waste, each of the five Claremont Colleges is pursuing composting or food donation programs. Progress is varied, ranging from a full-blown pre- and post-consumer compost program at Pomona to an in-the-works proposal at Harvey Mudd. Read the full TSL article here.


No Impact Week promotes environmental consciousness in daily activities Almost 200 members of the Pomona College community pledged to reduce their resource consumption during No Impact Week in late February. Featuring a variety of activities on seven themed days, No Impact Week helped participants think about the impacts of their day-to-day behavior and find creative ways to change resource-intensive habits. Read more here.


Pomona College's bioswales capture rainwater and help fight drought The brief downpour in late February helped recharge groundwater levels during the drought, thanks in part to the new bioswales at three locations around campus. In addition to the bioswales, rainwater runoff is captured from Pomona and Sontag halls. Read more here.


Water Scarcity Conference at Claremont Colleges The Claremont Colleges hosted a conference on water scarcity and solutions on March 1st, a very relevant topic given the current drought. More information can be found here.


New Bicycle Repair Station Offers 24/7 Self Repairs for Sustainable Transportation Thanks to the hard work of Johanna Rayl '16, the Smith Campus Center now has a new 24/7 self-repair bike station. The station, installed in January, features a variety of tools for students to use on their own, complementing the repair shop operated by Green Bikes. Read the full article here.

Pomona's Annual Sustainability Report highlights achievements toward a greener campus Pomona College’s 2012-13 Sustainability Annual Report, completed last fall and now available online, highlights Pomona’s achievements toward becoming a more sustainable campus. Among the success stories is a more than 80 percent increase in renewable energy production over the prior year, provided by new solar photovoltaic (PV) systems coming online atop Pomona Hall, Sontag Hall and the South Campus Parking Structure. Read the full article here.

Fall 2013

Pomona dorms win big The LEED-certified dorms at Pomona were honored as Grand Winners in the  2013 Builder's Choice and Custom Home Design Awards! Selected in the Green Multifamily category, the dorms "wowed" judges with "the many sustainable features packed into the project." Read more about the competition here!

Pomona EA professor Char Miller honored with conservation award Director of the 5C Environmental Analysis program Char Miller received the Pinchot Medallion for "Distinguished Leadership in Forestry Conservation" in September 2013. The award was bestowed by the Pinchot Institute, a conservation organization named for Gifford Pinchot, one of the fathers of the conservationist movement. Read more about Professor Miller's dedicated work with the EA program and the sustainability movement on campus here.

Pomona's composting program featured on Compostory.org An article by Pomona senior Jen Schmidt and edited by Farm Manager Adam Long was recently published on Compostory.org, an organization that provides educational programs and resources for organic waste management. The article, found here, explains why colleges should pursue small-scale campus composting programs like Pomona's. This is part of compostory.org's effort to gather resources about college/university-scale composting to form a support network and help more colleges start up their own programs!

Fall 2011

Pomona is a STARS Gold rated institution  Pomona College received a Gold Rating from the STARS program run by AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™, is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Each STARS rating, valid for five years, is an indication of sustainability leadership in higher education. The Pomona College community should be very proud of this achievement, and of course strive to improve even more in future years! Want to know exactly how we received this rating? Check out our STARS scorecard here.

Pomona's new residence halls receive LEED Platinum certification Sontag and Pomona Halls have been awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of certification in the LEED green building system. This development is the second large-scale residence hall development in the country to receive Platinum, and the first residence hall project in California to do so. See more about this exciting news here.

Summer 2011

Pomona's Green Office Program mentioned University Business Magazine has featured Pomona's Green Office Program prominently in a new article, which you can find here.

Pomona's Clean Sweep program reclaims treasures! Pomona recently published a profile on the College's successful Clean Sweep program. You can see it here!

Spring 2011

Pomona's SolTrain wins award Pomona's hand-built mobile power station SolTrain has been awarded the Excellence in Innovations for Sustainability award from the Association of American College Unions International, during their 2011 annual meeting. See this campus news item for more info!

Pomona wins campus Power Down dorm energy competition Pomona residence halls reduced energy more than those at Harvey Mudd and Claremont McKenna, and enough to win almost $6,000 for a sustainability project! Oldenborg Residence Halls beat all others on campus to win the vote for what to do with the money (along with a Donut Man party for the whole dorm!). See this campus news item for more info!

