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EMBI, eco-reps cultivate sustainability

embi

Cheyenne Makinia/Fourth Estate

As eco-reps, Emily Brown, Christiana Bartelme, Anna Gribova and Jordan Marty educate students on how to make environmentally healthy decisions.

Lauren Galloway, Life Writer
September 19, 2013
Filed under Life, Top Stories

The Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI) has been helping the UW-Green Bay and the surrounding area get back to its green roots since 2008.

Located in the Environmental Sciences building, EMBI offers students an array of opportunities.

According to Director John Katers, EMBI is actively recruiting students to accompany them on their mission of sustainability across the northern region of Wisconsin. With more than $150,000 earmarked for 70 internships, split between two campus efforts, students can get real-world experience while working on campus and with various companies across the state.

Kater’s said EMBI’s partnership with Aurora Baycare Hospital,  established in 2010, has given them particular notoriety. EMBI agreed to combine efforts for three years to figure out how to reduce hospital waste. The project, extended to four years, has been successful, with the hospital substantially reducing their cost of operation.

Other projects include working with the Packers to encourage recycling and working with Wisconsin Public Service.

The underlying theme and lifeblood of EMBI is sustainability.

“People. Planet. Prosperity,” Katers said. He said the opportunity to interact with students and watch them advance in the field keeps him motivated. Having started out as an intern himself, he now directs EMBI alongside the co-director, John Arendt. Students have achieved full-time positions through their involvement with EMBI, Katers said.

Internships at local businesses aren’t the only way students can make a difference in promoting a sustainable future. Students across campus and those living in the residence halls learn about environmentally conscious actions through the eco-reps.

Focusing mainly on freshman residence halls, the four eco-reps are responsible for about 100 students each. Their job is to work with students early on to promote sustainability, recycling and further education on the topics.

“Students might not be thinking about their actions,” said eco-rep Christiana Bartelme. “We want to prepare them for their future, when they are paying bills for water usage, paying for electricity, waste and garbage pickup. Something as little as taking a really long shower has effects on our environment.”

She also says their goals are aimed at making sustainability relatable instead of an obligation.

Students may have noticed their eco-reps helping out around the residence halls on move-in day. They were there to assist students and their families in the breaking down of cardboard boxes and helping throw away garbage. Anna Gribova, Jordan Marty, Emily Brown and Bartelme are the eco-reps that helped.

Future plans involve the recruitment of four more eco-reps in order to expand their mentoring to all residence halls, a program to educate people on the benefits and details of recycling and coming up with more efficient ways of promoting sustainability on campus.

The eco-reps have a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/UWGBEcoReps, and can be contacted through email for more information.

Arendt works full-time in the EMBI office and is available to answer students’ questions. Brochures and information packets are available to those seeking internships, and there’s always someone around to answer questions. More information is available on the EMBI website www.uwgb.edu/embi.