Sustainable Action Fund: Projects

2016 Large Grant Projects | 2016 Small Grant Projects | 2015 Large Grant Projects
| 2015 Small Grant Projects | 2014 Large Grant Projects | 2014 Small Grant Projects
| 2013 Large Grant Projects | 2013 Small Grant Projects | 2012 Large Grant Projects

2016 Large Grant Projects

team Project Refill
Project Status: In Progress

This project intends to install outdoor water bottle refill stations at central and highly visible locations throughout campus with the intention of providing premium clean water to all students and staff. Historically villages and towns were constructed around springs or wells which provided life sustaining water, as well as being a focal point for community interaction. We hope this project will reduce plastic bottle consumption as well as increase hydration for all those on campus. The health benefits of proper hydration are extensive and with healthy bodies comes healthy minds. This would further nourish the learning environment of Western Washington University and engage all students, staff, and faculty in sustainable choices.
Expand MeTeam Members: Tyler Cohen, Arthur Preston, Leah Olver

Team Bios

Tyler Cohen

Tyler is a senior at Huxley College, where she studies environmental science. She is passionate about the human right to water and increasing water access for all. As a previous president of Students for Sustainable Water, she worked towards educating incoming students on the Bottled Water Free initiative at WWU, and hopes this project will help increase the convenience and appeal of choosing tap. Tyler hopes to return to Los Angeles after graduation to work in water resources management.

Arthur Preston

After graduating from high school I pursued a career in the culinary arts for 9 years, where I developed a deep appreciation for the life changing effects of diet. My interest in the science of the human body led me to enroll in community college then transfer to Western. I have been a large proponent of proper hydration and diet for years. As a pre-med student, public health and sustainability issues are very important to me. When I came to Western this last fall from Skagit Valley College, I was immediately faced with what I felt was a lack of access to water. This led me to the formation of the idea to install outdoor water refill stations, a project which I am highly passionate about. It is my hope to leave a positive imprint on this campus which I am growing to love more and more.

Leah Olver

Leah Olver is a sophomore at Western Washington University majoring in Environmental Studies. Leah is passionate about water sustainability, and thinks it’s important for people to know that using a reusable bottle can have a big impact. She hopes this project will encourage people to think about where they’re water comes from and make it easier to drink from a reusable source.

2016 Small Grant Projects


[ Project Poster ]

See and Be Seen
Project Status: Completed

A proposal for a week-long event providing 1,000 free bike lights to the campus community in order to improve safety conditions of all road users, promote bicycling as a feasible form of transportation, and increase cyclists’ confidence. The team will host bike light giveaways at two locations on campus and teach riders useful safety information. The event builds off previous, smaller scale giveaways of donated bike lights.
Expand MeTeam Members: Rachael Morris, Joshua Kirsch

Team Bios

Rachael Morris

Rachael graduated from Huxley with a B.A in Geography and a Minor in Spanish in June 2014. She has since been the Program Assistant in Sustainable Transportation at Western. She enjoys spreading the message of sustainability on Western’s campus, specifically focused on transportation. She considers herself a bike advocate, and has recently completed her Instructor Certification with the League of American Bicyclists. Rachael looks forward to continuing her outreach to create positive behavior change and hopes to expand her work to all facets of sustainability.

Joshua Kirsh

Josh is a senior who is currently studying biochemistry. As Western's Campus Bike Educator, he is working on finding ways to educate Western's community about the benefits of cycling. He became interested in See and Be Seen because it was a simple and direct way to increase cyclist safety and increase cycling in general.


[ Project Poster ]
[ Final Report ]

Bringing Dr. Vandana Shiva to Western
Project Status: Completed

A proposal to bring Dr. Vandana Shiva, world renowned Indian ecofeminist and environmental activist, to Western’s campus for a day of events. Dr. Shiva’s events will include a meeting with the Women in Energy club, a lunch with student activists, and an open workshop and intimate discussion of her research. The day will culminate in a presentation by Dr. Shiva on industrial agriculture’s impact on climate change, as well as student activism and environmental engagement. The presentation will motivate students to become more educated, united, and globally aware. The event is a collaboration between the Social Resource Outreach Center, the Outback Farm, and the AS Environmental Center.
Expand MeTeam Members: Elle McKitrick, Anna Kemper

Team Bios

Elle McKitrick

Elle Mckitrick is a student at Western Washington University, graduating in the spring of 2016 with a major in Environmental Science and a minor in Energy Policy. She works as the Environmental Center Coordinator on campus as a part of the AS Environmental and Sustainable Programs. Elle enjoys running, rafting, hammocking, listening to podcasts, and laughing. She would love to see a world filled with conscious action and mindfulness for both humans and the Earth. Elle was dedicated to bringing Dr. Shiva to campus because of her intersectional knowledge of sustainable living and her amazing first-hand experience fighting for the rights of the Earth and those who depend on it.

Anna Kemper

Anna Kemper works for the Associated Students, Western's completely student-run organization, as the Environmental and Sustainability Programs director. Spring 2016 will be her sixth quarter at Western, and she is currently working towards an Environmental Policy major with a minor in communications. She was very excited to bring Dr. Vandana Shiva to Western, because Dr. Shiva can speak to all aspects of sustainability: the social, environmental and economic parts, which is important as we address the environmental concerns of our future.


