A list explaining why cold water laundry is better

Poster on “Why Is Cold Water Laundry Better?”, now posted in every laundry room across campus.

Two documents explaining the carbon action plan

Examples of the one-page educational documents I developed for CAP communications

By Selena Hong ’24: Climate Action Plan Fellow

I have been working in the reopened Office of Sustainability as the Climate Action Plan Fellow for almost a semester now, and my experience has been extremely enriching. As an Environmental Studies major, I have learned a ton about communications, campus-wide campaign development, and sustainability in general by working with Wes, Margot, and the other amazing fellows.

I started this fellowship thinking that I would be working on the more technical side of our Climate Action Plan (CAP) by researching renewable energy and infrastructure. It turned out that our facilities team had already been working with experts from environmental consulting firms. Luckily, Wes and I soon figured out that there were more things to do about the CAP than the technicals. We decided to focus on energy conservation and efficiency, the often neglected part of every CAP. I started with a list of energy conservation measures and narrowed it down to cold-water laundry when I learned that 90% of the energy used in laundry went towards heating the water. I spent weeks walking around the campus to record the quantity and model of the washers in each dorm, developing posters and stickers, and putting them up. By working on the cold-water laundry campaign, I got to experience the entire process of campaign development, including brainstorming, planning, generation of needed material, and social media communication. I really appreciate the opportunity to lead a campaign with unlimited support from Wes.

Another part of my work involved developing educational materials about the CAP. Most students on campus know about Amherst’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030 and the existence of CAP. However, they know little about how Amherst plans to move towards carbon neutrality. To resolve this issue, I have developed a series of one-page documents to explain what our facilities team is doing regarding carbon neutrality and provide explanations for technical terms, such as the virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) and ground-source heat pump. In the process of working on the series of CAP explanations, I deepened my own understanding of different renewable energy sources, GHG reduction mechanisms, and government regulations.

All my work has been highly rewarding, and every member of the Office of Sustainability has been supportive. I have learned so much from Wes about everything regarding sustainability. Margot and the other fellows have helped me brainstorm and design my stickers. I am very grateful to be a part of such a fantastic group of people committed to sustainability.

Don’t forget to use cold water for laundry and mind your carbon footprint in everyday life. SUSTAIN THE HERD :)

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