NW Colleges Showcase Innovations In Campus Sustainability

November 6, 2014 |
Oregon Public Broadcasting
In the Reuse Room at Portland State University, everything is free and the door is always open. Students and staff can walk into the converted mailroom anytime to donate or take supplies, ranging from three-ring binders to iPods. Though the tiny space may not look impressive, the program is a point of pride for PSU as an innovation in waste reduction. Last year the Reuse Room turned over $45,000 worth of supplies and diverted more than 10,000 pounds of trash from going to the landfill.

Like PSU, colleges across the country are trying out new approaches for making their campuses more sustainable. This means educating students and others in higher ed about the impact they are having on the planet and its resources as well as finding ways to reduce that impact.

Pilot project provides students with sustainable, energy-efficient room

May 8, 2014 |
Western Today
A residence in Buchanan Towers is showcasing modern sustainability practices demonstrating ways to cut energy and water consumption in one’s daily living.

In the winter of 2012, two Campus Sustainability Planning Studio students wrote a report on how to include energy saving technologies and practices into Western’s residence halls in efforts to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In the Spring of 2013 two students used information from that report and then applied for, and were awarded a Sustainable Action Fund grant to modify a Buchanan Towers room, into the Sustainable Energy Efficiency Dorm Pilot room.

Edens/Higginson wins green residence contest

April 21, 2014 |
Western Today
Every winter quarter, the Residents’ Resource Awareness Program at Western Washington University holds "Go for the Green," a competition amongst Western's nine residence halls to reduce water, waste, electricity and natural gas. Last quarter, residents saved 91,374 kilowatt hours through energy reduction practices.

The winner of this year's "Go for the Green" challenge was Edens/Higginson. Through winter quarter, Edens and Higginson had 60 percent of residents sign reduction pledges and had the largest reduction in electricity use.

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.

Sustainability conference a success at WWU

February 7, 2014 |
Western Today
The first annual Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference was held Thursday and Friday, Feb. 6 and 7, at Western Washington University. More than 500 attendees from 38 state institutions visited the Western campus for the event.

Featuring a diverse range of speakers from throughout Washington state, the conference explored how those in higher education could enhance sustainability at their institutions and looked at ways to build leadership capacity. The conference also highlighted the role of colleges and universities in driving advancement on environmental issues and building sustainable communities in the Pacific Northwest.

Residence halls unite to certify students in sustainable living

February 4, 2014 |
The Western Front
Students living in Western’s residence halls are encouraged to time showers, measure electricity use and compost as part of a program to see if on-campus living is sustainable.

Last year, the survey revealed most students — more than 95 percent — turn off their lights, only wash full loads of laundry and sort waste properly. However, less than 60 percent look to purchase organic food, use rechargeable batteries and replace incandescent bulbs in lamps with compact fluorescent or LED bulbs, according to the survey results.

Week of events educates campus on green living

January 26, 2014 |
The Western Front
Draped between lamp posts, a string of empty plastic bottles and paper coffee cups sways lightly from side to side, propelled by the wind. In the midst of Western Washington University's Red Square, the discarded containers hover above the heads of hoards of Western students as they walk from building to building.

Kendra Krantz, a Western senior and environmental education major, is Western’s Residents’ Resource Awareness Program coordinator. She strung these materials through the air as part of Western’s first-ever “Waste Week,” a week-long series of events aimed at making students more aware of their generation of waste and the promotion of sustainability.

Waste Week 2014

[ Download Poster | Facebook Event ]

Western's first ever Waste Week was January 21-24, 2014. Check out what happened!

>>>Tuesday, January 21
Trash Walk
Tabling: 10:30am-12:30pm; Waste Audit: 4pm-6pm @ Red Square
How much do you throw out each day? Find out with us by collecting all of your waste for the entire day, and then stop by in the afternoon to do a personal waste audit of the waste YOU created. Figure out what you can change about the materials you consume to prevent less waste.

>>>Wednesday, January 22
Waste Free Wednesday
9am-3pm @ Red Square
Eliminate your entire waste stream for a whole day - BYOR (bring your own reusables: mugs, silverware, bandana, etc.)!

>>>Thursday, January 23
Trash Talk
9am-3pm @ Red Square
Enjoy a waste-free treat in Red Square while we chat about issues revolving around our waste stream.

>>>Friday, January 24
Filthy Friday
9am-2pm @ Red Square
Get down and dirty with Zero Waste Western as we conduct a waste audit of Wilson Library. Find out what’s running through Western’s waste stream and how you can change it!

>>>Friday, January 24
Dirt! Screening
6pm-8pm @ Edens Main Lounge
After the screening of Dirt! The Movie there will be an activity where students can make their own seed bombs to bring home. Hosted by AS Environmental Center.

2013-2014 Go for the Green Challenge

The 2013-2014 Go for the Green Challenge has begun! Go for the Green is a waste reduction competition between all of Western's residence halls.

Good luck, dorm residents!

Washington State Recycling Association Newsletter

The Washington State Recycling Association recently took notice of Waste Week after loaning ResRAP two outfits made of upcycled materials and featured the campaign on page eight of their Winter newsletter. With over 500 members statewide, the WSRA envisions a future in which the concept of waste no longer exists. We appreciate their support and look forward to sharing Waste Week's successes with them!

Students learn to live green on- and off-campus

November 8, 2013 |
Western Today
Western Washington University's Residents' Resource Awareness Program, ResRAP, constructed a mock dorm room in Red Square during Sustainability Week to show students how they can alter their living habits for a more sustainable future.

Using a rented bed from a University Residences room and a borrowed bookshelf, toilet and sink from the ReStore, the ResRAP team attracted students to read signs placed around the "dorm room" about sustainable benefits like taking the bus instead of driving, buying local organic foods, the cost of leaving appliances plugged in and sharing materials like textbooks with friends to cut down costs and consumption.

Nash hall crowned the winner of the 2012-2013 Go for the Green Competition!

Nash won the competition with a total of 4,624 points!

See the Challenge Point Breakdown here.

Good job Nash!

Green Residence Certification

The purpose of our Green Residence Certification pilot project is to heighten student awareness about sustainable living.

We will be assessing the sustainable practices of specific residence hall rooms and giving them a level of certification based on how environmentally-conscious their lifestyle choices are as well as providing them with a sustainable kit. The kit will include a shower timer, an energy efficient surge protector, transportation guides, and recycling guides.

Mathes Waste Audit

Mathes Eco Reps conducted a waste audit at the end of Fall quarter. Their biggest discovery was that the dorm's paper towel waste was far lower than what has been found in WWU academic building waste audits. This can be contributed to the composting program Mathes currently has in its floor bathrooms.

Eco Reps Receive Credit

During Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters the Eco Reps will now have to option to sign up to earn class credit! Each quarter, Eco Reps will earn one credit, which will be based on a S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) grading scale. The goal of the credit is to reward Eco Reps for the time and effort they put into campus sustainability and for the impact they make on Western's campus. The option to earn credit will also help ResRAP recruit new Eco Reps in the future and expand the goals of the program.

Mathes hall crowned the winner of the 2011-2012 Go for the Green Competition!

Total electricity saved: 310,276 kWh
Monetary electricity savings: $21,260
Carbon dioxide savings: 264,505 pounds
40% of residents signed the Green Pledge!
27% reduction on average of landfill waste!
70 sustainability programs were put on by Eco Reps in their halls!

Fairhaven Composting

The 2010 Fairhaven Eco Reps applied for composting through the Community Improvement Fund. There are now compost bins located in every dorm throughout the Fairhaven complex pushing WWU one step closer toward a Zero-Waste campus.