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How the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is living a culture of sustainability

University Business, October 2015

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has been recognized as the third greenest college in America — and the greenest college in Wisconsin — by the Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country. The Sierra Club noted the university’s success in water and energy conservation, wind-powered electricity and recycling.

At UW Oshkosh, it takes a village to achieve the No. 3 ranking in the Sierra Club list. The university works diligently to make the campus more sustainable — from facilities management, student affairs and residence life to purchasing, academic affairs and energy partners. Among the partners is Johnson Controls, which helped UW Oshkosh develop an aggressive energy-efficiency and sustainability program.

Sustainability innovations are integrated into many university functions and operations. They include reducing consumption and waste, generating and purchasing renewable energy, curbing pollution, green building and purchasing, and sustainable landscapes.

Biodigester Generates Electricity for Campus
One landmark achievement is the wet anaerobic biodigester, completed in 2014. This rural, renewable energy biogas facility was created through a partnership with Wisconsin’s largest dairy farm, international experts and area communities. The biodigester produces the equivalent of 35 percent of campus electricity consumption while removing harmful methane gas and killing pathogens in 110,000 tons of manure each year. What’s more, the biodigester reduces odor on land-spread manure, creates jobs and training opportunities, and produces organic compost for the greater Oshkosh community.

Infusing Sustainability into Academics
In addition to using the latest technologies, UW Oshkosh is progressively reducing its ecological footprint and fashioning a durable and better world through its academic mission. This involves infusing sustainability into the curriculum, outreach and research. The University Studies Program, a general education program, charges students to respond to three signature questions, including “How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?” UW Oshkosh is already creating a more sustainable world and setting the bar high for other colleges and universities to follow. On, Wisconsin!

“Producing our own energy by reusing waste sets an example for higher education institutions throughout the country.”
-Tom Sonnleitner, Vice Chancellor of Finance, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Visit with Johnson Controls Building Efficiency experts at:
CACUBO Annual Conference | San Antonio, TX | October 4 - 6
EACUBO Annual Conference | Philadelphia, PA | October 11 - 14

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