Student Government’s Environmental & Sustainable Issues Committee (ESIC) is working to put forth campaigns encouraging sustainable practices on campus. Alex Thomas, affairs director for ESIC, stated that his goal in joining the committee is “lessening the environmental impact of campus, and educating students.”
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has prided itself on being a green campus and is recognized nationally for its sustainability enterprises.
ESIC is moving forward with their plan to get composting bins in all academic buildings. Currently, the only composting in academic buildings is located in the Health Enhancement Center (HEC) and, with work from SGA, there will be composting accessible in all academic facilities on campus.
There is also an effort to provide a campus-wide discount for students who utilize reusable mugs. “Disposable cups create a lot of waste and we’re incentivizing good behavior with the discount,” Justin Seis, a member of ESIC, said.
Reusable mugs offer a more sustainable alternative to compostable cups since they require less energy to produce, ship and dispose. With a reusable cup each step of production is only done once, as opposed to using disposable cups in which the process is repeated each time a person buys a drink.
Student Government is also attempting to acquire a Fair Trade Certification for UWSP. Fair Trade encourages economic arrangements that support agricultural workers, keeping farmers out of poverty.
Robby Abrahamian, a member of the committee, said that “having the qualification for that will improve the university’s sustainable credibility… and it looks good to current and prospective students.”
Bringing a farmers market to campus is in the works as well.
“Students could get fresh produce from local farmers,” Thomas said.
Joining the local food movement can have a huge impact on one’s environmental footprint, as it reduces the need to transport food from far away locations. This would cut down on the burning of fossil fuels involved in the transportation of goods.
In addition to all of the previous efforts, ESIC has new campaigns for the spring semester.
One of these initiatives involves teaming up with the Coalition of Organizational Leadership (COOL) in the TNR to bring in a speaker during Earth Week. The committee is also working with The Sustainability Office in presenting a series of documentaries focusing on environmental issues coming up in February.
The Environmental & Sustainability Issues Committee meets on Fridays at 1pm in the Brewhaus conference room. Meetings are open to the student body, and those who would like to participate in the campaigns are encouraged to attend.