Sustainability on Trips: Katie Rowe ’16

Hello, dear trippees! My name is Katie and I am the Sustainability Coordinator for Trips this year. When it comes to being green at Dartmouth, I’m happy to help you find your way. I want to tell you a little more about sustainability on Trips and how you can be a part of it!

Here in Hanover, sustainability is a big deal. Trips is a giant program, and we send about 1300 people out into the woods over the course of two weeks—that has the potential to create a huge footprint. My job is to make sure that we leave the beautiful woods, rivers, and mountains of New Hampshire as pristine as they were before Trips. Here are some ways that we are doing that:

  • Food: The food that we eat on Trips is vegetarian. Livestock is responsible for around 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, so we save a lot of CO2 just by eating our veggies! We also source as much of our food as we can from local, organic growers. Food on the trail is cooked on Trangia stoves, which are very earth-friendly and burn a safe, non-toxic, renewable grain alcohol that does not pollute the air with harmful gases when used.
  • Food Waste: We compost and recycle as much waste as we can. Your trip leaders will show you how to sort your trash on the trail, a skill you will be using for the rest of your time at Dartmouth! We also are working hard with your trip leaders and support croos to produce as little food waste as possible by only ordering what we need, sharing between trips, and being mindful of our leftovers. Get ready to yum yum!
  • Transportation: Directorate spends a lot of time planning out bus routes to make sure that we do as little driving as possible. This year, thanks to the help of one of our awesome support croos, our director Peety was able to cut out an entire coach bus from our fleet. That means less gas, less exhaust, and more happiness.
  • Gear: We encourage you all to borrow gear first, not buy it. The Dartmouth Outing Club also generously allows us to loan out its equipment for Trips, and this year we added some more extra gear with a gear collection from our graduating seniors. Recycling gear, renting gear, and sharing keeps everyone from consuming more than we need to.
  • LNT: Trips follows the “Leave No Trace” philosophy. We make sure that all of you are prepared with the gear and knowledge you need to travel safely through the woods without leaving any evidence that you were ever there. Your trip leaders have been trained in LNT, and you will all partake in an activity to learn its principles when you get to Hanover. If you’d like more information now, you can check out this website: http://www.lnt.org/learn/7-principles.
  • Mindfulness: Sustainability is about much more than recycling. This year, we are working very hard to incorporate social sustainability into Trips, too. That means building lasting relationships, finding your sense of place, and creating a program that will allow people to thrive at Dartmouth for years to come. We have some special activities just for you in Hanover and at the Lodj that will help you figure out what sustains you and how you will bring that to Dartmouth.

One of our big goals as a Trips program is to help you get to know Hanover, the amazing place you are going to get to live in for the next four years. We love the Upper Valley, and we think it’s really important to take care of it. That’s why sustainability is key! In order to make all of this happen, we need your help. Be mindful of your footprint on Trips, ask questions about sustainability to your wonderful trip leaders and croolings, and think about the beautiful place that you are going to get to know. Get ready for an amazing trip!

Katie (bottom left) with the trip she led in 2013.
Katie (bottom left) with the trip she led in 2013.

DOC Trips Preview: What sustains you?

Hi all!

Sam Parker coming at you as this year’s Sustainability Coordinator for DOC First-Year Trips. I am so excited to meet all of you in just a few short weeks, but before I do I want to give you a quick update on what Trips is doing to promote a healthier relationship with our environment.

Sam is from Leawood, KS
Sam is from Leawood, KS

This year, we are operating under the theme “what sustains you” because we believe the things that personally sustain you – healthy food, clean water, interpersonal relationships, spirituality, physical exercise, conversation, purpose, or whatever you feel you need– are important for developing sustainable communities. This year, we challenge you to reflect on the things that support you both mentally and physically as a way to connect with your peers and the surrounding environment, both of which will help you define your experience and sense of place here at Dartmouth.

Because we believe that a healthy environment is essential for building sustainable communities, we have developed a few key initiatives to minimize our impact on Trips.

Food and Waste

Trips sources as much local and organic food as possible to support our local community, ensure safe and nutritious meals for our students, and reduce our carbon footprint. Some fun facts:

• During the Trips program, approximately 1,300 trippees, trip leaders and support croo members eat a vegetarian diet, reducing the carbon footprint of each student by approximately 30 pounds of CO2.
• All meals on the trail are cooked using Trangia stoves. Trangias were designed in the 1920’s by the Swedish company Trangia AB and they still are one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to cook in the woods. They burn grain alcohol which is renewable, non-toxic, and does not emit harmful byproducts when burned.
• Trips produces little waste as trippees, trip leaders and support croo members use reusable bowls, silverware and water bottles for meals and compost leftover food at the Lodj, reducing methane emissions, which are 21 times more potent than CO2.
• Trips serves a locally sourced meal in both Hanover, before trips begin, and at the end of each trip at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.

