Three projects designed to address sustainability concerns are being considered for funding through the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Green Fund program.
Led by students, the Green Fund approved its first project in 2013. The program provides support for projects that increase sustainability on campus.
Projects under consideration this year include re-design of waste and recycling bins, replacing the Department of Theatre and Dance’s light fixtures, and the purchase of an electric vehicle for use at UWSP’s Treehaven field station in Tomahawk. A project to insulate the roof of the new science building with living plants has already been approved.
“I never thought I’d be working on a recycling project,” said Jordan Winkenbach, senior forest ecosystem restoration and biology major.
Winkenbach and her partner Ellie Corbin have been working for over a year to simplify and encourage responsible waste disposal in campus buildings. The project is almost ready to be submitted for review.
Winkenbach said by updating the color and orientation of bins, the university could reduce the amount of recyclables in landfills and increase composting.
“You couldn’t tell 20 feet out which bin is which,” Winkenbach said. “We’re kind of going to refurbish them.”
She said replacing all of the bins would be ideal, but the cost is not justifiable and would overlook putting current bins to good use. A lengthy research process and conversations with Dave Barbier, UWSP’s sustainability coordinator, helped narrow the focus.
The solution involves reducing the number of receptacles per unit from four to three, placing colored sleeves over bins and updating signage. There is hope that extra bins will furnish the new science building or will be repurposed for compost.
“A huge part of people recycling is if they care and think about recycling,” Winkenbach said. By changing labels from “trash” to “landfill,” students may reconsider what they are throwing away.
Barbier said UWSP’s facility services acknowledges the need and would change if not for their limited budget.
“We could be getting paid by a recycler to take that from us,” Barbier said. “There are big financial reasons to do this.”
The current proposal requires nearly $40,000. If the project goes into effect, data from an audit done by students in Waste 485 will shed light on whether changes are effective.
Marisa Abbott, senior theater design and technology major, began a project in October with students Deidre Buckles, Alesha Hollatz and Ellen Reid. Their project involves replacing cyclorama lighting in the UWSP theater. Cyclorama lights produce a broad wash of light on a large curtain during performances.
“The current fixtures we’re using are very, very outdated,” Abbott said.
She and her colleagues plan to replace old fixtures with modern LED lighting. LED lighting requires less energy and eliminates constant replacement of lamps and color gels that have short life spans.
“We spent a lot of time gathering information and making sure it was correct,” Abbott said. “We contacted heads of other theater departments.”
The project is awaiting approval from the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee and is slated to cost around $35,000.
“The project is geared toward eliminating waste that the theater puts out,” Abbott said. “It’s a step toward more modern technology.”