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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.”


Streetcar Named Desire

Date: October 9, 2012


      The Department of Theatre debuted its first production of the year, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, this past weekend, and audiences have responded with thunderous applause, teary eyes, and standing ovations.
Choosing to bring the streets of New Orleans to Granville was a change for the theatre department.
Mark Seamon, assistant professor of theatre and director of Streetcar, said he researched the plays Denison has performed in recent history and discovered that they hadn’t done an American classic—a play by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill, and other greats of the American theatre—in 20 years or so.
“It was time,” Seamon said, citing two main reasons. “One, it presents great opportunities for theatre artists—actors, directors, designers, and technicians alike. Two, it’s a fascinating and compelling story that audiences will thoroughly enjoy being drawn into.”
Vail artists-in-residence Julia Guichard and Chad Weddle also were able to assist with the performance. Guichard is a vocal dialect coach and is the associate chair of theatre at Miami University of Ohio. Weddle is a fight choreographer and is no stranger to the Hill. He choreographed fights for Dead Man’s Cell Phone and Legacy of Light.
Seamon described Streetcar as “dramatic storytelling at its very best.”
“What I love about the play is what makes it so challenging to produce: it runs us through an emotional wringer.” he said. “As director and audience member, I’m equally drawn to the play’s scenes of emotional intensity and violence on one end of the spectrum, as I am to its delicate moments of quiet and tenderness on the other.”

     Seamon acknowledged that without the hard work of many students, the production couldn’t have come to life.
“Seniors Laura Hoffman (scenic designer) and Elyse Dolan (assistant director & sound designer) and I have been working together since last spring, and they have done incredible work.” he said. Both students are majoring in theatre and are involved in DITA (Denison Independent Theatre Association).
Dolan described working with Seamon as the highlight of her experience.
“I think of him as my mentor and friend, and I knew that working alongside him on Streetcar would be a great continuation of my directing education. His passion for creating theatre and drive for excellence inspires me, in this process and beyond.” she said.
Dolan found Streetcar to be challenging from a director and sound designer’s standpoint.
“From a directing perspective, many of the challenges were finding ways to make the blocking fluid and natural but still aesthetically interesting.” she said, “From a sound designer’s perspective, my biggest challenge was finding music appropriate to end the more intense scenes while still remaining true to the mid-century New Orleans jazz sound.”
One of the lead roles was given to a theatre newcomer Maddie Johnston, a junior environmental studies and biology double major from Chesterfield, Mo., who makes her debut as Stella Kowalski.
She auditioned for Streetcar because it was her favorite play growing up. “I was honored, really, that the theatre department considered me for such an iconic and well-known character,” she said.
Johnston described one of the major challenges she has faced is Stella’s tolerance for Stanley.
“It is so hard to play such a submissive character when someone treats you that badly,” she said.

Experienced thespian Meghan Callahan of Denver, Colo., took on the role of Eunice Hubbell, who is Stella’s caring neighbor and is also domestically abused by her husband. Callahan is a junior majoring in English and minoring in theatre and art. She is a member of both Burpees’s Seedy Theatrical Company and the new comedy group, Sketch’rs.
She said, “It was a whole different kind of animal playing a character who is abused. But I loved the challenge the role presented.”
Domestic violence is an undeniably major part of the play. Seamon and Dolan talked to all of the actors a lot about the role of violence in the show. They wanted the production to be believable and not make light of serious issues, while still staying true to Williams’ emotional complexities in the script.
“The truth is, real life can be sad and violent and funny all at once, and Streetcar explores all of that. People in the play aren’t simply good or bad–they are products of time, place, how they were raised, etc.” Callahan said, “The audience really has to draw their own conclusions about the level of each character’s morality.” Streetcar not only forces viewers to think about characters three dimensionally, but also to think about domestic abuse.
Overall, the gripping storyline from Tennessee Williams plus passionate performances equals a must-see event. And it’s not too late—you can still catch the play nightly at 8 p.m. through Thursday, October 11, in Ace Morgan Theatre on West College. For ticket info, call the theatre box office at 740-587-6527.


