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Sustainability starter

Posted 4 p.m. Friday, July 29, 2022

Andrew Ericson, a May 2022 graduate, was recently named UWL's first sustainability program manager. “I’m very excited to be here, but more broadly, I think the creation of this position is an excellent step for the university," he says.

Alum Andrew Ericson hopes to engage campus in new role

Andrew Ericson remembers his first exposure to sustainability and environmental science.

“I was in the second grade … and we made a song called ‘Pollution Solution,’” Ericson recalls. “It wasn’t the greatest song ever made, but we got on the radio and performed it at an Earth Day Festival in Madison. It was a defining memory for me at that time.”

Ericson’s passion for sustainability carried through to college at UW-La Crosse, where he coordinated the student-run Green Fund and participated in other environmentally focused organizations.

Now, after graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with an environmental science concentration, Ericson is back at his alma mater, serving as UWL’s first sustainability program manager.

“I’m very excited to be here, but more broadly, I think the creation of this position is an excellent step for the university,” Ericson says. “Many members of the UWL community had advocated for this position for a long time — more than a decade. Sustainability is such a salient issue, especially among the current generation of students, and I think that importance will only increase.”

In his role, Ericson plans to engage students and other campus stakeholders to identify and respond to key environmental issues.

He also hopes to promote UWL’s current sustainability work on campus and in the community.

"The most important thing is that we, as a campus, continue to make a conscious and dedicated effort to reduce our contributions to climate change and other environmental issues and mitigate the adverse effects that will arise,” Ericson explains.

While his environmental interests began in elementary school, it wasn’t until college that Ericson took on a leadership role in promoting sustainability.

He joined Students for Sustainability as a sophomore and attended a conference with other sustainability officers from UW System. Soon, he was “totally enamored with it.”

“It was so much fun meeting with like-minded people, talking about issues and trying to solve problems,” he notes.

Later, Ericson joined the UWL Student Association and spent two years coordinating the Green Fund. He was also chair of the Joint Committee on Environmental Sustainability.

Ericson encourages students and campus community members to reach him via email, or to visit his office in the COVE, on the second floor of the Student Union.

He believes sustainability is a cause many students will rally behind. In fact, he says, it may even become a recruiting tool.

“Sustainability can be leveraged as a way to bring students in. It’s definitely something they look for,” Ericson says. “In my own experience, there were so many opportunities for me to get involved and learn outside of the classroom. Working on sustainability projects on campus was one of the most valuable parts of my college experience.”


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