FARMINGTON – The Sustainable Campus Coalition is celebrating its 20th year anniversary this year. Below is a brief timeline of the group.
2001 – Creation of the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition
Creation of the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC), a group of students, faculty, staff, and community members that promotes environmental sustainability on campus and in the regional community. The organization started in 2001 with a focus on the green design of the UMF Theodora J. Kalikow Education Center, which was completed in 2006 with a LEED Silver Certification (USGBC 2010).
The mission of the SCC has expanded to include public education, collaborations with the community, environmental planning associated with greenhouse gas emissions, improvement of recycling on campus, encouragement of local food, institutional composting, and sustainable transportation. Most projects are student-led, and a team of students work with faculty and staff in organizing the SCC’s activities.
Some of the Sustainable Campus Coalition’s annual events
Over the years: various collaborations with community groups such as the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area to work on sustainability initiatives that benefit the greater Farmington community. These include the Community Energy Challenge (CEC), a Greater Franklin County volunteer-based winterization initiative, and Terracycle recycling program, from which proceeds supported the Care and Share Food Closet. Other community partners have included the Koviashuvik Local Living School and the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.
• Trash Day
• 350 Day
• Campus Energy Challenge
• Recycled Sledding Contest
• Salvage and Recycle
• UMF Sustainability Carnival
• Earth Day Celebration
• Fiddlehead Festival
2005 – Collaboration between ME DEP, Town of Farmington and UMF SCC creates compost initiative
Mark King, a local DEP environmental specialist; and Ron Slater, manager of the Sandy River Recycling Center, in collaboration with UMF launched the Food Waste Initiative to provide businesses in the Farmington area with an easy way to dispose of food waste through decomposition rather than landfill.
2006 – UMF Green Vision Statement
Sustainable practices will be an integral part of our campus management and operations, in building and renovating, in reducing pollution and waste, in using appropriate energy resources and materials, and in protecting and incorporating the native environment in our campus spaces. Indoor and outdoor environments should be healthful and aesthetically pleasing. Committing to environmental responsibility means that we will also set goals for ourselves and monitor our progress towards them.
2007 – 2008 The Kalikow Education Center earned UMF’s second LEED Green Building Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Previously, Francis Allen Black Hall, the University’s newest residence hall, received UMF’s first LEED certification.
2007 – UMF President Theodora Kalikow signs American Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment which commits UMF to actively working towards campus carbon neutrality. Climate Action Plan.
2009 – Maine Climate Summit held at UMF
2010 – UMF creates Climate Action Plan
UMF drafted a Climate Action Plan that lays out the university’s goals for reducing carbon emissions. The Climate Action Plan sets a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2035 with an intermediate 2025 goal of a 43 percent reduction in emissions from 2007 levels. Projections showed that with the biomass heating system in place, the campus’s carbon emissions will hover around 7,000 metric tons, putting UMF on target 10 years ahead of schedule to reach its 2025 goal.
2010 – President Kalikow and SCC are honored by the U.S. House of Representatives for “their efforts in making a clean energy campus a reality.”
2012 – Mantor Green ground source heating wells installed
2012 – Start of Maine Fiddlehead Festival
A great place to learn about responsible harvesting and safe preparation of fiddlehead ferns, meet local farmers and food vendors, learn things like homesteading skills, weaving, and goat raising at various “Tent Talks’, antique tractors, supervised children’s activities, the farmer’s market and more.
2014 – SCC holds public forum on energy
The Sustainable Campus Coalition backs renewable energy and held a forum on energy to share public comment on alternatives to natural gas.
2015 – Farmington Compost Cooperative established
2015 – SCC students “recover” food for local homeless shelter
Catherine Dufault, UMF student and member of the SCC, established a UMF chapter of the Food Recovery Network, a national charity that unites students on college campuses to fight food waste and hunger. She and other SCC students worked to save excess food prepared in campus dining halls to help meet critical food needs at a local homeless shelter.
2016 – Biomass heating plant completed
The building of a biomass central heating plant puts UMF on track to be the state’s first public college to rely almost entirely on a sustainable energy resource for heat. According to former SCC coordinator Luke Kellett, the biomass plant offered a very important milestone in the renewable and sustainable energy journey on the UMF campus. The boiler burns approximately 4,000 tons of locally sourced wood chips a year to heat water circulating through 2 miles of underground piping connecting campus buildings to the plant. The UMF heating plant is projected to recoup construction costs through energy savings in the first 10 years of operation, replacing 390,000 gallons of heating oil now being used annually. Once the new heating plant is in full operation, 95 percent of the campus will be heated by renewable biomass.
2016 – UMF opens Thrifty Beaver
The UMF Thrifty Beaver provides canned, frozen and non-perishable food to students with food insecurity. It also has a swap-shop with one-of-a-kind clothing and daily needs items.
2020 – Thrifty Beaver distributes grocery gift cards to students in need for the holidays
With the holidays fast approaching, several UMF faculty, staff and alumni wanted to make sure students still in the area had the food they needed to stay healthy. They collected donations and used them to purchase 60, $20 gift cards at Food City, the local grocery store, which helped stretch the donation amount with a generous discount. Joining the effort, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce donated another 10 gift cards from the Gerry Wiles Holiday Food Basket Program, a longstanding food drive named in honor of Gerry Wiles, a local resident known for his charitable work in the community.
2020 – UMF Community Garden & Greenhouse established
UMF faculty members, Gretchen Legler and Misty Beck energized the creation of the garden through their English and Honors courses so students could experience what it takes to create small-scale, sustainable organic gardens while raising awareness of food insecurity and benefiting the community food pantries.
2020 – Working with dining services to source and serve fresh, healthy local food in all dining facilities, including the Sodexo Maine Course initiative to purchase local food to support numerous Maine-based farmers and fishers.
2021 – Waste Management donates truck to support SCC composting efforts
The University of Maine at Farmington has received support for their campus composting efforts in the form of a donated pick-up. Senior district manager Jeff McGown with Waste Management in Norridgewock offered the vehicle to the University’s Sustainable Campus Coalition.
The truck is used to transport food waste to the Tom Eastler Memorial Compost Site located at the town’s Recycling Center. When ready, the compost is sold back to the community for use in farms and gardens, which supports the costs of the project.
2021 –SCC celebrates 20 Anniversary