Throughout all four of years that I attended UW-Milwaukee, I have been a part of student government. I knew that coming into college that I wanted to get involved, but I was not sure just how to go about it. However, when I was going through freshmen orientation, one of my orientation leaders was involved in student government and mentioned it as a way to get involved.
From that moment I knew that I wanted to somehow get involved with student government. So, I took out paper work and got signatures to run for one of the freshmen student senate seats, and I won.
In one of my first student government meetings, I choose to be on the environmental sustainability committee. Since serving on this committee, I have developed a great partnership with the campus sustainability director. The next year I added another committee assignment to the ever-growing laundry list, this one was the physical environment committee. Several of the initiatives that I helped with included increasing and making recycling more accessible on campus, and we set new guide-lines for campus lawn care. One of the biggest projects that I worked on was bringing a bike share program to campus, when I became the student body president. We were able to get a bike share program to UWM because we brought many collaborative people together that had a vision. Having the bike share on campus provide a sustainable transportation options for students.
Later, I had a great opportunity to attend a Defend Our Future conference in Washington, DC. This was a great fantastic opportunity because I was able to connect with other student leaders around the country and network. Listening to the work that was being done around the country was inspiring, and every once-in-a-while, we all need to be rejuvenated to keep our motivation going. To make a positive impact, we all need to do our part, and that can seem overwhelming at times, we all need to be in it together.
After I graduated from UW-Milwaukee, I knew that I wanted to continue to make a deference, so I decided to run for the Sheboygan City Council. So, I ran, and I defeated a 10-year incumbent. My first year on the council, I was on the city’s sustainability committee. While on this committee we looked a new way to better utilize leaves for composting, and we also looked at ways to increase the city’s recycling numbers. Currently, I am the vice chair of the public works committee, which oversees all the city’s parks, and street operations. One big project that we are currently working on is innovating our garbage collection system.
I have always had a passion for sustainability and conservation. Having worked on sustainability issues throughout student government has given me the insight and experience to better address these issues while on the city council. We have so much more work that needs to be done. The work continues, and everyone can make an impact on way or another. I can not wait to see what the future holds for our young leaders across the United States that are working on these vital issues.
Alderman Ryan Sorenson serves on the Sheboygan City Council.