[ Project Poster ]
[ Final Report ]

Project Status: Completed

A proposal to host a daylong event on Western’s campus to engage attendees with climate action. The event will include a variety of speakers and activities displaying an array of local to global climate action examples. Climatefest will provide the framework for tapping into various action points at all of these levels and understand the connectedness between climate, social, and racial justice and how our collective actions can make a difference. For those unable to attend, materials and video from the event will be made publically available by Huxley College.
Expand MeTeam Members: Jill MacIntyre Witt, Steve Hollenhorst

Team Bios

Jill MacIntyre Witt

With a degree in Environmental Biology, Jill MacIntyre Witt has made it her lifelong passion to connect others to the natural world and to care and protect our planet. She is currently in the Masters program for Environmental Studies in Huxley College of the Environment. She works at Western as a Physical Education Instructor and Peace Corps Campus Representative and also serves as the faculty advisor for Students for Renewable Energy club, which works on the “Divest Western Now” campaign. She gives climate change presentations for Climate Reality Project and organizes for 350Bellingham, the local chapter for, an international organization building a grassroots climate justice movement. As a mother of 2 daughters, she doesn’t want them asking her why she didn’t do anything about climate change when she had the chance. She hopes to inspire others to action…at the very least, for the world’s children and the future generations.

Steve Hollenhorst

Steve Hollenhorst is professor and dean of the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. Prior to that, he was professor and associate dean for outreach and engagement in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. At UI he directed several programs, including the Building Sustainable Communities Initiative, the Park Studies Unit, and the McCall Outdoor Science School. He was co-editor of the international academic journal Society and Natural Resources. His scholarship work is in the areas of land use policy and management; land trusts and conservation easements; and environmental leadership.

2015 Large Grant Projects


[ Project Poster ]

The Fair
Project Status: Completed

Western’s Office of Sustainability members created an event that connected students with local businesses and organizations that uphold sustainable practices. The Fair was constructed so that attendees would first engage with groups and then gain tickets to play carnival games and win prizes donated by local vendors.
Expand MeTeam Members: Victoria Monreal, Meriel Kaminsky, Rachael Morris

Team Bios

Victoria Monreal

Victoria recently graduated from Huxley with an Environmental Science degree and an Environmental Education minor. She is passionate about both exploring and preserving natural resources—and has had the incredible opportunity doing restoration work in the rainforests of Peru! She currently works as an Office Coordinator at Western’s Office of Sustainability. In the future, she looks forward to working with youth to raise environmental awareness.

Meriel Kaminsky

Meriel is a sophomore working towards an Environmental Science degree and an Education and Social Justice minor. She enjoys learning through conversing with others, reading, and experiencing. Although she is unsure of a specific career path, she hopes to be able integrate her interests in the environment, art, and social justice through collaborative work on climate change solutions.

Rachael Morris:

Rachael graduated from Huxley with a B.A in Geography and a Minor in Spanish in June 2014. She has since been the Program Assistant in Sustainable Transportation at Western. She enjoys spreading the message of sustainability on Western’s campus, specifically focused on transportation. She considers herself a bike advocate, and has recently completed her Instructor Certification with the League of American Bicyclists. Rachael looks forward to continuing her outreach to create positive behavior change and hopes to expand her work to all facets of sustainability.


[ Project Poster ]

Outback Bike Shelter
Project Status: In progress

A proposal to build and design a bike shelter for the Outback Farm. The structure would provide necessary shelter for the bikes of the Outback crew and volunteers as well as much needed additional storage for the bike carts. The carts are utilized in an important summertime program that delivers freshly grown produce to the Bellingham Food Bank and currently the Outback has little space to store them. When the structure is built, we plan to hold a community event at the unveiling to present the concept and impact of “food miles” and the importance of community-ran agriculture.
Expand MeTeam Members: Sabrina Gassaway, Jordan Jacobson

Team Bios

Sabrina Gassaway

Sabrina is a senior Urban Planning student with a background in industrial design. She enjoys crafting, cooking, and exploring the outdoors. Sabrina began this project in the hopes of fulfilling a promise she had made to the members of the Outback Farm. But the project quickly turned into something much more meaningful as Sabrina has always wanted to do something great for Western. With her design background she hopes to bring some much needed functionality to a bike shelter to be used by all users of the Outback.

Jordan Jacobson

Jordan is a Chemistry student who has worked at the Outback Farm, a 5-acre farm behind Fairhaven dorms, for three years. He likes making comics, reading postmodern novels, and eating avocados. He has particular devotion to this project because he feels it would offer people more options for transportation to and from the Outback and he would like to see the Outback build more much-needed infrastructure to help the farm be the best farm it can be!


[ Project Poster ]

Lyn Okse: Campus Electric Utility Vehicle
Project Status: In progress

The Lyn Okse project is headed by Vehicle Research Institute Director Eric Leonhardt and Seniors Derek Bradley and Alec Darr, both seniors in the Industrial Technology–Vehicle Design program. The three project leads are part of a larger team of 12 seniors in the IT-VD program who will be designing and building the Lyn Okse prototype vehicle for Facilities Management. While all of the team members have passion for vehicle design and share the skill sets gained through their degree, their different backgrounds and experiences yield a team of individuals prime for developing Lyn Okse.
Expand MeProject Organization: Vehicle Research Institute


Since 1972 more than twenty vehicles have been designed and built by undergraduate students and faculty at the Vehicle Research Institute (VRI) at Western Washington University. The design work of Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute has received international acclaim. It has been described as "very possibly the best school in the country for total car design," (Automobile Magazine). The Institute has been featured in Omni, Popular Science (Dec 2009), and New Scientist of London.
In addition to full-vehicle design and fabrication, VRI also develops engines and researches aerodynamics and safety features. Clients have included Subaru, Chrysler Corp., Toyota of Canada, NASA Lewis Research Center, Ford Motor Co., Alcoa Aluminum, and Nissan Corp., plus many others. As one of the leading schools for automotive design in the region, the Western Washington University Vehicle Research Institute has a long track record of excellence in competition. The VRI has also been awarded the EPA's P3 Award for vehicle emissions, displayed a vehicle at NASA Ames research lab in California, been mentioned at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, and published in Seattle Metropolitan and on Wired.


