By Hannah Lundquist —
As a new and exciting addition to life on campus this year UW–Stout has added a new bike rack shelter. This shelter was constructed during the fall semester and is located in between Heritage Hall and the Robert Swanson Library. Students may have noticed its construction during the last semester.
This shelter was built by the Physical Plant staff and was paid for by the Green Fee initiative here at Stout. This project was brought to light at the request of students requesting better places for their bikes due to Wisconsin weather being so unpredictable. In total, this project cost around twenty three thousand dollars and was built to encourage the use of bikes on campus and around town. So far there have been mixed reactions about the shelter; some say that it helps keep the bikes more dry for those who still bike in the winter, while others say that there is not much of a difference in how dry the bikes are kept.
One of unfortunate consequences of the installation of the bike shelter came at the expense of a flock of birds. The plexiglass sides were so clear and clean that the birds were not able to distinguish between the sky and the sides and flew into the shelter. This made a bad sight for a few days until the birds were cleaned up and tarps were put up over the walls so that it would not happen again.
In addition to the bike shelter, another successful project that the Stout Sustainability office was involved in was the bike repair stations. These have so far been a huge success and also encourage the use of bikes around campus. Both of these projects are steps that the Sustainability office is taking to reduce carbon emissions. These are some of the large projects that are happening here at Stout, but there are other, smaller, steps to take to help reduce your personal carbon footprint. The Sustainability office has come out with a Stout Green Guide with some tips to incorporate into daily life like carpooling, keeping tires inflated, and driving the speed limit. For those that live in the dorms or off campus they recommend turning off the lights even if you only plan to be gone a few minutes and unplugging things that do not need to be plugged in or using a power strip to turn off all appliances.
These are just a few things that we can all do in order to become green and overall make campus a healthier and cleaner place to live and go to school.
To become more involved in sustainability at Stout, join the Stout Student Association or the Sustainability Committee. Otherwise, ideas for projects can be submitted online on the Sustainability office link.