Sunday, October 5, 2014

Beyond Coal Convinces UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees to Invest In Clean Energy

College Go Green’s passion and enthusiasm for connecting students and their green ideas has been the key to our success. So in staying true to our passion and goals, College Go Green presents to you Beyond Coal UNC.

Beyond Coal

Beyond Coal is a student ran organization at UNC Chapel Hill. Since its inception, it has successfully persuaded UNC to convert its on campus coal plant into a biofuel plant by the year 2020. Since this success, Beyond Coal has switched its focus to encouraging the University to divest its endowment from other coal plants.

In April of 2014, Beyond Coal hosted a sustainability forum. The purpose of this forum was to generate dialogue around the issue of renewable energy and the role UNC should play in sustainability efforts. As a result, Beyond Coal was able to convince UNC’s Board of Trustees to pass a resolution proposing UNC increase investments into cleaner, renewable energy.

Currently, Beyond Coal is in transition. As its seasoned members prepare to graduate and new members join, the group is in the process of collecting feedback, planning how to ensure UNC follows through with its new green commitments, and deciding what new issues to address.

College Go Green had the privilege of talking to Tait Chandler, a UNC student who works closely with Beyond Coal. He currently plays the role of informal director/adviser for the group.

Chandler grew up in Canada in a beautiful and resource rich region. In high school, he was exposed to an environmental group fighting to stop shell oil drilling in the area. Although Chandler did not join this   group in high school, he followed it closely and watched how its work directly resulted in the preservation of the wilderness.

“When I came to UNC and learned about Beyond Coal, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, again, to make a difference.”-Tait Chandler

Chandler joined beyond coal his freshman year and has been with the organization ever since.

Being that our generation will inherit the current climate condition, it is important that college students be aware of the environmental challenges happening around us and are a part of the conversations/solutions. Kudos to the Beyond Coal UNC students who have worked towards a greener UNC.

Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen

Facebook: College Go Green

Monday, September 22, 2014

The People’s Climate March- "Largest-Ever" Climate March held in NYC


In this age of technology, millennials have chosen hash tag activism as the go-to medium to voice outrage and concern over issues we care about. But this past weekend, we had the opportunity to march for a cause that not only affects us, but future generations as well.  On Sunday, Sept. 21st, the largest climate march in history happened in New York City. Over 1,000 business, organizations and groups collaborated to put together The People’s Climate March.

The purpose of this event is to raise awareness about climate change and to demand environmental justice and equality. The march was broken up into contingents to represent the different issues and publics affected by climate change. These themed contingents were organized based on identity, location and issues. University and college students were grouped with the “We Build the Future” group.

Also part of this group were elders, parents, kids and families. I thought it was interesting that the old and young were placed in the same group titled “We Build the Future.” All too often, the old and young are pit against each other. The older generations turn their noses up at our “apathetic” ways. And sometimes our generation’s access to unlimited information prevents us from seeing how we can learn from our seniors. By placing the old and young in the same group, the organizers of The People’s Climate March, made a powerful statement: Addressing climate change will be a joint effort that will require all generations to work together to create a greener, cleaner world for future generations.

What I liked most about The People’s Climate March is its acknowledgement of the complexity of climate change. It is an issue that affects countries, socio-economic classes, economies, etc. in different ways. With this said, I’m glad the march visually depict the complexity of climate change through the themed contingents and the diversity of its participants.

The People’ Climate March was strategically planned to fall on the Sunday before the U.N. gathered for a Climate Summit in New York City. This summit will occur on Tuesday, Sept. 23rd. World leaders will gather to work out an agreement to reduce global warming pollution.

Tweeting or posting about climate change on our cyber walls is nice, but actions speak louder than words. Midterm elections are coming up, and if you are 18 or older, you have the opportunity to make your voice heard. Learn what political candidates’ stances are on environmental issues and what their plan of action is to address these issues. And if you could make it to the People’s Climate Change march on Sept. 21st, you had the opportunity to be a part of this historic moment.

For information about the march, visit
For more information about the Climate Summit, visit

Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen
Facebook: College Go Green

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Agriculture, Blueberries, and Black History

"I see farming as a business, not a lifestyle. I'm talking about a good living for the farmer, maybe even a Caribbean vacation once in a while."

