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Going Green On the Hill: An Update

Going Green On the Hill: An Update

byDebbie Gillum ’14

With the campus starting to look green for spring, Denison is continuing to go green and be more sustainable.

Facilities Services has been improving buildings by replacing old light bulbs with fluorescent lights that consume less energy and have a longer lifespan. They have also added occupancy sensors that automatically turn off not the lights and reduce the heating and air conditioning in unoccupied rooms.

Most recently, the facilities team has started working on updating the heating and air conditioning systems in Knapp and Olin.

“We started the work over spring break. We hope to be done by the end of summer,” said Bob Jude, Denison’s Energy and Project Specialist.

The funding for making campus buildings more energy efficient comes from the Green Hill Revolving Loan Fund, which was started in 2011. The university is committed to setting aside three million dollars over a four to six year period to be used to fund energy efficient projects. The fund is revolving in the sense that it uses the proceeds from energy savings to fund future projects. This fund is part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge initiative, which challenges over 30 universities to make a commitment to green revolving funds.     

“We were already spending money on sustainable campus renovations and we knew we would continue to reinvest in our buildings so it was an easy decision to be part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge,” said Seth Patton, Vice President of Finance and Management, “These kinds of investments make sense for our campus.”

For example, when money is invested in replacing older lighting in residential halls with newer, more efficient florescent lights, then the savings from what would have spent on electricity goes back into the fund. In about three to six years, the improvements will result in a return on investment.

“Since the start of the fund, we have invested about $1.2 million, mostly on lighting. Through these sustainable investments, we have saved roughly $300,000,” said Jeremy King, the Campus Sustainability Coordinator.

Each year, the facilities team has about $450,000 to invest in making campus improvements. A set amount of $50,000 is set aside to be used for community initiatives, such as ideas for solar panels or outdoor LED lights. Ideas can be submitted by anyone to Jeremy King.

With improved heating and cooling systems as well as lights, energy consumption has decreased by ten percent.

“But, this doesn’t mean that our costs are down,” Jude said. He explained how with rising energy costs, the reduction in energy consumption results in spending roughly the same each year. The reductions help to combat inflation.

Art Chonko, director of Facilities Services, appreciated how Denison has built in maintenance and renovation costs into the operating budget. He said that does not happen at  all universities.

“We don’t do it just for the money,” he said, “We’re also concerned with conserving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

After Olin and Knapp, Chonko hopes the Facilities team will work on making the library and Mitchell use energy more efficiently.  He said that the idea of using more solar panels was also being explored.

While the Facilities team works to reduce energy consumption through upgrading technology, a fair amount of energy can be saved by making simple behavioral changes.

“When devices are left plugged in, they still use energy. They don’t use a lot of energy but there are a lot of these devices around campus,” said Jude.

King encouraged students to turn off lights when they leave a room and to “be more aware of where they are using energy.”

Chonko said that heating and cooling rooms can be very costly.

“Even adjusting the temperature a few degrees can use significantly less energy,” he said.  

Chonko said that Denison is making good steps in using energy more efficiently and reducing energy use, but there is still a ways to go.

“We need to continue doing what we’re doing,” he said, “And it needs to be a community effort.”

“We don’t do it just for sound financial management; we’re also concerned with conserving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

2014, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, disney, disneyworld, gillum, packing, tips, travel

Pack with me

Make little clothes people on your bed to plan outfits

Tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney World! We go there every year so I’m an experienced Disney traveler. For tips about Disney World see this post. For tips about how I pack for my adventure, read on. (Note that some of these packing tips are specific to females.)
How to pack:

  1.    Do laundry. This way you can see all of the clothes you have to work with and so you don’t come home to smelly clothes. You’ll be shocked at how many clothes you actually own. If not, immediately go on a wild shopping spree with your dad’s credit card. 
  2. Try on the clothes you’re thinking of taking. I find that a top that sometimes looks great on the hanger, doesn’t look as good on me. (Meaning, I probably shouldn’t have bough it in the first place. Oh well.) Or I’ll find that my weight has changed and pants fit differently. (If only cookies were healthy for you…) Put on the clothes you’re thinking of bringing and look in the mirror. 
  3. Lay them out on your bed. Make piles for each day you’ll be away. This helps you visually check you’re packing shirts, pants, underwear, socks, shoes, bras, camisoles, etc for each day. Plus then it will look like you have six stylish friends laying on your bed. 
  4. Be sure you pack pajamas or comfy clothes you can also sleep in. Do not forget your pajamas. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything. Puh-lease. What kind of idiot would forget jammy jams? Psh. 
  5. Put socks and underwear inside shoes to help the shoes keep their shape and to save room. Ain’t nobody want their shoes to get crushed in their luggage. That sucks. This also makes it easy to find your socks and underwear when you arrive. No more pawing through your luggage for clean undies. 
  6. Figure out what you’re wearing the day you leave, on the plane. Wear your heaviest clothes and layer to save room in your luggage. If it turns out to be hot in the airport, be sure to make a spectacle of slowly and sexily stripping off your excess layers.  
  7. Roll up pants tightly and fold shirts. Use rubber bands to keep them rolled up. Pack pants first in the bottom of your suitcase.  Carefully place clothes in suitcase. Don’t just throw them in there. How would you like to be thrown into a suitcase? 
    Cram your socks and undies in shoes

