Marquette Wire

Students help assemble sustainability committee

Brent Ribble started the Green Team.

Photo by Elena Fiegen

Brent Ribble started the Green Team.

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This fall, Marquette campus sustainability coordinator Brent Ribble said he hopes to expand sustainability at Marquette. Ribble has assembled faculty, staff and students to create what he named the Green Team.

Two years ago, Ribble came to campus with his experience as a sustainability consultant. One thing Ribble said he was sure he wanted to implement when he got to campus was a sustainability committee. Soon after arriving, Ribble brought together other faculty and staff to establish Marquette’s sustainability committee, quickly making efforts to root sustainability and himself into campus.   

“The level of engagement started to go down (after the first year), and [the committee] wasn’t achieving the vision I hoped it would,” Ribble said, citing busy schedules as a contributing factor.

Ribble sees the Green Team as a new and improved sustainability committee, this time incorporating students. 

Members of the Green Team choose communities where they will be ambassadors. Whether an ambassador for their residence hall floor, major or job, their responsibility is to educate, inspire, challenge, enable and encourage their communities through sustainability-centric activities. These activities, which take place at least once a semester in each community, might include setting up a table, taking their community out for a vegetarian meal or going on a tour of Milwaukee’s recycling facility explained Ribble. 

“I want students to be as creative as they want,” Ribble said.

Laura Schmit, junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she has a long list of event ideas. Schmit said she wants to go on hikes, volunteer at the Urban Ecology Center, bring in a speaker to talk about recycling and composting or reflect on environmental news articles with her community.

Schmit said the Green Team is an important addition to Marquette because as an institution in an urban setting, it has a large carbon footprint. 

“Having a team constantly keeping people mindful of environmentally-friendly practices could help Marquette implement more sustainable practices and positive changes,” Schmit said. 

Annie Dysart, junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she’s interested in being an ambassador for her apartment complex or for Straz tower as a desk receptionist.

For Dysart, the Green Team is all about fostering enthusiasm for sustainability. 

“Your enthusiasm is contagious, and the more people who care and take part — you can really make a difference,” Dysart said, noting that it’s not just about raising awareness, but getting people to understand and care about their actions.

Most importantly she said it’s about getting people excited about making sustainable choices. 

The Green Team is still in the stages of planning and recruiting with its first official meeting set for Oct. 10. Meetings will be held once a month to explore ideas for community events and to offer support and resources to the ambassadors.

These meetings, Ribble said, are meant to allow the ambassadors grow and collectively spread their ideas throughout campus. 

Through the collaboration of faculty, staff and students, Ribble said he hopes the Green Team will work to create a sustainability-literate campus through education.

This collaboration in spreading awareness helps decentralize Marquette sustainability efforts. Having representatives from all over campus who then work within their individual communities allows sustainability education and excitement to reach places that it would not be able to otherwise, said Ribble. 

Ribble said that without student involvement, the organization would not be able to achieve the goals of the organization.

Ribble noted that he has seen firsthand that students truly care about the environment on campus and beyond. 

“Marquette definitely isn’t at the forefront of sustainability, but what’s so great about (sustainability) is that it’s all doable stuff,” Dysart said, adding that she feels confident that over time the Green Team sustainability will grow throughout Marquette’s campus.

“I see the potential for every group on campus to have a sustainability ambassador,” Schmit said.

For students, faculty or staff looking to become a Green Team ambassador, online registration forms will be available online. In the meantime, inquiries can be sent to sustainability@marquette.edu.

“I think we have come a long way in the past two years, but we have a long way to go,” Ribble said. It is his hope that the collaborative nature of the Green Team and its broad reaches will create a deeper understanding and allow a culture of sustainability to emerge on Marquette’s campus.

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About the Writer
Amanda Parrish, A&E Reporter

Amanda is an arts & entertainment reporter from Barrington, IL. She is majoring in journalism and plans on adding environmental studies as a second...

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