UW-Fox Valley takes environmentally friendly measures

Green Campus 1
The Communication Arts Center is a LEED-certified building. · photo by Vinnie Oestreich

The LEED-certified Communication Arts Center has changed perceptions on operating campus facilities, and has allowed for a more environmentally friendly campus. This includes replacing lighting, boilers, silverware and creating reserved parking.

UW-Fox Valley has a campus club called Students for Sustainability that works on keeping campus as earth-friendly as possible.

“We have a group of students that will be meeting this week and will be doing a garden project and growing some food. Hopefully that food will be available not only to the people who help grow it but also the food pantry and the students,” Teresa Weglarz, assistant professor of biological sciences, said.

Weglarz teaches a class both semesters of the 20162017 school year that includes students in the process of composting on campus.

“The compost bins will come back out in the fall and they will be out in the spring,” Weglarz said.

The first priority is to educate as many people as possible, she said.

“Our number-one goal should be promoting discussions on climate change. There’s a lot of recyclables in the trash and a fair amount of trash in the recyclables,” Weglarz said.

But composting is just one way the campus is environmentally minded. Weglarz said that there are other ways the building conserves energy.

“The Communication Arts Center senses CO2 levels and the temperature comes down because there’s no one in there and then when there’s more people in there it would go back up. Lights tend to go off in most offices but sometimes they won’t go off. Computers tend to say on for a long time,” Weglarz said.

In order to save water, there are both low-flow toilets and dual-flush toilets installed throughout campus. The dual-flush toilets use less water when the flush lever is pulled up; they use slightly more water when pushing the lever down. Most of the bathroom toilets in the hallway beside the campus bookstore are this type.

Green Campus 2
UW-Fox’s composting initiative limits wasting food on campus. · photo by Vinnie Oestreich

Construction of the CAC building itself is earth-friendly, as the wood was purchased exclusively from certified and managed forests. As far as lighting goes, Custodial Manager Tracy Schwartz noted the mix of lights on campus used to achieve different light levels and differing efficiencies.

“We have compact fluorescents. We got some LEDs and we recently replaced some mercury lights. We’re slowly transferring over to LEDs as much as possible because that’s a huge energy saver. All the external lighting has been converted over to LEDS,” Schwartz said.

Although some methods are too expensive to use, such as a fully-green roof, there are many ways that the student population can help. Instead of one-time-use items, using a washable or recyclable dish reduces waste considerably.

“We use [washable] silverware, our plates, our cups. We don’t have any foam of any kind,” Carol Gipp, a cafeteria employee, said.

Other ways the students can help is to reduce plastic use and to recycle plastics or liter bottles. As an effort that’s year-round, it can save campus and student money.