  8. What jewelry wil you wear? Place earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets in baggies. Then pray to God that they don’t become a tangled mess when you arrive at your destination. 
  9. Pack toiletries. If you’re flying and checking a bag, put all your liquids in that bag. If you’re not checking a bag, put liquids into a baggie and keep them under 3 oz. My dermatologist and dentist give out tiny samples that are perfectly travel size.  Be sure to reminisce on the days before Sept. 11 when you could carry on any liquids you wanted. 
  10. Pack stuff to do. Airports are treacherous boring hellholes. So, I packed two books, my ipad and my journal to keep my occupied. I used to bring my Gameboy with me, but I’m “too old” for that now 😉 I’d encourage you to bring whatever Gameboy, Pokemon, Walkman, Tamigotchi, Furby or other 90s toy you have. Don’t bother bringing headphones, your neighbors will immensely enjoy hearing whatever you’re doing. 
  11. Play liquid Tetris inside a Ziploc baggie. New high score!

  12. Make sure there aren’t any liquids in your purse or backpack. I’ll never forget when TSA confiscated a bottle of apple juice I forgot was in my backpack. I cried for weeks. Be sure to take out your hand sanitizer, dump out your water bottle and move liquids into your little liquid baggie. Heck, even empty the liquid in your bladder, unless it’s less than 3oz. 
    Tightly roll pants and shirts while humming “Roll up”

Be sure each day you have what you need to wear. Or else.
 What I usually Pack aka Packing list for female Dummies: 


  • Facial Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Foundation
  • Loofa in a ziploc bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Razor
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Comb
  • Trial sizes of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel


  • Walking Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Jacket or Cardigan
  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear
  • Bras 
  • Socks
  • Shorts 
  • Jeans
  • Pajamas


  • Purse/ bag 
  • Books
  • iPad
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera (plus charger)
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal
  • iPod (charger)
All photos taken by me. Admire my awesome point and shoot photography skills. 
2014, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, gillum, life

Working at the Pet Wellness Mobile Vet Clinic

Today, I helped my mom at her Pet Wellness Vet clinic. I’ve been helping her with this since it started several years ago. My role has shifted from just filling out rabies paperwork to talking to customers to holding dogs for nail trims. Working her for so long, it seems like I know how to pretty much do it all.
When I’m working, some people will assume that I’m training to become a veterinarian and I politely tell them that I actually do not want to be a vet. I just enjoy helping my mom (and petting the cute dogs and cats). But it’s still a job and I’ve taken a lot away from the experience.

Skills I’ve learned working at the Pet Wellness Mobile Vet Clinic:

Too cute!
We travel around to different locations, like this one. 
    The best part of my job: the canine customers. 

