UWO receives Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Award

Submitted news

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is being recognized nationally for its comprehensive approach to sustainability.

Chancellor Andrew Leavitt and Campus Sustainability Director Brad Spanbauer were in Washington, D.C. last week to accept the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Award.

The recognition is for schools, districts and institutions of higher education that reduce environmental impact and costs; improve the health and wellness of school, students and staff; and provide effective environmental and sustainability education.

“This award is a testament to the many committed students, faculty and staff who have helped UW Oshkosh preserve sustainability as a shared value, a signature component in curricula and a part of life at each of the institution’s campuses every day,” Leavitt said. “It is an incredible honor to earn this national recognition, and we thank the Department of Education. We will count this as another milestone in UWO’s journey toward carbon neutrality by 2030. Our good work continues.”

The award, presented to just four institutions of higher learning across the nation, was announced on Earth Day in April. The U.S. Department of Education also recognized 27 K-12 schools and five districts. UWO was chosen to represent Wisconsin by the state team that administers the program. Then, the Department of Education decided at the federal level who should be honored with the award.

“We are proud to have been chosen to represent the state of Wisconsin this year; this award allows our 20-year commitment to sustainability to shine,” Spanbauer said.

In the education department’s report on the honorees, UWO was acknowledged for an array of programs, plans and other endeavors. Included are the University’s two anaerobic digestion systems, the tracking of greenhouse gas emissions, the commitment to LEED Gold certification for new construction projects and LEED Silver certification for renovation projects and Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA recognitions for all three campuses, among other sustainable initiatives.

In 2011, the federal government launched U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools to recognize the top green schools in the nation.

District Sustainability Awards and Postsecondary Sustainability Awards are presented each year. The program uses a small number of honorees to communicate practices and resources that all schools can employ. It also helps to facilitate state and local collaboration around school facilities, health and environmental education.