Transportation

• The transportation routes which zigzag across New Hampshire’s backwoods are planned to maximize efficiency for each mile traveled.
• Trips uses 10% biodiesel, made using waste vegetable oil, in all coach buses to reduce our overall carbon emissions.
The Big Green Bus – a student-run coach bus that runs on 100% Biodiesel (and travels across the country each summer promoting sustainability) – assists us in transporting students during DOC Trips!

Again, I look forward to meeting all of you in the fall! Lookout for another blog post coming your way soon about all of the ways you can get involved with Sustainability at Dartmouth, and if you have any sustainability related questions feel free to email me at Samantha.k.parker.15@dartmouth.edu

– Sam

DOC Trips Preview: The Menu

What’s For Dinner?

Hi ’16s!

We’re Mike & Annie-Laurie, the DOC Trips Sustainability Coordinators! (Read our last blog post about sustainability on Trips here).

By now, the excitement is sure to be setting in. You’ve read this blog top to bottom (right? RIGHT?), you’ve bought your first Dartmouth shirt, and you’ve lain awake countless night entranced by the possibilities ahead.

The thought of new friends and activities making your heart race, the slight butterflies that come with moving to a new city, state, or even country tickle your stomach. But let’s be real, at the end of the day, we know what’s really on your mind (and ours).  And so we come to the age-old quandary:  What’s for dinner?

Not every meal on your DOC Trip will look like this, but it might!

After a full day of hiking or canoeing or farming (or rock climbing or walking or horseback riding or volunteering….), you’ll be hungry.  And DOC Trips doesn’t take its victuals lightly. First-Year Trips chooses food that is not only delicious (if you haven’t had Cabot cheddar yet, you have a revelation coming), but sustainable.  Cooked meals feature local vegetables, and trail goodies use minimal packaging and maximum organics.  Yes, all of Trips trail food is vegetarian. But it’s so delectable I’ll wager that even the carnivores among us won’t care.

Start at Hanover (read more about what happens in Hanover): you’ve met a hundred new classmates, played tons of get-to-know you games, and made your first slightly awkward jokes with you tripees.  As you’re making your way back to Robinson Hall, the familiar smell of a cookout rises to meet you. This is the Hanover barbecue, the most locally sourced and minimally wasteful meal of trips. There’s corn that H-Croo has spent an hour husking, rolls made at King Arthur Flour just across the river in Vermont, local meat for your hamburgers… Ya, our stomachs are rumbling too.

Now fast forward to your time in the wilderness.  You have in your backpacks two dinners, two breakfasts, and three lunches.  The result of numerous excel sheets and millions of calculations — your food is tailored to your trip size, trip intensity, and dietary restrictions, and as much comes from local and sustainable companies as humanely possible. To give you an idea on how much trail food DOC Trips uses: In 2011, the program went through 1,700 pounds of apples and a literal ton (that’s 2000 pounds!) of bagels. So no matter your appetite, we’ve got you covered.

Cabot cheese becomes a staple of most DOC Trips diets. Get ready.

Snack foods come in bulk to reduce packaging, and whatever items possible are organic.  Think organic banana chips (might sound weird but we’re addicted), yogurt covered raisins (We don’t know anyone who isn’t addicted), corn nuts, and GORP (“good ‘ole raisins & peanuts).

Lunch is pita bread with Cabot cheddar or peanut butter and jelly.  Dinner one night is Annie’s All Natural Mac’n’Cheese (plus extra Cabot cheese – Cabot makes everything better) and burritos with sautéed veggies for the other.  Breakfast is oatmeal with peanut butter, raisins, or natural sugar (or none) one day and bagels the next; and don’t forget the hot cocoa (that goes with any meal, you can never have too much!).

And finally we arrive at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (where all DOC Trips lead to), exhausted and ecstatic. Here you will find a home-cooked, locally sourced, family-style meal of massive proportions, made with love by Lodj Croo (learn more about them here). That team of amazing people makes enough food for all 1,000 of you lucky trippees (and 250 of us leaders), a feat seemingly impossible and yet they breeze through it with flying colors. After the soup, salad, entreé, and dessert, you’ll never want to eat again — if only to keep the taste of that meal with you for a little while longer.

