The Associated Students of Madison Sustainability Committee discussed ways to bring sustainability closer to students Thursday night at their first meeting of the semester. 

Committee Chair Natalie Tinsen introduced potential campaign ideas for the upcoming semester. The campaign concept of “sustainability at home” was a focal point of the discussion.

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“[Sustainability at home] is learning about easy fixes within your own home to make yourself more sustainable and learning professional development skills that you would use if you consider a career in sustainability,” Tinsen said.

Other campaign ideas suggested by Tinsen included a sustainability book club, revisiting and helping to facilitate sustainability legislation passed at the University of Wisconsin and sustainable cookbooks. Committee members suggested phone banking, terracycling for COVID-19 single use masks and gloves and increasing accessibility to off campus recycling as potential projects.

UW senior committee member Doug Reuss emphasized the importance of off-campus recycling options and said residents in many campus apartment buildings don’t know how to recycle.

“By city ordinance, [apartment buildings] are supposed to have one recycling bin and one trash bin at least so that the waste makes it to the proper disposal places,” Reuss said. “However, smaller buildings don’t have to have dumpsters, they just have to have bins, which makes sense, but residents don’t necessarily know where they are, they don’t know how to get to them.”

In the past, Reuss said the sustainability committee worked with Madison’s Recycling Coordinator Bryan Johnson to educate college students, ensuring they know what to recycle and where to “toss” their recycling.

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This year, Sustainability Committee members have the opportunity to apply for a position on the sustainability advisory council, participate in Sustain-a-Bash — a panel with professors and speakers discussing environmental justice, race issues within environmentalism and general sustainability — and the Midwest Regional Climate Summit, a series of think-tank sessions with 14 midwest colleges.

“We could start with educating students how to properly recycle and maybe be more beneficial during this time, and then when we return back to in-person settings and having meetings we can go towards off-campus recycling,” Tinsen said.