June 27, 2022

Rosemary Jesionowski’s Exhibition Open at Randolph-Macon

Rosemary Jesionowski, Assistant Professor of Studio Art, currently has a solo exhibition, Mapping Nowhere, on view at Randolph-Macon’s Flippo Gallery in Ashland, Virginia.  This is her third solo exhibition in the past year.  The body of work is a continual investigation of place, land, and how we identify ourselves through location.  How do we define ourselves by where we live?  How do others define us?  How does place define or even change us?  These images simultaneously reference a personal experience of place and an investigation of the relationship between people and place.  The exhibition will be on view through April 5.

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See more of Jesionowski’s work on her website.

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With December and the holidays upon us, hopefully we’re all getting into the spirit of the season a little bit.  Even though this is often a very stressful time of year, it’s also a time when people come together to help those in need.  The Staff Advisory Committee has organized their annual “Helping the Homeless” Drive, and the Fredericksburg Network of the Alumni Association will be taking donations to the Fredericksburg area food bank as part of their Holiday Happy Hour on December 13th.  These are just a couple of the charitable events that the UMW community is involved with this season.  Hopefully we’re all doing a little something this month to help others and those in need.  While the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” usually focuses on environmental concerns, we’re taking the opportunity this week to think about how to go about sustaining social relationships in the workplace.

If you’re like me and many other people, you often feel as if you spend more time with your co-workers during the week than you do with your own family.  So it’s crucial to establish good relationships with everyone that you work with.  We’re often quick to shoot off the most minor of emails to co-workers to ask a question or pass along some information, but what about picking up the phone to speak to the individual or walking over to their area/office to discuss things in person?  Even doing this just once or twice a month might make that connection you have with individuals a little more personal.  Some organizations/institutions have “no email Fridays,” which encourages employees to pick up the phone or speak to individuals face-to-face as opposed to sending an email.  Is a policy like this always going to be practical?  Perhaps not, but it’s something to think about.  Moreover, how often do we misinterpret tone or intent through email?  How often is it hard to even comprehend what is trying to be communicated to you through email?  The choice to speak with someone over the phone or in person may not only improve social relationships in the workplace, but it may also improve communication, problem-solving, and productivity.

What about other ways to improve interpersonal relationships in the workplace?  If you’re a supervisor, are you taking the time to praise employees for a job well done?  If there’s that one individual in your office who NEVER leaves their office except for lunch, are you reminding them to take a few minutes every now and then for a quick walk around campus, to grab a cup of coffee, or to even just get up and stretch a little bit?  (Yes, I did just propose that you encourage your employees to get up and stretch — http://tinyurl.com/cstaqnt).  Maybe the answer for improving social relationships with your co-workers lies outside the office.  Does your office have a weekly happy hour or get together for lunch or dinner?  What about a Book Club or Movie Night among those you work with?  If not, maybe it’s time for you to initiate this idea among your co-workers.

If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments–whether ecological or social–please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

The PCS Action Group members for the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” are Kevin Caffrey, Elizabeth Sanders, Robert Louzek, and Dre Anthes.

Last week’s tip of the week: Junk Mail.

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With Thanksgiving over and some of us still recovering from the craziness of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Two-For-One Tuesday, Warehouse Blowout Wednesday (OK, I admit, I may have made some of these titles up….), this is the time of the season where we inevitably start thinking about mail more often than we usually do.  Sending out and receiving holiday cards, heading to the Post Office on your lunch break to mail gifts, wondering if your nieces and nephews will get their presents in time for Christmas, anxiously looking out the window for the mail carrier wondering where YOUR present is…we tend to start thinking a bit more about “the mail” than we usually do around this time of year.

So with mail on our minds, do you know how much UNWANTED mail we receive each year?    There are estimates that the U.S. Postal Service sends out approximately 90 billion pieces of unsolicited mail/advertising every year.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 44% of this mail is tossed away, unopened.  So maybe we should take a moment to think about the junk mail we receive in our own offices.  Do you continually receive mail addressed to former employees?  Catalogs or newsletters from companies that have no relevance to your department?  Advertisements for products and services that you have absolutely no interest in?  There are services out there (http://www.catalogchoice.org, http://ecocycle.org/junkmail, http://www.greendimes.com, and many others) that you can look into to help reduce the amount of unsolicited mail that you receive from companies .  But perhaps the most effective and simplest way to stop getting these items might be to contact the customer service telephone number or send an e-mail to the company’s website and request to be taken off of their mailing list.  Companies likely have no more interest in sending unwanted mail to you than you have in receiving it.  Spending the few minutes it takes to make a phone call or send out an email seems well worth the time, energy, and waste involved with continually receiving and disposing of unwanted mail.  In addition to the obvious waste of paper, think of all the energy needed to haul away all of this unnecessary mail each year.   It’s also important to consider how to go about reducing the amount of junk mail that you receive at home.  If you want to reduce the volume of unsolicited mail you receive in your own home, Direct Marketing Association (http://www.dmachoice.org) is a free service that helps you manage your mail preferences to reduce the likelihood of receiving mailings from companies/services that you have no interest in.

Hopefully this week’s entry has given you something to think about the next time you open up your mailbox and curiously find a three pound catalog from a North Dakota Soy Candle company (no offense intended towards soy candles OR North Dakota).    If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

The PCS Action Group members for the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” are Kevin Caffrey, Elizabeth Sanders, Robert Louzek, and Dre Anthes.

Last week’s tip of the week: Green Thanksgiving

 

 

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With Thanksgiving a week away, remember to shut off lights, computers, monitors, printers, copiers, etc. before you leave your offices for the break.   Also unplug items in your office such as coffee makers, microwaves, radios, etc. since these small appliances often waste energy when plugged in and not in use.

As you begin to spend this weekend perhaps making final Thanksgiving day plans, here’s a great article we found online about having a “Green” Thanksgiving.  Some good tips are featured in this article including reducing the amount of waste that often accompanies Thanksgiving, ways to keep costs down on the big day, and also general Do’s and Don’ts for an Eco-Thanksgiving:

http://earth911.com/news/2011/11/22/your-guide-to-a-green-thanksgiving/

If you’re also starting to think about getting a start on holiday shopping, November 24th is Small Business Saturday.  Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to support their local economy by patronizing brick and mortar businesses in your community.  Consider if items you plan on buying this holiday season can be purchased from locally owned “mom & pop” stores.

Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving — enjoy the break!

Last week’s tip of the week: Green Meetings

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

This week’s “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” focuses on how you can “go green” with meetings.  In just the past three years that I’ve worked at the University of Mary Washington, I’ve seen a lot of the meetings I regularly attend make great strides in going green.  Here are some suggestions you may want to consider when organizing a meeting:

Agendas/Meeting Documents:  When it comes to distributing agendas, think of ways other than printing out copies to hand out to each attendee the day of the meeting.  Do you use SharePoint?  Does your office have a Shared Drive?  Have you considered using Canvas for your meetings to upload Agendas and other documents?  Any of these methods lend themselves to saving paper.  Sending an email out to attendees with the Agenda before a meeting would leave it up to the attendee to determine if they want to print out a copy.  I bet in many circumstances, if attendees saw the agendas of meetings beforehand, they would decide they need not print them out.  In your email, let everyone know they do not have to print them out because they’ll be available at the meeting.  Then on the day of the meeting, you can decide to use a classroom or office whiteboard to jot down the Agenda or use an overhead projector as opposed to handing out printed copies.  There are lots of different ways to reduce the use of paper when it comes to agendas.  As for documents that need to be distributed during meetings, it again comes down to discretion.  What is necessary to print out, and what could serve the same purpose in electronic form?  And if printing documents is necessary, print on both sides of the paper.  Another big tip – avoid printing out Power Point slides!

Teleconference: Is it possible that one or more of the attendees could telecommute to the meeting by calling in?  We have three campuses.  If you’re holding a meeting at the Fredericksburg campus with ten people, and one of the attendees works at the Dahlgren or Stafford campus, would it be possible for that individual to call in to the meeting?  Less cars being driven to and from places means less emissions.  Additionally, that individual would save money on gasoline as well as wear & tear on their vehicle.  Calling in to a meeting as opposed to physically attending may not always be an option, but for that next meeting you hold, take a moment to consider the idea.

Catering: If you’re having your meeting catered, avoid ordering bottled water and provide pitchers of cold tap water with ice instead.  Think about encouraging attendees to bring their own travel mugs for coffee.  Avoid coffee stirrers.  Do you still use them?  If you think about it, you really don’t need to.  Put your milk and sugar/sugar substitute in your cup first, then add the coffee—no stirrer or spoon required!  Little trick I learned from working at a restaurant when I was a teenager (thank you Friendly’s in Levittown, NY).  Furthermore, consider serving finger size food that requires no silverware.  (Note to anyone inviting me to a future meeting: I like mini powdered donuts).  Our catering service has “green” options too.  They are slightly more expensive, but they provide sustainable plates, utensils, etc.

Recycling:  Does the space you’re holding your meeting in have a recycling bin?  When exiting a meeting, attendees are often looking for somewhere to dispose of their water or soda bottles, or maybe a newspaper that they have been carrying around with them all day and now need to toss it.  Having a recycling bin in the space where you  hold your  meeting may just prevent someone from throwing a recyclable item into a garbage can.

Energy Conservation: Don’t forget to turn off the lights and any projectors or computers in your meeting room when not in use!

Hopefully you’re already doing some of the above when organizing meetings.  If not, consider if you can put any of these tips into practice.  If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the idea to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

The PCS Action Group members for the “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week” are Kevin Caffrey, Elizabeth Sanders, Robert Louzek, and Dre Anthes.

Last Week’s Tip: Your Office Kitchen

All-Campus Food Drive in November

Eagle Dining is again sponsoring the “Helping Hands Across America” Food Drive. Non-perishable food items are being collected for donation to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank and Fredericksburg Presbyterian Food Pantry. Food collection boxes are located at cashier stations in all dining facilities and also in the UMW Book Store. Food will also be collected at a curb-side drop off site outside Seacobeck Hall between 12 PM and 5 PM on Thursday, November 29. Anyone needing collection boxes or more information may e-mail Rose Benedict at rbenedic@umw.edu.

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

In last week’s “Office Sustainability Tip of the Week,” we discussed making sure the lights in your office kitchen are turned off when not in use.  But when it comes to your office kitchen and conserving energy, it does not have to stop there.  Here are some things that you may want to consider in order to reduce energy and limit extra waste in the kitchen:

Kitchenware:  If you use paper plates, cups, or plastic cutlery in your office kitchen, consider instead investing in reusable dishware.  Depending on the amount of people in your office, it would likely be relatively inexpensive to purchase a set of plates, glasses, and cutlery for everyone to use.  Or, consider old unwanted dishware or cutlery that you have in your house that you no longer use and bring it in for your office to use.

Recycling Bins: Hopefully all office kitchens on campus have a recycling bin to make it very easy for those using the area to deposit their recyclable materials.  If not, go to your Supervisor or Department Head and inquire about getting a recycling bin for your kitchen.

Water: I’m definitely guilty of relying too much on using bottled waters.  Instead of using bottled waters however, consider investing in a water filter or simply drink tap water — as people often point out, it tastes just as good as bottled water.  If you prefer your water very cold, just keep a pitcher of tap water in your office refrigerator.  And how’s the kitchen faucet?  Does it drip?  Even a small, consistent drip can waste a tremendous amount of water each week.  If you have a faucet that drips in your kitchen office, place a work order through EagleNet to see if it can get repaired.

Energy:  Is your office refrigerator and freezer possibly set too high?  It’s recommended to set your refrigerator temperature between 36° F and 42° F, and to set your freezer control to a temperature between -5° F and +6° F.  A small thermometer placed in your refrigerator and freezer will help you set the temperature correctly.  By making sure that your refrigerator and freezer temperatures are set correctly, you will help reduce energy consumption.

Paper Towels: Stop using paper towels and instead use cloth towels to clean up spills.

These are just a few suggestions to conserve energy and reduce unnecessary waste in your office kitchen.  If you have any tips for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the suggestion to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

Last Week’s Tip: http://tinyurl.com/8oo8ve8

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

Whether you work in an office with a lot of people or just a few, chances are there’s that one room or area where the lights are probably kept on even when not in use.  Is it a copy room that might have a few people going in and out every hour, but the lights are turned on in the morning and kept on until the last person leaves for the day?  What about your office kitchen?  It probably sees the most traffic early in the morning and between the hours of 11am and 1pm, but are the lights left on all day?  Clearly we do not want to be working by candlelight or microwaving our Smart Ones Chicken Fettuccines in the dark, but take a moment to consider those spaces and other areas in your office where lights are left on for extended periods of time when clearly the space is not in use.

Consider your own personal office space as well.  My office has two light switches.  Flipping just one on in the morning does the trick.   Do you have windows in your office?  (Lucky!)  Consider the feasibility of using the natural light your office receives as opposed to the overhead fluorescent lighting.  Also, if you’re attending a short meeting, walking across campus, going to lunch – do you turn off the lights in your office?   It’s in the best interest of maintaining a green office to do so.  Another tip in conserving energy is turning off your computer, printer, monitors, etc. when you leave for the day.  Even reducing the brightness of your laptop screen or computer monitor reduces energy use.  And when you’re away from your office, consider turning off your monitor altogether.

Hopefully you’re already doing some if not all of these little things that help to conserve energy.  If not, there’s no better time than now to start making these small changes.  And while you’re at it – take the opportunity to set an example for your co-workers by posting reminders and having these types of discussions during staff meetings or office gatherings.   If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the suggestion to be featured in a future Tip of the Week.

Last Week’s Tip: http://tinyurl.com/9w4sb2v

Meet the Catering Director, Steve Mathwin

UMW Catering is pleased to introduce you to our new Catering Director, Steve Mathwin. Steve most recently served as the Corporate Dining Manager at CapitalOne Services in McLean, Virginia. He also has over ten years experience in hospitality management with deluxe hotels such as Omni, Marriott and Hyatt. Steve is known for building strong relationships with clients and bringing outstanding customer service to all aspects of catering operations. We are very happy that Steve has joined our UMW Catering Team and look forward to the fresh perspectives that he will bring to our operations. Steve’s e-mail is not yet set up, but if you wish to contact him about possible catering events, please give him a call at 540-654-2233.

Scott Powers Co-Authors French Language Textbook

Associate Professor of French, Scott Powers co-authored the 9th edition of Interaction: Langue et Culture. Published by Heinle, Interaction is an intermediate-level textbook of French language and Francophone cultures used in university classrooms across the United States and abroad.