February 2024


Jeff Speck Keynote Speaker at the Intermountain Sustainability Summit

Jeff Speck, city planner and author of Walkable City, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the 15th Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit (ISS), and will speak on March 21 at 8:15 a.m. Speck will take us on a journey through ways we can improve the walkability of city streets.  

Speck is an internationally known advocate for walkable cities. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts (2003–2007), he presided over the Mayors' Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design. Speck’s TED talks and YouTube videos have been viewed over five million times.   

Speck has authored planning books utilized around the world. His 2012 book Walkable City was the best-selling city-planning title of the past decade and has been translated into seven languages. Suburban Nation, a book that Speck co-authored with Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, was called “the urbanist’s bible,” by the Wall Street Journal.

Speck will be speaking at the ISS to students, planners, municipalities, and others who are looking to make streets more interesting, useful, comfortable, and safe. 

The ISS brings together hundreds of sustainability professionals, upcoming leaders, and students to learn about a broad spectrum of sustainability topics. The public can register for the ISS here, and WSU faculty, staff, and students can register here.  

For WSU faculty, staff, and students who are looking to take a deep look at how to improve the walkability of our streets, the Green Badge program is hosting a book club centered on Walkable Cities. For more information about the book club contact Analeah Vaughn at analeahvaugh@weber.edu.  

Student Poster Contest

The Intermountain Sustainability Summit (ISS) team is inviting all students to submit their sustainability-based research for the ISS Student Poster Contest. The last day to submit posters, Tuesday, February 20, 2024, is quickly approaching!  

Poster categories include: 

  • Sustainability Research (Undergraduate and Graduate) 
  • Green Design (e.g., architectural, landscape, engineering, technology) 
  • Sustainability in Action (e.g., program, policy, advocacy successes) 
  • Sustainability Education  
  • Sustainability in Creative Arts & Humanities 

There are two steps to submitting a poster: complete the Poster Contest submission form and upload a copy of the poster. Accepted applicants will receive notice by March 1.  

Students whose posters are selected to be part of the ISS will receive free registration (for up to two poster authors) to the main day of events on Thursday, March 21, be entered to win prizes and have the opportunity to network with others in the field. 

Hosted each year at Weber State, the ISS is a lively gathering of sustainability professionals, practitioners, experts, educators, and students from the Intermountain West. Don’t miss the chance to be part of a community dedicated to making a positive impact on our environment!

Sustainable Clubs

Meal Kit Building 
The Weber State Food Recovery Network partnered with the Pre-Med Club on Jan. 18, to assemble meal kits for individuals and families on campus who are experiencing food insecurity. Food insecurity is a term used to describe not having consistent or reliable access to food. 

To help provide a full meal for members of the WSU community who may be experiencing food insecurity, members of the FRN and the Pre-Med clubs prepared 40 full meal kits. The kits included a recipe for Cajun Rice and Beans, as well as all the spices, fresh food, and canned ingredients to make the meal! The clubs also prepared turkey sandwiches, for those looking for food on the go. The kits and sandwiches were delivered to the Weber Cares Pantry located in the Stewart Library on the second floor, near the reception desk. The pantry is free and open to students, faculty, and staff. You can find more information about the pantry here

Donations to the pantry are always welcome. Those who are in need of a meal, or food for the day, are encouraged to drop in and get what they need. 

Plant-Powered Food Tasting
Did you know that Weber Dining offers vegetarian and vegan options? On Jan. 22, the Food Sustainability Committee hosted a free Plant-Powered food tasting event. The committee had three different meatless options for students to try. There were Beyond Burger Sliders, Jackfruit Street Tacos, and Plant-Based Chicken. The Beyond Burgers were a clear favorite!

Students were invited to write what a sustainable diet means to them on a whiteboard. Some of the answers included buying local produce, mindful consumption, eating fruits and vegetables that are in season, minimizing waste, and ethical sourcing of food. 

Consider trying one of the plant-based options next time you are eating on campus!

Research & Engagement Symposium

Students, plan ahead to take advantage of another opportunity to share your sustainability-related research or projects at the April 16th Research & Engagement Symposium, which is “Weber State University’s celebration of undergraduate and graduate students’ research, creative work, and engaged learning that occurs through High Impact Educational Experiences. Students from every discipline share posters, performances, oral presentations, exhibits, and more with the broader campus community and public.” The Sustainability Practices and Research Center is co-hosting this annual event with other high-impact programs.  Submissions are being accepted now through March 25, 2024.  

To learn more and submit an abstract visit weber.edu/hiee/symposium.html

New Simpler Process to Apply for the SUS Course Attribute

Faculty, do you teach a class that connects with sustainability, broadly defined to include the intersecting environmental and socio-economic realms? If so, apply for the sustainability (SUS) course attribute. The process is now even easier. All course attributes desired for a specific class (beyond General Education), e.g., SUS, CEL, CRE, etc., can now be applied for using one form, and there’s no need to visit Curriculog.   

All disciplines, perspectives, and skills are needed to address the collective sustainability challenges we face and improve life for all. Courses across all departments can qualify for a SUS attribute. 

