Hamilton College is dedicated to fostering awareness and action towards creating a more sustainable future. Throughout the year, we host a variety of events that highlight and promote sustainable practices, encouraging students, faculty, and staff to actively engage in sustainability initiatives. From sustainability fairs and workshops to guest lectures and thrift shops, these events provide opportunities for our community to learn, collaborate, and inspire positive change.
The Hamilton Sustainability Coordinators (HSC) actively organize and oversee a diverse range of events to engage and empower students in sustainability initiatives. Through careful planning and collaboration with student groups, local organizations, and experts in the fields, HSC creates dynamic opportunities that inspire students to get involved, fostering a culture of environmental consciousness and action on campus.
Cram and Scram is an annual event in which students collect, sort, and categorize materials that are traditionally discarded as solid waste at the end of the school year. Some materials such as bedding, durable food goods, and clothing are collected and donated to local charities. Other reusable goods such as furniture, mini-refrigerators, microwaves, electronics & lamps, kitchen supplies, storage appliances (and more!) are temporarily stored on campus and re-sold when students move back into school at the start of the fall semester. The goal is to reduce Hamilton College’s total waste and to provide Hamilton students and employees with reusable goods at a fraction of their retail value.
Hamilton’s Green Week is an annual celebration centered around Earth Day. It features a diverse array of events designed to engage and educate students on sustainability. Here are a few examples of past events during green week:
- Sustainable Fashion Show
- Campus Clean Up
- Outdoor Campus Farmer's Market
- Eco Sip and Paint
- Environmental Themed Trivia Night
- Mojo Instrument Show
- Green Car Show
The College collaborates with the sustainability coordinators to provide the annual Sustainability Fair. Faculty members, student organizations, and local sustainability-focused businesses & organizations participate in the action, showcasing their own initiatives. Hamilton also facilitates panel discussions, workshops, and other interactive activities during the fair to foster meaningful conversations and inspire action towards sustainability on campus and beyond.
HSC aims to organize an on-campus thrift store in the fall semester each year. Hamilton students and employees have the option to donate clothes and other goods which are then collected, organized, and tagged by HSC. All clothing is then re-sold to Hamilton students and employees at a Thrift Store Event with the goal of repurposing clothing and reducing waste. All proceeds of the Thrift Store go to local charities.
Weigh the Waste
The Weigh the Waste event, led by Hamilton Sustainability Coordinators, runs annually during Green Week. The event aims to measure how much uneaten food waste is generated at one dining hall waste station. It will help remind students to take only what they can eat to avoid food waste and help Hamilton towards carbon neutrality goals.
Common Ground Series
Common Ground is Hamilton’s widely acclaimed multi-format program that helps prepare students for lives of active citizenship. This year's Common Ground programming will focus broadly on climate change, showcasing experts specialized in environmental fields.
Tom Vilsack and G.T Thompson:
This fall, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, G.T Thompson, led a discussion focused on agricultural issues such as the Farm Bill, as well as bipartisanship. Vilsack emphasized the importance of the Farm Bill to the livelihoods of American farm families, while bringing up debates over eligibility requirements for the SNAP program. Both Vilsack and Thompson reflected on the Climate Smart Commodities Partnership's ability to reduce methane emissions in the livestock industry. Vilsack and Thompson’s discussion is more relevant now than ever as it addresses climate issues that resonate with Hamilton students and communities all over the country.
Future Common Ground events include topics such as energy policy and energy transition pathways. For more information on future events, visit Common Ground.
2022-2023 Environmental Guest Speakers
More than 100 experts, performers, writers, and artists visit Hamilton each year. Given Hamilton’s expanding Environmental Studies Department and growing discussions of Climate Action on campus, Hamilton welcomed various environmental speakers during the 2022-2023 school year.
Wawa Gatheru: Climate storyteller and founder, Black Girl Environmentalist
Susana Hancock: Polar climate scientist and linguist “On Thin Ice: Exploring the epicenter of the climate crisis”
Saturday Speaker Series
The Hamilton College campus is an accredited arboretum where trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are grown for scientific and educational purposes. Year after year experts in the fields of horticulture, urban planning, art, biology, environmental safety, and more participate in Hamilton’s Saturday Speaker Series.
Growing Cut-Flowers with Horticulturalist Nell Gardner (September 16)
Hamilton College Landscape Master Plan with Glen Valentine (October 7)
The Art of Upcycling with Robert Fry (November 11)
Native Plant Garden Design with Maggie Reilly from Mohawk Valley Wild Ones (February 17)
Hamilton College and Sustainability with Brian Hansen, Director of Environmental Protection, Safety, and Sustainability (March 16)
Observing Changes in Nature Across the Summer with Ernest Williams, Hamilton College Professor Emeritus of Biology (April 13)