JAM’s Second Show!

31 01 2012

Your favorite SOS radio talk show hosts had another successful two-hour radio show this past Sunday! In case you didn’t know or haven’t been tuning in, we’ll catch you up on how to listen to them, get your voice/opinion heard on air, what they talked about, and what music they jammed out to this week.

JAM is an acronym for the three main radio show hosts; John, Amy, and Maame. They are all members of SOS and each Sunday from 1PM-3PM they talk about sustainability issues on their mind and what music they have stuck in their head at that moment. JAM’s show is made possible by SIUE Web Radio, and they are all very grateful to utilize Web Radio as an outlet for sustainability topics and discussion. If anyone would like to contribute to conversations they’ve had in the past or what they’re talking about live, then you can call in or leave a comment on either SOS’ Twitter, Facebook, or right here on our blog! JAM checks these social media outlets while in the booth and can answer your comments right over the air. (How cool is that?!)

Opening songs:

“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green

“Surf Rider” by The Lively Ones

“Son Of A Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield

On Amy’s segment this week, she gave some tips for living sustainability. She found some great ideas while researching her topic and came across a blog post she particularly found interesting with some suggestions to really think about. One of the tips, learning to grow food, lead Amy to find a great article on urban gardening.

Amy’s Playlist:

“Boyfriend” by Best Coast

“The Devil Never Sleeps” by Iron & Wine

“Treat Her Right” by The Commitments

“Never Forget You” by Noisettes

“She Ain’t a Child No More” by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Maame found an article about an upcoming UN conference in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The conference is focusing on sustainable development for countries; making sure economies can grow without harming resources and the environment for future generations. Maame is hoping this conference will use the focus of sustainable development to tackle environment problems, like climate change.

Maame’s playlist:

“Phoenix” by Maxwell

“Kneelin’ At My Alter” by Arrested Development

“Big Eater” by The Bad Plus

“Generosity” by Mirah

“Staring at the Sun” by TV on the Radio

“Concrete Jungle” by Bob Marley

John recently wrote a paper on the topic of free trade coffee, and decided to use his time on the show to inform and discuss this topic.

John’s Playlist:

“The Next Movement” by The Roots

“Step Into the Realm” by The Roots

“Proceed” by The Roots

“Essaywhuman?!!!??!” by The Roots

“The Ultimate” by The Roots
Since JAM is a weekly event, we encourage SOS members to tune in and find out what’s going on every week. JAM needs live listeners to accomplish all that they want to accomplish, so for now on there will be a monthly JAM update on the blog instead of one every week. PLEASE LISTEN TO THE SHOW (it’s all online!) and come here to voice your opinion about the show, catch up on any broadcasts you missed, or for other updates on the SOS club in general.


JAM with SOS

27 01 2012

In case you haven’t heard, SOS has a new committee (headed by John Shaw), that is getting the sustainability message out over radio waves. SIUE has their very own web radio station, and three SOS members have taken on the task of getting their own sustainability-themed radio show. John, Amy, and Maame (or JAM) talk a bit about themselves, play sweet tunes, and present and discuss sustainability topics that interest them. Listeners can tune in every Sunday from 1PM to 3PM, and can even call in or leave a comment on our Facebook, Twitter, or here on our blog that JAM will answer on air.

JAM had their first radio show last Sunday, and it was a huge success. But it’s ok if you missed it! We will be updating you about what you missed last Sunday on JAM!

Opening song: “Gangsta” by tUnE-yArDs

Each member of JAM presented their own topic that they had researched and wanted to discuss, as well as played their own playlist of songs.

Amy went first. She presented facts on solar power panel manufacturers in the United States and China and what issue the United States was facing because of this. The basic points of the topic dealt with tax credits American’s can receive for installing solar panels on their home, and the topic of more American’s are buying the cheaper Chinese manufactured solar panels instead of American-made ones. She looked into, and asked her hosts, how this topic applies to sustainability. On one hand it’s great people are using solar power, on the other hand they aren’t supporting the American economy.

The main points covered were:

-Since 2009 homeowners are able to get a federal tax credit worth 30% of the cost of their new solar system, even if they’re also receiving state of local financing. This is helpful because the initial capital cost for solar systems is the major economic hurdle for installing solar panels. Panels have a very long life though and once installed, they require very low maintenance. The solar tax credit directly impacts this major obstacle when purchasing and installing a solar panel system. (Ex. A typical home solar system generals about 3 kilowatts of power. In California, the typical cost for getting a home solar system is $24,300. The average California state rebate is worth $4,650 which brings the cost down to $19,659. The 30% tax credit would ten be worth $5,895. This cuts the overall cost down to $13,755.)

