University of Wisconsin–Madison

How can we make UW more efficient?

February 24, 2015 | by Office of Sustainability staff

As UW–Madison faces historic budget cuts, university leaders are asking faculty and staff to offer suggestions to reduce costs and increase efficiency of university operations.

“At a time when proposed budget reductions pose significant challenges, the university is turning to its employees for suggestions on how to reduce costs and improve resource stewardship,” Darrell Bazzell, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said in a university press release. “They understand their workplace and can identify ways to improve efficiency and quality.”

Director of Campus Sustainability Operations Faramarz Vakili says sustainability is a critical tool to drive efficiency and improvements.

“A fundamental element of a sustainable society is for all its members to understand the harm and short-sightedness of waste. It deprives us of the natural resources that we depend on and adds no value,” he says. “We need to develop strategies to reduce costs across campus, and using our resources responsibly is a great place to start.”

As an example, he cites improvements in the campus recycling program that have increased the recycling rate from 25 percent to 43 percent during the past eight years.

“If every single individual out there does the right thing, throws the right things in the right bin, that trash that ends up in the landfill could hypothetically be reduced by 9o percent,” he adds. If that were to happen, reduced landfill tipping fees and increased revenue from recycling could add up to $300,000 per year.

The university embraces sustainability in its commitment to resource stewardship, which is an essential pillar in its strategic priorities.

Resources the university uses include paper, electricity, water, food, space, fuel, computers and human labor, but these are only a few. If you have an idea that could help the university in its mission to use resources responsibly, submit it here.