[ Project Poster ]

RECycling Your Power
Project Status: In progress

A proposal to implement four power-producing bicycles in the Wade King Student Recreation Center. This new workout technology will educate students about energy use. It will provide a relative first-hand perspective on how much effort is needed to power our daily electricity use. It will also make students aware of alternative technology to reduce carbon emissions. Our hope is to lay the foundation for students and the Recreation Center to bring more kinetic energy-harnessing technology into the facility in the future.
Expand MeTeam Members: Drew Swisher, Sean Petersmark, Kate Thompson, and Colleen Sengstock

Team Bios


Drew Swisher

Drew is in the Business & Sustainability program and minoring in Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. He is an outdoors enthusiast and his passion for the outdoors drives his motivation to create a more sustainable future. He has been involved with the project since its inception and is working towards its implementation. His hope is that the project will normalize efficient electricity usage and challenge students to not only use less energy but reduce areas where energy is wasted..

Sean Petersmark

Sean loves the outdoors and hates waste. As a Business and Sustainability student he hopes to drive others out of the rut of “business as usual.” He believes that businesses, the environment, and social justice do not have to be exclusive. Sean noticed that the upstairs of rec center, dubbed “cardio heaven,” used an immense amount of electricity but harnessed none of the kinetic energy produced by all the hardworking students. He saw this unnecessary energy waste as an opportunity to educate Western. As project leader, he will oversee the implementation process, create an effective educational program, and ensure that all parties’ interests are upheld.

Kate Thompson

Kate is studying Business & Sustainability, minoring in Entrepreneurship, Energy Policy, and Economics, and loves any kind of outdoor activity. She is the president of Western’s Net Impact Club chapter, is passionate about contributing to something greater than herself, and is committed to shattering the idea that “one person won’t make a difference.” She hopes that these new bikes will inspire students to pursue more sustainable campus initiatives.

Colleen Sengstock

Colleen is studying Sociology, minoring in Public Relations, and has an interest in sustainability. She loves being outdoors soaking up the sun. Additionally, Colleen is interested in different forms of online communication and how companies use multiple platforms of social media to connect with their audience. With her passion for outdoors and social media, Colleen is committed to sharing and educating people on alternative energy through different avenues of communication.


[ Project Poster ]

Electric Bike Pilot
Project Status: In progress

A proposal to explore and demonstrate the efficacy of electric bicycles in advancing university goals associated with reduced environmental impact, reduced parking demand, reduced costs, student & employee health & wellness, and commute-trip reduction.
Expand MeTeam Members: Jenny Hoover, Beth Hartsoch, Hayley Trageser, Alec Darr

Team Bios


Jenny Hoover

Jenny is the IT Specialist of the group. She has used bikes for her primary mode of commuting transportation for over ten years, beginning in Chicago, and continuing for my nine year residence in Bellingham. She been interested in ways to make cycling as a means of transportation more available to a wider population. The Electric Bike Pilot project is particularly interesting to Jenny because it has the potential to reach populations currently underserved by bicycle commuting options. Like Beth, Jenny has years of experience commuting by bicycle in a wide variety of weather and traffic conditions, and id more interested in riding bikes than working on them. Jenny’s experience will be helpful to inform the design and practical requirements for the pilot program.

Beth Hartsoch

Beth is the team’s Project Advisor. She is part of the Office of Survey Research and serves as the team’s Research Analyst. Beth has commuted to Western by bike since beginning employment here in 2007. In total, she cycled as her primary commute mode for fifteen years. As a cyclist and advocate of bicycles for transportation, she served on the Bellingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Kulshan Cycling Ambassador Program. In 2013, she was the primary organizer of local women athletes lobbying the Ski to Sea committee for inclusion of the local women’s division, and through that work developed relationships with many local businesses, organizations and leaders interested in cycling and thinking creatively about how we transport ourselves. She has a particular interest in creative bicycle engineering, including cargo bikes, family bikes, and electric assist bikes, and has used a bakfiets (Dutch box bike) as a primary transportation mode for her family since 2010. Her best qualification is that she has little knowledge of the minutia of bicycle component choices and associated caveats, and just wants her bike to work when she rides it. Her goal is to make bicycle commuting available to others who feel the same way.

Hayley Trageser

Hayley is a Multidisciplinary Studies student with a background in health sciences, business, and sustainability. She has been riding her bike since elementary school, and has been active in sports over the years. Her mother’s trip across America on two wheels has inspired her to be one with her saddle. She plans to use her expertise to implement new ideas for the Electric Bike Pilot project by nailing down marketing techniques, consulting with key players, and getting the team to accomplish its goals each week. She started a blog in November 2014 with bicycle-related news. For more information see: This summer, she plans to be involved with the Cascade Bicycle Club, as well as assist with the Squeaky Wheels bike advocacy group in her hometown of Bainbridge Island. In the future, she hopes to work and enhance sustainability in hospitals and gain insight in the emerging field of healthcare and environmental sustainability.

