News Release

Published on Monday, April 13, 2009

As a partner in Earth Week La Crosse 2009, Western Technical College will be hosting several special events the week of April 20-24. All events are free and open to the public.

Monday, April 20, Western will kick-off the week with a Dumpster Dive at 10:30 a.m. outside the Industrial Technology Center on 7th Street. College President Lee Rasch and Vice President of Operations Mike Pieper will sift through a college dumpster in search of recyclables.

Tuesday, April 21, a Design E2 film series will be featured from 12:25-1:30 p.m. in the Academic Resource Center, room 200. “Harvest the Wind” features a wind power cooperative in southwestern Minnesota, and “Affordable Green Housing” features developer Jonathan Rose who puts sustainable homes within reach of New Yorkers living in public housing.

Wednesday, April 22, 11:00 a.m. Western’s Landscape Horticulture Club will be planting a tree outside the Welcome Center in honor of Earth Day.

Also on Wednesday, Rob Tyser, a professor of Biology at UW-La Crosse, will be discussing “Global Warming and its Relevance to La Crosse,” from 3:00-4:00 p.m. in the Academic Resource Center, room 200.

Thursday, April 23, students can sign the Promise to be more “green” this year. A sign up table will be in the first floor hallway of the Kumm Center, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. During this time, there will also be a recycling bean-bag toss game with the prize of a free, one-hour massage.

A website dedicated to the college’s sustainability efforts will be available beginning Wednesday, April 15. The site,, was designed as part of Western’s recycling campaign “It’s easy being green,” and features information about the college’s environmentally-conscious projects, upcoming events, recycling tips, links to more information, and even a blog by the frog mascot.

“We felt it was important to let people know what we are doing at the college to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Mike Pieper, vice president of operations, who also serves as the lead on Western’s sustainability efforts. “The website helps us communicate all of our projects, from subtle changes to larger endeavors.”

One of the largest initiatives for the college is the construction of the Lunda Center, a community and corporate training center that will be certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. Criteria for becoming LEED certified include earning points in the following categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The building is scheduled for completion this fall.

Other high-profile campus changes include the use of a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) for security patrols and a new college-wide push to recycle.

“We’re in the education phase right now, spreading the word around campus about recycling,” said Cindy Kartman, Western’s Wellness Center manager, who serves on the recycling committee. “Visual Communications students created public service announcements to promote using the new, larger recycling bins that were recently placed all over campus. And, we’ve become better at communicating exactly what can be recycled.”

For more information about Western’s sustainability efforts, visit or contact Erica Black at 608.789.4733. For details on Earth Week La Crosse 2009, visit