UW-Whitewater Sustainability Volunteer with us »


Our commitment to integrating sustainability in academics is important, but we realize that the "college experience" involves just as much outside of classroom activities that often have as much or more long-term impact on a student's life.  From the time they arrive on campus and go through our First Year Experience as an on-campus resident through their involvement in student organizations, volunteerism, and attending various campus events, our students are involved in creating a more sustainable culture on campus. 

"Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal."

- Aldo Leopold

Sustainability Volunteer Opportunities

A variety of volunteer activities are offered by the Sustainability Office throughout the year, including the Campus Garden, Upham Greenhouse, Prairie Seed Collection, and Stream Monitoring, which are explained in detail below.  Consider joining our contact list to receive a monthly newsletter with current volunteer opportunities, upcoming events and other sustainability-related news. For our current schedule of volunteer sessions or to subscribe to our newsletter, please email sustainability@uww.edu.

The mission of the Campus Garden is to communicate the importance of locally sourced food while teaching volunteers techniques for maintaining a garden without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. We are typically in the Campus Garden from May through October, sharing tips on plant maintenance, harvesting, weeds, and pests. The Campus Garden typically produces over 2,000 pounds of produce throughout each growing season that is donated to local food pantries, including the Warhawk Pantry. Our goal is to make gardening as accessible as possible, so volunteers do not need any gardening experience to help us out. 

We welcome all students, faculty, and community members to join our gardening efforts!  Learn about plant maintenance, harvesting, weeds, and pests without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers at the UW-Whitewater Campus Garden. Whether you're new to gardening, a garden guru, or just looking to get outside and give back, all are welcome to participate! Our Gardens and Grounds Intern will lead the sessions by providing tools and instructions for volunteers to make gardening easy and accessible. The Campus Garden is located between the Ambrose Health Center and Campus Bookstore on Starin Road.

We ask that those interested in volunteering at the Campus Garden use this link to register for the sessions they wish to attend. Staff members can also sign documentation verifying your completed volunteer hours during the event if needed. For questions, email sustainability@uww.edu

COVID Precautions In Effect! 

Registration is required for individuals to participate. We are limiting available times at each volunteer session to maintain social distancing. We ask that all attendees strictly adhere to use of face covering at all times and maintain social distancing while gathered as a group at the beginning and end of a session.  

We do a variety of garden-related activities in the Upham Greenhouse throughout the year, with most of the work focused on February-May.  During these months we are busy preparing for the gardening season by cleaning and organizing the greenhouse as well as planting and watering seeds.  There are three greenhouses in operation, including a student research house, a tropical plant collection, and a desert plant collection.  The collections are open to the campus community to browse. Student research projects must be registered with the Sustainability Office (email sustainability@uww.edu) to reserve bench space.  Upham Greenhouse is located on the south end of the first floor of Upham Hall. The door to enter the greenhouse is at the very end of the Physics Department hallway.

We ask that those interested in volunteering at the Upham Greenhouse use this link to register for the sessions they wish to attend. Staff members can also sign documentation verifying your completed volunteer hours during the event if needed. For questions, email sustainability@uww.edu

COVID Precautions In Effect! 

Registration is required for individuals to participate. We are limiting available times at each volunteer session to maintain social distancing. We ask that all attendees strictly adhere to use of face covering at all times and maintain social distancing while gathered as a group at the beginning and end of a session.  

The restoration in the UW-Whitewater Nature Preserve helps to maintain a diverse array of ecosystem types by establishing and protecting native plant species and communities.  We engage in various management activities in the Nature Preserve throughout the year. Collecting prairie seeds helps establish or bolster existing prairie areas in the Nature Preserve, or is used to establish native plantings across the campus landscape or donated/traded with local entities to provide a more diverse seed bank using local genotypes. Prairie seed collection starts in September and concludes in mid-November. Invasive species removal, such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, garlic mustard, sweet clover, and reed canary grass helps maintain the integrity and quality of the habitats for wildlife and student learning. Invasive removal is seasonal based on the specific species, but typically occurs throughout the year.

All prairie seed collection sessions meet at the Hoffman Memorial Kiosk on Schwager Drive. We ask that those interested in volunteering for Prairie Seed Collection use this link to register for the sessions they wish to attend. 

Invasive removal sessions are staged in various other locations, based on where the work day is focused, and will be included in the sign up form for each planned work day. We ask that those interested in volutneering for Invasive Removal use this link to register for the sessions they wish to attend. Staff members can also sign documentation verifying your completed volunteer hours during the event if needed. 

