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Sustainability within reach

Posted 8 a.m. Friday, April 19, 2024

Anika Whittington brings free, sustainable products to the campus food pantry for the second year in a row thanks to a Green Fund grant.

UWL student provides free, sustainable products for campus thanks to Green Fund grant

Just in time for Earth Day, students can find an array of sustainable products available for free in the Campus Food Pantry thanks to a Green Fund grant awarded to Anika Whittington. 

 Whittington is a senior majoring in public health and community health education. This marks her second year being awarded a Green Fund grant for her sustainable product initiative. 

 “Each semester, roughly $11 is collected within tuition from students to go toward the Green Fund,” Whittington explains. “Students and faculty are then able to apply for Green Fund grants to fund sustainability-driven projects. Each proposal is reviewed by the Joint Committee on Environmental Sustainability (JCES) and then forwarded to the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee (SUFAC).” 

The sustainable products chosen this year reflect the success of last year’s grant, with the addition of a few new items.

“The sustainable products purchased for this year are very similar to the ones purchased last year,” Whittington says. “There will be items such as wool dryer balls, reusable produce bags, period cups, reusable period pads and bamboo toothbrushes available for pickup. Members of the Green Advisory Committee added suggestions for a few new items such as reusable freezer bags and reusable make-up rounds as well.” 

The sustainable products chosen this year reflect the success of last year’s grant, with the addition of a few new items.

Whittington gauges the success of her project through student feedback collected via surveys. These surveys delve into product preferences, students' purchasing habits regarding reusable items and any barriers hindering sustainable purchases. Positive responses have emphasized the convenience of the Campus Food Pantry as a distribution hub (located in the COVE on the second floor of the Student Union) and the accessibility of free sustainable products for students in need.  

 “Students expressed feelings of excitement since many of them have not utilized these products prior to the implementation of my project,” Whittington says. “Oftentimes, buying sustainable items in stores can be somewhat more expensive because they last much longer and are made of better materials than non-reusable items. Offering these sustainable supplies for free through the Food Pantry ensures that students who are in need of hygiene and food storage resources have access to durable, environmentally friendly products.” 

 As a member of Students for Sustainability and the Green Advisory Committee, Whittington has been an active voice for sustainability on campus.

 “The largest piece of advice I would give to students interested in sustainability is to seek out ways to become involved on campus. Students for Sustainability, the UWL Office of Sustainability, Green Advisory Committee and the Joint Committee on Environmental Sustainability (JCES) are all great ways to become more involved with sustainability initiatives on campus and in the community,” Whittington says. “The College of Science & Health also offers an Environmental Science major, minor, or concentration if you’d like to incorporate these studies into your degree.” 

Whittington urges students to apply for a Green Fund grant if they have an idea for a sustainability-focused project benefiting the campus and community. 

 “The grant-writing process might seem intimidating at first, but the Green Fund team wants you to succeed and will offer assistance in any way needed.”

To find more information about the grant-writing process, visit the Green Fund webpage. 

 Learn more about the Campus Food Pantry by visiting the University Centers webpage. 

Visit our sustainability webpage to discover other ways to get involved.


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