Tag Archives: EcoCouncil

EcoCouncil Throws a Spring Food Garden Party to Introduce Art Center’s New Executive Chef

Art Center Executive Chef Chris Haydostian (center) with EcoCouncil co-presidents Jenn Kuca (left) and Erik Molano (right). Photo: Chuck Spangler

Guest blog post by EcoCouncil co-presidents Erik Molano and Jenn Kuca

This past Friday, Sodexo collaborated with EcoCouncil to unite the campus community for a cooking demonstration at our Art Center Food Garden. Sodexo has been working with us consistently over the past few years to support student-led sustainability efforts, as well as campus-wide environmental responsibility initiatives.

Now that the weather has been warming up, we thought EcoCouncil should take the opportunity to get students, faculty and administration out in the fresh, open air. The new Food Garden was the perfect choice to discuss our event’s theme: garden-fresh food and easy-to-prepare snacks.

Chef Chris Haydostian and his English Pea Pureé. Photo: Chuck Spangler.

Due to Sodexo’s commitment to global sustainability in it’s Better Tomorrow Plan, we felt more than excited to introduce Christopher Haydostian, Art Center’s new eco-conscious executive chef.

Haydostian opened his talk with an overview of Sodexo’s partnership with local food suppliers and use of sustainably-sourced seafood, which many students and staff were unaware of. He also provided a little history about his journey to Art Center, including his work in the world of gourmet food, and his alma mater Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, our neighbor here in Pasadena.

Haydostian showed EcoCouncil and our guests how to make an English Pea Pureé that was served on garlic baguette slices and topped with roasted red peppers and feta cheese. All guests were able to sample the food right after his demonstration, and the recipe is now available on the Sodexo @ Art Center Facebook page.

EcoCouncil advisor Heidrun Mumper-Drumm and other EcoCouncil members showed guests around the garden and provided a seed giveaway, so that everyone could get in on the gardening action. The Spring Food Garden Party was not only fun, but it was collaborative, informational and, most importantly, delicious.

The Spring Food Garden Party in full effect. Photo: Pei Liew

Art Center Garden Makes Its Debut

Erik Molano, Heidrun Mumper-Drumm and Linda Estrada at the ribbon cutting

There was plenty of goodwill sown at the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Art Center Food Garden.

Speaking to the assembled crowd, instructor Heidrun Mumper-Drumm said student group EcoCouncil first approached her a year ago with the idea of creating a garden for the College. She was enthusiastic about the project, but acknowledged there were some setbacks initially.

“We tried and we tried, but we just couldn’t get it going,” she said. “But then, we found out that collaboration was the secret ingredient that had been missing.”

That collaboration meant EcoCouncil teamed up with Art Center Student Government, the Facilities department and individuals from the Technical Skills Center to move the project forward.

Art Center’s Vice President of Real Estate and Operations George Falardeau was on hand to do the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. Falardeau, along with Mumper-Drumm, thanked many individuals who helped make the garden a reality, including Art Center President Lorne Buchman (“He was a big proponent of the garden”), Art Center Student Government President Erik Molano (“Erik has taken this garden on as his own personal mission”) and Environmental Design student Carlos Vides (“He came up with the original sketches for the garden”).

“Art Center as a whole is very proud of this garden,” Falardeau said before cutting the ribbon.

For more information and to reserve a plot within the Art Center Food Garden, visit the garden’s Facebook page.

Talk Gardening with Marco Barrantes Friday

EcoCouncil has invited guest lecturer and landscape architect Marco Barrantes of La Loma Development to speak about gardening on campus this Friday.

Photo by Lara Warren

Barrantes maintains the drought-resistant garden at South Campus and will discuss rain garden design and construction, watershed planning and storm-water management, downspout art, rain cisterns and native plants. He will also describe multi-layered food forests—which mimic healthy ecosystems for maximum diversity, reduced maintenance and perennial gardening—in contrast to raised annual veggie planters.

The new Art Center Community Garden is still taking applications for plots, so email foodgarden@artcenter.edu if interested. And read more about the new garden here.

Open to everyone interested in learning more about these topics!

Marco Barrantes
Friday, July 29, 1 p.m.
Hillside Campus

**07/28: Due to an unexpected emergency, Barrantes will not be able to speak Friday, July 29. Please stay tuned—we’ll announce the rescheduled date as soon as possible.

Designing for Sustainability: The Student Perspective

Photo by Dice Yamaguchi

The scope of design is rapidly expanding in leaps and bounds. Today’s designers feel a responsibility to address environmental, social and economic needs with their work more than ever before. In light of the changes taking place in recent years, Art Center has been developing a comprehensive design curriculum and its importance has been underscored in the school’s five-year strategic plan.

Art Center students Jessie Kawata and Yan Kramsky are co-presidents of the student-run group EcoCouncil, which has been largely responsible for helping green the College and introduce sustainable initiatives throughout the campus and curriculum.

The two were featured keynote speakers at last week’s California Higher Education Sustainability Conference. Together, they led the final presentation of the conference, sharing their perspectives on sustainable design and reflections on the event. Earlier in the conference, Vice President of Designmatters Mariana Amatullo participated in a panel discussion moderated by Associate Professor and Director of Sustainability Initiatives Heidrun Mumper-Drumm titled Embedding Sustainability into Existing Curriculum.