For questions, email sustainability@uww.edu

COVID Precautions In Effect! 

Registration is required for individuals to participate. We are limiting available times at each volunteer session to maintain social distancing. We ask that all attendees strictly adhere to use of face covering at all times and maintain social distancing while gathered as a group at the beginning and end of a session.  

The UW-Whitewater Sustainability Office participates in stream monitoring with the Water Action Volunteers (WAV) Program through the Rock River Coalition. With the help of faculty, staff, and students, we go out to local streams and take measurements of different variables that help determine the health of these tributaries of the Rock River. These measurements include temperature, stream flow, transparency, dissolved oxygen, stream depth, and biotic index. These measurements are reported to the WAV program, as well as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. We typically conduct stream monitoring three times per month between April and October at our site locations along Bluff Creek, Whitewater Creek, and Spring Brook Creek. 

We ask that those interested in volunteering for stream monitoring use this link to register for the sessions they wish to attend. Staff members can also sign documentation verifying your completed volunteer hours during the event if needed. For questions, email sustainability@uww.edu

COVID Precautions In Effect! 

Registration is required for individuals to participate. We are limiting available times at each volunteer session to maintain social distancing. We ask that all attendees strictly adhere to use of face covering at all times and maintain social distancing while gathered as a group at the beginning and end of a session.  

Internships and Employment

Internship and employment opportunities appropriate for a college student to start a career in sustainability are available from a wide variety of sources in Wisconsin and across the United States.  There are certainly many more out there that can be revealed with some careful searching and networking, but this page is dedicated to trying to bring as many of these opportunities together for students at UW-Whitewater to find what matches their interest or major and get started.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center - Aldo Leopold Nature Center offers many opportunities for meaningful internships for a semester, summer or longer time frames.

Clean Wisconsin - Clean Wisconsin's mission is to protect and preserve Wisconsin's clean water, clean air, and natural heritage.

Community Ground Works- Community GroundWorks is a nonprofit organization that connects people to nature and local food.

Gathering Waters -  Wisconsin's Alliance for Land Trusts' mission is to help land trusts, landowners and communities protect the places that make Wisconsin special.

Leonardo Academy -  Leonardo Academy is a charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing sustainability by leveraging innovative tools and information to motivate the competitive market.

MacKenzie Center Internship Program The MacKenzie Center,just 25 miles north of Madison, is a diverse environmental education and outdoor skills center with a remarkable conservation history.

Madison Audubon - Each summer, Madison Audubon Society hires paid interns seasonally for youth education programs and restoration ecology work.

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District- A passionate team of experts who work to recover resources and clean wastewater for return to nature 365 days a year through our innovative engineering, conservation leadership, and recovery expertise.

Midwest Environmental Advocates - We specialize in Clean Water Act enforcement, leveraging our expertise with science, the law and effective communication to mobilize communities, inform public policy and protect healthy water.

Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service - MOSES is a nonprofit organization that promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing the education, resources and expertise farmers need to succeed.

Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District- MMSD is a regional government agency that provides water reclamation and flood management services in the Greater Milwaukee Area. We serve 411 square miles that cover all, or segments of, six watersheds.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper -  Their mission is to protect, improve and advocate for water quality, riparian wildlife habitat, and sound land management in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic River Watersheds.

Office of Personnel Management - Federal Government jobs for students and recent graduates.

Sierra Club John Muir Chapter - Volunteer opportunities are often available for those of you who want to make a difference on environmental issues. Internships can also be found in the "Get Involved" tab of the main web page.

The Water Council - The Water Council is a non-profit organization that drives economic, technology and talent development to support the global water industry.

USDA Forest Service - Make a long lasting impact by helping sustain the nation's forests and grasslands for future generations.

Urban Ecology Center -  The Urban Ecology Center provides year-round educational programs and events for kids, families and adults of all ages to foster ecological understanding and preservation of natural areas.

Wisconsin Conservation Corps - WisCorps crews complete high priority conservation and community revitalization projects across the state of Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest.

Wisconsin DNR - The DNR employs a large, diverse workforce throughout our state in areas of Natural Resources, Environmental Sciences, Engineering, Law Enforcement, Business, Information Technology and Administrative Support.

Wisconsin Energy Institute - WEI is the collaborative home of energy research and education that works to transition away from fossil fuel dependence toward new, clean energy systems and solutions.

Wisconsin Environment- Wisconsin Environment is a citizen-based environmental advocacy project of Environment America. We believe there's something special about Wisconsin - something worth protecting and preserving for future generations.

