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UW–Madison wins federal Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Award

April 22, 2021 By Eric Hamilton
Photo: A solar array on Gordon Dining & Event Center.

The solar array on the roof of Gordon Dining & Event Center produces approximately 42,800 kWh of electricity a year. It’s among the many sustainability measures at UW–Madison. Photo courtesy of University Housing

The U.S. Department of Education has named the University of Wisconsin–Madison a 2021 Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee, UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson announced today.

The federal education department cited the university’s “deep legacy of environmental stewardship” and said it remains “a leader in environment- and sustainability-related research, education, and operations.”

“UW–Madison has been a leader in sustainability for a long time, and this recognition is very well deserved,” Thompson says. “I commend Chancellor Blank, her senior leadership, and the UW–Madison employees and students on the front lines of this effort for their commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.”

Between 2007 and 2018, UW–Madison accomplished:

  • A 38 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A 19 percent reduction in total building energy consumption per square foot.
  • A reduction in potable water consumption of nearly 20 percent.
  • A 13 percent reduction in total waste per campus user and diversion from the landfill of 43 percent of waste.

UW–Madison’s sustainability efforts reach across all facets of the university: academic instruction, innovative world-class research, campus planning, landscape architecture, transportation, health and wellness, diversity, workplace safety, student services, and residential life among them. For more information, read the UW–Madison application here.

“UW–Madison has been working hard with campus and community partners to address the many intertwined challenges of climate change in a way that makes us more sustainable and resilient, and generates new solutions to problems across the globe,” says Blank. “We appreciate that the UW System has recognized our commitment and are very proud that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded us this prestigious designation.”

Across the country, 27 schools, three early learning centers, five districts, and five postsecondary institutions are being honored by the Department of Education for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.