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news-iconLocal News: Recognition & Honors

Below are sustainability-related news items throughout the Western Washington University and Bellingham-area. These items correspond to Recognition & Honors.


Four students win NOAA scholarships

March 2, 2015 |
The Western Front
Four Western students were awarded $22,500 from both academic aid and paid internships at top scientific research facilities for 2015. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) awards the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program annually to approximately 100 students from all over the country. “I was on the bus when I got the email,” Daniel Woodrich, one of the winners, said. He found out in April. “I saw the first line that said ‘we are excited to inform you’ and I just started grinning like an idiot,” he said. Woodrich is a junior studying biology with a marine emphasis. This summer he will complete a paid internship at the Northeastern Fisheries Science Center in Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts. He will be working on the development of a device that acoustically tracks whales. The device will be used to track the North Atlantic Right Whale, which is one of the most endangered whales in the world, with only about 400 remaining. “Specifically what I’ll be doing is evaluating the validity of the detector,” he said. Woodrich will be helping with the development of an automator for these devices in order to gather data more quickly, he said. One thing Woodrich can do with his studies is be able to tell where certain whale species are and what they’re doing, he said. “Doing marine mammal work is a dream for a lot of people,” Woodrich said. “It feels really good, it feels like I’m really doing something.”

Woodrich knew he wanted to study marine biology after he attended Western’s Marine Science Scholar program at Shannon Point Marine Center. The program is for out-of-state students, and is a two-week immersive program that students enroll in the September before the start of their freshman year. Another winner was Timothy Anderson, a junior studying Environmental Science and a minor in math. Anderson will also be interning at the Wood’s Hole facility, but he will help in building and deploying satellite-tracked drifters that will follow planktonic particles and pollutants. “I’m really interested in how math can apply to environmental science,” said Anderson. The particles that Anderson will track with these drifters will help define current patterns. “I just want to get my feet wet in any way I can,” he said. Anderson credited much of the success in his application to the help of Western’s Fellowships Office, and particularly Tom Moore, a professor in the Honors department. “I can’t emphasize how lucky I am, especially in regard to getting this scholarship, and that this college has this fellowship professor,” Anderson said. The Fellowships Office provides advice and direction when applying for scholarships, and is open to any student at Western.

Sustainability Leadership Awards

March 1, 2015 |
Sustainable Seattle
Three WWU/Huxley grads were up for regional sustainability awards in Seattle. Brenna Davis, Huxley grad '98 was nominated for the top award for her sustainability work at Virginia Mason: Environmental Hero; Brandon Miles, Huxley grad '02 was nominated for the Creative Solution Award for his group's sustainability work with the City of Tukwila; Dave Bennink, Huxley grad '94 was nominated for the Creative Solution Award for his company's work finding sustainable alternatives to demolition while creating jobs for disadvantaged workers.

Three Western Students Awarded Prestigious NOAA Hollings Fellowships

February 19, 2015 |
Western Today
Three Western Washington University students have received prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Fellowships, more than any other university on the West Coast. "The Hollings/NOAA Fellowship is a highly prestigious award that draws applications from students in the best colleges and universities in the country. The fact that so many Western students have won the fellowship proves that Western students really can go anywhere and do anything,” said Steven VanderStaay, Western’s vice provost of Undergraduate Education.

The Hollings Fellowship gives winners up to $8,000 per year in academic assistance during the nine-month academic year and a 10-week full-time paid internship position during the summer at a NOAA facility. Additionally, if the student is reappointed, another scholarship of up to $8,000 will be rewarded for the following academic year. Western will be represented by Hollings scholars from coast to coast this summer: two students will be working in Massachusetts and the other will be in Oregon. The recipients of the fellowship are Courtney Knox (Olympia), Timothy Anderson (McMinnville, Ore.) and Maia Hanson (Granite Falls). Knox was awarded her Hollings to work at the National Marine Sanctuary in Port Angeles. She will organize and plan youth camps to introduce middle school and high school students to the world of marine science.

