Campus promotes green options
By Kyle Nackers
photo by Avery Leith
The Students for Sustainability club practices sustainable
options by growing vegetables in the campus garden.
Students and staff continue to uphold and expand sustainability initiatives on the UW-Fox campus.
Some sustainable options in place on campus include recyclable paper in all printers, low-flow water fixtures in restrooms, as well as particle filters installed on water fountains to encourage the use of reusable water bottles.
UW-Fox has hired energy efficiency company Honeywell to help understand where energy is being used on campus, and how it can be reduced. An energy audit was completed, and Honeywell will use that information to continue making energy saving upgrades.
Although UW Fox would like to be as energy efficient as possible, not every option is well suited for the campus.
"We explored the possibility of a wind turbine on campus... [but] a feasibility study showed that we don't have a lot of wind energy here... if you balance out what we would get from that in terms of energy and the costs to go in, it was really not the best choice to go ahead with wind," Teresa Weglarz, associate lecturer of biological sciences said.
Although wind isn't a practical option for Fox, the school is exploring other possibilities for alternative energy.
"Solar power is still an option that is being looked into," Weglarz said.
For solar power to become an option, UW-Fox would have to raise the money needed for the purchase and installation of solar panels. This would include applying for grants, obtaining approval to use Student Association funds and fundraising.
To help offset energy use on campus, a 380 square-foot green roof was installed last year. Plants occupy the rooftop instead of a bare surface. In addition to other environmental benefits, this reduces the energy needs for heating and cooling.
Some sustainability options on campus are simple. Various recycling bins occupy the halls. These allow students and staff to properly dispose of compostable items, which include the utensils and containers provided by the on-campus food service.
Members of the campus club Students for Sustainability regularly empty these bins then use the compost to fertilize the campus garden.
"If you haven't been out there [to the garden] it's worth the look right now... [students for sustainability] have pumpkins in there, they're nice and big and starting to turn orange," Weglarz said.
Some of the food grown in this garden is used for the educational assistance through scholarships event (e.a.t.s.) which was held on campus Oct. 19.
"Students for Sustainability picked squash last year and they made squash soup, so you know you have sort of that local agricultural, local food type of thing," Weglarz said.
Retired environmental chemistry and toxicology professor Dr. Paul Connett was on campus Sep. 26. presenting "The Benefits of Zero Waste."
Connett is an internationally recognized expert on sustainability and zero waste principles. His presentation focused on landfills, and why he feels that they are not needed.
Students who attended the presentation were interested to learn about waste reduction progress that has been made around the world.
"I thought it was very interesting to find out that San Francisco is at 70% zero waste as of 2008, and Italy did 70% in 18 months," sophomore Erin Helt said.
Some students are aware of ways to be green in the community.
"I recycle plastic bags because I know how much they harm animals…at Best Buy I turn in old computers and things like that," sophomore Jeff Coe said.
Considering future consequences helps students realize the importance of sustainable practices.
"I think that we need to start being healthful and sustainable because if we don't start now, the world isn't going to be pretty for my grandchildren's grandchildren," Helt said.
For more information on sustainability efforts at UW Fox and how to become involved, please visit www.uwfox.uwc.edu/stuclubs/Sustainability.