Wisconsin Land + Water- The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association is a non-profit, membership organization that supports Land Conservation Committees.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters-  Learn great skills, meet great people, save great places.

Student Organizations

UW-Whitewater Ecology Club is a student organization that frequently partners with the Wisconsin DNR and other conservation groups, takes various trips, and participates in volunteer service related to their field of study. Email ecologyclub@uww.edu to find out more about this organization and their meeting times.

Freedom Force is a student organization banding together with International Justice Mission and Love 146 to fight against human trafficking in its various forms. Freedom Force events are held with the hopes of raising awareness about trafficking and engaging in conversations with students and faculty about these issues. For more information email freedomforce@uww.edu.

The Gardening Club focuses on all topics related to gardening and horticulture by learning and sharing necessary skills to grow plants and organic food. Activities generally include plant sales, field trips, workshops and other hands-on training. Connect with the Gardening Club by emailing gardenclub@uww.edu. 

Outdoor Adventure Club serves as an outlet for outdoor recreation enthusiasts and provide opportunities for such adventures. Email oac@uww.edu for more details about this org.

It is the mission of PEACE to uphold and progress ideals which promote social, political, and environmental justice at the local, state, national, and international levels in addition to facilitating personal growth and inner balance within its members and surrounding community.  Throughout the year, they host a variety of events to expose students to issues and potential solutions to the problems we face as a society. Connect with PEACE by emailing peace@uww.edu.

Students Allied for a Green Earth (SAGE) promotes ecological sustainability and awareness, democracy, cultural diversity, and social justice at UW-Whitewater, in the Whitewater, WI community, and on a global level. SAGE strives to educate and inform members and the community about sustainability issues and environmental problems through field trips, hands on activities, and events. To get involved or request further information, email sage@uww.edu.

An extension of the Milwaukee Water Council, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Water Council creates awareness of the importance of freshwater to advance southeastern Wisconsin's position as a world hub for water research, education, and economic development. Activities include attending conferences and networking events, participating in stream monitoring and other water related acts of service, and educating members and people of Whitewater about water issues and water business. For more information, email watercouncil@uww.edu.

University Housing

UW-Whitewater University Housing is committed to incorporating sustainable practices in their operations, but also focus on providing a living environment that fosters student involvement and promotes sustainable living practices in the residence halls.  University Housing Sustainability operates their own sustainability website that is full of information on ways to get involved, facilities initiatives, and other resources.

University Housing employs a student to serve as the Sustainability Coordinator for the campus residence halls to connect housing with sustainability initiatives on campus. This position is responsible for leading the team of Eco-Reps, planning and assisting with programs related to sustainability, and other various tasks that serve to develop problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and team building skills.

Each housing complex has an individual sustainability coordinator, called Eco-Reps, that educate peers on sustainability issues and campus initiatives. This is done primarily by coordinating sustainability programs and communicating with Leadership Involvement Teams, Resident Assistants, and other students in the residence halls with the support of other Eco-Reps and the University Housing Sustainability Coordinator.  If you're interested in getting involved, contact your Assistant Complex Director or Resident Assistant.

Leadership Involvement Team (LIT) is an organization for students living in residence halls to get involved with their community's activities. Since we typically have an Eco-Rep position for each LIT, there are usually opportunities in LITs for students within their hall to get involved in projects or programming that help keep our campus green.

In an effort to promote a sustainable mode of transportation, bike lockers are provided in key areas near residence halls. Consider this option when deciding if you should bring your bike to campus.

Student Projects and Resources

Every semester, numerous student projects focus on a wide range of sustainability topics, from global environmental issues to sustainability initiatives conducted by UW-Whitewater.  These projects provide students with valuable insight on the varied and complex problems sustainability seeks to address and opens a window of insight into how our campus operations and community try to make more sustainable choices.

If you are a student seeking information for a project and would like assistance, please browse the resources available on this website and check back regularly for new information as we continue our sustainability journey.  If you have additional questions not addressed by this website or would like to explore the feasibility of a Student Sustainability Fund project, please contact the Sustainability Coordinator to set up a meeting.  

Examples of Student Research Projects

There are great student research projects taking place in a variety of classes that have a sustainability focus.  This list gives some idea of what has taken place over the years, but is by no means exhaustive.  If there is a great project you'd like to see featured on this site, please contact us!