Chamber announces Nonprofit and Green Business of the Year

October 29, 2014 |
The Bellingham Business Journal
The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry announced its Nonprofit and Green Business of the Year, as well as nominees for the its Small and Large Business of the Year awards. Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center is the Chamber’s 2014 Nonprofit of the Year for “its dedication to going above and beyond its mission of providing conflict prevention and intervention service for businesses and individuals in the community,” according to the press release

Western Washington University is the Chamber’s 2014 Green Business of the Year for “its success in elimating bottled water sales on its campus, based on an initiative started by its students.” Also, Western has three LEED certified buildings and encourages green practices on campus through its Office of Sustainability, according to the news release.

WWU named an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus

October 1, 2014 |
The Western Front
WWU - photo by Rhys Logan Western Washington University has been selected to join the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus consortium, which now stretches across 29 campuses in five countries and provides students and faculty alike with interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial and solution-oriented skills to succeed and make a positive difference in the world.

“We are delighted to be accorded the status of Changemaker Campus by Askoka. Our strengths in sustainability, social entrepreneurship, service learning, teacher education and interdisciplinary learning were recognized by the Ashoka U accreditation team that visited us. They noted what we have always known: that ‘Active Minds Changing Lives’ isn’t a slogan, it’s the Western way of learning,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

Western wins award from PSE for Best Outreach Campaign

March 14, 2014 |
Western Today
Puget Sound Energy presented Western Washington University an award for best outreach campaign at the PSE Annual Resource Conservation Management Program Meeting in late January. The award, nicknamed a “RCMmy,” is given to a conservation customer that excels in communication to occupants and the community.

Western Washington’s “Sweater Days,” “Power Down,” and “Go for the Green” behavioral campaigns were called out as specific examples for the award. All three campaigns are managed by Western’s Office of Sustainability.

WWU again ranked No. 1 by Peace Corps

February 11, 2014 |
Western Today
The Peace Corps today released the 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country. This year, Western Washington University was ranked No. 1 among medium-sized schools, with 65 alumni currently volunteering worldwide.

This was the second consecutive year that Western Washington University has held the top spot overall in its category. Over the past 10 years the university has been ranked seventh or better each year among medium schools nationwide.

Western ranked lone university in state for green energy

February 4, 2014 |
The Western Front
Western Washington University is the only Washington state public university or college on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list for green energy purchases in higher education, Paul Cocke, the director of university communications, said in an email.

Western Ranked 19th among the Top 30 College and University green energy list.

WWU 19th on EPA green power ranking

February 3, 2014 |
Western Today
Western Washington University is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the nation’s top 30 green energy purchasers in higher education.

Western, which is 19th on the EPA list, annually offsets 100 percent of its electrical consumption from green sources via purchases of renewable energy credits (RECs).

Western is the only college or university in the state of Washington on the EPA list, updated on Jan. 8.

WWU 19th on EPA Green Energy List of Top Higher Education Purchasers of Renewable Power

May 7, 2013 |
Western Today
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University is again on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of the nation's top 20 green energy purchasers in higher education.

Western, which is 19th on the EPA list, annually offsets 100 percent of its electrical consumption from green sources via purchases of renewable energy credits (RECs).

Office of Sustainability unveils new website

April 26, 2013 |
Western Today
The Office of Sustainability has released a new comprehensive campus sustainability website for Western Washington University.

The "Western Sustainability" website was created to facilitate spotlight programs and practices throughout campus that make Western a sustainability leader in academics, operations, and student life.

Western ranked in top 20 'green' schools

April 23, 2013 |
The Western Front
Western Washington University ranked 19th in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 20 largest green power universities in the country and was listed as one of the most environmentally conscious American universities by the Princeton Review.

The Review published the "Guide to 322 Green Schools" on April 16, listing 320 American and two Canadian universities that exhibit notable sustainability practices, according to a Western press release.

Princeton Review: Western One of Nation's 'Greenest' Colleges

April 18, 2013 |
Western Today
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University was included in the Princeton Review's guide saluting the most environmentally responsible "green colleges."

Published April 16, a few days before the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, the Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition profiles 320 schools in the U.S. and two in Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

Western Washington University wins national recycler award

March 1, 2013 |
The Western Front
Western Washington University's efforts to recycle have been recognized among statewide recycling leaders. Western received a Recycler of the Year award on Feb. 26, which is the fifth time the university has been recognized for sustainabilty performance.

