AMU introduces sustainability newsletter

New initiative is part of  work to make campus more green

Alumni Memorial Union employees received the first issue of an e-mail newsletter called The AMU Green Neighbor Update last Wednesday.

The newsletter highlights several new programs in being implemented in the AMU and gives advice to employees about acting in a more environmentally conscious way.

Chris Porterfield, program coordinator for the AMU and Union Sports Annex, said the newsletter will hopefully be released on a quarterly basis and is intended to inform employees on the new programs being implemented by a new committee called the AMU sustainability working group.

“The goal is to promote sustainable ideas as well as share the progress, vision and hard work of departments that call the AMU their home base,” Porterfield said.

The idea for a newsletter was created a month ago as the working group was looking for a way to keep all AMU employees, from staff to students, informed, Porterfield said.

Porterfield is one of the leaders within the AMU on sustainability efforts. Last year he attended a conference on campus sustainability. He has been working with Mike Whittow, head of university-wide sustainability, and Todd Vicker, AMU executive director and a member of the University Sustainability Task Force, to brainstorm ways to promote sustainability within the AMU.

“We referenced a neighborhood because the building is home to a wide variety of offices, areas and operations,” Porterfield said. “We wanted to … focus on sustainable practices taking place, suggestions that people can use at work and at home, and provide a forum for suggestions and involvement.”

The AMU sustainability working group is comprised of AMU employees from many different departments. Jillian Marx-Wenig, an event management coordinator, contributed to the newsletter with an article about buying foods locally.

“(The AMU staff is) working closely with the Renewal Task Force, the Marquette-wide organization, to help encourage environmentally friendly programs and protocol,” Marx-Wenig said. “For example, we’re increasing the visibility of the co-mingle recycling program and have started recycling batteries used in our electronics.”

Additional changes have come through Sysco, the AMU food service provider, Marx-Wenig said.

“Sysco is located in Jackson (Wis.), so that cuts down on transportation costs of food,” Marx-Wenig said. “We also bake a majority of the baked goods in our on-campus bakery.”

The Green Neighbor Update not only highlights efforts in the AMU, but the “Did you know?” section, written by Kyle Craine, an event management coordinator, contains a few simple facts that attempt to gain a listener’s attention, Craine said.

“The goal of the AMU Sustainability Committee is to create awareness,” Craine said. “Awareness leads to action. If just one person reads the Green Neighbor Newsletter and takes action in his or her own life, we’ve made progress.”

The newsletter is a way for AMU employees to become aware of the efforts of other departments they work side by side with as well as a way to showcase these efforts to the university.

“Our goal in the AMU is to join the campus conversation with other voices — like the Sustainability Task Force, (Students for an Envrionmentally Active Campus), Slow Food — and do what we can to promote the university-wide initiatives,” Porterfield said. “That’s really what it’s all about — making people aware of the impact they can have by making better choices.”

The content of the Green Neighbor Update will change every issue based on any information the group finds interesting and the work being done in the AMU.

“Stay tuned for additional changes and improvements throughout the building,” Marx-Wenig said.