Alec Darr

Alec is an Industrial Technology- Vehicle Design student from Utah, and is the mechanical brain of the team. Beginning as an avid mountain biker, his time in Bellingham as a student has taught him how useful a bike can be for trips within the community. Any opportunity to work with vehicles, both powered and unpowered, is always one he will pursue. This project is of specific interest to him because he will be able to apply what he has learned while also being part of a project that seeks to solve many of the problems faced by professionals in the industry he will be working in after graduating. The skill set he brings to the project is a technical knowledge of bikes and an understanding of mechanical and electric drive systems from both experience and his time at WWU. Alec was also a durability testing engineer co-op student at Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, which gave him extensive training in data tracking, component and vehicle research, and professional engineering communication. In short, his skill set will ensure that the technical and operational requirements of the equipment are met as fully as possible while documenting and communicating the information required to achieve that goal.

2015 Small Grant Projects

team Portable Water Bottle Re-fill Station
Project Status: In progress

As the scope of Western’s student body expands, so too does our need for clean, accessible water. Portable bottle filling stations keep in tune with Western’s commitment to reducing its impact on our environment through the use of reusable bottles. The ability to relocate these stations quickly and easily as needed allows their vital function to be useful campus-wide. While lightweight and simple, the stations use an advanced filtration system to purify the water, ensuring peace of mind to their users. The stations are ADA compliant and are designed to be used at as many of Western’s outdoor events as possible!
Expand MeTeam Members: Ben Waight, Ryan Gluckman

Team Bios

Ben Waight

Ben Waight is a sophomore majoring in Music and minoring in Audio Technology, Music and Society. His passions involve writing, recording, and performing in WWU’s Concert Choir and with local band The Dawn Bombs. Aside from musical pursuits, Ben enjoys hiking, camping, and road tripping. Ben began this bottle refilling station project with Ryan and John while working for Event Services in the Viking Union. Emphasizing the reuse of durable water bottles, Ben hopes these stations will provide a more sustainable practice of hydrating students with more portability and flexibility than expensive, stationary bottle filling sites.

Ryan Gluckman

Ryan is a senior at Western Washington University studying Business and Sustainability, expecting to graduate in the Spring of 2016. He is currently the Viking Union Event Technical Crew Supervisor, and became involved in the Portable Water Bottle Re-fill Station SAF grant project through this position. From organizing several large-scale events, campaigns, and projects on campus, to sharing knowledge with peers and increasing awareness around sustainability in the community, Ryan drives change through his passion for nature, interpersonal relationships, and a desire to make the world a better place. He hopes to travel abroad after graduation to experience new cultures, tastes, and horizons. He plans to return to the Pacific Northwest and the Seattle area in the fall of 2016 to begin working in the field of sustainable marketing and operations for a meaningful organization.


[ Project Poster ]

Project RENT
Project Status: In progress

A proposal for a pilot program that utilizes peer-to-peer education to teach off-campus students about energy efficiency in their homes. This program seeks to increase students' awareness of their energy use and the ways that they can decrease their use and save money on their energy bills. Students learn about energy efficiency tips, local low- and no-cost energy resources, and how to read their energy bills. Participating students are given free energy-saving materials, such as LED lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads.
Expand MeTeam Members: Stefanie Neale, Kate Thompson, and Joey Cilinceon

Team Bios

Stefanie Neale

Stefanie is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies. She travels often, but loves coming back to her ‘Bellinghome’. Her passion is energy efficiency. She believes that Project RENT will reduce the energy wasted in the old, inefficient homes that many Western students occupy off campus. She wants to create an awareness of energy efficiency in the off-campus community so that students feel empowered to take control of their energy bills and reduce their impact on the environment.

Kate Thompson

Kate is a Business & Sustainability student minoring in both Energy Policy and Economics. She is very involved with the Net Impact Chapter on campus and enjoys connecting students with resources and contacts to help them reach their professional goals! When she gets a chance she loves to bake healthy treats and get outdoors! Kate is excited about Project RENT because of the unique educational aspect. Reducing electricity use through behavior change is difficult, but educated students are mindful students, and mindful students won't allow for wasted energy!

Joey Cilinceon

Joey is a Business & Sustainability and Management Information Systems double major. He has been involved with WWU's Net Impact Chapter and ResRap's Eco Rep program. He has also served as the sustainability intern for a growing fulfillment company in Ferndale, Washington. In his spare time, he can be found watching sports, biking, hiking, and playing guitar. He is passionate about Project RENT because it creates the opportunity to develop a new dialogue among young people who have the ability to turn energy efficiency and a passion for environmentalism into a social norm.


[ Project Poster ]

Bringing Knowledge to Plastics
Project Status: Completed
Final Report

A proposal to increase awareness of the effects plastics can have on people and the environment, while also educating students and staff on how to minimize their impact when using plastics. This project showed the documentary “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, and flew in the film’s director, Angela Sun, to lead a live Q+A and discussion following the film. Zero Waste Western staff operated their “Fish. Learn. Win” game before the film to educate attendees on proper waste sorting techniques, and reusable water bottles, containers, and shopping bags were awarded so attendees could begin reducing waste in their own lives.
Expand MeTeam Members: Luigi Di Nardo, Michael Hatcher, Geoffrey Mosher, and Josh McMinn

Team Bios

Luigi Di Nardo

Luigi Di Nardo is a Marketing and International Business double major at WWU, graduating in the spring of 2015. He enjoys spending time with his friends, meeting new people, being outdoors, playing a variety of sports, and traveling and experiencing new cultures. Luigi enjoys helping people move in a positive direction and bringing awareness about problems going in the world, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is a Marketing major at WWU, graduating in the spring of 2015. Michael is a member of the WWU Men’s Lacrosse team and enjoys outdoor recreation. Taking sustainable marketing in the 2015 Winter Quarter created a passion for him to live a more sustainable life. His time working on Plastic Paradise project has led to a great interest in reducing plastic pollution in general, and in the Pacific Ocean in particular. Michael hopes to continue to use his marketing knowledge to educate consumers to become more knowledgeable..