Fall 2010

Pomona dining halls move toward sustainability Local and organic items, improved recycling and composting programs, eliminated use of disposable serving materials, a weekly featured local farmer, and more! See this recent campus news item about sustainability in dining for more info!

Pomona tops the class at the Green Report Card! The Sustainable Endowment Institute's 2011 Green Report Card names Pomona as one of seven colleges and universities across the country to receive a grade of "A" for campus sustainability initiatives! Over 300 campuses were assessed for this annual survey, which considers endowment and investment practices along with operations, facilities, and other sustainability efforts. You can see more at the Green Report Card website, at Pomona's assessment page, and in Pomona's news release.

Pomona releases 2009-10 Sustainability Annual Report This new yearly report summarizes all sustainability-related programs, projects, and efforts during the 2009-10 year and contains a variety of data points that measure the College's environmental impacts and progress toward goals. Major accomplishments this year: reduced water use, reduced landfill waste, and reduced fertilizer use. There's still a lot of work to do, but we're making progress! Access the entire report here [pdf] , or go to the initiatives section pages to see information by topic.

Pomona students start food and farming internship for local high school students See more about this amazing new program at the Pomona news story, here.

Sierra Club Cool Schools results are in! Sierra Club's annual Cool Schools survey results just came in - Pomona is up more than 30 places to #23! Schools were rated on energy sources, food purchasing, alternative transportation options, and more - see the details here. We did best in the transportation category, but received high schools in many other categories including waste, administration, and efficiency. 

Composting Program Expanded After a successful pilot phase, the Sustainability Integration Office has expanded the campus composting program to four new locations! Bins are now installed near Harwood, Oldenborg, Smiley, and Clark III along with the original Mudd-Blaisdell and Walker locations. You can see a map of the locations on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle page.

New Sustainable Food Coordinator position Samantha Meyer '10 has joined the Dining Services staff to develop and coordinate sustainability programs, including food and materials purchasing, waste management, and other efforts. If you have ideas or concerns, you can email her at samantha.meyer@pomona.edu.  

Summer 2010

President Oxtoby interview in Science News Pomona's president David Oxtoby was interviewed by Science News about the College's sustainability efforts, the downside to LEED, and why carbon credits may not be the best option for us. See the interview here.

Pomona Launches Green Office Certification Program After certifying six offices during the pilot phase of the program in the spring, the Sustainability Integration Office has launched the new Green Office Program, certifying offices and departments on campus for engaging in sustainable behavior. See more info on the Green Office webpage or in the recent Pomona news story.

Pomona hosts liberal arts sustainability workshop For two days, faculty from liberal arts colleges around the country met at Pomona to discuss the integration of sustainability into the liberal arts curriculum. This group of 28 faculty from schools including Vassar, Macalester, Reed, Swarthmore, and Wesleyan discussed topics such as service-learning and sustainability, eco-criticism, environmental justice, integrating campus facilities into coursework, and many others, and received a tour of sustainability efforts at the Claremont Colleges. This workshop was funded by the Mellon 23 group, as well as the Pomona Dean's Office, the Harvey Mudd Dean's Office, the Environmental Analysis Program, and the Sustainability Integration Office.

Spring 2010

Pomona debuts use of chemical-free Activeion units Dining Services and Housekeeping are now using Activeion units for cleaning campus facilities. These units use absolutely no chemicals or solvents for cleaning, but instead rely on the natural sanitizing and cleansing power of ionized water. Units are also available at all RA desks for student use. See more about the units, including a video from Bill Nye the Science Guy, at the Activeion website.

Pomona's Sustainability Action Plan is official! On May 14, 2010, the Pomona Board of Trustees accepted the Sustainability Action Plan, written by the President's Advisory Committee on Sustainability and the Sustainability Integration Office. This 10-year plan includes a variety of goals, policies, and procedures for sustainability. See lots more detail here!

New residential composting locations Want to compost but having trouble getting down to the Farm? The President's Sustainability Fund has recently funded a pilot program for residential composting - check out the new bins in the Mudd-Blaisdell courtyard and between Walker and Clark V. Everyone is welcome to dispose of all compostable wastes - including fruit and vegetable scraps, vegan food scraps, and light paper items (e.g. tissues, napkins) in these brown bins. See more about Pomona's composting efforts here and here.

