A student government committee for sustainability reviewed the progress of its energy campaign and planned upcoming waste campaigns for the semester in a meeting Tuesday.
Associated Students of Madison Sustainability Committee Chair Colin Higgins said he met with the University of Wisconsin Office of Sustainability to go over its current energy campaign and to receive input on upcoming campaigns.
“This semester we should focus a lot more on outreach, rather than running specific issue-based campaigns so we can build larger networks,” Higgins said.
Higgins also said the Office of Sustainability expressed excitement about the potential of being more involved at the Student Orientation, Advising and Registration program.
A focus at SOAR would concern various conservation and sustainability measures students can take in the dorms and on campus in order to live in a more sustainable fashion, according to Higgins.
The committee also reviewed the possibility of creating a survey to ask students what they see as the most pressing sustainability issues on campus, as another outreach idea.
Committee member Kevin Englebert introduced the idea of holding a symposium with other sustainability groups on campus to talk about large and various sustainability issues most present at UW.
This forum would provide a way to frame environmental issues as students see them, Higgins said. It would also act as an opportunity to bring a lot of people together, he added.
According to Higgins, Sustainability Committee’s new waste campaign will engage different target audiences on campus to bring about the most effective change.
“The main goal is education on proper disposal and availability of disposal of waste,” Higgins said.
Sustainability Committee member Madeline Dent said she hopes one focus area will encompass freshmen in the dorms. She said influencing students as they first arrive on campus could be the most effective way to bring about some sort of change.
Higgins said a specific challenge the committee hopes to tackle is developing a greater connection within the dorms and raising awareness of what can and cannot be recycled.
“It would be good starting in the dorms because some of those people will move off campus and have some sort of standing already with waste issues,” Sustainability Committee member Kellen Frable said.
Dent said another way to enact change would involve targeting social norms and correcting them. Through this, she said she hopes to make waste management a visual issue.
It is important to put up informative visual materials, like posters and signs, Dent said. But, she added, having people commit to something is important too.
Frable said the committee could also target people who visit the unions and any other facilities on campus offering compost disposal.
Higgins said this would educate people on what items are or are not considered compost and share the positive effect this method of disposal has on the community. He said the campaign is not just about waste, but also about doing something to increase sustainability focus.
“Changing social behavior is the overarching picture,” Higgins said.