New School Year Means Renewed Sustainability Efforts

August 24, 2016 -- With the start of the school year comes renewed sustainability efforts by CNM's Sustainability Curriculum Committee.
August 24, 2016

“We have lots of activities planned for Fall Term and have already initiated some of them,” said Molly Blumhoefer, CNM’s Campus as a Living Lab and Sustainability Project Manager. Now that CNM has started including “sustainability in the curriculum” as part of its Strategic Direction, Blumhoefer is confident that more instructors will get involved.

Blumhoefer is working with other project managers at CNM to document building renovations and share their findings with faculty in all the college's schools. The purpose is to let the instructors know about the innovative sustainability efforts underway at renovated or soon-to-be renovated buildings, so they can share the information with their students. Instructors are encouraged to contact Blumhoefer about planning field trips to “Campus as a Living Lab” sites to see firsthand how sustainability is being woven in to the CNM environment.

For example, Blumhoefer noted, architectural and drafting students could learn a great deal by visiting these sites with instructors and viewing the renovation plans for the various buildings. HVAC students could learn about the installation of highly energy efficient HVAC systems currently underway at Max Salazar Hall and the ground source heat-pump system being installed at Smith Brasher Hall. These are also resources for students and instructors in the Environmental Planning and Design program.

Another sustainability activity is the development of a community garden near the tiered wall outside of I Building on Montoya Campus.  Faculty are encouraged to include features of the gardens in their curriculum. The project at Montoya is being spearheaded by Amanda Vital and by CNM’s Compost to Garden Committee, which oversees proposals for the space. Currently, the gardens are being readied for spring planting. People who live in the nearby La Vida Llena senior citizens community will be given the opportunity to use the CNM garden to make it a true community garden space. The Montoya Campus project is based on the already existing garden bed project at Main Campus, located between the Student Resource Center and Max Salazar Hall.

New to Campus as a Living Lab efforts this year is a nutrition component.  A few instructors are having their students analyze food and nutrition options on campus. This is a project in the making and will hopefully gain traction soon, Blumhoefer said.

Returning this fall will be the Water in the Desert program – four weeks of events in October that provide hands-on learning opportunities centered on water issues in the West. It will consist of various activities and a film and speaker series. It’s organized by the CNM Sustainability Curriculum Committee. Already committed to speak are Leslie Kryder, water conservation consultant; Kerry Howe, water treatment expert from UNM; and Lars Panaro from Food and Water Watch. CNM instructors and students with expertise on various water topics are also scheduled to speak.  Among topics to be discussed will be water quality, water conservation, water supply, and bottled water.

Dates and times of the lectures and activities will soon be announced.

Members of CNM's student chapter of the United States Green Building Council are working towards taking the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate or LEED Associate Professional exam. This student group is open to any interested students. Currently, students in the organization are majoring in Architecture and Drafting, Environmental Planning and Design, Biology, Communications and other sustainability-related programs. Blumhoefer, who serves as the organization's adviser, said that taking the LEED exam is important to obtaining a good job in the field.

“Since there are so many resources in place here, it's a good idea for them to become accredited before they leave CNM,” she said.