Dressed In Time

From TheDen November 29, 2012. 

Not many know that Denison is home to a unique collection of hundreds of historical fashion garments from the 1830s through the 1970s, and the collection recently has been organized and digitized, which allows online access not only to students and faculty, but to anyone around the world who would like to see it or to use it for their research.
Highlights of the collection include two “day dresses” from the 1830s and 1840s, dresses and velvet capes from the 1890s, and beaded and fringed dresses from the 1930s. One of the most interesting fabrics is a 1967 mini-dress designed by Emilio Pucci, of silk jersey fabric.
Cynthia Turnbull, an associate professor of theatre, oversees the collection. When she first arrived at Denison, the clothing was stored in a metal cabinet. She noticed dresses from the 1840s and the 1850s in the pile and carefully set them aside. She hoped to better organize the entire collection but lacked time or resources.
In 2009, she became friends with Laresse Hall, a former fine arts liaison librarian at Denison who is now the arts and architecture librarian at University of North Carolina Charlotte. After taking a tour of the theatre building, Hall was captivated by the clothing from various historic periods.
“It made me think about the value of these objects and the limitations for sharing them when they were available to view only in the physical domain,” Hall said. “It was an ideal collection to share with a larger audience while also providing a way for students to use the collection as a learning tool.”
In 2010, Hall told Turnbull about grant opportunities that could help her receive funding to organize the costume collection. They applied and received a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
With the grant they hired Julie Melrose ’11 of Wooster, Ohio, to help and it became the perfect trio: Melrose knew the software; Hall knew how to categorize and organize things, and Turnbull knew and understood the historic periods and could date the clothes, and she also knew enough about historic clothing and designers to be able to determine which garments might be the most valuable–for study and dating.
The summer of 2010, the three set to work. Everyone had a lot of responsibilities. “I had to categorize the garments, make labels containing the date, description, and picture, write detailed descriptions, and get measurements,” Melrose said.
Going through the costumes was quite a reality check for Turnbull. “I thought we had maybe a hundred garments. We actually had over a thousand. The downstairs classroom in Ace Morgan was full of clothes,” she said. “It was difficult to determine what was worth saving and what wasn’t–since all historic garments are interesting and have some value.” But some were not in good shape, were duplicates, had mold, or holes, or so many tears that they didn’t even resemble a garment. They narrowed the collection down to less than 400.
The next summer, in 2011, the project continued. Melrose and Yue Nakayama ’12 photographed the clothes in more detail by putting them on mannequin to show the shape of the garment. “It is important to pad the garment,” Turnbull said, “so the accurate shape of the clothing is seen in the photos. The silhouette of the garments changes in the different historic periods—so seeing the true shapes of the garments is a very important part of documentation.”
The photos were taken from all sides, including the details of the fabric and trim. The result is online access to a close representation of the actual garment.
Turnbull has used the collection to aid her in teaching various courses, including History
 of Fashion, 20th Century
 and Costume Design. “The collection can be an important primary source for students designing or constructing costumes for the stage,” Turnbull said. “By looking at an actual garment from 1930, the fabric, trim, and cut can be understood so that costume for the stage can accurately represent the historic period. This is a research and study collection.”
For one class project, each
in Turnbull’s class selected a 20th century garment to research, photograph, date, and
 describe. To do this, students examined the detailing, fabric, and silhouette of the garment. Then they conducted research of primary source material, like fashion magazines, for similar garments. Students were able to date the garment within a range of years, say 1962 to 1965, and determine its probable use and social context.
The fashion history collection is rarely used on stage because the pieces are so delicate. Compared to the entire Theatre Department Stage Costume Collection, which is used for theatre productions and takes up multiple rooms, the fashion history collection is a mere two racks. However, in this year’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire, some of the prop dresses in Blanche’s trunk came from the fashion history collection.
Screenshot Images of the article: