UWO strides to make more green choices

Gwen Nichols, Opinion Writer

Gwen Nichols

It’s no secret that sustainability has become a hot-seat topic in the news lately. Conserving clean energy has become all the rage. I think UW Oshkosh is doing its part to keep up with this very popular fad. We are making great strides in “being green” through many ways around campus, and I don’t think it should come to an end anytime soon.

I came to this conclusion once the new addition to Reeve Memorial Union was put in place: the OZZI machine. At first I wasn’t completely sure what it was or why we had it, but after talking with Matthew Semrad, chair on the United Students in Residence Halls Food Committee, I understood its purpose after he explained to me how the OZZI works.

“The machine is a way for dining to collect the dirty OZZI containers. A container is inserted and the student then swipes their ID card and a virtual “token” is then loaded onto their card. The token can then be redeemed at a register when a student is purchasing their meal,” Semrad said. “If for some reason a student doesn’t have their ID we are also discussing using physical tokens that other campuses have.”

As someone who eats a lot of salads from Reeve, I know I go through a lot of those plastic containers so I can’t imagine how many we throw away campus-wide. This container could reduce the total amount of waste.

UWO freshman Sara Stimson said how wonderful it is that there are so many steps being taken around campus to be green.

“I think the steps we are taking as a campus to make our community greener is amazing,” Stimson said. “It’s so incredible to know that everything from academic buildings, like Sage, to even the new recyclable salad containers in Reeve is all making a difference.”

The OZZI machine isn’t the first leap UWO has made. Another, larger impact UWO has made was the addition of Sage Hall in 2011. This academic building saves an estimated 40 percent in energy costs compared to standard construction through elements like the green roof, solar panels and eco-friendly features inside the building.

It’s pretty cool seeing all of the innovations put to work when you’re sitting in a lecture hall or doing homework in the Sage Café. Honestly, it makes me proud to go to a school where I can say we take initiative to set an example of eco-friendly choices and lay a path down for future years to come.

UWO freshman Kaylee Halverson, said she was fascinated by the sustainable choices that were made during the development of Sage Hall which she learned about during a tour she received from one of the developers of Sage.

“He was explaining how Sage is sustainable all throughout the building, from the solar panels to even the carpet tiles,” Halverson said. “It was really eye-opening and cool to learn about, and I think our school should keep incorporating those kinds of features.”

If we can do it with Sage Hall and the new renovation of Reeve Memorial Union, we can slowly turn our campus into a cohesive ecologically friendly community.
I think if we keep adding these elements to our University, it will not only enhance the experience of current students, but create an exceptional four years for students to come.