Year in College: Senior
Major: Environmental Studies
Emphases: Biology, Ecology
Hometown: Chilton, Wis.
Current City: Oshkosh, Wis.
Internships: STEP internship in Sustainability Office; Environmental Studies intern
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh environmental studies student and Oshkosh Food Co-op Board President Bridgette Weber’s passion to change the University’s, and the world’s, impact on the environment landed her a position as a intern in the Sustainability Office.
“I went to the sustainability office with the things I wanted changed at the University,” Weber said. “I asked about job opportunities working with sustainability initiatives at UW Oshkosh, and started my internship Fall 2013.”
For Sustainability Director Brian Kermath, hiring Weber and helping her to pursue her passion for sustainability on the UW Oshkosh campus has been rewarding. Weber is an intern through the Student Titan Employment Program (STEP), which gives students hands-on, high-impact opportunities on campus.
“When I met Bridgette she was very active in the community and had a lot of sustainability ideas for our campus,” Kermath said. “As my program’s intern, she has helped me keep projects moving forward.”
“I wanted to be part of something that could change the University—something I could start now and see it continue on in the future,” Weber said.
With an office staff of one, Kermath said he relies on his five STEP students to help him in collecting and reporting data, incorporating sustainability in academics, updating the sustainability plan and promoting sustainability efforts on campus.
“Our students are critical for the operation of the Sustainability Office,” Kermath said. “Bridgette has been great—her maturity as a student really helps in working with different personality types and departments across campus.”
“We are starting out small with pizza boxes and napkins, but we are still getting contamination, meaning it can’t go to the biodigester,” Weber said. “My role is to provide more communication to the residence halls, to increase awareness and provide more information to see how it helps [reduce contamination].”
Weber’s classroom and internship experiences combined with her passion for having a sustainable food source in Oshkosh have helped her to start organizing the Oshkosh Food Co-op two years ago.
“Aside from the Farmers Market, we have a food drought in downtown Oshkosh,” Weber said. “All of the grocery stores are located on the outskirts of town.”
The Oshkosh Food Co-op will be a community-owned grocery store, allowing shareholders to decide what foods the store will stock, and is expected to open in spring 2015.
“The Oshkosh Food Co-op will bring food in to the [downtown] community, and more ethnic food options to provide diverse option,” Weber said. “We want it to be a cultural hub, we’ll be offering demonstrations on how to cook food and educating people on where the food is coming from.”