The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Megan Poe
Opinion Editor

My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal WiertellaMarch 1, 2024

Creation of sustainabilty committee in works at NMU

Sustainability on NMU’s campus may be getting an overhaul to put it on the same level as other Michigan universities by creating a sustainability committee.

The process began with a campus-wide survey. Rachel Headings and Ella Skrocki, the two students designing the parameters for the committee for their directed study this semester, released the survey on March 7 for administration, faculty, staff and students.

While Northern has great practices in place, such as LED-approved buildings and a recycling system, there’s a lot of room for improvement, said Skrocki, a junior environmental studies major.

“We’ve seen a lot of universities across the country that have created a committee and made huge technological and environmental advancements to make campus as sustainable as possible,” said Skrocki, who is in charge of outreach for the project.

Story continues below advertisement

The idea for the sustainability committee includes launching a website with a list of resources and ongoing projects on campus, such as the Keep It Cool campaign to wash clothes in cold water to save energy, Skrocki said. It could also include creating a green fund to generate money in a way similar to the Student Activity Fee.

“It would allow for more projects to be done in a shorter amount of time,” Skrocki said.

Many departments and groups on campus have multiple separate sustainability-related projects going. The goal for the committee would be to become a group that coordinates overlapping projects to give them more impact, Headings, a senior public relations major and the creator of the survey said.

“I don’t want people to think we’re just creating another fluff job,” Headings said. “We’re just trying to fulfill a need.”

The plan for a committee could begin with “low hanging fruit” goals that are financially viable considering the recent cutbacks, said Sarah Mittlefehldt, an assistant professor in the Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Studies department and the faculty aiding Headings and Skrocki with their project.

“Every school that has done this before, it has always been a grassroots movement of students and faculty until someone in administration takes notice,” Mittlefehldt said.

The new NMU strategic plan calls for an advancement of sustainability on campus, and President Fritz Erickson and Provost Kerri Schuiling have shown interest in the project, Mittlefehldt said.

The committee would be made up of administration, faculty and staff, but would hopefully have a board in which students could be involved with events and reflection and could give feedback. Similar committees are already in place at other universities such as Western Michigan University and Michigan Tech.

“I think it would be valuable, not only for current students here, but for branding and marketing for new students,” Headings said. “Sustainability is part of the culture here and a lot of the students that come here expect us to be greener than we are.”

The survey takes about 10 minutes and includes questions to assess students’ understanding of sustainability as a whole, how sustainability is currently being achieved on campus, and if they believe a committee would be beneficial to the effort. It also provides areas for students to give feedback on what changes to sustainability they would like to see, what they would find most beneficial in a committee and if they would like to be part of it.

By March 14, the survey had 484 responses. Students made up 72 percent of those responses, followed by staff at 14 percent, faculty at 12 percent and administration at 2 percent, Headings said.

“You don’t need to know anything about it. Even if you don’t agree, you don’t think we should invest, we want to hear that,” Headings said. “The purpose of this survey is to see if this is something people want.”

The survey was sent to every NMU webmail address and can also be found by searching in campus connect for “sustainability survey.” Responses will be taken until midnight on March 20.

A public forum about the results will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. Fri, April 8 in Jamrich 1322.

More to Discover