“The event brings together sustainability professionals across the region and provides an opportunity to gain the latest knowledge in recycling, water conservation and energy efficiency,” said Jennifer Bodine, WSU sustainability specialist. “Companies can learn how to get a green team going and gain information on how other businesses have implemented ecological practices. They’ll learn which practices have succeeded and which have failed.”
The conference will open Feb. 28 at 8:30 a.m. with keynote speaker L. Hunter Lovins, president and founder of National Capitalism Solutions based in Colorado. Her presentation, “The Business Case for Sustainability,” will discuss increasing both profits and quality of life.
WSU is a case in point. The university saves a significant amount of money due to green initiatives. “In 2012, WSU saved nearly $1 million dollars in utility costs because of sustainability projects and cost-saving measures,” Bodine said. “These practices are gaining momentum because they make sense for the environment and a company’s bottom line.”
WSU students are participating in two initiatives this semester. They contributed 30 cents each through their student fees to install 24 new bike racks on campus to accommodate and encourage cyclists. “Due to the lack of bike racks, cyclists have been chaining their bikes to trees, railings, traffic poles and disability signs, which is not only illegal on campus but also is a real hazard,” said Hannah Rice, student sustainability coordinator.
Eight new water bottle refill stations will also be installed in buildings around campus, encouraging the use of refillable containers and helping reduce the number of plastic water bottles.
As part of the Climate Action Plan, WSU has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.