Governance and Administration
Campus Sustainability Plan
On April 22, 2008, the Chancellor approved a comprehensive, 124-page Campus Sustainability Plan. The plan covered organization and oversight; operations (electricity, heating, energy, fresh water, storm water, facilities, transportation, purchasing, solid waste, food services and grounds); teaching; research; outreach; and assessment. For each section, it stated goals, recommendations for immediate consideration, recommendations for future consideration and top priorities. The plan was written by the previously appointed Campus Sustainability Team, which sought campuswide input in various ways at several stages.
Campus Sustainability Council
The Campus Sustainability Council (CSC) began work in fall 2008. Co-chaired by Facilities Director Steve Arndt and Environmental Studies Professor James Feldman, the council includes administration, staff, students and faculty. Student members are nominated by OSA, USRH and at-large. The CSC works with the sustainability director to develop an annual plan and budget and makes recommendations to administration on policy issues. The Campus Sustainability Plan is the guiding document for setting priorities.
Campus Sustainability Director
The first sustainability director was hired in 2009. Michael Lizotte currently holds the position as an interim director.
The University conducted its first campus-wide assessment of sustainability, using the Association for the Advancement in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Reporting System (STARS). The University is one of 228 institutions listed as STARS Charter Participants. The final report will be released in December 2011.
The University purchased 23 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. UW Oshkosh has been a member of the Green Power Partnership with the EPA since 2002.
The University dedicated and started operation of the first commercial-scale dry anaerobic biodigester built in the Americas. It uses agricultural, food and yard wastes to create enough biogas to generate the equivalent of 10 percent of the campus electricity and heat. Partnerships with the City of Oshkosh include processing yard waste collected by the city and energy generation form biogas produced at the city wastewater treatment plant. The facility is owned by the UW Oshkosh Foundation and profits will be used to generate new funds for scholarships.
Sage Hall construction included installation of solar technologies capable of generating 10 percent of its energy on-site. Heat for use in hot water and in-floor radiant heating systems is generated by 60 solar thermal panels. Electricity is generated by 188 solar photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 39.6 kW.
Energy efficiency improvements will continue through performance contracts with Johnson Controls. Large outdoor lighting fixtures for parking lots and path lighting were converted to more efficient induction lamps.
The University placed its first application for LEED certification for the refurbished Student Success Center. A determination is expected in late 2011. This project was awarded the 2010 Excellence in Sustainable Design award from the State Building Commission.
Construction was completed for Sage Hall following a LEED Gold design. The goals include an aggressive energy efficiency of 50 kBtu per sq. ft., half the energy requirement of the building code. The building makes extensive use of green building technologies, including daylighting to more than 80 percent of the indoor space, insulation and low-emission windows, demand-control ventilation, renewable construction materials, low chemical emission paints, carpets and furnishings, a green roof, raingarden landscaping and expanded bicycle parking. The project achieved a recycling rate of 85 percent for construction and demolition waste.
Construction began on a new suite-style residence hall designed to LEED Platinum standards. Horizon Village is scheduled to open in Fall 2012.
Food and Dining
Dining Services and their contractor, Sodexo, have increased sustainable food options. Milk, potatoes and some produce and cheese were procured locally. Fair Trade items, primarily coffee, tea and chocolate, have been expanded in outlets, vending machines and as the default choice for catered events. Humane products include shell eggs from cage-free chickens.
Dining Services also reduced their energy and water use. The "trayless" dining campaign and new dishwashing machines have reduced water, chemical and energy use for dish washing. A new walk-in refrigerator and freezer saves energy, in part, by placing the freezer compartment inside the refrigerated space.
The campus gardens were open for a fourth summer for students growing food and flowers. The gardens are located at the Third Street facilities and managed following organic practices. The new student garden club organized volunteers to construct 20 raised beds and fence in areas for student gardenting and for a research plot used by the Department of Biology and Microbiology. Materials for these projects were purchased with funds donated by alumni.
The University contributed to developing the city of Oshkosh's Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan adopted in 2011. It recommends bicycle lanes for main streets through campus and new standards for pedestrian facilities, such as wider sidewalks and bolder crosswalks, in the University neighborhood.
The rebuilding of Elmwood Avenue will include the first full use of bicycle on lanes in the city. Part of the street is also closed and redesigned as a pedestrian mall with bike lanes to improve safety between university properties. A bicycle lane was also added to High Avenue after resurfacing.
