2012 Sustainability Snapshot of WWU

Sept. 21, 2012

From our commitment to green energy and waste reduction to sustainability-minded courses, Western incorporates sustainability into operations and academics campus-wide.  This snapshot provides a brief outline of the activities and initiatives on campus.  For more information, please see the WWU Office of Sustainability website and the Western Sustainability Report.

Sustainable Food & Community Agriculture

  • Sustainable Food Service
    • Sourced from local vendors like Avenue Bread, The Bagelry, Bellewood Acres, Charlie’s Produce, Chuckanut Bay Foods, Draper Valley Farms, Edaleen Dairy Community Food Co-Op and others. 
    • Fair Trade/Rainforest Alliance Coffee offered at all dining locations.
    • Every quarter residential dining halls offer a sustainable meal featuring exclusively locally and sustainably produced menu.
  • Real Food Challenge
    • The Real Food Challenge is a national campaign to increase the availability of sustainable foods on colleges and university dining inventories 20% by 2020. At Western, we have accelerated our goal to reach 20% by 2012.
    • University Dining Services administrators are using the Real Food Challenge as a framework to standardize food purchasing methods using criteria that includes local sourcing, fair trade, humane working conditions, and ecological balance.
    • During winter quarter 2010, 19% of Western's dining inventory met Real Food criteria.
  • Community Supported Agriculture
    • Western is investing in a community supported agriculture project dubbed V.S.A., or, "Viking Supported Agriculture." VSA is inspired by the numerous Community Supported Agriculture programs that exist in Bellingham and throughout the region.
    • Rather than being a private residential delivery, VSA is a project that connects the Western Community as a whole with local farmers and local produce—something that has been too large an idea to take place in the past.
  • Recycling and Compost:  
    • Front and back of house composting and recycling at all dining locations on campus.
    • Majority of packaging in retail dining locations is compostable or recyclable; goal is to convert to 100% by end of 2012 academic year, and to use vegetable and soy based inks.
    • All dining commons (Viking Union, Ridgeway and Fairhaven) have implemented a Zero Waste Residential Dining Program.
    • Catering services offers Zero Waste Events served on compostable wares.

Sustainable Grounds

  • 100% of the grounds on campus are covered by an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan and 90 percent of the lawns are mulched to limit the amount of trimmings produced. The remaining 10% of grass trimmings are composted. The majority of Western's compost is composed of fallen leaves.
  • Chemical herbicides and insecticides are not used on campus landscaping. As required by Washington state law, all WWU gardeners go through IPM training to earn a Pesticide Application License.
  • Grounds and Nursery Specialist Heidi Zeretske leads the way with her organic compost tea for the Rose Garden, and teaches techniques to Bellingham community.
  • Western’s Academic Custodial Services staff has been recognized three times as being among the five “greenest” cleaning operations in the nation, including #1 in 2010.  In 2009 they won the Green Cleaning Grand Award for divesting itself of petrochemical cleaning products, opting to use ionized water rather than harsh chemicals, and compostable trash bin liners instead of plastic.

Sustainable Purchasing

  • Approximately 90% of Central Stores inventory contains recycled material.
  • Copy, printer and janitorial papers contain between 30 and 100% post-consumer waste materials. All janitorial cleaning products are Green-Seal approved.
  • 100 percent Western's computer purchases are EPEAT gold certified.
  • Central Stores is also working towards consolidating delivery services to end-users and centralizing vendor deliveries to campus in an effort to reduce traffic and increase pedestrian safety at WWU.

Sustainable Transportation

  • Western supports sustainable transportation for students, faculty and staff though partnerships with WTA and other transportation-related community groups. 
  • From 1998 to 2010, Western’s drive-alone rate dropped from 30% to 17%
  • Western’s Student Transportation Program provides students with a universal bus pass and late night shuttle service to on and off-campus destinations.

Climate Neutrality

  • President’s Climate Commitment: President Karen Morse signed the PCC to set Western on the path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 35% less than 2005 levels by 2020, and be climate neutral by 2050.
  • The 10x12 Program is the first step in implementing the PCC and the accompanying Climate Action Plan.  Signed in 2010, the goal of the 10x12 Program is to reduce utilities consumption and costs by 10% by 2012 through decreased power consumption in offices, recycling, and green transportation to and from campus.
Page Updated 11.27.2013