Jeff’s Role In The First Ever “Green Issue” Of The Middlebury Campus Newspaper

31 Jan

In my ongoing pursuit of beautiful memories of Jeff, I recently found something that I remember him taking great pride in.  In his room at home was the first ever “Green Issue” of The Middlebury Campus newspaper, published on November 20, 2008 for which every section editor was asked to write an article on a “green” topic related to their section. 

Jeff, as Sports Editor, decided to write about the Middlebury Nordic ski team’s use of a truck powered by vegetable oil to transport them to all their practices and competitions.  To some, this might sound like a joke; however, it was anything but.  Jeff took the article very seriously, he researched the topic thoroughly, and he held several interviews with Nordic ski team coach Andrew Gardner.  On November 11, 2008, he emailed me with a heads up about what he was doing:

“Dad- Next week, the Middlebury Campus is producing it’s “green” issue with articles focusing almost exclusively on the environment and how Middlebury seeks to uphold its role as an environmentally-friendly institution.  Almost all of the articles are being written by section editors.  I’ll let my topic be a surprise, but here’s one of the links I used for research, so see if you can figure it out–“”

Elon “Lonnie” Rubin, founder of this blog and one of Jeff’s very best friends, graduated from UConn School of Law this past spring.  He is passionate about the environment and has begun to pursue a career related to that passion. Thus, I can’t think of anything more fitting than to post Jeff’s green issue article on the blog created by his close friend, to whom environmental issues are so important.  And so, Elon, this one’s for you–from a dear old friend who I know is proud of everything you are doing…

Jeff and Elon-best friends always






Ski Truck blazes a green trail

By Jeff Klein


          In the competitiveness of college athletics, we often forget that the game affects more than just the winning team, losing team, and crazed supporters of both sides. Sporting events carry with them heavy environmental consequences, many of them negative.

          Several Middlebury sports teams are upholding their roles as conscious stewards of the environment.

          Following on the heels of the crew team, the Middlebury Nordic ski team has chosen to ride to all its upcoming practices and competitions this winter season in a truck powered by vegetable oil, as opposed to conventional diesel oil. The crew team has been using the truck for about three years and will regain possession of it for its spring season.

          “I just want to emphasize how unbelievably supportive facilities and the athletic department have been [of the idea]” said head Nordic coach Andrew Gardner, entering his third season at Middlebury. “Erin Quinn in particular has been amazing in his support.”

          Coach Gardner noted how in the past, the ski team traveled in two large vans, one of which served merely as a large equipment-storage space. The process was inefficient and burned a large amount of fossil fuels.

          The more environmentally-friendly vegetable oil will allow the ski team to decrease its emissions by an estimated 85 percent from last year while cutting its overall fuel bill by one-third.

Several years ago, the athletic center purchased the truck from Greasecar, a company in western Massachusetts that specializes in auxiliary fuel modification systems that allow all diesel vehicles to run on straight vegetable oil in any climate. This year, Coach Gardner went a step further and secured two grants from the Brown Foundation and Environmental Council to purchase a processing system for the truck and an additional filtering system for the athletic department.

Since pure vegetable oil is too thick to work in the engine unless the oil is heated, coolant lines run through the tank, which keeps the oil warm. Each time the truck is used, it begins to operate on the traditional diesel oil before the conversion system switches to vegetable oil. About 20 minutes before the end of the ride, the converter switches back to diesel oil.

Coach Gardner believes that this effort ties into the College’s overall commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability. “In every sport, we must have the cognizance of sustainability as an undertaking,” he said. “Can we measure the costs, and how do we reduce them?”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, in the U.S. we burn 22.2 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions for each gallon of diesel fuel we use. The Middlebury Nordic ski team is clearly doing its part to bring that number down.

One Response to “Jeff’s Role In The First Ever “Green Issue” Of The Middlebury Campus Newspaper”

  1. jodeenovakcm January 31, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    thanks for sharing this rich. i love that with your blog posts you are offering those of who knew jeffrey the gift of getting to know him even better … and enriching our lives as a result. love you all.

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