  • Stay organized: We have to keep the clipboards organized so that people get seen in the order they came in. This can be tough when we’re so busy and the counters start to get messy. I have to make it a priority. Also, it’s important for me to help my mom stay organized with her medicines and vaccines so she can easily find what she needs to help people. 
  • Roll with the punches: Sometimes we make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. Some of the mistakes are beyond our control like when a dog has an accident. I’ve learned to not make a big deal out of it and to just clean up the situation and move on. 
  • Be cautious around new dogs: I have a bad habit of excitedly lunging at dogs I think are cute. Not surprisingly, this scares them. So, I’ve learned to approach them slowly, hold out my hand for them to smell and wait for them to approach me. This helps to lower my risk of getting bitten or scratched. 
  • Talking to a wide variety of people: We’ve seen it all. Blind, deaf, handicapped, non-English speakers, really rich, really poor, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, etc. You name it and they’ve been to our clinic. I’ve learned to interact with a diverse group of people.
  • Do what needs to be done: At other jobs I’ve worked, someone will always tell me what needs to be done. Here, my mom is often too busy to tell me specifically what to do. So I have to be proactive and realize that what I could do to help out, get ahead or go where I’m needed. This helps me become independent.  
  • Watch what you say: I’ve definitely put my foot in my mouth before. This happens a lot when I say things like, “What a pretty girl!” and the owner stares at me and tells me it’s a boy cat. Whoops. Note to self: ask about gender before assuming a pink collar means it’s a girl. I’ve learned to try and be as polite and politically correct as I can to customers. 
  • Go outside my comfort zone: When I began helping my mom, I was in high school and was really shy about talking to strangers. I didn’t feel confident enough to talk to people about what vaccines their dog or cat needed. But when my mom needed me to pass out clipboards to people in line, I had to go outside my comfort zone and talk to strangers. It was the only way I would get better. Now, I’m more comfortable talking to people I’m unfamiliar with and I feel more sure of myself.  
Celebrating my 20th birthday at a clinic 

Working at the Pet Wellness Clinic is such a unique work experience opportunity that I know most teenagers don’t get to do. I’m thankful for the chance to help so many dogs and cats. Even though I don’t want to pursue a career in veterinary science, I can still apply what I’ve learned in my life and future career. 

book, book review, Christmas, debbie, gillum

3 Biased Book Reviews and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Over the Christmas holiday, we went down to Tennessee to visit family. One of the many benefits of travel is that it allows you to read a lot. I wolfed down three books in six days. Since I’m a writer, I can’t help but read books as a writer and look for things to incorporate in my own writing. Here are my short biased book reviews and what I learned from each book. 

On Christmas Eve, I read The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. My friend Emily recommended I read it because she thought I’d like the narrator’s tone of voice. I did. The book was about a teenage girl who moves to a London boarding school (which I found to be similar to Hogwarts.) Next to their school, a series of murders have taken place, a la Jack the Ripper style. Halfway through the book, the girl finds out she is part of this underground team of ghosts who all had a near death experience (our protagonist choked on some food) so now they can see dead people (Sixth sense anyone?). This ghost police force goes around zapping other ghosts who are a nuisance. The Jack the Ripper guy reaches out to the ghost police team and they realize he too is a ghost. Jack and the ghost police meet in an abandoned underground tube stop where they learn that Jack used to be one of the ghost police, like them but he murdered the rest of his team. Jack likes the fear he causes people as Jack the Ripper and wants the ghost police’s zapping tool so that he will no longer have to fear death. We also learn that the title of the book comes from the name that The Star newspaper gave to the murder who committed the Jack the Ripper murders back then. After an exciting climax, ghost Jack the Ripper gets zapped by a fellow ghost and our protagonist falls in love with one of her male friends from school. And they all lived happily ever after.
I liked the first half of this book. The second half, I was thinking, “Really? Ghosts? Wtf?” If I had written this, I would’ve kept everyone as normal humans. As a writer, I appreciated how the author clearly described what was going on. I could picture what was happening. I also liked how exciting the book was. It was a page turner and I read it in one day. I found myself pretty scared at some parts. However, I do not plan on reading the sequel or any other books in the series. I’m done with ghosts for a while.

On Christmas Day, I was worried that I’d be SOL and without a book to read. But lo and behold, my grandmother had my uncle’s latest book lying around. I meant to read it over Thanksgiving break but watched TV instead. Space in the Heart by Rodney Walther is written from three different third-person limited perspectives: Danica Cortez, Garrison (protagonist) and his 14 year old daughter Zoey. I can only hope that I wasn’t as bratty when I was 14 as Zoey was. I didn’t sympathize or relate to her at all because I was never in a wheelchair, I wasn’t bullied in school and I wasn’t that mean to my parents. I related more to Danica Cortez and her journalistic quest to tell the truth about who was really on this plane crash that she coincidentally happened to witness. She saw this dead girl before she rescued the Senator and it turned out to be his mistress. Busted. Garrison is still sad about the loss of his wife from 11 years ago. She was shot by a guy at a Burger King. (Another reason why America should make guns illegal.) Spoiler alert: the shooter was a guy that Danica helped release from prison by reporting about some corrupt judge. That was a good plot twist. I loved the scene when Garrison realized Danica knew the guy who murdered his wife and Danica was about to interview Garrison on TV. What an uncomfortable but great scene. The novel takes a lot of twists and turns. Stuff is always going wrong for these poor characters, but that makes it exciting to read. As a writer, that’s the main thing I took away from this book: don’t make life easy for your characters. Throw shit their way. I also liked the cliffhangers that ended each chapter. While there is no space in my heart currently for this book, maybe I’m not the target audience and maybe if I reread it I will like it more. If you do read Space in the Heart, Rodney would like you to leave a review on Amazon. I left a very positive review and you should too.