Dahon blog features Pomona's folding bikes See the story on their blog here.

Kicking T12s to the Curb Seen a lot of "Lime Energy" around Campus? The College has sought the help of local energy retrofit company Lime Energy to completely eliminate old T12 fluorescent light bulb technology from campus. For the next four weeks, Lime crews will be changing out bulbs and ballasts from over 8,000 fixtures around campus, including residential, academic, and administrative facilities. This will shave more than four percent off the College's annual electricity usage (and the bill too!), and will pay for itself in less than three years.

Fall 2009

Students and staff build herb garden for Oldenborg Dining Hall A group of four students and Farm Technician Juan Araya have built a new raised-bed herb garden for Oldenborg Dining Hall. And huge thanks to Grounds for helping to prepare the site! This garden will provide herbs and spices as local as possible - right outside the back door! Commissioned by Head Chef Stein, this is just one example of how Pomona is using local, fresh ingredients in campus dining facilities.

Pomona Students and Faculty Attend Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Two Pomona students and a Pomona faculty member are attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, after working on the World Wide Views project to gauge Americans' views of climate change policy action. See the news story here.

Pomona Receives Gift for Sustainable Residence Hall Pomona has received a generous $7.5 million gift toward the North Campus Residence Hall Project. See the news story here.

Forbes calls Pomona one of "America's Greenest Colleges" Forbes Magazine has crowned Pomona one of America's 10 Greenest Colleges. See the online feature here.

Pomona awarded A- in Green Report Card Pomona has been awarded an A- (the highest grade awarded) in the Sustainable Endowment Institute's annual Green Report Card. The College joins 25 other schools in being recognized for leadership in sustainability programs, projects, and commitments. You can see the news story here and Pomona's Green Report Card profile here.

Pomona hosts US World Wide Views meetings on climate change Pomona College is one of only 5 U.S. sites for the World Wide Views meetings on climate change, to gather citizen input in preparation for the UN Copenhagen conference in December. See the news story here.

Spring 2009

Updated Environmental Policy Approved On May 16, 2009, the Board of Trustees approved an update to the College's Statement of Environmental Policy. This policy explicitly states the College's commitment to sustainability and sets new standards and requirements for decision-making in four key areas: capital projects, budgetary and financial planning, education and research, and assessment and review. It also formally creates the Sustainability Integration Office, headed by Bowen Patterson.

Sierra Magazine Cool Schools Pomona has received "extra credit" in the Sierra Club's annual Cool Schools survey. We received these "bonus points" in their rating for our Green Housekeeping program. You can see the coverage here.

Fox11 News - April 22, 2009 Pomona's innovative drying rack program was featured on April 22, 2009 (Earth Day!) on the local Fox11 News. You can see the video here.

Trustees and Faculty Discuss Sustainability at Retreat At this year's Trustee-Faculty Retreat, Pomona's Board and Faculty spent two days discussing sustainability both globally and locally, learning from high-profile plenary speakers about global issues and discussing in breakout sessions how Pomona should move forward with sustainability goals. For two nights and two days, over 200 attendees including Trustees, Faculty, Administration, and their families heard from speakers including John Bryson (retired CEO of Southern California Edison and Founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council) and L. Hunter Lovins (President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions and well-known author). Attendees also participated in breakout sessions on topics such as transportation, student activism, sustainability in the curriculum, greening the campus, and how to reduce their own environmental impacts.

NWF's ClimateEdu eNewsletter Pomona's Climate Action Plan process is featured in the National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology program's ClimateEdu eNewsletter article "Never-Ending Story: Moving Forward on Climate Action Planning," see here.

Chronicle of Higher Education Sustainability Integration Office Director Bowen Patterson was interviewed for the Chronicle's article "Young, Green, and in Charge," see here.

New Items Available for Checkout! Starting January 2009, the Sustainability Coordinator's office now has drying racks and compost buckets for students to check out and use, FREE of charge! These two items are added to the CFL light bulbs that have been available for students since 2007. Together, these items mark the start of what will hopefully soon be an expanded array of "sustainable lifestyle items" available to help spread sustainable behaviors and practices among the campus community. For more information on this program, see the Checkout page here.