In honor of the beginning of Black History Month, College Go Green and Brilliant Changes went to visit the Shady Grove Road Blueberry Patch and to finalize their choice for the site of the Tuskegee Biogas Technology Project.  The property has a beautiful two acre blueberry farm where "the berries are deep blue and the birds are always singing."  

In the 1980's Dr. Booker T. Whatley, Tuskegee University Professor, began to create his model for a small farm that could earn $100,000 using sustainable practices.  He was nationally renown for his expertise on small farms and was frequently featured in agriculture magazines to help advocate for earning revenue by living in balance with nature.  He believed in more than just subsistence farming, he wanted the small farms to be profitable.  This was back in the 80's and the Green Movement of today had not established its momentum.  Rural America, particularly Black Rural America, was still a place were many people from the South developed a relationship with nature.

Mrs. Gbadamosi showing her pride in her work
In 2010 the dream was passed to an unlikely visionary, a humble mother of four with no prior farm experience, Mrs. Josie Gbadamosi.  Affectionately called Mrs. Josie, she migrated to Tuskegee in 1969 from California.  She felt a calling for the property one day while picking berries from the patch that had not been maintained for some years. After retiring she decided to purchase the property and to pick up where Dr. Whatley had left off, equipped with nothing but a dream and some common shed tools.  Her entire story was featured in Minority Landowners, click here to read the full story.

Phil Stringer and Ashley Ware examining blueberry plants 
College Go Green is honored to be a part of this legacy and hopes to make a long stride forward in achieving the dreams of Dr. Whatley and Mrs. Josie.  These are two examples of African American visionaries and during this month we want to highlight their character and compassion as College Go Green establishes itself as a provider of knowledge at Tuskegee University.  We are committed to providing support for community growth.  This partnership with Shady Grove Blueberry Patch is only a continuation of the hard work done in the past to empower black landowners in a country where the competition favors  larger and more mainstream agricultural enterprises.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

5 Ideas For Eco-friendly College Students

Many students living on campus feel as though taking a mindful approach to environmental stewardship is outside of their control.  This feeling is because the campus has its own programs in place and the student doesn’t have any say in how they are operated.  However, here at College Go Green we want to share a few ideas on what students can do and how they can incorporate more green practices into their everyday lives.

1.    Some campuses will have an environmental club and if not consider organizing classmates together to start one. This way awareness, eco-friendly habits, and daily choices can be advocated for and the campus as a whole can progress towards being more environmentally friendly. Plus, colleges and universities appreciate the initiative and may help to support the spread of ideas.  Many campuses are planning to go green to improve their business practices and improve the reputation and appearance of the school.
2.    Lots of old items like furniture, paper, and class supplies are thrown into dumpsters at the end of the semester.  Most of these items are in good condition but the owners have no more use for them or space in storage. In this situation consider recycling them by giving them to underclassmen, donating them to a Good Will store, or by selling them on Craigslist.
3.    Since electric bills don’t get paid from out of pocket, many disregard their use of lights and electronics.  More often than not, this leads to unnecessary energy waste and increases carbon emissions tremendously.  Lights, computers and other electronics should be turned off when not in the room and or in use.  Imagine how much energy is saved collectively when everyone on campus participates in this green practice.  It might even help decrease tuition but don’t count on it.
4.    In the dining hall, avoid the plastics. Those to-go trays and containers only get used once, maybe twice, and are usually discarded. They are convenient when running to class or back to your dorm but only use them when necessary and if possible repurpose them. Disposable utensils, plates and bowls are thrown away after one use. These petroleum products remain in landfills for decades after.  Eating in the dining hall and using reusable plates and metal forks that can be washed and reduces waste and is a more sustainable practice.
5.    Last but not least, ask dining services if they are making green choices.  A school can provide revenue for those local or organic foods suppliers that are typically struggling.  The environment, student health, and the local farming economy all benefit. In addition, switching to energy saving practices like efficient light bulbs and low-flow water dispensers can also have tremendous reduction on the campuses impact.

What many find is that these ideas have already been thought of but no one has been willing to take up the hard work needed to implement and follow through.  This is the perfect opportunity to practice leadership and stewardship.  From personal experience I know that taking on these task leads to unexpected benefits like internships and scholarships because professors take note of those students that step up and have an impact.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Exploring the Jungle: Where Has CGG Been?

