WSU Hosts Fourth Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit

February 20, 2013
OGDEN, Utah – Businesses must use sustainable practices if they are to be profitable in today’s marketplace. That’s the message of the Fourth Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit co-hosted by Weber State University and the Utah Recycling Alliance, Feb. 28 and March 1 in the Shepherd Union Ballroom.

“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.”

Carbon neutrality, water conservation and waste reduction are a few of the topics being examined in workshops and lectures during the two-day event.

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. 

“Imagine a competitor paying a third of what you do for energy because they utilize solar and you use oil,” Lovins said. “You begin to see why the term sustainable needs to be taken seriously by companies, not just consumers. It turns out, in the end, it’s not so much about recycling as it is about your business going extinct.”

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.”

New to the event this year is a workshop where students can learn how to take a proactive approach in moving their institutions toward sustainability.  

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.

“We’ll also be setting up three bike fix-it stations equipped with bicycle tools and a pump for quick repairs and maintenance.”

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.

“The summit will offer a little bit of something for everyone,” Bodine said. “Both the beginner and the more advanced conservationist will come away with a new network of peers, the latest sustainability practices and the knowledge of how to implement them in their personal and business lives.”

As part of the Climate Action Plan, WSU has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Visit intermountainsustainabilitysummit.com for summit registration and schedule and weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
Contact:
Jennifer Bodine, WSU sustainability specialist
801-626-6421 • jenniferbodine@weber.edu

Hannah Rice, WSU student sustainability coordinator
801-626-6421 • hannahrice@weber.edu
Author:
Kimberly Jensen, University Communications
801-626-7948 • ahess@weber.edu