Sustainable Lawrence News

BeeCampus USA

BeeCampus USA - Del ToroIsrael Del Toro, Lawrence University assistant professor of biology, has been championing bees and the untold benefits they bring to our ecosystem since he arrived on campus three years ago. He launched the Appleton Pollinator Project to turn homeowners and gardeners into citizen scientists, helped install and study pollination sites across the Fox Cities, and pushed students in his biology lab and campus environmental clubs to work to improve the on-campus habitat for bees.

Now Del Toro is stepping up that advocacy to another level. In spring of 2019, Lawrence was designated as a bee-friendly campus via Bee City USA, an initiative of Xerces Society. Lawrence is only the second certified bee-friendly campus in Wisconsin.

See a full write-up in Lawrence University News: New studies, research put Lawrence on front lines of bee advocacy

Recent University Projects

Hand Dryers

Hand dryer

In efforts to reduce paper waste on campus funding from the LUCC Environmental Project Fund were utilized to purchase eight electric hand dryers for the Warch Campus Center and two electric hand dryers in Chapman Hall. In the project proposal it was estimated that the hand dryers installed in the campus center would result in a savings of $3,766 per year in paper towel costs (after considering added electric costs), not to mention the decrease in paper waste! After one year of the dryers being in use, it was confirmed that the dryers saved $3,659.70 in one year.




New Waste Receptacles

trash recycling binIn 2018 Lawrence purchased new, clearly marked waste receptacles. These receptacles can be found in most major campus buildings, including residences halls, as well as outdoors. The dual stream bins make it easy to identify the trash bin from the recycling bin and the combined structure ensures that everywhere there is a trash bin, a recycling bin is available also.

One Lawrentian centered their senior experience project around waste contamination at Lawrence. The results of the project demonstrated that installing the new containers decreased Lawrence's waste contamination rate! Learn more about the project on the Sustainable Initiatives and Projects page.


University Waste Policy

In 2019 Lawrence University administration approved a Solid Waste Policy. Find the Policy on the Sustainability Resources page under Sustainability Policies.

Recent Student Projects

University Waste Audit

Travis Charlow '18 received funding from the Student Sustainability fund to conduct waste audits which revealed that in some buildings Lawrence's waste/recycling contamination rate exceeded 50%. The Sustainability Steering Committee purchased new trash and recycling bins for all major campus buildings to help solve this problem, much thanks to Travis' research. Read Travis's full report here.

2018 Waste Audit Results


SLUG Biodiversity Index

Sarah Woody '19 received funding from the Student Sustainability Fund to explore the other living things in the SLUG Garden. She created a SLUG Biodiversity Index which ponders the question "how do humans and wildlife interact within the garden ecosystem?"

Water Bottle Fill Stations

Water refill station

Increasing access to the tools needed to live a healthy lifestyle is an important component of sustainability. In an effort to decrease usage of single use plastic water bottles and promote a healthy lifestyle which includes drinking plenty of water, Jason Lau '19 obtained funding from the Student Sustainability Fund to install two water bottle fill stations in the Buchanan Kiewitt Wellness Center.





Demonstration Beehive

demonstration beehiveLawrence is certified as a BeeCampus USA and is working hard to make its grounds a safe place for pollinators.

Gillian Buckardt '22 applied for funding to install a demonstration beehive on the roof of the Warch Campus Center. The hive will be maintained by Professor Del Toro and his lab.

The hive can be viewed through a window on the fourth floor of the campus center.




Goat Busters

Floreal Crubaugh ’20 received funding from the Student Sustainability Fund to attack weed and invasive species in SLUG by hiring a herd of goats!

The goats munched on thistle and burdock weeds in the garden for two-weeks before moving on to their next assignment. Read more about the story here.

goat, SLUG

Land Management at Bjorklunden

Jessica Robyns '19 spent her summer at Lawrence's northern campus, Bjorklunden, researching the current land management practices and pollinators in the area. Her research led her to make recommendations for the maintenance of the property and initiated the creation of a pollinator garden. 

The garden will provide food for Bjorklunden’s native bees, add beauty to what is currently a lawn space, and provide education and entertainment to Bjorklunden’s many guests.

pollinator garden diagram

The Wild Things

Eight students from Greenfire, a student organization, attended The Wild Things Conference. This conference celebrates northeast Wisconsin's nature and how people enjoy and protect it.

The students documented their experience with a video .

Residential Composting

The Lawrence University Environmental Organization is working hard to help students live more sustainably in the residence halls. The group applied for funding through the Student Sustainability Fund to purchase composting bins for the major residence halls. The group is responsible for emptying the bins at SLUG every week.

compost bin


Bee Campus USA

Working with Professor Del Toro, Claire Zimmerman '20 and Allegra Taylor '20 created a five year plan to turn the Lawrence campus into a safe haven for bees. Their work earned Lawrence the designation of Bee Campus USA by the Xerces Society. Lawrence is currently one of only two bee campuses in Wisconsin.



Nonprofit Organizations and the Environment Internship

Alyssa Ayen '19 recieved funding from the Student Sustainability Fund to support her internship and summer project titled "Building Connections: How nonprofit organizations influence the environment". Her project took her to the Urban Ecology Field Lab in Chicago where she participated and monitored prairie restoration projects and impact on pollinators.

Alyssa presented her research and findings to the Lawrence community. View Alyssa's research here.

Sustainability Project Archive

Bolded text indicates student projects. Normal text indicates university projects.

  • The Lawrence University Environmental Organization used student project funding to purchase stickers reading "These come from trees" to be placed on all campus paper towel dispensers to remind users to be more conscious of waste (2019).
  • Phoebe Eisenbeis '21 received funding from the Student Sustainability Fund to support her internship of managing an urban garden for a school district in Minneapolis (2018)
  • Tanner MacArthur '20 received funding from the Student Sustainability Fund to spend his summer working in "A Slugger's Paradise" (2018).
  • Erik Nordstrum '19 received funding from the Student Sustainability Fund to help manage the Sustainable University Garden and create a SLUG Weed Guide to help future volunteers maintain the garden (2018).
  • 305 acres of the Björklunden property are protected from future development or subdivision by a conservation easement (2016)
  • A reusable clamshell program was launched allowing members of the Lawrence Community to take food outside of the dining room. the reusable container can be exchanged for a clean one with each trip to the Commons or Cafe (2015)
  • LUCC established the Environmental Sustainability Fund to fund infrastructural projects that would decrease the carbon footprint of the campus (2012)
  • A 20-kilowatt solar panel unit is installed on the roof of Hiett Hall (2011)
  • A 120-foot tall, 50-kilowatt wind turbine was assembled and installed at Björklunden (2011)
  • A 2.92-kilowatt solar unit is installed on the roof of Youngchild Hall (2010)
  • Warch Campus Center is certified as a LEED Gold Building, complete with a green roof! (2009)