After 10 weeks in Brazil and 17 weeks in Costa Rica, I am back rejuvenated and more determined to share for the green way of living. It was amazing how the Amazon,with its many dynamic interactions between the flora and fauna, seemed to be a representation of life. However, the gifts of the rain forest and all the other ecosystems offered to us by the world are being taken for granted as the government and large corporations exploit naturals resources. College Go Green is here to share ways for you to reduce your impact and inform you about what is happening around you. Click the link to view an article about a concept known as Resilient Agriculture. The future of agriculture is going to have to overcome some difficult challenges like how to produce more food on less land and also use less resources. Keep an eye out future legislation's to solve this and other pressing issues. 

I'd also like to introduce you guys to my new partner Brilliant Changes, Inc.These guys are a student led non profit organization on a mission to give students better opportunities via internships and professional development.

This post is just a warm up for when I get back into the swing of things and share some more how-to's with you guys. Until then, enjoy some of the plants and animals I've seen during my travels. Feel free to message me about some of these places I went if you are interested in going yourself!

Cyathea costaricensis is a type of Tree Fern found in Costa Rica.  The genus Cyathea are terrestrial ferns first documented by J.E. Smith in 1793.  Species in this genus may generally have cup-shaped sori.  They are widely distributed from temperate woodlands to tropical rain forest.

Bothriechis nigroviridis commonly known as the Black-speckled Palm Pit Viper was discovered in 1859.  It is can be found as high as 3,000m.  The typical habitats are high mountains or low mountain cloud forest.  The coloration is generally an emerald Green body with black parietal stripes.  Adults range in size from 60-80cm.

Panterpe insignis a species of hummingbird found in the mountain range of the Costa Rica.  It is a small species with an average mass of 5.6 grams.  The population is considered to be stable and there is no indication it maybe reaching vulnerable status.

Cavendishia bracteata is species related to the blueberry.  It can be found in the highlands from Mexico to South America.  The leaves are evergreen, thick, and approx. 6 inches long.  It is edible and high in antioxidants.

Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen
Facebook: College Go Green

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Go Green In Your Apartment: How to Composite Indoors

Green Technology, Go Green, Green Living
Composting Materials
If living an apartment you may feel limited in the ways you can live green and reduce your impact on the environment.  Solar panels and Green Roofs just aren't an option for you in your modest sized apartment.  College Go Green is here to tell you about Composting, the perfect Go Green Project for you.  

For those in homes or dorms feel free to compost also!  Though this article is for apartments you can apply the same ideas to your living space.  Good compost materials for dorm rooms are half eaten snacks and fruit.

What is Compost?

Compost is a naturally recycled organic waste that is converted into nutrient-rich fertilizer.   Although there are many methods of composting, they are all based on the same process: the decomposition of organic matter. Plants and food can  decompose quickly at similar speeds.  When mixed together and with the of introduction of oxygen over time microbes in the soil will breakdown the waste into an effective fertilizer.

Why Compost?

To be a more environmentally sustainable society we need to reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste.  Composting is a way to reduce the amount of organic materials accumulating in landfills.  It can also save you the cost of buying potting soil and fertilizer for your Go Green Projects!

The benefits of composting are surprisingly encouraging. The EPA reported Americans spends approximately $1 billion each year disposing of  more than 25% of the food we prepare only to be throw away.  In 2008,  31 out of the 32 million tons of food waste was put into landfills or incinerators.

Decomposition in a landfill is static without oxygen entering the process and leads to the production of the greenhouse gas methane. Therefore, composing is a method to reduce greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. It is also a ecological approach to improving soil health, erosion resistance, and off set the need for chemicals in agriculture. 

How To: Going Green With Composting

Go Green, Going Green, Green Technology
Composting Bins Tucked Away
Before starting your composting project decide where you want to place your composting bin. For example, pantries and laundry rooms make good spots. 

Next figure out how much food waste you generate and get a bin that won't fill up too fast.  Check out a past article, Know Your Space: Green and Sustainable Design, for ideas about usable spaces.

*Learn what can be composted! Placing non-compostable material into your bin can have a negative effect on the decomposition process!

Step 1: Punch holes in the base and sides of your composting bin.

Step 2: Place a tarp or a tray under your compost box.

Step 3: Place a three-inch layer of soil into the box. Also add a handful or two of dry bedding such as, leaves, newspaper, (no colored inks, waxed paper or glossy mags) straw, dry grass clippings, cardboard, nutshells.

Step 4: Shred, pulverize, and cut your compostables as finely as possible to speed process.