The University continued to provide free bus passes for all students and staff to use the Oshkosh Transit System (OTS). Titan Transit, supported by student fees, entered its fourth year of operations to extend transit to hours not covered by the city.
Student Technology Fees were used to extend the contract for Zimride, an online ride-sharing program exclusive to students and staff, for an additional two years. Reports from Zimride indicated that UW Oshkosh had one of the fastest adoption rates of any customer, registering more than 1,200 users in its first year. It was estimated that commuters saved more than $150,000 in transportation costs for Zimride-coordinated rides.
UW Oshkosh participated in the national Recyclemania for the fourth year, ranking first in Wisconsin and 14th in the country. The recycling rate for this 10-week event was 60 percent. This was the first time UW Oshkosh has recorded more recycling than trash for its municipal waste stream. The reasons include both increased recycling and reduced trash production. The University remains on track to meet the Sustainability Plan goal of reducing solid waste by 30 percent by 2012.
Work began on a Waste Management Plan to address landfill waste, recycling, electronic waste, construction and demolition waste, hazardous waste and re-use programs.
The University changed its standard white printing/copy paper from 30 percent recycled content to 100 percent recycled content. This change affects the purchasing of five truckloads of paper per year. It is estimated to save the equivalent of 1,100 trees per year, equivalent to all the mature trees on campus.
Buildings and Grounds Maintenance
The University earned Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. UW Oshkosh was one of 130 campuses nationwide to be honored, and the only college in Wisconsin. The application cited our Tree Care Plan; tree planting events coordinated with volunteers and the City of Oshkosh, which entered its 30th year as a Tree City USA; and our audit of existing trees by biology students that is available as an interactive online map.
The campus continued to improve and expand native plantings used for storm water and natural prairies by establishing mowing schedules, controlling weeds, increasing biodiversity and providing public education signs.
The University continues to use green cleaning chemicals throughout the campus.
Work continued on General Education Reform, which includes an essential learning outcome for "knowledge of sustainability and its applications."
The Winnebago Project completed its fourth year of offering a two-day faculty college and compensation for faculty who make changes to infuse sustainability in their curriculum. Faculty brown-bag sessions and workshops have been held to discuss sustainability in the curriculum and availability of campus-specific teaching materials.
The College of Business has proposed a new minor in Sustainable Management for 2012.
The University collaborated with other UW campuses and UW Extension to develop a new online master's degree program in Sustainable Management. If adopted by UW System, the first offering will be in Fall 2012.
Stephanie Spehar, of Anthropology, served as the University's first Chancellor's Fellow in Sustainability. She worked with the Provost, sustainability director, Campus Sustainability Council and faculty to improve faculty development opportunities, assess sustainability in the curriculum and develop links to co-curricular activities on campus.
UW Oshkosh promoted sustainability throughout the academic year in various special events. Earth Week in late April is the main spring event for sustainability. Earth Week 2010 included Bike Bash, a multiday creative event to rebuild, redesign and decorate bicycles supervised by visiting artists, several days of tree planting, film discussions and speakers.
The Earth Charter Community Summit consists of a week of events each October and is one of the largest Earth Charter community summits in the U.S. In 2010, campus sustainability events included an inspirational speaker on how to change the world in your twenties, public sessions on Sage Hall construction and recycling, a Fair Trade film, a construction party at the student gardens, a community projects contest and an organic dinner with a speaker on green urban architecture.
The Sustainability Office supervised interns supported by the STEP program and external grants. Residence Life supported four eco-rep positions as a pilot program to provide peer-to-peer education in residence halls. Students were also placed in internships with local governments, nonprofits and companies through the Sustainability Office.
Community Service, Outreach and Public Relations
The sustainability director represents the University on several off-campus committees. For the city of Oshkosh, he served on a steering committee to draft the first sustainability plan for the City of Oshkosh, and the steering committee that completed the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation Plan. Local economic development efforts were assisted through sustainability committees for NEW North, NEW ERA, the Fox Cities Task Force on Food Waste and the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway Board.
The director, staff, and students also participated in state, regional and national conferences, including AASHE, NACUBO, Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability and UW-System. The director provided 15 presentations on the biodigester, green buildings and campus sustainability to local and state organizations.