The second annual Sustainability Fair that was held in the Laird Room on Wednesday, Oct. 22, recognized efforts of student groups and community organizations that make strides in reducing environmental impacts.
The fair was put on by the Office of Sustainability and coincided with National Campus Sustainability Day, an initiative started 11 years ago for campuses to celebrate the successes and challenges of becoming sustainable.
Students and community members visited with representatives from different organizations and businesses. A number of unique displays were set up and several tables offered free handouts.
Dave Barbier, the sustainability coordinator at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, said he hoped this year’s fair would drive home the idea of a connection between campus and community and show the impacts already made.
“I think we have a farther reach on campus than we did last year,” said Barbier. “We’re giving people a change to raise awareness about their topic.”
Barbier said some people who were supposed to come to the fair did not show up. His goal for next year is to fill the empty spaces.
Simone LaMarche, a student working at the Office of Sustainability, agreed this year’s fair was better than before.
“We have more community businesses and organizations joining us this year,” LaMarche said. “I think it will open students up to look at the community. We want to raise awareness.”
Victoria Vaughn from Baking For Friends was at the fair representing The Village Hive, a shared use kitchen in Amherst. The kitchen is outfitted with commercial appliances and can be rented by the hour 24/7. The building also features a retail bakery and local foods collective where seven different bakeries sell their goods.
Vaughn said it can be extremely difficult and expensive for food entrepreneurs to make and sell their product. Being able to rent kitchen space and market products at the collective is not only cost-effective, but also ecologically friendly.
“Think about it,” Vaughn said. “If seven small businesses tried to start their own kitchens, there would be a much bigger impact.”
Vaughn said each baker who uses the kitchen is dedicated to supporting local farmers and reducing waste.
“There is a real commitment to local ingredients,” Vaughn said. “The pie maker, for example, is making all of her pie fillings from scratch.”
Vaughn was happy to have the opportunity to support The Village Hive at the Sustainability Fair and hopes more Pointers will visit their Amherst location.
“The Sustainability Fair wasn’t on my radar,” Vaughn said. “Someone asked us to come. It fits with who and what we are.”