Every year, the Washington State Recycling Association gives out awards to the top recyclers in cat egor ies such as higher education institutions, cities and companies. A committee is formed each time to evaluate nominees based on measurable changes and contributions to recycling and waste management, said Emily Phillips, executive director of the Washington State Recycling Association.

Western named Recycler of the Year

February 27, 2013 |
Western Today
The Washington State Recycling Association has selected Western Washington University to receive the 2013 Institution/Higher Education Recycler of the Year award.

The Washington State Recycler of the Year awards spotlight individuals, businesses, government organizations and community organizations that are making contributions to strengthening and expanding recycling and waste prevention practices across the state.

Western ranked No. 1 for Peace Corps volunteers

February 8, 2013 |
The Western Front
Western was ranked the number one producer of Peace Corps volunteers for 2013 among the nation's mid-size schools — those with 5,000 to 15,000 undergraduates. There are 73 Western undergraduate alumni currently serving.

Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet visited Western Tuesday, Feb. 5, to congratulate Western President Bruce Shepard and the university for its continued outstanding service.

WWU tops Peace Corps list of top medium colleges

February 5, 2013 |
Western Today
Western Washington University is No. 1 on the Peace Corps 2013 Top Colleges rankings among medium schools with 73 undergraduate alumni currently serving. This is the first time WWU has ranked No. 1 on the list.

"Every year, graduates of colleges and universities across the United States are making a difference in communities overseas through Peace Corps service," said Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. "As a result of the top-notch education they receive, these graduates are well prepared for the challenge of international service. They become leaders in their host communities and carry the spirit of service and leadership back with them when they return home."

WWU 20th on EPA green energy list of top higher ed purchasers of renewable power

January 31, 2013 |
Western Today
Western Washington University is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of the nation's top 20 green energy purchasers in higher education.

Western, which is 20th on the EPA list, annually offsets 100 percent of its electrical consumption from green sources via purchases of renewable energy credits.Western was the only college or university in the State of Washington on the recently released EPA list.

WWU 18th on EPA list of green energy purchasers

August 6, 2012 |
Western Today
Western Washington University is 18th on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of the nation's top 20 green energy purchasers in higher education.

Western annually offsets 100 percent of its electrical consumption from green sources via purchases of renewable energy credits.

Making A Difference Colleges

The Huffington Post |
March 9, 2012
Some students spend their collegiate career trying to make a difference in the world. We applaud them!

Inside College recently named 63 colleges that make a difference in the world, from Miriam Weinstein's book Making A Difference Colleges. According to Weinstein's website, she has been "researching and directing thousands of committed young people to truly green colleges since 1992." Now THAT, my friends, is expertise.

Colleges that make a difference are large and small, public and private. There is a heavy concentration of schools in traditionally green havens like Oregon, Vermont and Washington, but there are a ton of other schools throughout the country.

WWU Makes EPA Green Energy List

February 6, 2012 |
KGMI 790-AM
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Western Washington University ranks 17th on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of the nation's top 20 higher education green energy purchasers. It's the only college or university in the state of Washington to make the list.

Each year, WWU offsets 100 percent of its electrical energy consumption from green sources, by buying renewable energy credits (RECs). Western jumped to the forefront of the country's renewable energy movement in 2004, when WWU students voted to implement a student fee for the purchase of green energy.

WWU 17th on EPA Green Energy List of Top Higher Education Purchasers of Renewable Power

February 2, 2012 |
University Communcations
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University is 17th on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of the nation's top 20 green energy purchasers in higher education. Western annually offsets 100 percent of its electrical consumption from green sources via purchases of renewable energy credits (RECs). Western was the only college or university in the State of Washington on the recently released EPA list.

The genesis for Western's renewable energy program began more than seven years ago when a small group of Western students set a goal of having Western offset all of its electrical energy from a 100-percent renewable source. To meet that goal they proposed a student initiative to implement a fee that would offset the cost of purchasing renewable energy.

