Eco U®

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.