Food is great. It’s delicious. It’s important. It brings people together and draws the weariness from your bones. And we take great care in making sure that each and every one of you will be comfortably fed with the best food we can get. So get ready ‘16s, your Cabot cheese awaits…

See you in a few weeks!

Mike & Annie-Laurie

P.S. Have questions about food on DOC Trips?  Need to discuss a dietary restriction? Just want to learn more about how to get involved with sustainability on campus?  Feel free to contact us – phone or email – any time!

DOC Trips Preview: Sustainability @ Dartmouth

Sustainability @ Dartmouth

Hey ‘16s!

Allow ourselves to introduce…. ourselves!  We are Annie-Laurie and Mike, the Sustainability Chairs for the 2012 First-Year DOC Trips Program! First of all, congratulations on making a great decision by coming to Dartmouth — we hope you enjoy yourself here and get as much out of your time at the College on the Hill as we have.

As we are sure you’ve noticed by now — whether it was through the sustainability-themed skit in the Dimensions Show or riding around campus in the Big Green Bus during Dimensions — creating a healthier relationship with our environment is a big part of life at Dartmouth. Our new EcoReps Program provides a leadership position where first-year students (that’s you so soon!) can make important changes and improvements to Dartmouth’s sustainability — their big project this past term has been reducing water bottle usage through a campaign called “I’d Tap That” (get it?) in which hundreds of students pledged to not use plastic water bottles for all of the Spring term. The EcoReps work through the Office of Sustainability led by the amazing Rosi Kerr, the College’s Sustainability Director (and former volunteer with DOC Trips, woah!). 

Pretty much everything sustainability-related goes through and is coordinated by that office.  In addition, you can even minor in sustainability through the Environmental Science department!  This collection of classes available for the minor include everything  from economics to public policy to engineering to anthropology…it’s the perfect complement to any course of study because it helps you take important concepts and apply them to one of the most important issues (keeping the planet — and thereby the human race — healthy) of our time. Woo!

When you arrive on campus, you will see a number of sustainability initiatives already in place.  All of our food waste from  the Class of 1953 Commons is composted, and there are compost bins for your convenience in the Collis Cafe and the Courtyard Cafe (in the Hopkins Center) too. It’s super easy to separate the stuff that can and cannot be composted, but that little effort on your part will make a huge difference in how much volume the College send to landfills.

It seems like everyone now-a-days is recycling, but we do it better. Obviously. We use a Zero-Sort system, so you can toss your glass, paper, plastic, to-go food containers, cardboard, and other recyclable things all into the same bin. It’s so easy, a Harvard student could do it!

And before you go out and buy yourself a new fan or lots of clothes hangers, or a fridge for your dorm room, check out our Sustainable Move-In Sale that happens the first few days of the fall. Basically, graduating students, and anyone else who doesn’t have room for their things in storage for the summer, donates their stuff to the Sustainable Move-In Sale, where you can buy those last-minute dorm essentials in great condition for a huge markdown. Personally, I (Mike) got my fan, fridge, and binders from the sale. This way we can reduce the raw materials needed to make new things for ourselves, and save a ton of money. Plus, the nearest IKEA is in Boston anyway!

The Big Green Bus is another really cool thing we have here. This biodiesel-powered ex-Greyhound bus is driven by students (including another member of the 2012 DOC Trips Directorate, Remy Franklin ’13!) across the country and back every summer to raise awareness about climate change and other environmental issues. Check them out online if you want to learn more…they may be stopping in your hometown this summer & they’d love to meet ’16s!

So what are we doing on DOC Trips to be sustainable?

Just a preview of some things you can expect…We source the vast majority of our food from local producers (which makes it taste better anyway), we minimize waste, and we compost. But most importantly, we teach you. We teach you that you never throw something ‘away,’ you only throw it to a place you can’t see it anymore — but someone else can.

We teach you how to compost and leave no trace (LNT). We teach you about respecting the wonderful area that is your new home. And we teach you that you are the change the world (and Dartmouth) needs. You, the Class of 2016, bear on your shoulders the responsibility of saving the world. Because as one of our most famous alumni (Dr. Seuss, duh) wrote…

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…it’s not.”

But no pressure.

See you this Fall!

Annie Laurie Mauhs-Pugh ’14 & Mike Perlstein ’14

P.S. If you have questions about sustainability at Dartmouth, want to learn more, or get involved…feel free to blitz us!