Kawata and Kramsky took some time out of their busy schedules—they graduate next month!—to talk with Dotted Line about EcoCouncil, comprehensive design and what they hope people took away from their presentation.

Dotted Line: Just what is the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference?

Photo by Dice Yamaguchi

Jessie Kawata: Students, educators, staff and administrators from community colleges, four-year colleges, public and private schools come together to talk about sustainability and various Climate Action Plan (CAP) initiatives in higher education. It was held in Long Beach.

We were one of the few private colleges to attend, and we were the only featured speakers from a private school—not to mention Art Center was the only art and design college present. So it was a real honor for both of us to be involved.

Dotted Line: How did the opportunity for you two to be keynote speakers come about?

Yan Kramsky: Heidrun Mumper-Drumm suggested that we apply. It’s funny, we didn’t realize we were applying to be keynote speakers, just workshop speakers, so we were surprised and honored to be selected as keynotes.

We have experience with sustainability initiatives from a grassroots perspective through our work with EcoCouncil, and I think we are the types of students that they were looking for, who could share our specific experiences.

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The Colombia Experience: Design is a Two-Way Street

The following post is from the Designmatters blog.

Guest Blogger Mariana Prieto di Colloredo (Product Design, 6th term) is the lead contact of Art Center’s social impact student organization Mustard, a member of the sustainability-focused student organization EcoCouncil and a candidate for the Designmatters Concentration in Art and Design for Social Impact.

Sustainability is more often than not linked to the responsible use of our planets resources to assure its availability for future generations. As true as this is, sustainability can also be applied to our own lives. As designers, we can “burn out” when we drain our creative resources but we can prevent this by refreshing and recharging ourselves from time to time.

While we are in school the opportunity to go out and research different cultures in a new, exciting and relaxed setting is limited, to say the least.

Because of this, EcoCouncil has taken the initiative to plan a research trip to explore a new country in a different and exciting way. This last spring Eco Council traveled for ten days to Colombia to remove ourselves from our comfortable surroundings and to work on a design project at an organic mango plantation in Anapoima, Colombia (a small town located 2 hours outside of Bogota).

Our goal was to come up with one design project during our time there while doing physical work at the farm and learning the inner workings of an organic plantation in Latin America.

After days of wielding a pickax, teak planting, mud fishing, milking, horseback riding and learning all there is to know about mango trees, we agreed the most valuable experience was working together with the farm workers through every step of the design process.

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Find Out How Your Garden Grows

Have you ever wondered how to grow a tomato? Are you looking for new ingredients to add spice to your cooking? Would you be willing to share your gardening secrets? Interested in learning more about sustainable growing practices?

Whether you have a green thumb, or are a gardening novice, EcoCouncil and Art Center invites the Art Center community to grab a trowel, put on your gardening gloves and plant with us. Our new campus garden is intended to be a learning, teaching and recreation space for the College community that allows us to experience what it means to live in harmony with our environment. It is a space for experimentation, investigation and exploration of concepts of lifecycle and sustainability.

The garden is the result of careful planning, partnership with Art Center Student Government and facilities, and the support of the College president and senior staff. This collaboration has resulted in a unique and beautiful garden design incorporating low-impact materials.

Become a “founding grower” and begin your garden! We’ll provide the soil, sunshine and water. Individual students, faculty and staff, or student groups can sign up for a planting bed, which can be used to grow organic food plants or ornamentals. Eat what you grow, or share your harvest. Go to the Garden’s Facebook page for more information and to reserve a plot. Spaces will be assigned for the term in the order received.

EcoCouncil Meets the President

Art Center President Lorne Buchman recently met with the EcoCouncil, a student-run organization which works closely with faculty and administration to find practical and creative solutions to reduce the College’s ecological impact. The group conducted a presentation for Buchman outlining their vision for sustainability initiatives at the College, including their desire for required courses in responsible design for all students, improved recycling efforts on campus during peak periods of the term, increasing accessibility to public transportation, and finding better ways to maintain and incorporate the Art Center community into our hillside environment.

Art Center Receives Outstanding Recycler Award

Art Center was one of five recipients awarded the 2009 Outstanding Recycler Award by the City of Pasadena. The award was presented by Mayor Bill Bogard and Director of Public Works Martin Pastucha at Monday’s City Council Meeting. Art Center was recognized for “outstanding environmental stewardship and commitment to reducing waste and preserving natural resources.”

The award is due in large part to the ongoing efforts of EcoCouncil, a student led group that promotes awareness of and designs solutions related to issues of sustainability across campus. EcoCouncil is supported by Heidrun Mumper-Drumm, Director, Sustainability Initiatives; and Linda Estrada, Manager of Transportation and Sustainability, who work closely with EcoCouncil to help them achieve their goals.

Four other organizations were announced as Outstanding Recyclers with Art Center receiving the Overall Recycler of the Year for 2009. Congratulations also go to Sequoyah School, Saint Philip the Apostle School, Waste Less Living and Interior Removal Specialists, Inc.

The Pasadena Star-News has a nice write-up: Pasadena’s top recyclers recognized