Geoffrey Mosher

Geoffrey Mosher is a Marketing major at WWU, graduating in the spring of 2015. He is deeply passionate when it comes to sustainable practices in both business and in his personal life. In the coming years he plans on incorporating this passion into his future career in digital marketing. During Geoffrey's rare moments of free time he enjoys hiking with his dog Arya, kayaking, Frisbee, and the occasional action flick.


Josh McMinn

Josh McMinn is a Marketing major and Accounting minor at WWU. He is graduating in spring 2015. As an avid fan of the water and anything outdoors, and sustainability marketing is his passion. Being a part of the Bringing Knowledge to Plastics team, Josh’s passion and interests came together to bring more awareness and a call to action about plastic pollution and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. After WWU, Josh is dedicated to continue to work towards solutions for ocean conservation and clean drinking water education. .


[ Project Poster ]

Campus to Compost
Project Status: Completed
Final Report

A proposal to build two large composting bins near Facilities Management. These bins will receive all the compostable organic debris accumulated from campus. Once the compost is ready, it will then be applied to the landscaping on campus. The landscaping locations will have posted signs stating that it was from this project. This will greatly reduce the amount of organic matter that is currently hauled out of the county for processing. It will also reduce the amount of compost we purchase each year. We are hoping to retain 100 cubic yards of compostable material per year.
Expand MeTeam Members: Julian Frawley, Darcy Ruppert, Alicia Terry, Luke Mason

Team Bios


Julian Frawley

Julian Frawley is an English Literature major at WWU. He spends his time working, reading, writing, listening to music, and DJ’ing at WWU's radio station KUGS 89.3. He is an avid fan of the outdoors and has spent most of his life in Washington.

Darcy Ruppert

Darcy Ruppert is a junior at Western Washington University, studying English Literature and German. She is also a student at WWU's Fairhaven College, an interdisciplinary program dedicated towards both social and environmental justice. While most of her time is spent writing, reading, and researching, she has also been employed as a student landscaper on campus and an intern for the National Parks Service. These experiences have built her interest in new ways of preserving the beautiful and vital Pacific Northwest ecology.

Alicia Terry

Alicia Terry has been attending WWU since 2011 and is double majoring in Design and German. She has always been interested in sustainability and jumped on the opportunity to be a part of a project that she believes has the potential to make a large impact on Western’s campus. She thinks it is important to preserve resources on our planet, and is honored her team was awarded a SAF Grant for their composting project.

Luke Mason

Luke Mason has worked for the Grounds Department in WWU's Facilities Management for over three and a half years. He moved to Washington State from Colorado. He likes to hike, bike, snowboard, fish, and play music. He looks forward to helping Western achieve its goal of being a zero-waste campus.


[ Project Poster ]

Project Status: In progress

A proposal to build an aquaponic system on the 4th floor of the ES building using a 150 gallon tank, with several rainbow trout and lettuce plants in separate containers. Aquaponics is the growth of fish and plants in a symbiotic system, which can reduce the environmental impacts of fish waste from aquaculture, as well as agricultural water use. This project will demonstrate a new way of raising fish for a world with dwindling fish stocks, while also reducing the wastes produced in traditional aquaculture. Vegetable production in this type of system can produce 4X the yields in the same amount of space, and uses 90% less water than soil agriculture, which will become important as drought intensity increases in the southern US in coming years.
Expand MeTeam Members: Mike Waterman, Josh Lowery, and Nicolas Boye

Team Bios


Mike Waterman

Mike is a Senior Manufacturing Engineering student who is interested in green technology. His hours on campus not spent in the engineering building are usually spent working for Western’s Recycling Center. Mike believes that finding sustainable solutions to everyday necessities is very important. Mike acknowledges that green energy is revolutionizing engineering, but thinks that symbiotic aquaponics systems are just as important as the fabrication of wind turbine blades. With his background, Mike looks forward to assisting his team in the design and production of the aquaponics system and more. In his spare time, he likes to exercise and play Smash Brothers.

Josh Lowery

Josh Lowery is currently working on English and Mathematics majors after switching from Environmental Science, but has always had a passion for environmentalism and is a strong advocate of people growing their own food. He was one of the founding members of the Hydroponics Club, and although he has no prior experience with aquaponics, finds this project to be an excellent opportunity for learning and experimentation. He also enjoys biking and hiking.

Nicolas Boye

As the Environmental Science student on the project, Nicolas is expected to know about fish biology and agriculture. However, he has had to rely on research for this project rather than prior knowledge, which goes to show that if you’re interested in aquaponics, you could do just as well! His interest in aquaponics began when he began growing lettuce with the Hydroponics Club in 2014. Nicolas enjoys soccer and supervising his team.

2014 Large Grant Projects


[ Project Poster ]

Concert Hall Lighting Project
Project Status: In progress

A proposal to replace the lighting in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall and Main stage with cutting edge, energy efficient LED technology in the interest of serving Western’s commitment to sustainability in reducing its carbon footprint, while at the same time enhancing the aesthetic opportunities for artistic performance which will benefit WWU students, faculty, guests and community members.
Expand MeTeam Members: Lon Butcher, Hannah Fenske, Emma Eliason, Jon Bash

Team Bios


Lon Butcher

Almost 30 years of my life have been involved in theater production. During the times I was not as active in theater I amassed a pretty long list of other “careers,” from manufacturing plant manager, to bike tour guide, and from graphic artist to furniture designer. For the last 10 years my primary focus has been managing the technology in the performance spaces for the CFPA. I have always tried to tread lightly on the planet and am excited about this changeover to the latest lighting technology for our performance spaces.