Applications for Summer or Fall 2024 courses are due March 1. Two SUS help sessions are open to faculty interested in learning more about SUS or wanting assistance with their application. Join a session on either: 

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2-3 pm, via Zoom 

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 12-1 pm, via Zoom

A SUS course may focus on a vast array of issues, topics, tools, and approaches in the intersecting environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainability. The SUS attribute signals to students that a class includes sustainability-focused learning outcomes. These classes contribute to students’ meaningful understanding of sustainability in their daily lives, as well as the necessary tools to make positive change from local to global scales. The attribute helps interested students find these classes during registration, indicates faculty engagement with sustainability education, and greatly aids accurate reporting of sustainability-focused or related courses being taught at WSU for our report to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS).    
The application process involves two steps (prepare your syllabus to include the required SUS elements and completion of the new attribute form).  The “Why, What, and How” of the attribute and all necessary links to apply can be found here. Approved courses may retain the SUS attribute for five years before renewal. 
Contact the SUS Attribute Committee Chair, Alice Mulder, at amulder@weber.edu with any questions or for more information.

The Amphibians

The Weber State University’s Theatre Department is creating a zero-waste production of The Amphibians, a play about relationships and the climate: 

When two Florida high schoolers unearth a wondrous discovery in the woods, they learn hard lessons about the evolution of friendship and what it means to take care of something at the peak of the climate crisis.

The play, by Dan Caffrey, “engages with issues around the climate crisis,” said Sarah Grunnah, assistant professor of theatre. “We wanted this show to echo that sentiment in the actual process of production.”

For the production of The Amphibians, the Theatre Department is requesting donations of assorted green-colored materials to create the set: green rugs (clean–no used bath mats please), empty green plastic bottles, and green foliage of any size, shape, or hue. Donations will be accepted Monday through Friday, at the WSU Theatre Scene Shop (Rm 142 in the Val Browning Center), from 1–5 p.m. or in the Costume Shop (Rm 337), from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Donations will be accepted through Friday, Feb. 9.

“Theatre can at times be wasteful, but we are trying to be intentional--just as so many are in their daily lives--with what we use (and re-use), where things come from, and where they end up after the show,” Grunnah said. 

The show runs Feb. 23, 24 & 28-March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m. in the Eccles Theater.

Ballo Conservatio: The Conversation for Conservation through an Arts Lens

In an era where awareness of our environmental impact is crucial, Weber State University's Professor of Dance, jo Blake, and Seattle-based photographer, Steve Korn, are spearheading a transformative project. Collaborating with the WSU community, they aim to visually capture poignant moments of human interaction with Utah lands, emphasizing the delicate balance between renewable and finite resources. 

This innovative project, titled Ballo Conservatio, transcends traditional sustainability narratives by leveraging the power of art. Through a captivating series of photographs, the project seeks to alter perceptions and evoke a sense of responsibility toward our planet. By showcasing the intricate "dance" between humans and their environment, Ballo Conservatio endeavors to spark reflection, conversation, and ultimately inspire positive action. 

Originally initiated in 2016 with support from the University of Washington Campus Sustainability Fund, the project envisions a future of continued collaboration, creating new works that leverage the profound impact of art and human creativity to motivate collective action in safeguarding our planet.
Are you interested in participating in this interdisciplinary project? Contact jo Blake at josephblake@weber.edu for more information. No background in dance is needed!

Green Badge Program Updates

Participate in the Green Badge Program and start earning your badges today! February’s Green Badge is “Education & Outreach.” Learn about Sustainability as a whole and how it relates to a variety of topics.

A total of 18 people earned January’s “Food Sustainability” Badge. Way to go!


Green Teams Updates

Form a Green Team today! The Green Department Program is for faculty and staff to learn ways to make their departments or offices more sustainable. Green Teams work together to earn points and recognition by implementing change and taking actions outlined in a Green Team checklist.

Look who is moving up among the Green Teams: The International Student & Scholar Center achieved a Silver ranking!

Upcoming Events & Important Dates

SUS Attribute Drop-In Help Session
Thursday, February 8
2–3 p.m.
Zoom Link

Earth Science and Society Spring Seminar Series
Measuring Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality
Dr. Kerry Kelly

Tracy Hall Science Center Room 217
Friday, February 9
12:30–1:30 p.m.
More Info

RED DAYS–new play reading
Shepherd Union, Wildcat Theater
Friday, February 9
7–9 p.m.
More Info

Zero Waste Athletics–Basketball
Dee Events Center
Saturday, February 10
7–10 p.m.

SUS Attribute Drop-In Help Session
Thursday, February 8
2–3 p.m.
Zoom Link

SPARC’s Sustainability Film: Rising Tide, The Crossroads Project
Shepherd Union, Wildcat Theater
Thursday, February 15
12–2 p.m.
See Events Calendar

Intermountain Sustainability Summit Registration Priority Scholarship Deadline
Thursday, February 15
See application here

Earth Science and Society Spring Seminar Series
Introduction to Water Quality
Dr. Caitlin Tems

Tracy Hall Science Center Room 217
Friday, February 16
12:30–1:30 p.m.
More Info

Student Poster Contest Submission Deadline
Tuesday, February 20
More Info

Jeanne A. Evenden Sustainability Leadership Scholarship Application Deadline
Thursday, February 22
More Info

Earth Science and Society Spring Seminar Series
Water and Environmental Reporting
Leia Larson

Tracy Hall Science Center Room 217
Friday, February 23
12:30–1:30 p.m.
More Info

The Amphibians
Eccles Theater in WSU's Browning Center
Friday, February 23, 24 & 28-March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m. 
More Info


News & Resources

Professors’ expedition to Argentina results in new insights, opportunities | WSU Today

The Biden Administration Just Made One of Its Most Important Climate Decisions | Distilled

Growing Your Own Food A-Z | Foodscaping Utah

Building More Than Trails | Reasons to be Cheerful