Beginning with the campus-wide recycling project launched this semester, Green Wittenberg – the movement responsible for this new consciousness – has also introduced the Wittenberg Green Guide, "Green Week," and a food co-op in the last two years. The faces behind the green movement include faculty members Ken Irwin, university reference librarian, and Rick Incorvati, associate professor of English, and such student groups as the Parliament of the Wittenberg Environmental Revolution (PoWER), Students Taking Action Now Dammit! (STAND) and Student Senate.
"It was the moment for it to happen," Irwin said. "We got a critical mass of people to get something done. We could start discussion in positive ways. There were lots of different possibilities."
Green Wittenberg is a kind of grassroots organization that was born in 2006 at an organic, blueberry pancake breakfast hosted by Incorvati, the first in a series of breakfast meetings. It was well attended by enthusiastic faculty, staff and students who piled into Incorvati's small house to discuss ideas on how to incorporate more environmentally friendly measures onto campus.
It was at one of these breakfasts that the idea of a Wittenberg Green Guide — an informational Web resource dedicated to a more environmentally sustainable way of living came about. The brainchild of Irwin, the site is a wiki, meaning that users can freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. The site's format allows anyone to contribute as long as they register as a member.
"We weren't originally envisioning it as a wiki," said Irwin. "But we [didn't] want to print 2,000 booklets on how to save paper."
The site contains tips on how to live a "greener" life, including a list of external resources that help Web site visitors with cleaner consumption, transportation and energy practices. One of the key points to the site is buying local products, which includes pesticide-free vegetables and "free range" animals. There is even a local food database which Sodexho, Wittenberg's Dining Services provider, uses and which Irwin is continuously updating.
"Food is a passion of mine," Irwin said. "I want food that came 10 miles from here. I want food grown without pesticides."
The database provided a basis for Green Wittenberg's next big effort, the campus-wide food co-op. So far, the co-op has approximately 50 members, including faculty, staff, and one student member – but Irwin hopes that is just the start.
"We took our first batch of orders in October ," Irwin said. "You place your orders by a particular day and pick up in Hollenbeck Hall. We did one in November, which included turkeys for Thanksgiving."
Incorvati has enjoyed being a member of the co-op and has found a wide range of food products to his liking. He even purchased two local, free-range turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Green Wittenberg has had an active life since its conception.
"There's a group of students who are just energized on this issue and they've been real supportive," Incorvati said. "The faculty applauded loudly when there was the announcement about recycling."
Written By: Christi Lue '09
Photo By: Robert Gantt
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