Hannah Fenske

Hannah is currently a senior in the College of Fine and Performing Arts, double majoring in Technical Theatre and Sculpture. She is passionate about creating a more environmentally-friendly atmosphere in the theatre world, a field that traditionally struggles with implementing green practices. In her rare bouts of free time, Hannah enjoys swing dancing, playing Scrabble, and spending time outside.

Emma Eliason

My name is Emma Eliason and I am a sophomore Music Education major. I enjoy playing the tuba, singing and chilling with my loved ones. I am excited to be a part of this project because I appreciate the many opportunities Western has provided for me and I want to give back to the institution and its facilities in all ways that I can.

Jon Bash

Jon Bash graduated from WWU in 2013 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and worked as a stage technician for several years. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Composition.


[ Project Poster ]

Viking Cycle Fixit Stations
Project Status: In progress

A proposal to install three bicycle fixit stations around campus. These fixit stations consist of a secured stand to hang and position a bicycle along with all the tools necessary to perform basic repairs and maintenance, from changing a flat to adjusting brakes and derailleurs. These tools would allow students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to service their own bicycle at any hour on campus. With the hardware provided for cyclists to have a safe and sustainable trip, cyclists will ride their bike to campus more, therefore decreasing motor traffic and promoting a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle among the Western body.
Expand MeTeam Members: Maxwell Evans, Morgan Haskins

Team Bios


Morgan Haskins

I'm from Anchorage, Alaska and am currently working on a double major in Philosophy and English Literature. I love riding my bike, reading, cooking and competing on the WWU Debate team. I care a great deal about the environmental, social, and human health consequences of our actions and hope that the DERO Fixit Stations encourage people to have fun riding their bikes to campus instead of relying on single occupancy vehicles.

Maxwell Evans

Maxwell Evans is a senior at WWU with a major in philosophy (minor in Economics and Political Science), he moved to Western from the South and has been active in the sustainability community on a multiplicity of levels his entirety at Western (from the Outback to coordinating academic conferences on sustainability).


[ Project Poster ]

WWU SORTS (Structural Outdoor Refuse Transformation System)
Project Status: In progress

A proposal to introduce composting collection containers to Red Square. Currently Western doesn't have any compost collection containers in the Red square area nor any outdoor area on campus. This project would create 4 clustered "convenience sorting stations." Through increased student awareness and improved waste sorting, this project would reduce Western's landfill waste and overall carbon footprint.
Expand MeTeam Members: Jacob de Guzman, Kari Clauson, Marika Weber, Maddie Gavigan Martin, Gary Hodge, Jill MacIntyre Witt

Team Bios

Jacob de Guzman

Jacob de Guzman is a Huxley environmental science major with a passion for making positive change. During the past four years, he has worked at Western’s Office of Sustainability as coordinator for Zero Waste Western program and is the current president of the Huxley student chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association. After graduating in the spring, Jacob plans to join the workforce for before attending a graduate school program.

Kari Clausen

My name is Kari Clausen and I am currently working toward a degree in environmental science and a minor in math. I love to hike, paint, travel, and spend time outdoors. I hope this project can help students make changes in their waste habits that will last them lifelong.

Marika Weber

I am currently Vice President of Students for Renewable Energy, and am thrilled to extend my passion for the environment to the SAF program. I started lunchroom composting at my high school, and would love to see outdoor composting in Red Square.

Maddie Gavigan Martin

Maddie is a sophomore majoring in environmental science and minoring in astronomy. She works in the Office of Sustainability as the Residents' Resource Awareness Program Assistant and serves as the Peer Advisor to the SAF SEED room students. As Huxley's Air and Waste Management Vice President she isn't afraid of digging through waste- and on the contrary actually finds it both fascinating and oddly soothing.

Gary Hodge

I graduated from Colorado State University with a Horticulture degree and a concentration in Landscape design and Construction. Working at Western Washington University for the past eight years has been a dream job for me. It allows me to utilize my knowledge and continue to learn from all the brilliant staff and students here. Sustainable practices in my industry have come a long way and I am very interested in seeing the trend continue.

Jill MacIntyre Witt

Jill MacIntyre Witt After graduating with a degree in Environmental Biology, I have made a life-long journey of empowering others to protect our planet. From health education in the Peace Corps to environmental education as a wilderness instructor to community organizing on various environmental issues, I have realized that each of us can make a difference in our actions. I am looking forward to working with and supporting the students and Western staff to create a more sustainable waste disposal system on campus, with less waste ending up in the landfill.


[ Project Poster ]

Western Wind Energy
Project Status: On Hold

A proposal to continue the trend of green energy usage by installing either a single or multiple small-scale wind turbines on a roof of a building on campus. The team is researching micro-turbines between 1kw and 5 kw to install on either Parks Hall or the Environmental Studies Building. The proposal has the goal of educating students on the benefits of renewable energy where professors could potentially use the installed wind turbine as a case study in their classes.
Expand MeTeam Members: Steven Albert, Michael Furman, Josh Ulrich

Team Bios

Steven Albert

I'm a junior currently studying Environmental Science. I grew up in Arlington, Wa and enjoy hiking, rock climbing and snowboarding. I hope implementing wind turbines on campus will encourage others in Bellingham to start thinking seriously about alternative energy.

