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Campus event celebrates campus sustainability month

October 16, 2019

The UW-River Falls Office of Sustainability hosted an event on Oct. 1 to observe Campus Sustainability month. The fair was a gathering of about 25 organizations, including student clubs as well as off-campus organizations from around the River Falls community.  The Office of Sustainability at UWRF is focused on improving sustainability campus-wide, which includes everything from overseeing campus recycling and waste management, to academics, to engaging the student body and the public. If you missed the fair, there are still plenty of ways to get involved. 

There was lots of free gear at the fair.  The Office of Sustainability had a table where students could answer trivia questions to test their knowledge about recycling and waste and win prizes.  Multiple tables gave out reusable water bottles so that more people can take advantage of water-refill stations, reducing the use and demand of single-use plastic water bottles. River Falls Municipal Utilities had a table covered in free LED light bulbs with information regarding renewable energy. 

Two clubs that are new to UWRF this year were at the event to bring in more members.  The Green Team is a brand-new club that was started in order to be an environment-friendly organization for students of all majors.  Some students noticed there were plenty of these organizations aimed toward specific majors: environmental science, agriculture, political science, and more.  They felt there was a gap where there should be a sustainability-focused organization meant for all students. The Green Team meets every other week, making it perfect for students who want to learn to live more sustainably but don’t have as much free time for weekly meetings.

The other new club at the Sustainability Fair was the Biology Club.  They made a memorable appearance with a live snake for brave and adventurous students to touch or hold.  They are aimed not only at biology and science majors but anyone who has an interest in the life forms inhabiting our planet.  On display, the biology club had preserved insect specimens, along with other biological artifacts.

Student Involvement had their own table set up that got lots of students engaged in reusables.  One easy way to create less waste is to use reusable items and containers and stop getting single-use plastics and disposables.  Single-use plastic bags and straws are getting outlawed in some cities, and it’s good to start thinking about following suit even if it isn’t enforced by law.  Student involvement provided boxes full of old t-shirts, along with the supplies and instructions to create your own reusable bag from a t-shirt.

The Student Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture, or SALSA, had information about vermicomposting, composting with worms.  They said that many students even compost in their dorms. For churchgoers, there was an organization called Hope for Creation: communities of faith partnering for a sustainable future.  Several congregations gather together, acknowledging the call to be stewards of the land, air, water, and all living things. If you would like to learn more about Hope for Creation, they are having a local harvest potluck at Rush River Lutheran Church on Oct. 20, at 3:30 p.m.

If you missed the Sustainability Fair, there are still lots of ways to get involved in sustainability on and off campus.  The Office of Sustainability is producing a biweekly newsletter this year, highlighting sustainability events on campus and in the community and regional area, as well as including general tips regarding climate change, recycling, and other sustainable living tips.  Most on-campus sustainability events will have opportunities to sign up for the newsletter, or you can email sustainability@uwrf.edu and ask to be added to the list. The Office of Sustainability is also hosting a Sustainability Cinema, which will screen five different movies about sustainability throughout the year, upstairs in the University Center.  Dates and times for the movies can be found on the UWRF event calendar.