Campus News

Envisioning Carbon Neutrality

October 29, 2013

Cynthia Nickoloff

Last November, the college began a series of campuswide discussions and planning sessions—From Coal to Carbon Neutrality—that focus on aspects of achieving carbon neutrality, a goal that Oberlin has committed to reaching by 2025. (Watch videos from earlier events in the series on YouTube.)

On Saturday, November 2, the keystone of that series—and its most ambitious event—takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Science Center. Billed as “An interactive college community workshop focusing on how we can mobilize to achieve carbon neutrality,” the event will explore various aspects of Oberlin’s efforts. Participants can join several break-out sessions concentrating on such issues as:

• transportation, including buses and student transportation, biking, walking, and complete streets;
• zero waste, including reuse, recycling, composting, and purchasing;
• research and education;
• issues around the use of natural gas as a transition fuel; and
• long-term strategies for achieving carbon neutrality.

“Last year, students told us they really wanted a seat at the table—a chance to generate solutions to the problems created by burning fossil fuels,” says Professor Cindy Frantz, chair of the Committee on Environmental Sustainability. “This event will give all community members the chance to have a voice.”

The conversation will really be guided by the participants,” says sustainability coordinator Bridget Flynn. “Anything related to carbon neutrality and sustainability is fair game. The event is not just a conversation, it’s a workshop where actual projects and action items will be developed. It will also be fun, of course.”

The fun of which Flynn speaks includes:

• an opening performance by Dance Diaspora;
• live music performed by a jazz ensemble;
• a menu of local, sustainable, and delicious fall foods;
• raffle prizes donated by the Green EDGE Fund, including a bike; and
• the acting out of ideas generated during the workshop by campus improv groups Kid Business and Primitive Streak.

All members of the campus community are invited, nay encouraged, to take part in the workshop. Individuals can preregister by sending an e-mail to, or just show up at the Science Center Commons at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 2.

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