2015: A year in review

With the new year right around the corner, we wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the many ways sustainability is shaping the UW–Madison campus and experience.

Under new leadership

The Office of Sustainability welcomed a new interim director of education and research to its team this summer after wishing Craig Benson well in a new post at the University of Virginia. Professor Cathy Middlecamp of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies brings her expertise in developing sustainability curriculum to engage the office in academic programming, including the new Sustainability Certificate program.

Bascom Hall, Bascom Hill and the central University of Wisconsin-Madison campus are pictured in an aerial view during autumn on Oct. 12, 2013. Clockwise from the left, major campus facilities include South Hall, Birge Hall, Van Vleck Hall, Van Hise Hall, Carillon Tower and North Hall. In the background at right is Lake Mendota. The photograph was made from a helicopter looking west. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Sustainability guiding new campus master plan

The newest version of the campus master plan, updated every 10 years, integrates elements of sustainability throughout a focus on infrastructure, energy, transportation, and usable outdoor landscapes. A draft of the new plan is expected early in 2016.

Grad student wins national sustainability award

Nelson Institute graduate student Tom Bryan was honored recently for his research investigating the environmental impact of menu items served at Ginger Root in Union South. His work has also been integrated into an introductory sustainability course on campus. Watch: Learning Through Eating

Campus units go receipt-free

If you’ve eaten at a campus dining center recently, something may have been missing from your order – but perhaps you didn’t even notice. Registers at University Housing and the Wisconsin Union no longer automatically print receipts for every transaction. The project is the result of an ongoing partnership between University Housing, the Wisconsin Union, and the Office of Sustainability.

First Sustainability Certificate graduate

UW–Madison senior Alana McKeever (left) will be the first student to graduate with a Sustainability Certificate this December. For the past year, she has deployed her passion for both business and sustainability at Yumbutter, a Madison-based company that produces socially and environmentally responsible nut butters.

Climate Quest winner fighting hunger with worms

Since winning the Climate Quest competition early this year, the MIGHTi (Mission to Improve Global Health Through Insects) team has been researching and piloting mealworm microlivestock farming in Zambia as an inexpensive and environmentally sustainable food production system. Climate Quest finalists’ projects ranged from meat processing to mindfulness.

Students bash trash at national conference

A group of Office of Sustainability interns attended the national Students for Zero Waste Conference hosted by the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN), where they presented the results of a campus trash study and demonstrated how to conduct a safe and successful trash audit.

MOOCs engage global community in sustainability

UW–Madison offered five sustainability-themed Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) this year on topics including Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, climate change and health, and Great Lakes climate. To further campus engagement in the course material, the Office of Sustainability organized discussion groups for faculty, staff, and students participating in the MOOCs.