In an effort to make Associated Students of Madison’s offices greener, two Office of Sustainability interns offered methods to reduce campus waste on Tuesday night at a Coordinating Council meeting.
These efforts to improve sustainability in campus offices is part of the Green Office Certification Program provided by the Office of Sustainability. Participants in the program receive a 45 action item checklist to reduce the working environment’s waste and will be certified as an eco-friendly office after completing this checklist, according to the Office of Sustainability website.
Certification would make ASM one of about ten offices on the UW campus recognized for their efforts in sustainability. Offices that meet certification requirements are recognized on the Office of Sustainability’s website, as well as on social media and the group’s newsletter.
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Office of Sustainability interns Katrina Kitzmann and Cordell Murphy explained the University of Wisconsin produced close to 11 million pounds of trash in 2016, which is one million more than the UW was producing in 2014.
The Office of Sustainability aims to reduce campus waste through its Green Office Program, which gives UW employees information on how they can create environmentally friendly practices in the workspace.
“What the office is trying to do on our campus is basically educate the campus on why this is important,” Murphy said.
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Offices can receive up to four levels of certification, which focus on reducing their environmental footprint in waste, energy, purchasing, and sustainability. The first level, waste, was the focus of Kitzman and Murphy’s presentation, discussing tips on how offices could ramp-up its use of reusable materials, reduce their output and become smarter recyclers.
Attendees were encouraged to reflect on their own consumption habits. Kitzman and Murphy invited the audience to be more mindful of what they throw away, recycle and reuse.
Vice Chair Billy Welsh spoke on the importance of the initiative.
“ASM works really hard to promote sustainability at a campus and community level,” said Welsh, “it seemed like a natural progression to do everything we could to make our own office space as sustainable as it can be.”
The initiative takes place alongside the Sustainability Committee’s planned clothing swap, which will allow students to swap and exchange unwanted clothing.
Although the meeting focused on the guest speaker presentation, the meeting also allowed ASM’s council branches to review the actions their most recent endeavors, and better coordinate their collective efforts. Representatives also discussed the impacts of the proposed hike in taxes on graduate students and the writing of the free speech resolution.