Environmental Programs Steering Committee

April 22, 1999

2014 Duncan 9:15-11am


  • Joyce Almaguer
  • Kathy Ensor
  • Arthur Few
  • Paul Harcombe
  • Priscilla Huston (staff)
  • Walter Isle (chair)
  • Bill Leeman
  • Donald Ostdiek
  • Gordon Wittenberg


  • Ryan McMullan

Not Present:

  • Mark Wiesner


1. Next Meeting date

The next meeting is April 29th 9:15-11am 2014 Duncan Hall. Rick Stoll will join us to discuss the Baker Institute, etc.

2. General Announcements

Walter Isle reminded the committee about providing one page divisional reports.

3. Biosphere 2

Walter Isle reported on his visit to Biosphere 2 and circulated documents and materials. He will be glad to make copies for anyone but also reminded us that most of these materials are on the Biosphere 2 website at http://www.bio2.edu/.

Rice has five applications for Earth Semester.

  • Anna Miller
  • Lea Ann Chen
  • Nancy Kwon
  • Joe Miller
  • James Radford

Walter Isle will be talking with the Provost and Financial Aid about the price differential between Rice tuition (which varies by class) and the Columbia 27% discount.

4. Environmental Programs Report

Committee members are asked to prepare one page draft statements about their division for an Environmental Programs report.

5. Ryan McMullan -- Environmental Intern report on composting and recycling

Ryan McMullan presented a fine multi-media report regarding his efforts towards composting and recycling at Rice. The first earth tub is in place behind the Jones College kitchen and will be opened with a ceremony next Monday at 11am. The committee is asked to attend. This semester over 10 tons of solid waste have been processed in the earth tub. Ryan recognized the many different people and organizations that have been involved in this experiment. He specifically reminded us about the efforts of Food and Housing (Mark Dittman and Frank Rodriquez) and Facilities and Engineering (Ed Galindo, Nancy Rowe, Ed Smith and Bill Mack) as well as Malcolm Gillis, Dean Currie, the EPSC and more. He reminded us that this has been very educational and continues to be so. It was started as a student classroom project, he has learned as the intern, two other students are involved in research (Angi Martindell is doing a Cost Benefit Analysis and Andrew Duryea has been doing a Chemical Engineering Study). Although there is still more to do to expand and instituionalize this approach, Ryan also presented valuable insight into opportunities for other solid waste disposal approaches on campus. He proposes funding an intern for another year and creating a handshake and focus on recycling paper, plastics, aluminum, etc. His report will soon be online at http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~mcmullan/intern/Intern.html.

An Q&A session followed in which the committee explored options and understandings about recycling and composting. We discussed approaches to scaling from one to perhaps 13 earth tubs. Central Kitchen may be getting one next year. Although there are economies that may pay for these approaches, it was pointed out that they are also valuable in other ways that are hard to put into dollars -- such as protecting the environment, less waste, education.

Gordon Wittenberg asked if the colleges had explored gray water recovery.

New construction is a critical time for considering issues of sustainability on campus. We talked about inviting Dean Currie and/or Bill Mack to join us for a discussion.

Action Items: Write letters of appreciation. Consider inviting Dean Currie and/or Bill Mack.