Michael Furman

I'm a senior in the Geology department, majoring in Geology with a Geophysics concentration.  I've always been interested in green energy, and feel that having wind turbines at ​Western would help promote renewable energy to all who see it on campus.  I'm a pretty laid-back guy who enjoys any outdoor activities, especially running, hiking, and playing Frisbee. .

Josh Ulrich

I am a Geology major and love all aspects of earth sciences from the environment to the processes that are working miles below our feet. Many of my hobbies are outdoor activities, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, and many more. The idea for this project popped into my head while I was longboarding by the rec center on a windy day and actually got pushed by the wind toward campus, I realized there is a lot of energy in the wind that our campus could take advantage of and decided to take on this project to try to capture it.

2014 Small Grant Projects


[ Project Poster ]

The Human Aspect of Sustainability
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $692

This team put an emphasis on the Social Equity tier of the 3 pillars of Sustainability (Environment, Economy, and Social Equity) though two means 1. a film viewing/panel discussion and workshop centered on how we can create and sustain happiness as a community in order to maintain social equity. 2. Working with Phi Kappa Phi to hold a sock monkey workshop. 30 handmade sock monkeys will be given to Child Protection services for young children as they are being placed in new homes.
Team Members: Shevell Thibou, Caroline Dallstream, Simon Bakke


[ Project Poster ]

Hydroponics Aquarium
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $780

A hydroponic aquarium was installed on the first floor of the biology building in a public student study area. This growing method cuts down on waste and water pollution, promotes natural pest control, and produces sustainable yields that can be grown all year round. This project aims to educate campus about these practices and seek out sustainable foods. Two workshops were held to educate campus on hydroponic gardens and create mini-hydroponics.
Team Members: Allison Fina, Mikey Jane Moran, Jackson Lee, Breanne Bartok

2013 Funded Large Grant Projects


[ Project Poster ]

Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Dorm (SEED) Pilot
Project Status: Complete

A proposal to install energy-efficient fixtures and appliances in a Buchanan Towers Classic dorm room to educate students and the campus community about personal energy use and to act as a trial space for new energy-saving technologies.
Expand MeTeam Members: Rafael Gonzales, Melodi Yanik

Team Bios


Rafael Gonzales, Project Lead

I was born in Ashland, Oregon and grew up playing soccer, snowboarding, and hiking among many other things. I have a passion for traveling, dogs and using my hands. When I first moved to Bellingham I spent the first year and a half remodeling our newly acquired house with 80% of the materials from the Re-Store, and look forward to doing many similar projects in the future.

Melodi Yanik

Hi guys my name is Melodi. I'm a junior studying psychology whilst earning a minor in sustainable design. My ultimate goal within this career field is to be able to design sustainable, economical and aesthetically pleasing housing available to the common folk; your everyday, working class families that deserve more.

Random fact: This summer I tied my phone to a bunch of helium balloons and watched it float up 200 feet.

[ Project Poster ]

Driving Down Energy Consumption with Dashboards - Information is POWER!
Project Status: In progress

A proposal to pilot interactive campus energy consumption displays—"Dashboards" that will receive data from an expanded remote utility reading network on campus that captures near real time energy consumption information.
Expand MeTeam Members: Greg Hough, Fred Escher, Brian Schiller, Jeremy Dyche, Jeremy Caci, Ali Hajy

Team Bios

Greg Hough, Project Lead

Greg is a Western staff member in the Facilities Management department. Along with many other duties he manages Western's utility accounts always looking for places to conserve, reduce costs, or get a rebate! He's been an active supporter of the Sustainable Action Fund since its beginning. When Greg went to school in Minnesota he enrolled in an intensive interdisciplinary program called "Design of an Energy Efficient Community". Surprisingly, 30 years later the cutting edge technologies haven't changed that much! Go figure.


Fred Escher

I've been an electrician on staff with Western's Facility Management for 11 years. I love working at Western around such talented kids and am glad to be a part of this Sustainable Action Fund. I'll help the team by installing the necessary infrastructure at the targeted buildings.

We moved our family to Bellingham in 1991 from Hawaii. We've got 6 kids and 8 (for now) grandkids. I enjoy my growing family, cycling, surfing and playing guitar in my spare time.



Brian Schiller

I am a double major in Math and Computer Science. I work in the Math Center and am the Program Coordinator for the ACM Mentor Program. I'm excited to work on this project because I have a background as an outdoor environmental educator.


Jeremy Dyche

I am currently a senior at Western Washington University in the Computer Science department. My hobbies include playing guitar, snowboarding, and lacrosse. My favorite food is a cheeseburger!


Jeremy Caci

Bio coming soon...

Ali Hajy

Hi my name is Ali Hajy and I am a Computer Science student here at WWU. I am passionate about the environment because I am climber, mountaineer and over all outdoor enthusiast. I look forward to use my computer science skills alongside my passion for conservation to help in any way I can.


[ Project Poster ]

Environmental Outreach Hydration Station (EOHS)
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $20,394

A proposal to install a water bottle refilling station in the Wilson Library in order to continue the education of the use of reusable water bottles. Around this Hydration Station will be a Green Energy Resource kiosk featuring information and outreach concerning sustainability at Western.
Expand MeTeam Members: Carolyn Bowie, Gerald Kitsis

Team Bios


Carolyn Bowie

I love the fresh, bountiful water that surrounds us here in the Pacific Northwest. We find it falling from the skies, rolling in the Bay, cascading from glaciers, and flowing from lakes and streams into our homes, and out of our taps. My hope is that one day everyone in the world, beginning with the folks here at Western, will drink delicious, clean water as a shared, respected community resource.