Are students at UW-Whitewater interested in environmental issues? If the university is to invest in programs to support sustainability agendas, then it needs the support of the student community to make the efforts topics of discussion within student organizations, and successful in the long term. Kreischer administered a survey to nine classes on campus. The objective was to gauge campus environmental awareness and interest. The survey discovered that a large percentage of students would be willing to financially support environmental programs on campus, would like to see alternatives to turfgrass lawns on campus, and a majority would be interested in using new recreational trail extensively. Although there does seem to be interest in "greening" the campus, only a minority of students are interested in volunteering their time.

Are Americans in love with their lawns? Or do we continue to manage vast expanses of lawn because it is socially correct, or is it because we don't know any better? Maintenance requirements of lawns are high, and the use of chemicals and fertilizers carry risks to the environment. Thirty billion dollars are spent annually to maintain forty million acres of lawn in the US. Lassiter discusses alternatives to the turfgrass lawn, including use of clover, native prairie grasses, flowering plants, and xeriscaping, as well as limited maintenance of turfgrass. Many colleges and universities have begun to explore the use of lawn alternatives as a replacement for trees and bushes, but are reluctant to replace lawns because of aesthetics. Whitewater has slowly made some changes; Lassiter suggests a plan that could be implemented in order to evaluate several alternatives, and would allow students to be actively involved in the study.

UW-Whitewater has been involved with the process of restoring prairies since the early 1980s. The campus community has long realized the importance of reclaiming the prairies, and recently has considered the replacement of traditional turfgrass lawns for maintenance and aesthetic reasons. In this report, Peterson takes us through the process of acquiring seeds to create the prairie. Restoring a prairie is not as simple as going to your local landscape company and buying a bag of seeds - each prairie is unique in the species it supports. The appropriate species must be identified, and sources for the seeds found. Peterson describes methods of collection, and discusses the need for campus involvement in the time-intensive seed collection process. SAGE, Students Allied for a Greener Earth, assisted in the effort that resulted in the collection of seeds of seven species. Collection of the seeds will reduce the expenditures necessary to restore prairie areas.

The Wisconsin DNR has announced the development of the Glacial Heritage Area(GHA),dedicated to preserving remnants of the last glaciation in southeastern Wisconsin. Much of the activity is focused in Jefferson and western Waukesha counties. The hope is to provide recreational activities and trails that will allow residents and visitors to enjoy the natural and agricultural areas, including several trails centered around Fort Atkinson, WI. The city is already recognized as a bicycling hub, and such a trail would support commuters as well as visitors. Rahn proposes routing for a trail that would connect Fort Atkinson and Whitewater, using a combination of paved, dedicated trails, existing bikeways, and rustic roads. The trail could be used for a variety of non-motorized purposed. By using roadways, the cost to develop the trail can be reduced, while eliminating current routing along busy highways, making the routes more "family friendly."

Jeremy Deibert as part of his Human Environmental Problems (GEOG252) class in Spring 2009 used a ScanGauge II to monitor his vehicle mileage to and from the university. Drawing suggestions from the hypermiling website, Jeremey was able to raise his gas mileage from 29 mpg to 35 mpg – an increase of 21%!

Upham footprint

In the Fall of 2008, Dr. Sameer Prasad's Supply Chain Systems class examined our campus's resource usage to calculate energy and CO2 footprints for all academic buildings on campus. See the project website to see their project presentation, reports, and data.

Wind turbine

Using funding from an Undergraduate Research Grant, Greg Koschak, an education major, designed and built a wind turbine which he hopes to develop into a kit for high school science classes. Current plans are to install the turbine on Upham Hall's roof to measure the turbine's performance.

Sustainability Events

The Sustainability Office participates in a variety of annual events to deepen engagement with campus stakeholders around designated topics. These programs also provide opportunities to collaborate with faculty, staff and students. To explore potential partnerships through such events and activities, email sustainability@uww.edu.

Earth Day has a long and proud tradition in Wisconsin since it was Gaylord Nelson, former Governor and Senator from Wisconsin, that created the holiday in 1970.  At UW-Whitewater, we have scheduled a wide variety of events to provide programming that is most relevant and interesting to students.  See the current (or most recent) schedule to learn more about our events.

RecycleMania is a national recycling competition held during the beginning of spring semester and lasts a total of eight weeks.  The goal of RecycleMania is to maximize the amount of the overall waste stream being recycled while striving to reduce the overall amount of waste being generated and encourages schools to undergo specific steps to eliminate waste.

Campus Sustainability Month is celebrated every October by hosting a variety of events that raise awareness of the value of sustainability in higher education.