Princeton Review, in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), selected WSU as one of 330 schools in the U.S. and two in Canada “that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academics, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.”
In 2009, WSU’s President’s Council signed the Climate Action Plan committing the university to be carbon neutral by the year 2050.
“WSU’s inclusion in the Green Guide can largely be attributed to the university administration’s strong sustainability support and innovative leadership,” said Jennifer Bodine, WSU sustainability specialist. “They had the foresight to see that spending money on campus-energy and water-efficiency projects would prove to be a very valuable university investment. During the past four years, WSU has reaped the rewards of this investment with a total of $3,130,960 in saved utility costs.”
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Alice Mulder, WSU Environmental Issues Committee chair and geography professor, said the awards recognize the institution not only for its achievements in energy and water conservation but also for its achievements in involving students and faculty.
“The link between academics and application with regard to sustainability and the community is a strong and growing component of our university,” Mulder said. “We have had some wonderful examples of a variety of academic courses delving into topics such as student use and attitudes regarding bottled water, Utah air quality, waste reduction and recycling, and renewable-energy generation.”
Weber State continues to expand its sustainability efforts and outreach to involve a broad cross section of the campus community with a wide variety of programs.
In 2012, students launched WSU's Environmental Ambassadors. This group is committed to spreading a sustainability culture. Members host the annual Arbor Day tree planting, collect recyclables at football and basketball games, run campus competitions to reduce energy/water consumption, and host green move-in/move-out events in the residence halls. For green move-in, ambassadors collected and recycled all of the cardboard moving boxes and taught new residents about what can and cannot be recycled on campus. For green move-out, ambassadors will collect nonperishable food and unwanted reusable items to be distributed to those in need.
Engaged Learning Series
Water, air and food — life’s essentials have dominated campus conversation for three years. The discussions are part of the Engaged Learning Series hosted by the Center for Community Engaged Learning. The series supports university-wide
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exploration and action on critical issues both local and national. Last year’s theme was “Water Works.” This year’s is “On Air”; next year, “Food Matters.”
The themes emerged from focus groups with university representatives who hoped a yearlong focus would promote a lifetime of conscientious choices. Events this year included a Mount Ogden hike, panel discussions, an art exhibit and documentary screenings.
Ban on Idling
In 2013, WSU passed an anti-idling policy that prohibits more than two minutes of idling on campus.
The Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit, held for the fifth time in March 2014, has become one of the premiere and most well-attended sustainability events in Utah. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell presented this year’s keynote address.
U.S. Green Building Council
WSU is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, with its mission to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. WSU’s USGBC Students group helps students and faculty integrate sustainability themes into coursework and advocate for sustainable university practices and policies.
Jacob Cain, WSU’s Energy and Sustainability manager, said these and many other strong partnership between students, faculty and staff have yielded outstanding results. “Using 2007 as our baseline year, WSU has reduced electricity and natural gas consumption by just over 28 percent.” Cain said. “These reductions were accomplished even though WSU increased its gross square footage by 16.5 percent. In addition to the obvious environmental benefits of cleaner air and fewer greenhouse emissions, burning fewer fossil fuels last year saved the university more than $1.2 million.”
The free 216-page green college guide can be downloaded at princetonreview.com/greenguide and
To learn more about sustainability efforts at WSU, visit weber.edu/sustainability.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
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Jacob Cain, Energy and Sustainability manager
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