In 2010, UW-Green Bay obtained trademark rights to the words “Eco U.” The move by Chancellor Thomas Harden both honored the University’s ecological roots and protected the institution’s rights to the nickname first bestowedat its founding. In fall of 1969, reporters from the Associated Press, the Chronicle of Higher Education and Harper’s and Innovation magazine all trumpeted the new UW-Green Bay as a national model for innovative, environmentally focused higher education. While founding Chancellor Edward Weidner would years later say the media wrote too narrowly about UWGB’ ecology focus — “The Man and His Environment” theme was much broader and included the social science, business and cultural environments, he said — campus officials didn’t much protest when a lengthy article in the February 1971 issue of Harper’s magazine extolled UWGB as “Survival U.” Contributing editor John Fischer described a University “where all work would be focused on a single unifying idea, the study of human ecology and the building of an environment in which our species might be able to survive.” He called it “the most exciting and promising educational experiment that I have found anywhere.” Reprinted in the Press-Gazette, it spawned related articles across Wisconsin, in other U.S. publications and even abroad (the Cape Times of South Africa.) When Newsweek dubbed the campus “Ecology U,” the name stuck. Inquiries about the University flooded in from the East Coast and from overseas. Earth Day and the federal Clean Water Act resulted from the national, early-1970s wave of activism but before the decade was out, the Oil Crisis and a worldwide economic slump took some of the wind out of the environmental movement’s sails. UWGB, however, retained strong academic programs in the environmental and natural sciences, a reputation it maintains to this day.
Students Kay Hamilton and Terri Metcalf shopped at 2nd Gear shortly after its opening in 1975. Billed as “a new recycling project at UWGB,” the resale shop operated out of glass-walled, cozy quarters on the Library-Learning Center’s first-floor concourse. Used clothes, albums and kitchen items were hot sellers. Run by volunteers from the University League women’s service organization, the shop raised money for student aid ranging from grants to the childcare center to funding for an emergency loan fund to donations in support of lecture series and art exhibits, library materials and Weidner Center equipment. Faith Sanders was the longtime coordinator, and volunteers handled sales, stocking, consignments and bookkeeping. The University League eventually disbanded, a student proposal to take over the shop failed to materialize, and 2nd Gear (located in the general vicinity of today’s Garden Café) closed its doors for good on March 31, 1999. Over the years, the University League awarded student scholarships totaling more than $50,000. That initiative survives. The League directed its remaining funds, more than $20,000 (a healthy sum in 1999), to create a perpetual scholarship endowment.
Signs saying “Why didn’t you walk?” and “Your car pollutes the air I breathe” were flashed at motorists departing campus in this 1970 scene at the new UW-Green Bay. The Ban the Car campaign was related to that year’s inaugural Earth Day celebration and sought to draw attention to modern society’s addiction to oil and gas-guzzling methods of transportation. (Among the green-minded picketers that day was Urban Analysis major and future community housing administrator, Alumni Association president and Pamperin Hall namesake Keith Pamperin, second from left.)
No, it wasn’t particularly sophisticated, convenient or photogenic, but this used-glass dropoff center near the Environmental Sciences Building was ahead-of-the-curve stuff circa 1970, the spring of the first Earth Day. UW-Green Bay was among the first local institutions to urge recycling. Within a year, indoor collection points on campus would supplant the bins, barrels and boxes shown here. The sign, labeled “This is the Glass Kitty,” encouraged users to donate only clean glass containers, with no rings or tops, and to separate by color. Point No. 4 said, “Thank you for your cooperation in helping save our environment.”
In 1973, UWGB faculty member, Dr. E. Nelson Swinerton, launched a game called “The Dead River.” The game was intended to “present a real-life water pollution problem and give each participant a role to play in problem solving.”
The simulation game had students serving as members of teams representing various interest groups. Assuming the role of the interest groups, the teams had to develop water quality standards and policy options for cleaning up an interstate river system.
Swinerton believed students should be “actively involved in the learning process” and used the simulation game in his Introduction to Political Science courses. Swinerton was a professor at UWGB from 1968 until 1996. He taught courses in political science, urban and public affairs as well as the extended degree program.
Marketed to social studies and science teachers, the game was produced and sold nationwide by the Educational Games Company of Ohio.
We are curious if any UWGB Alums remember playing this game in the 1970s and 1980s
In celebration of the 45th anniversary of Earth Week….
In 1973, the first gardening efforts occurred on the UWGB campus. Barbara Rosenbaum, a student from Missouri, contacted the Office of Student Life wondering if there was a section of campus land that could be made available for a garden. Other students, faculty, and staff soon joined the efforts. Dick Christie, director of student life, made sure the gardening group received funding. Although the allocation was only $100, the group accomplished a great deal the first year.
The garden consisted of a half-acre lot and was divided into a communal section and individual areas. The small organic campus garden grew cabbage, beans, corn, radishes, lettuce, and other vegetables.
One of the organizers was Schellie Hensely, a senior from Illinois. He indicated the limited gardening funds were extended by using the leaf mold from a campus recycling project. Hensley stated the campus gardeners learned from organic gardening publications and members of the group who “grew up on a farm” as well as intuition.
The 1973 garden quickly became bigger in purpose with the campus fruit trees benefitting from the garden mulching and pruning; planned renovation of the greenhouse; and the creation of a library on organic gardening.
Fast forward to 2010 when the current SLO Food Alliance was established and a new campus garden began on the plaza of the University Union. As part of UWGB’s Earth Week celebration, this year’s garden will be planted on Thursday and Friday.
Pictured in the 1973 photo are Schellie Hensley (right) and Marcia Karras (left).
Throughout time, student activism has played a role on many university campuses, including Green Bay. In spring 1970, UWGB students led a “Ban the Car Campaign.”
This photo was donated by one of the student participants, Keith Pamperin (second from left).
UWGB Alums can you tell us more or identify any of the other people?