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UWO Sustainability Impact Report

Winner of the 2022 U.S. Dept. Of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Award

Tree Campus Higher Education Institution

13 Years Oshkosh Campus
11 years Fox Cities Campus
4 years Fond du Lac Campus

Earth Day 2022, Chancellor Leavitt signs Second Nature’s Climate Commitment and calls for Climate Neutrality by 2030 

UWO awarded $10,000 pro bono consulting services for Climate Action Planning by Brailsford & Dunlavey in partnership with Second Nature 

AASHE STARS Silver in January 2022

Learn more about the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System here

Sustainability Staff has grown to 11 committed staff members

Message about the 2022 Impact Report

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has built solid reputation as a leader in Sustainability over the last two decades. From signing the Earth Charter in 2001, to becoming the first Fair Trade University in the country in 2008, this history and commitment by UWO provided the evidence which earned UW Oshkosh the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award – which recognizes outstanding achievements in reducing environmental impacts, improving health and wellness, and offering effective sustainability and environmental education.

In addition to the Green Ribbon Schools award being announced on Earth Day 2022, Chancellor Leavitt signed a renewed commitment to climate action with Second Nature’s Climate Commitment, which asks institutions to develop and implement a Climate Action and Resilience Plan. In response to the UWO community’s call to action, Chancellor Leavitt declared a goal of decarbonization by 2030 and neutrality by 2035.

Further supporting this initiative, UWO was awarded $10,000 of pro bono services to accelerate Climate Action planning efforts with an independent consultant, Brailsford and Dunlavey, who met with university leadership, Facilities, and Finance, and developed a tailor-made roadmap to decarbonization and neutrality.

One of UWO’s greatest strengths is the infusion of sustainability in education and research, which has been invigorated by the Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations (SIRT).

This year, SIRT was the recipient of a $1.6 million grant from the NSF DISES program, to address water quality in Lake Winnebago and the surrounding region. This project takes an interdisciplinary approach to study the ecological, social, and economic impacts of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Winnebago pool lakes over four years and will offer research experience and employment for more than 40 students.

In 2022, UWO’s Sustainability Office and SIRT grew to employ 8 student interns who manage social media, community gardens, Fair Trade, and many other projects – their contributions have been invaluable.

With a stellar year behind us, we look forward to the next year with a renewed sense of hope and vision for a more just, resilient, and sustainable future, for all.

-Brad Spanbauer
Sustainability Director

2021 Energy use: 

2021 Emissions:

MT CO2e-


kWh of electricity

This cost us $1,990,252.64 

Natural Gas

Therms of natural gas

This cost us $274,658.29

Focus on Energy Dollars

Fall 2022 Sustainability Tours given:

Community Members

Staff Members


Peregrine Falcon project

The three Peregrine falcon chicks were banded as part of an ongoing monitoring program within the state of Wisconsin. We’d like to introduce Laurel, Honor, and Triumph! These names were suggested because UWO recently earned the U.S. Dept of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award, and the names reflect our pride in being recognized for our sustainability efforts.

Read the story here

If you have not checked it out recently, the nest box on GCC where a nest cam can be viewed from a live Youtube stream has seen some interesting activity recently – two eggs have been laid!

Please visit the webpage if you would like to support the Peregrine Falcon project. A gift account has been established for the project and donations can be made by check or online. Donations help support maintenance of the box and nest camera.

Community Gardens 2022


CSA members
(16 students)


shares picked up

Over 560

pounds of fresh produce provided

Academics and Events 

Student interns employed: 8

Paid interns gain job-ready skills in communications, data analysis, event planning, and more while supporting sustainability at UWO!

Sustainability events held: 30

Speakers, films, networking events, tree plantings, garden cleanups, bike rides, and more engaged hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and community members around sustainability issues.

Student Class projects: 18

Working on food waste recovery and heating plant projects

Student and faculty projects funded: 6

SIRT, the Office of Student Creative and Research Activity, and Faculty Development joined forces to give out over $45,000 in grant money to projects on bee hotels, microplastics, climate change communication, community resiliency, and more.

$1.6 million NSF grant awarded to SIRT

A team of SIRT researchers won a prestigious National Science Foundation grant to study and address toxic blue-green algae blooms, which cause millions of dollars of economic losses and impact recreation, public health, and ecology in our region. This project will provide research opportunities for >40 undergraduate students. 

Sustainability Certificates Program launched Fall 2022

Five new certificates in subjects like Sustainability and Social Change, Sustainability Communication, Sustainability Leadership in Organizations, and Sustainability and Renewable Energy provide students in any major with a credential and hands-on experience that will help them be job-ready

Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations


UW Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Contact Info:

(920) 424-0440
SIRT Office: 4483 Sage Hall