Being ‘green’ at Viterbo

By Andrea Matson
Contributing Writer
Viterbo students who want to be more involved with the environ¬ment now have a new club. The Environmental Sustainability Club just started in February.
Although there have been previ¬ous environmental clubs on cam¬pus, they have fizzled out after most of their members graduated. The new Environmental Sustain¬ability Club hopes to stay strong and educate the Viterbo commu¬nity on sustainable environmental practices.
This year when club President Sarah Reimer, a junior sustainability major from Antigo, Wis. found out that there was not a sustainability club at Viterbo, she decided to start one.
“I figured it would be a great thing to have on campus, to help people become more knowledge¬able on sustainable habits,” Reimer said. “We are really hoping to make a positive impact on campus and to really get people thinking about altering their habits so they can be healthier, and our surrounding environment can be healthier also.” Other founding members include Kendra Bundy, Ashlee Gabrielson and Emma Rislow.
At the first meeting on Feb. 13, the club laid out ideas and projects for the rest of the school year. The club wants to implement at least one green practice on campus this semester, to benefit the environ-ment and help to sustain natural resources for future generations.
One project that is being planned has to do with water consumption. Rain barrels will be set out in the spring near the Student Develop¬ment Center and will collect water that runs off the roof. The grounds keepers can then use the collected water for flowers and other plants on campus, rather than using hoses or sprinkler systems. Reimer said that using the rain barrels “would help with Viterbo’s water consump¬tion and the runoff” on campus.
Reimer said that the club hopes to get composting started again on campus. Viterbo has all the equip-ment for composting because it was started by students last year but stopped when there were not enough people to help. Reimer is hoping to get some of the envi¬ronmental sustainability courses to help with the composting. Just as before, the club would get food waste from the kitchen, worms would be given to break it down and the finished product would be donated to local community gar¬dens for fertilizer.
The biggest project the Envi¬ronmental Sustainability Club is hoping to do will be events during Earth Week April 22 – 26 (Earth Day itself is April 22). The club wants to have multiple booths and vendors set up in Assisi Courtyard. The booths would be manned by club members and would each feature activities that could educate stu¬dents on their carbon usage, how to reuse items and how to properly recycle. There will also be games, and there is the possibility of a local band. The club would also like to have local farmer’s market vendors come to sell their goods.
Also during Earth Week, the sustainability club is going to pres¬ent the documentary “SWITCH,” which is not only about energy use but also explores the future of energy resources. Sister Lucy Slinger, FSPA, Viterbo professor and sustainability degree coordina¬tor, suggested the documentary to the club.
“Viterbo has pledged to be a part¬ner for the St. Francis Pledge for Climate Change efforts and a show-ing of SWITCH is an excellent way to educate the campus about energy around the world,” Sister Lucy told Lumen. The documentary shows the best ways to meet today’s energy needs while accounting for climate change.
The documentary will be held on April 25 in Brophy Center room 122 at 7 p.m. and is being sponsored by Coulee Partners for Sustainability, a nonprofit La Crosse citizen’s or¬ganization which promotes envi¬ronmentally sustainable lifestyles in the La Crosse area. Also during Earth Week Coulee Partners is showing “SWITCH” at the UW – La Crosse and Western Technical Col¬lege as well.
Sarah Keyser, a senior liberal arts major, joined the Environmental Sustainability Club because she is interested in environmental issues and wants to help. “I hope the club can implement at least one, if not more, sustainable practices on cam¬pus.” She also hopes that the club “can raise awareness of environ-mental issues, both in our commu¬nity and in the world.”
Anyone, regardless of major, is more than welcome to join the club, Reimer said “The only thing we ask is for people to be an active mem¬ber and want to make a positive change.”
Meetings are held the first and third Wednesdays of the month. The next meeting will be held on Feb. 27 in the basement of Reinhart Center at 7 p.m. Interested students can contact Reimer by Viterbo email or find more information through the Environmental Sustainability Club’s Facebook page, which can be accessed through the Viterbo web¬site at http://www.viterbo.edu/student¬organizations. The Facebook page is where the club will post meeting times and places and students can ask questions about the club.

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