December 2023

Happy Sustainable Holidays

As we conclude the semester, wrapping up classes, and eager for a winter break with friends, family, and perhaps a furry friend or two, it is a nice time to reflect on the year and look forward to what’s to come. It has been a good year for WSU Sustainability. 

The university was recognized twice during 2023 for its decarbonization efforts, once in January as a semi-finalist for the Climate Leadership Awards through EcoAmerica and again as the recipient of an Excellence & Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. These accolades recognize WSU’s 5-point Carbon Neutrality Strategy initiative, with its outstanding results and potential to serve as a model for other institutions. The campus’ energy work is always ongoing, with existing building upgrades and new construction projects focused on maximizing efficiency and electrification. Exciting projects to come in the new year include another solar-covered parking lot and the campus’ fifth ground source field, so we can draw on energy above and below!

The Student Sustainable Clubs have been busy reducing waste, fostering a circular economy (see the Free Swap article below), and building food resilience:  the Food Recovery Network recovered over 13,000 pounds of food this semester; the Wildcats Go Zero Waste initiative collected 145 pounds of clean bottles at the football games; and work has been underway to move the Community Garden to a new location in the yard of the Wellness Annex (watch for volunteer opportunities next semester to put in the beds, mulch, and fruit trees!).

During the year faculty and students across all colleges have been learning and sharing together in scores of classes that include or focus on sustainability, from Art (see the article on the Public Art class) to Zoology. There are 95 classes that now carry the SUS attribute, offered across 28 departments (57% of the total). 

Students, faculty, and staff all participated during the year in the Green Department and Green Badge Programs to develop both their knowledge and practice of sustainability. Happily, one practice in particular that’s grown is the use of the free OGX electric bus system, which opened as a full line in August.  Ridership is clearly on the rise on those wonderfully clean and quiet buses!

Best wishes from all of us for a happy, nature-filled, low-stuff, and rejuvenating holiday, and winter break. 

The WSU Sustainability Team

Public Art Project

Public Art (ART 3720 SUS), in the Department of Visual Art and Design, is developing a public art sculpture for downtown Ogden focusing on sustainable design. The project is coordinated by Jason Manley, a sculpture professor, working with Thaine Fischer, founder of the Monarch, who donated the historic trolley rails pulled from the 25th Street road renovation. These reclaimed steel rails will be the dominant material of a site-specific public artwork proposed to be installed across from the Monarch. 

Students in the Public Arts course took the first step to of learning how to develop a comprehensive public art proposal, this fall semester, applying recycled steel as the impetus for their ideas. Through various design iterations, they created renderings, digital mock-ups, proposal narratives, budgets, and timelines. The students then submitted their proposals to be reviewed by a volunteer committee including professional arts administrators in Ogden. Samantha Killinen, a WSU senior and BFA major, has been selected as the top project proposal. Her project is now moving forward as a collaboration among multiple students and DOVAD faculty members to begin planning, raising funds, and engineering the sculpture. 

The class and other WSU collaborators recently moved approximately one ton of this historic steel to the WSU sculpture facility where the prep work is underway. This innovative public art project will use creative sustainable methods that will result in collaborative artwork for the Ogden Arts District, tentatively to be installed in the Fall 2024 semester. 

Sustainable Clubs Highlight

Thrifting is a fun, responsible way to avert the negative impacts of slow consumerism—and of course, it's extra fun when it’s free!

The Sustainable Clubs' Free Swap event on November 28 and 29 was a resounding success, embodying the spirit of sustainability and community sharing.  Over 2,200 pounds of donations were brought by WSU students, faculty, staff, and community members on the first day, while the WSU’s Sustainable Clubs members and volunteers sorted and displayed the items. The following day the “thrift store” atmosphere attracted a large crowd, as people from across campus visited, picking up items they wanted for free. 

While music played in the background, friends could “shop” for new-to-them clothing, knick-knacks, kitchen supplies, shoes, books, electronics, and more. Just over 1,800 pounds of donated items were picked up at the event, and the rest were donated to a local thrift shop, giving unused items a second life.