Waiting to see Saving Mr. Banks (a movie about why Disney does not serve alcohol at their theme parks. Just kidding. But it does scarily depict an alcoholic father) I cracked open Isle of Youth by Laura van den Berg. I forget why I added this to my Goodreads To-Read list, but I’m glad I did. I loved it! (except for the one Antartica story which I didn’t feel like finishing.) As a writer, I learned to not be afraid to make your characters weird, put them in weird places, have them do weird things, and write weird. I never would think to have a character eat sand or be fake private investigators. The first story is about a woman unhappy with her marriage. She’s on a trip with her husband in an attempt to fix things. The second one is about two women who call themselves private investigators. I didn’t expect to sympathize with such ruthless law breaking characters. But the author makes me care about people I usually would look down upon. The third story is about these kids who rob banks. The ending is pretty heartbreaking. The next one is about a woman who follows these acrobats in Paris after her husband leaves her. That was probably my favorite. I didn’t get into the Antarctica story like the others so I only read the first half. Oh well. The second to last story is about a mother daughter magician team. The daughter steals money from people while the mother dreams of something more. The last story is about a sister who trades places with her twin. But things don’t go according to plan. Overall, I loved these characters and the uber interesting settings, conflicts and situations. Nothing was mundane or boring. I’d read these again.  

A partridge in a pear tree

Thanks for reading about me reading. 

debbie, debbiegillum, gillum

Students Shifting the Power

Power Shift

The DenisonianOctober 29, 2013News
By Debbie Gillum
News Editor
Denison students learned how they can personally make a difference in the world when they spent their Fall Break at the National PowerShift convention in Pittsburgh, Pa.
25 students plus the Bon Appetit Sustainability Manager attended the grassroots-based movement to learn how to shift the power in communities, on Oct. 17- 20.
There were more than 6,000 people who attended PowerShift, and 250 were from Ohio. Most attendees were undergraduates but some were high school or graduate students.
PowerShift is unique from other student-led movements because it focused on potential solutions to the problems and (gave students the tools they need to do something right now) (told students what they can do to right now) to make a difference.
Jaclyn Lucas, a senior from Chatsworth, Calif., went on Powershift her freshman year and was excited to have the opportunity to go back. It was in Washington D.C. but moved to Pittsburgh, Pa. to give a wider group of students an opportunity to go.
“My favorite part were the panels. They had representatives from all over the nation and they were so diverse.
There were over 200 panels, on topics ranging from university’s green investments, local food, to graduate school programs  that focus on sustainability.
“We get to meet people and learn things that we can’t at Denison. I learned a ton,” Lucas said.
Students had the opportunity to network with participants and the keynote speakers themselves.
“They gave us individual business cards to hand out, so we could easily stay in contact with people we met,” said Monica Edgerton, a senior from Akron Ohio.
“Everyone was so eager to reach out to us,” she said.
Students such as, Hastea Darabian, a junior from Los Angeles, Calif. would recommend PowerShift to other students.
“It was very informative and fun. I became a lot more informed about current efforts to solve environmental problems,” said Darabian.
Some students went with little knowledge of current environmental issues. Other students enjoyed witnessing their revelations.
“It made me happy to see people learning and realizing what’s going on relating to these issues,” said Darabian.
Darabian noted that “sometimes people fail to see the importance of environmentalism. It’s an important economic, social, and political issue.”
Sam Wallace, a sophomore from Potomac, Md., said it was really powerful to hear firsthand stories of people affected by companies and chemicals that harm the environment, such as fracking.
“We heard about people in North Dakota who have a higher risk of death because fracking trucks will run them off the road,” he said.
Wallace said that his personal focus is to help bring water to communities and he is most interested in how fracking impacts food and water sources.
Wallace’s favorite part of the trip was the hands-on workshops where they had the opportunity to practice negotiating.
“Students would pretend to be administration and we would role-play to practice talking to them. It was great to get that first-hand experience at negotiating,” he said.
Students are bringing back what they learned at PowerShift to Denison and Granville by educating the community. On Nov. 13, there will be a panel called, “How toxins affect your health” at 7 p.m. at the Granville Public Library.
The student’s trip to PowerShift was completely funded by the Horizon Fund, the sustainability office, the environmental studies department, and the John R. Hunting environmental fund.
“The best part of PowerShift,” said Lucas, “was that it brought students with all different interests together for one common goal: to change the world.” 
article, copenhagen, debbie, debbiegillum, gillum, graffiti

