At an informal tour held earlier today, students check out the new OVaL (Occupy Vacant Lots) shed designed and built by prof. Lucas Brown's design/build class. The shed will be permanently located near the tennis courts on the west side of campus as a greenhouse and storage shed for the Champlain Valley Native Plant Restoration Nursery. The nursery will provide hands-on laboratory experience for GMC students and provide a reliable source of native plants for local landowners.

Touching Base from the Arava Institute
The following is an excerpt of an email from Allie Brodie '13, an environmental studies major from Cream Ridge, N.J.
Shalom, Green Mountain Family! As you're pondering plans for next semester or next year, take some time and think about spending a semester abroad. I've been studying in Israel this semester, at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. The Arava, meaning desert in Arabic, is in the south of Israel. It's a hyper-arid zone, where living simply is more of a necessity than an option. Living and learning here has been a tremendous experience so far.

The Mahon (Hebrew for Institute) is home to just under 40 students and interns this semester. We come from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Brazil, Finland, and the States. We have different histories. We have different languages (though all classes are in English). We have different ideas about how marriage comes about. We have different beliefs about what it means to be a woman. We have different environmental challenges facing our regions.

What we have in common, however, has been much more important. We dream about a better future. We want peace in the Middle East. We are curious about each other's cultures. We think creatively about sustainability. We compost.

In the Peace Building and Environmental Leadership Seminar (PELS), we discuss our similarities and differences with a focus on a different topic each week. The ever-looming issue of "the conflict" (between Israel and Palestine) can be heavy, and this is our venue to approach the situation from different perspectives. We are encouraged to consider each side's narrative.

The program also includes a few trips around the region. On a very powerful trip to Jerusalem, we met an Israeli man who lost his daughter to a Palestinian bullet. Instead of turning to revenge, he organized a group for bereaved families of Israel and Palestine to come together and empower each other. Our trip around the Negev region focused on the issues confronted by Bedouins in Israel, as well as ecological attributes and changes occurring in the region. We found fossils, hiked a crater, and spent the night in a Bedouin settlement. The professors who organized everything made sure that we gained an insider's perspective.

Much like GMC, everything has a bit of an environmental twist. There are also a lot of opportunities to conduct personal research projects, with the desert as your playground. All of the professors are active leaders in their field and consistently amaze me with their achievements and knowledge.

I could go on for days, but you'll have to wait for next semester for that. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at

Do It in the Dark
By Bruna Lobato
For 48 hours, on December 5 and 6, Green Mountain College remained in the dark. During the 48 hours the residence halls saved 705 kWh, resulting in a savings of $90. The administration will match the savings and, in the spirit of sharing and helping those less fortunate, the College will make a donation of an even $200.

The energy dashboard placed in Withey helped compare and contrast the dorm consumption data. The residence hall with the greatest savings was North. North Hall, as the winner of the challenge, gets to choose the institution that will receive the donation.

"The dashboard helps us find out which buildings are less efficient. For example, we were trying to figure out why SAGE had such a high consumption, and we found out it is because of the insulation system in the building that is different from the other ones," explained Meiko Lunetta '13, Sustainability Office manager.

This was a useful exercise in exploring ways to conserve energy and use the new energy dashboard as a tool for monitoring energy use and encouraging behavior change. "The dashboard is basically a database. It can be used for monitoring everything, from heating to water consumption, and all different components of sustainability," said Lunetta.

If you are interested in this and other sustainable practices, please stop by the Sustainability Office. You may also contact Meiko Lunetta, or the new sustainability coordinator, Beth Clarke.

Making New Use of Old Space:
GMC Seniors Aim to Renovate Ames Basement

By Chad Skiles
Green Mountain College has been committed to making numerous changes on campus and within the community in the name of sustainable development. As part of a recent Delicate Balance project, GMC seniors Blake Kyler and Frank Segro are hoping to further that mission by pushing forward a proposal to renovate the large basement in Ames into a working “black box” theatre. It’s their way of making new use of old space.

A black box is a small, minimalist theatre space that is also versatile. As members of the theatre department here at GMC, Frank and Blake are hoping that the new theatre could also serve as a rehearsal space for the performance arts as well as house lectures, concerts, and any type of show that would benefit from a more intimate setting.

Ironically, the basement used to house various theatrical performances during the 1940’s and 1950’s, but has been inactive for many years since. Many within the department are hoping to see the space restored to its former glory with vintage style.

As of now, Blake and Frank are forging ahead with the project as best they can, but are hoping to gauge the level of interest and support that currently exists among the student body and the rest of our campus community.

To learn more, please take the time to watch this short video and give your feedback.

Natural Science Illustration and Fins to Fingers Presentations
Join the Natural Science Illustration and Fins to Fingers classes for a reception celebrating final projects in art, posters, and research on Tuesday, December 13 from 6 – 8 p.m. in Withey Lobby.

Eagle Fitness Center Hours
Monday, December 12: 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Tuesday, December 13: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wednesday, December 14: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday, December 15: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Friday, December 16: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

All faculty/staff who use the EFC during the winter break must sign the solitary use form prior to entry. Please see Brad Mitchell x8243, to obtain form.

Office Freepo Still Seeking Donations
During this time of giving, give your unwanted office and school supplies what they’ve always wanted…a new home!

The Office Freepo needs donations to get ready for the upcoming Spring Semester! By making a donation you will 1.) clean up your space, 2.) reduce landfill waste, and 3.) make someone in need of your item smile.

Donation boxes are located in the library, student life office, Ames lobby, Dunton lobby, and in the Office Freepo (Pollock basement).

Rented Books Due Back
Students who have rented books from the campus bookstore must return them by Thursday, December 15.


  • Prof. John Van Hoesen (geology, environmental studies) attended the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. The AGU meeting is the largest geoscience-related meeting the world and attracts ~20,000 attendees each year. He presented a poster titled "A Virtual Interface for Recreating a School of Rock Experience: An Inquiry-Driven Approach Towards Describing and Interpreting Deep Ocean Cores and Smear Slides." His poster and a short video describing the School of Rock program can be viewed here.

    He was also recently selected to receive a Vermont Campus Compact Environmental Service-Learning Teaching Mini-Grant to help strengthen and expand the service-learning component of his Intro to Geographic Information Systems course. As part of this award he was also accepted as a Faculty Fellow for the Vermont Campus Compact Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning Seminar to take place at Saint Michael’s College on January 10-12, 2012.
Touching Base From Arava
Do It In The Dark
New Use of Old Space in Ames
Faculty Notes