Hulet Round River Scholarship

Round River Conservation Studies (RRCS) engages students in learning from landscapes. Wildlife conservation programs are currently available in  Mongolia, Belize, British Columbia, Chile, Botswana, and the Arizona-Mexico borderlands. 

Due to a generous grant from the Hulet family, WSU students can apply for funding to participate in the RRCS program. Hulet Round River Scholarships are available and can be requested from Dr. John Mull (  

Applications are due Friday, January 12, 2024. 

The Hulet scholarship provides partial support for a WSU student to participate in either a summer or semester-long Round River Conservation Studies course. Participants will earn either nine academic credits for summer programs or 15 academic credits for semester-long programs. Qualified applicants who are not awarded the Hulet Scholarship may still qualify for scholarship support directly from Round River. 

WSU students who have participated in the Round River Conservation Studies have said the adventure was positively life-altering. Submit an application, and expand your world this year!   

Sustainability Leadership Scholarship

Thanks to a generous donor, WSU students in a sustainability-related field have the opportunity to receive an award to help cover their tuition and/or other educational expenses.
The Jeanne A. Evenden Sustainability Leadership Scholarship provides awards ranging from $1000 to $5000 for 1-5   students who have demonstrated leadership in sustainability through a specific activity, project, and/or focus. This scholarship is available to both part-time and full-time undergraduate or graduate students!

Materials to apply for this scholarship must be completed by Thursday, February 1st, 2024. See details and apply here.

Sustainability Research Awards

Have you completed, or will soon complete a sustainability research project? Apply to have your work recognized through a 2024 Sustainability Research Award, through the Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC) at Weber State.
Awards will be granted to both faculty and students. Faculty will be eligible for two $1,000 awards in one or both of the following categories; traditional scholarship (i.e., conference or journal-targeted academic research/writing) and applied scholarship (i.e., tangibly benefiting community, campus, students, etc.). Two $500 awards are available for WSU students who have completed sustainability research during the 2023 calendar year or in the 2024 Spring semester.
The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 27. Award recipients will be recognized at the WSU Sustainability Awards event in April. For more information and to apply visit the Student Research Awards page or the Faculty Research Awards page.

WSU awarded DOE grant

Weber State University has received $550,000 through a Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop an Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). The center will help shape the future of energy engineering education and sustainable practices. In partnership with the University of Utah IAC and local manufacturers, WSU's IAC will give students hands-on training experiences, and introduce cutting-edge courses in energy engineering. Pre-college outreach programs will also be run to reach more students.

This initiative goes beyond the classrooms or conventional labs. WSU's campus will act as a "living lab." Students will be exploring and learning about energy through real-world examples. They will then take this knowledge to the field by offering energy assessments to small to medium-sized manufacturers. This will be a win-win for the students and Utah’s manufacturers.

This grant marks a pivotal step toward a more sustainable future. WSU is proud to lead the charge in training the next generation of energy innovators and making a positive impact on SMMs.


Green Badge Program Updates

Participate in the Green Badge Program and start earning your badges today! December’s Green Badge is “Health & Wellness.” Learn about health services and other resources to improve and maintain your well-being. 

Twelve people earned November’s “Zero Waste” Badge. Way to go!


Green Teams Updates

Join 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.
Green Team Updates: 
Employee Wellness 
Employee Wellness 
International Student and Scholar Center 

See the current team rankings here.

Upcoming Events

Stress Relief Star Show
Tuesday & Wednesday, December 12 &13
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Ott Planetarium
More Info

News & Resources

A Rapid Energy Transformation Is Good for Nature and the Climate | Boston Consulting Group

8 Ways to Make Your Hanukkah More Eco-Friendly | My Jewish Learning

The 4 best sustainable gifts to give your friends and family over the holidays | Business Insider

Sustainable Christmas Trees: A Guide To The Real, Fake, & Eco-Friendly | Pebble Magazine

Green Holiday Feasts | Earth Day