Final for International Reporting class


Commuter trains are coated in graffiti and DSB is constantly working to combat this

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Copenhagen is the place to go for train graffiti. A wide range of graffiti can be seen on the trains. Everything from “Fuck Cops” to “The World is Yours” is spray painted colorfully over doors and windows on trains around Copenhagen.
While not all graffiti is ugly, it still costs the city money.
In 2009, DSB spent 25 million kroners cleaning graffiti. 
In 2005 there were 4,000 cases of graffiti on the outside of the S-tog trains, while the figure for regional and intercity train graffiti was just 250 cars. According to the DSB website, the majority of graffiti is done on commuter trains.
While spray painting a simple smiley face on a train just takes a few minutes, it can be a long and expensive process to eventually remove the graffiti. The state owned train transportation company, DSB, spent just over 25 million kroners in 2009 to clean up graffiti and other vandalism. Over 2,117 trains needed to be cleaned.  
It usually costs between 80.000 to 120.000 kroners to remove a section of graffiti from regional or inter-city trains. This number includes what it costs to do without the train in operation for that set time period.Some of this money comes from those prosecuted for vandalism. For example, in the summer of 2005, a man was charged with  vandalism and had to pay DSB 51,963 kroners in damages.  
In February of 2004, DSB had 8 employees working full time removing graffiti from commuter trains. In total, DSB employs a staff of over. 9,300 people. In 2010, the graffiti team removed over 77,000 square meters of graffiti from walls, stairs, tunnels and trains owned by DSB.
DSB worker, Erik Dalfoss views the graffiti as very bad and not pretty.
Graffiti such as this is a common sight on S-Togs
“I don’t like it. It’s everywhere. All the trains.” he said. He admitted DSB was trying to clean it up but that it was difficult.
Another DSB worker named Dennis had mixed feelings about the graffiti.
“If the graffiti is something beautiful, like art, then I can appreciate it,” he said, “Some I like, others I don’t.” Dennis thinks the amount of graffiti has gone down in recent years.
While it may be art, Dennis agreed that DSB should do more to clean it up, even though that costs a lot of money.
According to the DSB website, DSB passengers feel unsafe using the train or stay in stations that are filled with graffiti.
“It doesn’t bother me.” said Elina Mintatite, a middle aged woman, who takes the Stog from Copenhagen Central Station frequently. She is one of the 195 million passengers DSB carries every year.
“I don’t like to see the windows covered by graffiti though. Besides that, it doesn’t make me upset,” she said. “It’s not good. But it’s not really that bad.” Minatite thought the trains should invest more time and money into important things like assuring all trains have enough trash bags. She recalled how last week her and her daughter had nowhere to put their apples after they were done eating.
Graffiti in Denmark started out in the early 1980s and was legal. Not long after, criminal groups formed and began vandalizing private property. The city soon made graffiti illegal.  
DSB is working to combat graffiti by installing security cameras, building fences around train depots and making graffiti a serious crime. It is a difficult problem to fix, with no easy solution.
“We can not begin to introduce surveillance everywhere. It would be too expensive. We make instead of getting cleaned trains as soon as possible.” said Director of DSB, Peter Jespersen in August 2012.
The penalty for graffiti is now quite steep. One can be punished with up to four years in prison for making graffiti. Moreover, one can be sentenced to pay heavy damages if convicted of graffiti paint on DSB trains and buildings. Young people under 15 years are at risk of being removed from her parents and be placed in a closed institution, similar to a prison. Graffiti stays on your record for ten years, making it difficult to find respectable jobs.
Often it is the same group of people vandalizing the trains.  They use a “tag” that they write over and over again. A commonly seen tag is: MOA (Monsters Of Art).Little known to the vandals, DSB has built a database of these graffiti “tags” and the individuals suspected of spraying them. This database makes it easier to apprehend vandals. Copenhagen and Odense’s police forces subscribe to the database.  
While at least every third train rolling into Copenhagen Central Station has major parts of its panels covered with colors, DSB continues to work on new ways to remove those colors.