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Celebrating sustainability during Homecoming

October 22, 2012 By Jill Sakai

Homecoming Week 2012 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison kicked off Sunday with a campus cleanup event — a fitting opening for a week filled with sustainability-themed activities.

“Homecoming is a week in which alumni return to campus to celebrate the Wisconsin Idea,” explains student Joey Gallagher, an outreach intern for the UW–Madison Office of Sustainability. “It is crucial that sustainability become a main aspect of the Wisconsin Idea, and Homecoming is a great way to do that.”

UW-Madison will celebrate its first Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Visitor & Information Programs, will be active educating the campus community on sustainability initiatives, distributing reusable water bottles and supporting other organizations and Homecoming activities. Several events are outlined below, but watch for events related to sustainability all week.

  • Campuswide Trash Audit (Wednesday at around 12 p.m., Engineering Mall): The Office of Sustainability, We Conserve, and Waste and Recycling are coordinating a campuswide trash audit to show the UW–Madison community how much garbage and recycling are thrown away. Volunteers will be auditing the campus’s outdoor waste receptacles, separating trash from recycling in an effort to reveal the amount of recyclable material that is not being diverted from the waste stream through a comprehensive recycling program. Several sustainability organizations will collect trash beginning at 7 a.m., with the event culminating in a visual display around noon on Engineering Mall.
  • Student Engagement Fair (Wednesday 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery): The Office of Sustainability will showcase its office and partners, including ReThink, Global Health Institute, Morgridge Center, Sierra Student Coalition, and We Conserve.
  • Blood Drives (Wednesday 8:30-10:30 a.m., Ogg Hall; Thursday 8:30-10 a.m., Red Gym): The Office of Sustainability will hand out refillable water bottles to the first 100 donors each day. The metal water bottles are printed with facts about why sustainability is so important.
  • Badger Games (Wednesday 8:30-10:30 a.m., McClain Facility): While the Homecoming Committee collects for its clothing drive, the Office of Sustainability will distribute water bottles to keep game participants hydrated.
  • Slow Food Café (Wednesday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., The Crossing, 1127 University Ave.): Join the Office of Sustainability at Slow Food UW‘s weekly Slow Food Café lunch. Office representatives will provide more water bottles to attendees.
  • Homecoming Parade (Friday 4-7 p.m., Langdon Street): Come to Langdon for the Homecoming Parade, which boasts several floats created by campus sustainability organizations. The Office of Sustainability will again be passing out water bottles.

Gallagher urges students and others to support UW Homecoming and simultaneously learn what they can do to make campus more sustainable. “The university can take all the steps possible to become more sustainable, but that is only one aspect of sustainability — it’s also important that students learn about the advantages and actually take steps to living sustainably.”