Posted by: calvinsjc | October 21, 2009

ESC Project List!

We will start getting working on these projects soon! Here’s a refresher on the things we’d like to work on! If you are interested in any of these, email to let us know (let us know all you’d be willing to help with) and we’ll try and split people up so we can cover them all. Feel free to say which are particular favourites!

1) Dorm electricity and heat use:
– find out how heating works in the dorms (individual rooms,
hallways, lobbies etc.)
– find out what kinds of settings students can access regarding heat/air
– learn about practices students can use to conserve heat and not
waste energy due to seasonal weather adjustments (windows, etc.)
– find out what the breakup of electricity use in a dorm building is
(not just dorm rooms, but heating too, RD apartment, basement), as in:
what kinds of utilities, what units on a floor of residents use the
most energy, how much lights make up of the total, all sorts of
information to paint a picture of energy use in a dorm
– learn about the worst practices of students that waste energy in the dorms
– learn about ways that students can make a significant difference to
their energy use
– anything else that seems related!

2) Dining halls:
– find out a rough energy use breakup in the dining halls
– find a whole bunch of numbers on day-to-day functioning (food waste
per day, what kinds of days see more/less food waste, how much meat is
served as a proportion of total food, how many dishwasher loads are
done for different meals, things like that)
– learn about ways students can improve the above info (what kind of
impact would occur if no students wasted any food, what could be
improved/ how much energy saved in different areas)
– learn about the results of the tray-less experiments last year
– learn about the great efforts to introduce local foods (how much
more it cost, what proportion of food in both dining halls is local

3) Biking:
– learn about biking in Grand Rapids (generally speaking), including:
– clarify the biking road rules of Grand Rapids
– learn about debates and controversies surrounding biking in Grand Rapids
– find out which roads are good and bad (in terms of safety and
– find/make/adapt an easy-to-use biking map of Grand Rapids, that is
tailored to Calvin students (this is the largest part in some ways –
if this bit is done really well it’ll be GREAT!)

4) Bus:
– work towards producing a packet/document/whatever that
facilitates/educates about bus riding in Grand Rapids, tailored to
Calvin students, including:
– a map (more likely several: a large one, downtown one, Calvin to
east town one, etc., etc.) of bus routes with major AND MINOR
locations marked (part of this project is deciding what is most
practical, accessible, etc.)
– compiling lists of certain types of places (clothes stores, coffee
shops, churches, blockbusters, movie theatres, etc.) and which routes
to take to get to them, or instructions on how to get to them
– bus riding tips

5) College Parking Research:
– research a collection of colleges (around 10 or more if possible?)
that approximate Calvin (size, urban location, city integration etc.),
finding out about how they charge for parking
– annual/monthly fees
– if they have one-time use fees
– what kinds of programs they have to reduce parking on campus

6) Energy Competition, but not:
– as opposed to the month-long short-term energy competitions that
could held on campus between dorms/KE apartments, the project here is
to look into the possibility of setting up some system whereby regular
information about energy use could be sent to someone, or
automatically posted somewhere, so that the campus could see (ideally
online) regularly how these different living communities were doing in
terms of energy use
– there are several complicated considerations here, and this project
will be at the first stage conceiving of possibilities, asking about
them, having them shut down, finding another way that will work, etc.
– some things to think about:
– how can this be set up so that it doesn’t take a lot of staff time,
so that this can be sustainable labour-wise long-term
– how can this be set up so that it is meaningful data (how detailed
can info be? by floor? by building? by wing? does it factor in lots of
things like heat and gas and water, or can it be just electricity use
through outlets? could we get all this and report it all?)
– what would be a practical, accessible, visually pleasing way to
present this (perhaps online? if you can think up a format, Calvin
will be more than willing I’m sure to make web space available)

7) Recycling Bins Team!
– doing some walking tours through academic buildings (and dorms?) to
produce a lay-out of recycling and normal trash bins, to find out:
– where the 3-piece recycling stations are and if they could be
better placed (near entrances, not hidden etc.)
– if there are highly trafficked areas, or entrances, where there
isn’t a major recycling station, or even if there is, whether it is
overshadowed by the number of regular trash cans
– identify places where trash bins could be removed, and replaced
with signs to a nearby recycling station
– produce signs to put above normal trash bins, giving the detailed
location (and estimated seconds to walk – to be funny, and make people
realise how lazy they are) of the nearest recycling station
– produce signs to put above recycling stations to explain what can
go in which bit
– other similar helpful things!


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