Sustainability initiative dabbles green on campus

Often discussions around climate change and sustainability are full of despair and worry. Some recent visitors to UWM and the university’s Office of Sustainability brought a little color to the conversation.

The visitors were from the Green Suits initiative, an effort to bring a playful energy to the topic of climate change and sustainability by having people dress up in green suits and have their pictures taken. Pictures of people in green suits have been captured around the world from Japan to Egypt to England and elsewhere.

Sustainability initiative adorns campus in green

Beth Osnes, an associate professor of theater at the University of Colorado-Boulder, founded the Green Suits initiative with the mission to inject some joy and hope into conversations around climate change.

Recently, Osnes visited UWM’s Office of Sustainability for a photo shoot across campus. She put on a green suit as did her sister, Cathy Deely, a Milwaukee area native. Kate Nelson, chief sustainability officer at UWM, donned a green suit and gave a tour of her office’s successful projects on campus.

“The chance to reimagine sustainability is much welcomed,” Nelson said. “I hope our campus community enjoys the efforts themselves as well as the art we are able to share through it.”

The green-suited people visited the Sandburg Gardens, where the Learn-Earn-Grow program is operating, the Spiral Garden near Sabin Hall and the hoop house where compostpiles made from Sandburg food scraps are managed by student volunteers.

“Sharing that joy of witnessing what people are doing with their sustainability efforts and celebrating that was part of the goal of the green suits,” Osnes said.

The Green Suits initiative is a project of Inside the Greenhouse, a University of Colorado-Boulder program that uses theater, dance, filmmaking and writing to connect a wider audience to discussions of climate change.

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