Renewable Energy & Sustainability at WITC
WITC has had a district-wide Renewable Energy and Sustainability (RE&S) Committee since July of 2008. Green Teams were formed a year later to provide campus-specific support at all four campuses and the Shell Lake administrative offices.
Since July 2009, the district RE&S Committee has had up to $10,000/year in “Green Mini-Grant” funds to enable these teams to carry out campus Green Team initiatives.
Ted May, academic dean for math, science, renewable energy and sustainability, sees the Green Teams as an opportunity to empower staff to champion sustainability initiatives in an environment where the members attend school and/or work.
“The main role of the Green Teams is to develop and implement campus initiatives that advance sustainability in campus operations,” says May. “These projects tackle ideas like working with the building and grounds staff to reduce energy consumption, encourage and support practices that reduce office waste, increase healthy foods and reduce waste in the food service area, support car-pooling, bicycling and other means of transportation that reduce fossil fuel consumption and much more.”
Some specific mini-grant projects over the first few years of implementation include:
- Establishment of three rain gardens (Ashland) to slow the flow of water from a large parking area – and add beauty and educational opportunity to/for the campus. Also established a campus master plan for long-term campus planning.
- Support attendance of students in the Building Performance (previously Energy Efficiency) Technician program (Superior) to participate in a Duluth Energy conference which advanced educational and future employment opportunities for students in this program.
- Install a bottle refill station and build an earth bridge over a ditch to provide access to the public walking path, complemented by a rain garden to buffer parking lot run-off (New Richmond).
- Enhanced recycling initiatives with educational signage, support for educational outreach for students and surrounding community members, and other initiatives.
Each campus Green Team has representation on the college wide RE&S Committee, which allows us to share best practices and use the best ideas at all of our campuses.