From plumbing to electricity to the food in the dining halls, running a college takes a lot of natural resources.
“We really strive to address the idea of sustainability holistically,” said Wesley Enterline, Sustainability coordinator. “To do that we utilize the Sustainability Tracking and Ratings System, or STARS, on our own campus.”
The STARS guidelines, put in place by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, helps many sustainability organizations around the country to find the answer to some of their area’s more wasteful habits, and it is no different for the Whitewater campus, either.
“This month, in accordance with STARS, we began tracking water filling station usage in various academic buildings and focusing on water usage,” said Ashley Flor, the Assistant Sustainability coordinator at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. “We’ve also been working with Protect Wisconsin Waterways on education and action about stormwater.”
On top of reducing water usage, the office has also focused on reducing energy usage and transportation pollutants.
“We’ve recently hired our first sustainable transportation intern to focus on supporting low-impact modes of transportation to, from and around campus to improve current conditions,” said Flor. “During the spring semester we hope to improve bike culture throughout campus by assessing safety and infrastructure to provide solutions that will encourage Warhawks to bike.”
In the end, the Sustainability Office does acknowledge that it takes more than just a few students to make a big difference on campus.
“Raising awareness about simple changes individuals can make add up to make a big impact in a densely populated area, as a college campus,” said Flor. “We’ve seen the success we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal.”