Stimulus Adds Tax Credit for Home Solar Panels in 2009

Understanding and Applying the Residential Solar PV Tax Credit

-Many countries are pushing for ways to find domestic energy sources that are less polluting than fossil fuels. In the United States, despite rapid growth in recent years, solar power accounts for less than 1% of electricity use. The United States only accounted for $1.6 billion of the world’s $29 billion market for solar panels; California is by far the leading state.

New York Times; Solar Energy

-In the last 2 years, China has emerged as the dominant player in green energy, especially solar power. It accounted for at least 1/2 of the world’s production in 2010. But China has achieved this dominance through lavish government subsidies in its solar industry, which is detrimental to American companies and other foreign competitions. While most U.S. companies still have a technological edge, China has a cost advantage.

New York Times; Solar Energy

-The U.S. solar industry is divided over these imports. Panel-makers say their business is suffering and they want a tariff slapped on the imports. But other parts of the industry say these cheap panels are driving a solar boom in the United States.

National Public Radio; Cheap Chinese Panels Spark Solar Power Trade War

-Some American panel-makers say that Chinese solar panel imports contributed to the collapse of U.S. manufacturers. 3 went out of business in 2010. These panel-makers want tariffs. They acknowledge that Americans will have to pay more for panels if that happens, but it will create a natural balance in a competitive and legal environment.

National Public Radio; Cheap Chinese Panels Spark Solar Power Trade War

-The International Trade Commission reached a preliminary conclusion that American solar panel manufacturers were being harmed by Chinese solar panel imports.

New York Times; Panel Says Chinese Imports Hurt U.S. Solar Firms

-The Commerce Department still has to determine if Chinese panel makers have been doing anything illegal, like subsidizing panel-makers so they can sell below cost aka “dumping” their products in the United States at prices below the cost of making and marketing them. This ruling would impose offsetting tariffs to bring the price of Chinese panels in the American market up to what the Commerce Department deems their fair market value.

New York Times; Panel Says Chinese Imports Hurt U.S. Solar Firms and National Public Radio; Cheap Chinese Panels Spark Solar Power Trade War

-However, some believe that higher prices are bad for companies that install solar panels, and these companies far outnumber panel manufacturers in the United States. Also, when installing solar panels, you need an inverter. An inverter a device that every solar installation needs to convert direct current to the alternating current in a home. A lot of inverters are manufactured in the United States. With fewer installations, then that would mean fewer inverters sold.

National Public Radio; Cheap Chinese Panels Spark Solar Power Trade War

-Solar power is just now becoming less pricey for regular people. Some homeowners in the United States like to buy American, but most just want the best price. Chinese panels are about 10% cheaper, but a tariff could double their price and that could push everyone’s prices up. These sanctions against the Chinese could raise the cost of solar energy in the United States.

New York Times; Panel Says Chinese Imports Hurt U.S. Solar Firms and National Public Radio; Cheap Chinese Panels Spark Solar Power Trade War

-Chinese efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the United States may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Middle East for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines, and other gear manufactured in China.

New York Times; Solar Energy

John and Maame each took a side on this debate, where do you think you stand? Do you think we should keep buying foreign solar panels for cheap, or supporting the American economy and add on tariffs on the foreign panels? Does it matter where the panels come from as long as people are able to buy and use them, or should we help build national businesses even if it means costing more to be “green”? Please give us your opinions and read the articles to understand more about the topic!

Amy’s Playlist:

“Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” by Belle & Sebastian

“Le Plus Beau du Quartier” by Carla Bruni

“This Charming Man” by The Smiths

“Heretics” by Andrew Bird

“Mykonos” by Fleet Foxes

Maame presented her topic next.

She found a blog that says there are many problems with the sustainability movement, and in some cases it’s unsustainable. She presented his arguments and JAM spent a while talking about their reaction to his statements and refuted them as well. It was an interesting conversation for defending the sustainability movement, specifically saying that it’s not a fad and is something we as a nation and a race need to start investing in. The conversation also went off into each hosts’ personal views of sustainability.

Maame’s Playlist:

“Little L” by Jamiroquai

“Bad Wings” by The Glitch Mob

“The Big Payback” by James Brown

“Didn’t Cha Know” by Erykah Badu

“Marijuana” By KiD CuDi

John was the last to talk about his topic. He informed the listeners of the great sustainability strides Anheuser-Busch, a locally recognized brand, has been taking here in the United States and abroad.

He first informed us of what Anheuser-Busch has done historically when it comes to sustainability. For those interested in knowing all the things they’ve accomplished in the environmental movement; check out their site.

The main point John talked about was how Anheuser-Busch is recycling water at its factory in China, and using this to support the local Chinese public housing. John got his information from an article on TreeHugger.

John’s Playlist:

“I know You Rider” by Grateful Dead

“Mindbender (Confusion’s Prince)” by Grateful Dead

“Fire on the Mountain” by Grateful Dead

“Good Lovin” by Grateful Dead

All in all, JAM’s first show was a 2-hour, jam-packed (pun intended) event with information and great music. Please tune in for their second show this Sunday, 1PM to 3PM!

AASHE 2011

24 01 2012

Three of SOS’ officers (Alex, Katrina, and Kim) were lucky enough to attend the 2011 AASHE conference in Pittsburgh, PA last semester. The blog post today will include each officers’ unique perspective and experiences at the AASHE conference, and how that has influenced our organization.


Some days on a college campus we see a pile of recyclable petrochemicals headed for a landfill and a stack of Styrofoam containers eagerly awaiting their first and last delicious cafeteria meal; we can’t help but ask, “Am I the only one on this campus who believes in sustainability?” Carmen Schlamb at Seneca College found herself asking that very question. When asking the question, she probably didn’t expect to be hosting a session on “Breaking the Circle of One” at the 2011 AASHE Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, a circle of six doesn’t always seem much better. It’s easy to sit in a meeting room and discuss various ways of incorporating sustainability into collegiate life. But hey, we’re taking several upper division courses, making lattes twenty hours a week, participating in undergraduate research, volunteering, interning, and exchanging the few reaming REM cycles for a life outside of formal responsibilities. Aside from clearing up a startling idea in my mind suggesting there may only be twelve people on the planet interested in sustainability, AASHE broke the SIUE Student Organization for Sustainability’s circle of six and transformed the question of “when?” into “now!”

The 2011 AASHE conference discussed topics of relevance to anyone and everyone at an institution dabbling in higher education. If you’ve ever contemplated carbon neutrality, sustainable community gardening projects, composting in a cafeteria, sustainable curriculum design, LEED certifications, STARS, campus greenhouses, habitat preservation, reducing waste, recycling initiatives, bicycle sharing programs, ecovillages,  green jobs, energy reduction, or anything else remotely related to sustainability, AASHE has a session you desperately want to attend.  In fact, there are probably thirty or more of relevance to any given student, faculty, or staff member. The tragedy of this situation surfaces when you realize there are four coinciding sessions calling your name. Of course, if you’ve mastered human cloning and/or brought several officers from your student organization’s administration, the tragedy becomes quite advantageous.

AASHE delivered invaluable information on how to grow sustainability at SIUE. The conference united our student organization with others who have shared in the struggles of underrepresented student groups. These students illustrated the how, shared their success stories, and continue to demonstrate lasting influence on our organization. Oh, and then there’s the networking. Try standing in a building with 2,000 people you actually want to talk with—it isn’t an everyday occurrence.

With the SIUE Student Organization for Sustainability’s circle of six transforming “how” into “when” and the “when” transfiguring into “now,” establishing sustainability as a core value at our university seems less reminiscent of a foggy dream and more similar to a cold shower at 7 AM on the second Monday of January—moderately difficult but extremely rewarding, necessary, and cost-effective.

To put all of this simply: AASHE may be among the most important conglomerations of leaders on the planet. For, in the words of John Cook, “If we can’t envision a university being sustainable, how can we expect society to achieve sustainability?”

By Alex Zielonko (Facilitator of the Student Organization for Sustainability at SIUE)


My experience at the AASHE Leadership conference satisfied my expectations and then went beyond. The conference was inspiring and showed me that there is progress being done with sustainability in higher education. It fed my fire to continue getting others to learn about the importance of their, our, environment.

The first day, the student summit, was the most enjoyable as we got to hear about student leaders and how they are making a difference at their schools. I got a chance to talk with two students who filled me with many ideas that would improve our organization at school. They gave me excellent advice on being a leader socially and through the groups’ structure. The summit illustrated numerous ways to make the Student Organization for Sustainability at SIUE more effective and organized.

The options of different talks that were available for us to go and sit in on were well varied. The talks were all worth getting up before eight a.m.

In the biggest open room there was an exhibit with different organizations’ posters, including our school. It was wonderful to be part of this conference for the knowledge and that being a smaller school in the mid-west, we were able to get our name out.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is impressive in structure; a well located place to visit along the river in addition to the luxuries of a hotel and the chance to spend more time with Alex and Kim.

In the end I would not take back anything that happened. I learned more about being a leader, connected, networked and was thoroughly inspired and stuffed with food.

By Katrina Wiegand (Facilitator of the Student Organization for Sustainability at SIUE)


Throughout my career here at SIUE, I have learned a number of things. One, watch out for the geese—they are vicious and unrelenting (just ask Amy Gardiner). Two, when there’s a will, there’s a way—opportunities are everywhere, in every shape and form. And three, one I took away from my AASHE experience: there is power in the people. Being involved in our group at the time, it was more like “I guess there is sorta power, I think, in the very few people we have?”  Not very convincing. The workshops I was able to attend in Pittsburg, however, made this into not only a more definitive statement, but also one that would give us motivation to find and harness this power of the people.

The question, of course, was “how do we find these people and get them interested?” Melissa Goodall from Yale University gave a presentation on how to “Measure, Message, and Motivate.” She inspired me to talk about things people can relate to and deal with on a daily basis. Yes, it is easy to fall into the broad topic of sustainability and awareness (i.e. the diminishing number of polar bears, glaciers melting, etc…) And yes, I know these are important issues, but the people at Southern Illinois University don’t look out their windows everyday and see baby polar bears drowning in pools of glacier. What they do see is thousands of students everyday throwing away their plastic bottles and food scraps into (gasp!) the same trash can. As easy as it would be to turn on our Green Police sirens, point fingers, and judge, Goodall warns against this. At AASHE, she advised us to give people real reasons and real impacts, not force. Instead of “Billy, I can’t believe you bought a plastic water bottle and now you’re throwing it away! Repent! Or may the gods of sustainability come down and smite you! What would the polar bears and glaciers say??” why not try “Billy, did you know that that very water bottle you are throwing away will still be here when your great-great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- grandson is born? I care about little Billy Jr.20 so here, take this reusable water bottle.” Little things like that. As most of us know, the common college student will walk off in an awkward hurry once you start spewing accusations and end of the world spiels. Give people options—small habits to change and develop—and tell them how these options can be beneficial and simple. Set these little goals, celebrating each one: a feasible and logical task to practice and promote. This, in a way, gives power to the people—to all the Billy’s and Billy Jr.’s out there, and without them, not much would be accomplished.

AASHE proved to be one of the most beneficial experiences to myself, my fellow officers, SOS, and, hopefully soon, the entire SIUE campus. We are busy, busy, giving the people a voice through petitions, a cause for action through presentations, a knowledge of sustainability through radio shows, blogs, etc… Planting seeds, watching them grow, flourish, and create more seeds: this is the power we are harnessing.

By Kim Lee (Secretary of the Student Organization for Sustainability at SIUE)

Start of the New Semester

10 01 2012

SIUE went back to school this week, starting off the spring 2012 semester. Whether or not that is a good thing for your life is disputable, however we know it is great to have the club start back up again. We have a lot of excellent activities we want to do in SOS this semester, and we are very excited for the new year.

One of those new and exciting activities is getting this blog up and running! For our first post, we want to tell you a little bit about ourselves and what we did last semester.

SOS stands for Student Organization for Sustainability. We are a student organization/club at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL. The main goal of SOS is to educate our campus on environmental issues, ranging from the local to the global scale, and to instruct the campus on ways to solve these environmental problems. We hope this blog can serve as a platform to help with our goal.

SOS was very busy this last semester! The rest of this post will be a timeline of some of our major activities of the semester.

We kicked off the fall 2011 semester by trying to get new members at our table in the Goshen Lounge for new incoming students at SIUE. Almost every club had a table, and SOS was well represented with ours. We had a blind water taste test to see if students prefer the bottled water sold on campus or the water from the fountains on campus. We also had free candy, free reusable SOS water bottles, informative posters, a bike to advertise SIUE’s bike share program, and friendly SOS members to talk with. It was a great success.

We then created our very own Twitter account!

Right after that, we had the SOS social. This was an event for SOS members and SIUE students to come mingle and catch the sustainability tingle!

SIUE hosted a STL Regional Higher Education Sustainability Consortium in the campus’ Lovejoy Library.

We then held an organic bake sale in Peck Hall. There were tons of delicious baked goods, like cookies and cupcakes of all kinds, to buy and  enjoy. We also handed out some more free swag at the bake sale, including The Campus Climate Challenge stickers, Clean Air St. Louis bags, and tips for going green while in college.

SOS and the Sierra Club teamed up for a movie night. They showed Thirst and held a discussion after the film.

Then an event, that changed our club and helped us develop a direction for SOS, happened. Three members of SOS, our officers, got to travel to Pittsburgh, PA for the 2011 AASHE conference. (We plan on devoting at least one blog post for these officers to talk about their experience at AASHE.)

SOS then decided to get crafty and make a visible demonstration for the student body. We collected used and discarded plastic bottles on campus, then we connected them all together on a rope, and finally we displayed this on campus for Campus Sustainability Day to show SIUE students how wasteful buying water and soda bottles can be.

Also on Campus Sustainability Day, we started to ask the students of SIUE if they would want their school to get an Office of Sustainability on campus. We had petitions for students to sign to show their support. SOS even had its very own mascot asking for signatures!

Finally, to end the year, SOS created committees within the club and asked its members to volunteer to be committee coordinators. Now, this semester, we hope to have these committees really getting work done and helping SIUE students become informed on environmental issues and even having SIUE become a greener campus.

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