Gerald Kitsis

I have been drinking crisp, clean Washington water for twenty one years and I have a great appreciation for the Pacific Northwest. As vice president of WWU club Students for Sustainable Water, I encourage those who surround me to support our local water source, Lake Whatcom, and reduce the waste of plastic water bottles on campus. I am an Environmental Science major and strive to learn more about our planet's ever changing ecosystems. I make a mean sauerkraut and often bring it to potlucks.


[ Project Poster ]

Western SOLutions
Project Status: On hold

A proposal to use solar thermal collectors to heat the pool at the Wade King Recreation Center. This project will decrease Western's CO2 emissions and will serve as a learning model and awareness tool for solar thermal energy.
Expand MeTeam Members: Stephen Harvey, Brian Maskal, Nina Olivier

Team Bios

Stephen Harvey, Project Lead

I am an Environmental Science student who wants to help create a sustainable human-earth relationship. Having grown up in Olympia, WA where there was a small inlet full of crabs and oysters, I realized a sense of place. I hope this project can be a way in which anthropogenic carbon emissions are reduced, helping out the oysters.


Brian Maskal

Brian was born in McChord Air force Base to an Army officer father and a physician mother and was raised in Puyallup, WA. At WWU, he began studying Environmental Science and playing rugby, both of which have significantly impacted his life. Last winter quarter, he began a solar thermal project along with his fellow colleagues which eventually became a part of the Sustainable Action Fund.



Nina Olivier

I'm from Southern California and moved up to the great northwest to study wildlife conservation. I am majoring in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science. I hope to focus my career around the conservation of endangered species and work for the World Wildlife Fund. I am passionate about protecting the last bit of our planet's natural splendors and all of its wonderful creatures that live in it. I enjoy biking, hiking, running, cooking and anything that has to do with the great outdoors!

2013 Funded Small Grant Projects


[ Project Poster ]

Green Lighting the Black Box

Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $2,000

Led by the WWU Theatre Technicians Club, rehearsal lighting was converted to energy-efficient fixtures. The funding purchased 44 Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lamps to replace the lighting in two rehearsal space (Black Box) rooms, at the College of Fine and Performing Arts.
Team Members: Lon Butcher, Hannah Fenske


[ Project Poster ]

Green Residence Certification Pilot

Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $1,975.44

This project team recognized students for the small steps they take to protect our planet. A Green Residence Certification Process for dorm rooms was created with the help of this funding. The funding went to Green Room Kits (with energy saving outlets & shower timers) and certification certificates and promotional materials.
Team Members: Kendra Krantz, Hayden Fairley


[ Project Poster ]

Outback and Arboretum Environmental Restoration

Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $1,935

This project offered WWU students opportunities to explore campus natural areas and increase the native biodiversity of the Outback and Arboretum. This project team purchased native plants and garden tools. These items were used for three work parties. They planted on bare sites where invasive species had previously been eradicated.
Team Members: Katrina Poppe, Eric Nelson

Expand MeSee the project in action!


[ Project Poster ]

Built to Last Picture Show

Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $500

A sustainability film festival was held in Western Libraries every week in April. The festival built excitement for Earth Day, and was promoted with a do-it-yourself sticker design contest that encouraged the use of reusable coffee mugs.
Team Members: Ella Berishev, Rob Lopresti, Clarissa Mansfield, Lidiya Rebrik
Built To Last Picture Show Poster (pdf)
WWU Coffee Mug Contest Poster (pdf)
Western Libraries "Bring Your Own Mug" Design Contest


[ Project Poster ]

Project MUG

Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $1,926

Pilot Program: Rent a reusable mug, reduce waste! Project MUG reduces single-use cup waste generated at Western Washington University (Western). A pilot system has been implemented which allows students to check out reusable mugs and return them to the VU Cafe when finished.
Team Members: Lauren Murphy, Kali Levy, Jaymes McClain
Project MUG Contract Info

2012 Funded Large Grant Projects


[ Project Poster ]

Environmental Studies Building Solar Array
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $167,500

Project to continue the incremental adoption of on-campus solar renewable energy generation by installing a 5 kWh solar array on the Environmental Studies Building's south facing roof.


[ Project Poster ]

High-Speed Hand Dryers
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $13,000

Project to replace paper towel dispensers in the Arntzen Hall concourse bathrooms with 4 Dyson hand dryers to reduce the size of Western's waste stream.


[ Project Poster ]

Parking Lot LED Lighting Retrofitting
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $61,000

Project to retrofit parking lot lighting with energy efficient light emitting diodes (LED) lighting fixtures in the C lots across from the Wade King Rec Center to help reduce Western's energy consumption.


[ Project Poster ]

Water Bottle Refilling Stations
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $21,000

Project to install a total of 3 water bottle refilling stations, one in each of the following buildings: Old Main, Arntzen Hall and the Wade King Rec Center in order to promote the use of reusable water bottles.

[ Project Poster ]

Restroom Paper Towel Composting
Project Status: Complete
Funding awarded: $1,400

A 6-month pilot project to add another receptacle that will only accept paper towels in each of the first and second floor restrooms in Haggard Hall. The paper towels will be composted in order to reduce the size of Western's waste stream.







Current Location

SAF Program > Projects


Nate White, SAF Grant Program Coordinator
Phone: (360)650-4501

Kyle Wunderlin, SAF Outreach Coordinator
Phone: (360)650-4501

Ryan Peterson, SAF Education Coordinator
Phone: (360)650-4501

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