The University of Wisconsin-Madison recently unveiled a new residence hall designed to reduce the environmental impact of the building and its residents with an emphasis on stormwater management. The construction of Leopold Residence Hall, named after Aldo Leopold – conservationist, educator and cited by many as the father of wildlife management – is one of many examples in the higher education sector that demonstrates the increasing emphasis on sustainability.
Laura Shere, who a year ago became the first sustainability program manager for the Division of University Housing, said: “We try to weave elements of sustainability in Housing into all aspects of a student’s living. That ranges to everything from an intentional decision like choosing to live in the GreenHouse [Residential Learning Community] to sustainable aspects of our building designs.”
The office of residence life has appointed two student sustainability involvement coordinators, who have trained and equipped 500 “Captain Planet” student leaders to model environmentally responsible living for fellow students. Furthermore, on-campus dining services have joined the effort by repurposing fryer oil for heating water, improving the efficiency of the refrigeration system and implementing post-consumer food composting. These efforts echo the university’s overarching message that individual actions add up to a larger result.
Having served the higher education sector for decades, The Refinishing Touch knows that sustainable efforts like these do not go unnoticed by current and prospective students as well as the larger community. Sustainability should be at the forefront of our minds, particularly when it comes to furniture asset management – the act of refinishing, remanufacturing or re-upholstering existing pieces – which can reduce carbon emissions, eradicate harmful landfill waste and even cuts costs.