Pomona Spreads the Sustainable Word This spring, representatives from Pomona will present on campus sustainability topics at three conferences and workshops around the country.

In January, Sustainability Coordinator Bowen Patterson was invited to Furman University in Greenville, SC, for four days to assist the University in writing their Climate Action Plan. Bowen was joined by representatives of Middlebury College, University of New Hampshire, Cornell University, and the non-profit Clean Air-Cool Planet to help facilitate the workshop and provide assistance with plan content.

In March, Bowen and student Allie Comet '09 will present a workshop entitled "Building Relationships through Gardens" at the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Portland, OR. They will talk about the Pomona College campus farm and development of the campus compost program.

Also in March, Bowen and student Chelsea Hodge '09 will present a workshop entitled "Utilizing students to broaden sustainability planning beyond ACUPCC" at the Pacific Regional Society of College and University Planners (SCUP) conference in Boulder, CO. They will discuss the Sustainability Action Fellowship and other methods of student participation in the current Action Plan process.

Fall 2008

Folding Bikes Ready for Checkout! Pomona's fleet of six folding bikes are now ready for check out through the On The Loose gear room. The bikes can be checked out for one week at a time and require a refundable deposit. Check with On The Loose for more information. Gear Room hours are M-W 8-11 p.m. and Th 7-11 p.m. The Gear Room is in Walker Lounge. Unlike conventional bikes, these folding bikes can be folded and taken on public transportation any time of day. They can also easily be folded and put in a trunk for bike trips in faraway parts of LA.

Pomona Sends a Group to the AASHE Conference From November 8-11, Pomona's Sustainability Coordinator and five students will travel to the 2nd Bi-Annual Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), of which the College is a member. This group will attend sessions about campus sustainability and what others schools are doing. The Sustainability Coordinator will talk on a panel session about the College's Sustainability Audit, and another student will present a poster on the College's Drying Racks Program. This conference will allow the group to gather strategies and ideas for moving forward with sustainability on campus, including opportunities to talk with vendors, consultants, and other supporting businesses at the Sustainable Solutions Expo. Funding for this travel was provided by: the Sustainability Coordinator's Office, the Dean of Students, ASPC, and EQC.

Pomona Launches a New Sustainability Website Welcome to our new Sustainability at Pomona College website! This expanded sustainability site is a clearinghouse for information about sustainability efforts at the College. The site was created by the Sustainability Coordinator's Office and it is intended to provide information about current sustainability efforts, opportunities to get involved, and how the campus community can reduce its environmental impact.

The website includes direct links to recent efforts, including the College's Sustainability Action Plan process and opportunities to download sections of the campus' sustainability audit. Over the coming years, the website will develop portals for up-to-date information about resource use and current projects and will track progress on goals like carbon neutrality and resource use reduction.

The website's input pages also provide a brand-new, easy opportunity to provide input about the College's sustainability efforts or to ask questions about how things work on campus. If you have ideas about what you'd like to see on the site or have any questions or comments about sustainability at the College, you can contact the Sustainability Coordinator or visit the input page.

Announcing the Sustainability Action Fellowship The Sustainability Coordinator has just announced a new program for students to be an integral part of the creation of the College's Sustainability Action Plan. A group of 29 students have been chosen as Sustainability Action Fellows, to receive leadership training and to be the driving force of the collection of strategies for the Plan. This group of students, assigned to one of six topics (energy, water, purchasing, education/communication, waste and recycling, or environmental justice) will be responsible for seeking out sustainability strategies in their assigned topic area. Their work will include interviews with key staff and faculty, research about what other institutions are doing, basic financial and implementation analysis, and gathering input from the campus community about opportunities and goals.

The audit is here! Pomona has completed its first-ever campus sustainability audit. Over the last five months, CTG Energetics and a team of student auditors, have been working hard to compile and analyze data about the College's environmental footprint. This effort has resulted in a massive document providing information about the ins-and-outs of the campus' impacts, including the following topics:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Consumables

This audit is the first step in assessing Pomona's sustainability goals and opportunities for change. It identifies possible strategies for change (e.g. the water section of the audit identifies the costs, payback periods, and savings of adjustments and improvements to indoor plumbing fixtures) and describes opportunities for funding, rebates, and other helpful implementation procedures.