Western MBA program again ranked among top 100 programs worldwide

September 23, 2011 |
Western Today
Western Washington University's MBA program has been ranked in the top 100 programs worldwide and first in the state of Washington by the Aspen Institute.

WWU's program finished 75th out of approximately 600 business schools invited to participate in the survey, which goes beyond mainstream academic content and ranks the programs on the institution's efforts to integrate social, ethical and environmental concerns. Stanford University's Graduate School of Business finished atop the list; Western finished ahead of such well-known programs as Boston University, the University of Texas, Oregon State University and Syracuse University.

WWU Ranked 14th on Sierra Club's Annual List of 'Coolest Schools'

August 17, 2011 |
Western Today
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University has been ranked 14th in the nation in the Sierra Club's fifth annual "Coolest Schools" ranking of colleges around the country helping to solve climate issues and operate sustainably.

Western's rise to into the Top 20 (it placed 48th last year) among the nation's thousands of colleges and universities was fueled by a host of initiatives on campus, such as being the first university in the nation to have its students impose a green-energy fee to pay for it becoming 100 percent powered by renewable energy. Western buys more renewable energy credits than any other university in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho.

WWU Lands on Three National Green-College Rankings

August 1, 2011 |
University Communcations
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University was recently named to three different national green-college rankings based on its commitment to green building techniques, sustainability, and the use of alternative energy sources.

"Western has been a pioneer for decades in campus sustainability, thanks to the visionary leadership of our students, faculty and staff on this very important issue. It's the right and smart way to operate," said Western President Bruce Shepard.

Western recognized for green energy use: Proposals this week may offer new ways for the university to stay a leader in sustainability

April 29, 2011 |
The Western Front
Western placed No. 17 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of college and university purchasers of renewable energy. The Princeton Review gave Western a score of 96 out of 99 on their "green colleges" list.

College and University Magazine also named Western's custodial services the most sustainable in the nation, said Seth Vidana, management analyst for Western's Office of Sustainability.

WWU Lands on Three National Green-College Rankings

April 28, 2011 |
University Communcations
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University was recently named to three different national green-college rankings based on its commitment to green building techniques, sustainability, and the use of alternative energy sources.

Peace Corps turns 50

April 4, 2011 |
The AS Review
For more than 200,000 Americans, the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps meant more than just a reason to honor one of the U.S. government's most globally recognizable programs. It was also a time to reflect on one of the most unique experiences of their lives and give words of encouragement to the next generation of volunteers.

Whatcom County recognized for green energy use

February 11, 2011 |
The Western Front
Whatcom County was recognized on Feb. 3 for being among the nation's leading green power purchasers by the Environmental Protection Agency. The agency has recognized Whatcom County since 2006 when the county first purchased green power, according to a press release from Whatcom County Executive's Office.

WWU 12th on EPA green energy list of Top 20 higher education purchasers of renewable power

November 3, 2010 |
Western Today
Western Washington University is 12th on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of the nation's top 20 green energy purchasers in higher education.

Western annually purchases 100 percent of its electrical energy from green sources via renewable energy credits.

Western ranks high in EPA challenge

April 27, 2010 |
The Western Front
Western emerged as a top contender in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's College and University Green Power Challenge due to its purchase of renewable energy.

WWU Wins National Award for Green Cleaning

November 25, 2009 |
University Communications
BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University has won the 2009 Green Cleaning Grand Award for Schools and Universities from American School and University magazine, the top award given in the category nationally.

"We're honored to receive this prestigious award and to be recognized as the national leader in green cleaning. We work hard every year to make our cleaning practices more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and are always seeking ways to improve – and I think that shows in awards such as these," said Tim Wynn, WWU's director of Facilities Management. "The hard work of our cleaning staff has really paid off."

EPA announces collegiate Green Power winners; competition fails to change power buying habits

April 20, 2009 |
The Ivy League is the greenest of them all, according to the EPA, which today announced the college and university winners of the Green Power challenge — a competition to motivate American schools to purchase more renewable energy. Participating schools compete within their athletic conferences to purchase the most certified green power, but conferences only qualify if each purchases more than 10 million kWh in aggregate.