EcoReps, Northern's peer-to-peer sustainability education student organization, embodies the university's environmental core value and emboldens students to strive toward equitable sustainability on campus. EcoReps is made up of more than 200 registered members, and hosts activities such as the on-campus Zero Waste event planned for the upcoming hockey game against Michigan Tech on Friday, Feb. 2.
“We focus on giving students resources and knowledge through on-campus activities, workshops, social media events and outreach to promote sustainability in a way that is accessible to students and members of the community,” said Grace Freed, the organization's outreach and media intern.
After a successful clothing swap and Marquette Climate Action Task Force meeting, EcoReps looks forward to the upcoming Diversity in STEM week with Northern's Biology Department, and will be platforming the experiences of STEM students through the lens of sustainability.
Group members are also heavily involved in assisting Northern students write and submit proposals for the university's Green Fund, a grassroots program run by students to support socially, environmentally and economically sustainable initiatives and activities on campus. Northern's Board of Trustees recently increased support of the EcoReps organization by agreeing to sponsor a signature Green Fund project and committing to plan at least one Zero-Waste awareness event in 2024.
“Through previous Green Fund projects, we were able to get solar panels at the Sustainability Hub for Innovation and Environment and a fridge and freezer at the NMU Food Pantry," Freed added. "Those are really big because students actually have room to store things, so that impacts a lot of students, and it also just gives students a chance to generally voice what they want at Northern."
As Earth Week approaches in April, EcoReps aims to sponsor a composting event and a sustainability-themed pin pressing event. The group will also partner with the Great Start Collaborative nonprofit, which is geared toward teaching sustainability to students on campus and enjoying nature with the Marquette community.
Looking toward the future, EcoReps is excited about the recent appointment of Northern alumna and professor Jessica Thompson to the new position of vice president of Sustainability.
“I feel like we're going to see a lot of action come out of that and hopefully more funding for other Green Fund projects,” Freed said.
As part of the Sustainability Hub for Innovation and Environment Advisory Board, Thompson is directly involved with taking student Green Fund proposals from EcoReps and sharing them with the Board of Trustees and Northern's president.