The Ripon College community, beginning with the Office of the President, is committed to doing everything in its power to be good stewards of our environment. Sustainability initiatives are deeply ingrained in all aspects of our campus life, from administration to academics to student clubs and organizations.
Students with a passion for environmental causes are encouraged to join the campus organizations EGOR (Environmental Group of Ripon), Ripon Outdoor Club and Ducks Unlimited, whose efforts to improve the environment are felt every day on campus and encourage members of the Ripon College community to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Operationally, the campus makes every effort to purchase fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles whenever possible and continues to update heating and cooling systems to make campus buildings more efficient. Physical Plant also has made a dramatic difference in the College’s consumption of natural resources with an extensive campus recycling program and investments that save in electrical costs every year with LED light fixtures replacing older incandescent fixtures.
The installation of eco-friendly water bottle refilling stations, beginning in the spring semester of 2013, have steadily reduced the number of plastic bottles purchased and discarded on campus. The positive impact of this initiative is being analyzed by students and the environmental health and safety officer.
Other successful efforts include the erection of a campus hoop house where vegetables are grown, and the move by Kaitlyn Welzen ’15 to change a City of Ripon ordinance allowing on-campus composting.
A campus-wide initiative launched in the fall of 2017 targets the curriculum, student life and administrative decision-making, allowing every Ripon College student to directly engage with sustainability principles in a structured and meaningful way.
Supported in part by a $350,000 grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, the initiative will include the hiring of a sustainability director who will guide the faculty, staff and students to institutionalize sustainability in the essential practices of the College. A newly developed Sustainability Strategic Plan will better coordinate sustainability initiatives and influence the decision-making culture of the College, and will make sustainability visible as a coherent, high-value goal.
The sustainability director will work with faculty to expand the presence of sustainability principles within the curriculum, including developing applied sustainability projects for the capstone seminar of the Catalyst curriculum, increasing the focus of sustainability in co-curricular activities and growing external student placements.