Step 5: Add equal parts dry bedding to the compost heap.

Step 6: Stir the compost every week or two.

Step 7: Have another compost bin ready so once your original box begins fill transfer the fine soil-like compost into your second bin.

Some key pointers

-If odor or dripping occurs add more dry bedding.
-Be sure to add a handful of fresh soil every night to refresh microbe supply. 

That's it! Visit Sustainable America for a better look at these instructions!

Soon you'll have a compost for all kinds of projects. 

Here are some where you can use your compost suggestions: Potted plants, Neighborhood composting projects, Sale as fertilizer on Craigslist, Rooftop gardens

Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen

Facebook: College Go Green

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Have a Plastic Bottle? Build a Go Green Project You Can Be Proud Of

The first things you are going to have to learn when transitioning to a green lifestyle are the simple 3 R's


Statistics About Plastic Bottles Harmful Effects

According to the Earth Policy Institute: Food and Agriculture, in 1976 Americans drank nearly 1.6 gallons/person of bottled water throughout a year. Now, years 37 later this number has increased to 30 gallons/person.  Bottled water can cost anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water.

Bottled water also requires millions of barrels of oil per year and added the added negative effects of large scale transportation releases thousands of tons of carbon dioxide.  Not to mention the profit it's giving to manipulative Oil Companies that hit you hard at the pump!

Recycling rates for bottled water is low with only about 13 percent being converted into other products like fleece clothing, carpeting, decking, playground equipment and new containers and bottles. 

According to the National Resources Defense Council over 2 million tons of water bottles ended up in U.S. landfills in 2005. That was 8 years ago and to date the number has continued to grow.

Plastic bottles can take hundreds of years to be broken down. When they are incinerated various toxic byproducts (e.g. gas chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals) are released into the atmosphere.  This contributes to toxic rain and taints freshwater supplies.

What Can College Students Do?

To begin with, you can start by simply reducing the amount of plastic products and bottles you use.  The easiest way to do this is to buy a reusable water bottle. Investing in one bottle will save you nearly $5.00 each time you don't buy a case of water.

The next thing to do is recycle what you have.  Some states offer cash returns for recycled goods.  Take advantage of this extra source of easy money to help with college expenses.

Now For The Fun Part, REUSE

If for some reason you find that you have collected a couple of empty bottles consider turning them in creative containers for plants to decorate your room.  Design anything you want to add flare to you room or any living space.

Try a Soda Bottle Terrarium for starters!
Green Lifestyle, Sustainable Living, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Going Green, Herb Growing, Indoor Plants, Air Purification, Air Quality, Green College
Indoor Plants- Terrarium 
  • One 2-liter bottle of soda (with cap)
  • Potting Soil
  • moss*
  • charcoal*
  • A handful of small stones or pebbles
  • A Marker
  • Scissors
  • Seeds or seedlings

Step 1: Draw a line around the bottle about six inches up and cut the bottle along the line.

Step 2: Place a cup full of pebbles about 1-2 inches deep in the bottom section of the bottle.

Step 3: Place the other materials in the bottle in the following order: 
charcoal > moss > soil

             If you are just using soil fill to 1 inch from the top.

Step 4: Plant 6 to 10 seeds and as they grow remove the weak ones. You can leave the 2 or 3 best ones.

Water your terrarium before placing the top on until the soil is moist but not saturated.

Green Lifestyle, Sustainable Living, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Going Green, Herb Growing, Indoor Plants, Air Purification, Air Quality, Green College
Recycled Plastic Terrarium
Step 5: Place on the top and give yourself a pat on the back!

Taking Care of Your Soda Bottle Terrarium

When it comes to your terrarium pay attention to these two important factors:
  1. the amount of sunlight it gets 
  2. the amount of water that is inside.
As the plants sprout you must make sure it gets sunlight but be cautious the closed environment can get too hot inside.  Avoid all day exposure to direct sunlight. If placed in a window or under a growlight monitor it just to be sure it's not getting to hot.

For watering look at the soil in the terrarium. It only needs to be moist but not soaked or dry. Water should evaporate to form beads inside near the top edge. These condensation will drip down the sides and help maintain water saturation in the soil. If it get too wet take the top off and leave it open for a day or two.

Do you have a project, story, or idea you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on social media or contact Phillip Stringer at

Twitter: @CollegeGoGreen

Facebook: College Go Green