March 2024


WSU Hosts 15th Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit

WSU’s Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC) is hosting the 15th annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit (ISS) on March 21 - 22, 2024. The ISS brings together hundreds of sustainability thought leaders and emerging professionals from across Utah and surrounding states. The ISS’s theme Sustainable by Design invites practitioners and innovators to explore design approaches that can enhance our world. This event also creates a space for meaningful, synergistic conversations that advance progress toward a sustainable future. See who is speaking and view the schedule here.   

Thursday, March 21 the event will draw hundreds of participants from local and state government, business, nonprofit, and academic sectors. A keynote by Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City will kick off the day, followed by a lineup of over 15 sessions. The day concludes with the ISS 15th Anniversary Party.   

Beyond sessions, those who vote for their favorite Student Poster will be entered to win prizes, and everyone is invited to explore the Eco Expo.    

Friday, March 20, two workshops will be held, including "Preparing Business and Communities for a Postgrowth World," presented by climate communicator and physicist, Rob Davies. In This morning session participants will explore what our economy could look like if it didn’t need to grow in order for us to thrive. The afternoon workshop "Designing for Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share: A Taste of Utah's Inaugural Permaculture Design Certificate," hosted by Jake Powell, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Extension Specialist, and Roslynn McCann, professor, and Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist will walk participants through the structure and core content of Utah’s first Intermountain West Permaculture Design Certificate. Participants can register for one, or both workshops.  

Community members, professionals, and non-WSU students can register here by Monday, March 18 or on-site the day of the event. Special registration is also available for WSU students, faculty, and staff.

SPARC's New Faculty in Residence: Dr Heather Root

The Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC) is thrilled to announce Heather Root as the new Faculty in Residence. In this position, Root will work to advance sustainability education on campus and organize a new seed grant funded through SPARC. 

Heather Root is a mother, botanist, and lover of wild places. She teaches Plant Ecology, Field Botany, Natural Resource Management, Principles of Environmental Science, and several introductory classes in the Botany and Plant Ecology Department at Weber State. Her research focuses on how changes in our environment affect lichens, which are symbiotic organisms that live on rock, soil, trees, and the International Space Station. Her collaboration with lichens has resulted in 44 scientific publications and an appreciation of the fragility and resilience of symbiotic lifeways. She works closely with land management and conservation organizations such as the USDA Forest Service, Ogden Nature Center, and The Nature Conservancy. She's excited about her new role in SPARC and hopes to use the opportunity to develop interdisciplinary connections and collaborations.

New Community Garden Installation

Are you passionate about creating a sustainable future? Do you want to make a tangible difference in your community? Join us in building a new community garden on campus this spring! The sustainable clubs cordially invite you to be a part of a three-part series that aims to highlight the importance of biodiversity, community, and sustainability initiatives related to food sustainability and gardening. This is a unique opportunity for you to not only learn about sustainable practices but also to make a positive impact on your community. By building this garden, you will contribute to a greener and healthier future for all. Take advantage of this chance to be a part of something meaningful. RSVP on the Sustainable Clubs GivePulse page to join us in creating a better tomorrow!

  • March 25th, 2024 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • March 29th, 2024 from 12:00-1:30 p.m.
  • April 5th, 2024 from 12:30-2:00 p.m.

3690 Taylor Ave, Ogden, UT 

Street parking will not be available. Park for free at the Dee Events Center.

New STAR Grants for Faculty

With new annual funding of $20,000, SPARC is launching the first round of funding for the first Sustainability Teaching, Application, and Research (STAR) Grants.  These grants are to encourage and support WSU faculty-led research and practices that engage with sustainability. Proposals are now being accepted through April 1. Find more information and submit a proposal here.

Worldwide Climate and Justice Education Week 2024

Weber State is participating in the Worldwide Climate and Justice Education Week, a project of the Graduate Programs in Sustainability at Bard College in New York, and the Open Society University Network. This year’s approach expands on the previous year’s climate teach-ins to promote a week of educational events, with the  goal of providing education and resources about climate change and justice to thousands of people around the world.  

At WSU, the first week of April will be packed with topical sessions and activities open to all WSU students,  staff, and faculty as well as community members. The week’s events are as follows and are mostly held in the Stewart Library, Hetzel-Hoellein (room 321):

Monday, April 1: 

  • 10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.  
    • Climate, Water, and the Great Salt Lake 
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. 
    • WSU’s Climate Action 

Tuesday, April 2: 

  • 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. 
    • Climate, Food, and Resilience 
  • 10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 
    • Climate, Urban Heat, and Health 

Wednesday, April 3: 

  • 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
    • Eco-Poetry and Climate Theater Event 

Thursday, April 4: 

  • Noon – 1:15 p.m. 
    • Climate Justice Jeopardy 

Friday, April 5: 

  • 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
    • Community Garden Installation (see information in the article above)

Saturday, April 6: 

  • 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
    • Reconnect to the River: Ogden River Clean-Up

More information and resources are available here

Submit your research for the 2023-2024 Sustainability Research Awards

Faculty and students are encouraged to submit sustainability-focused research to be considered for a 
2024 Sustainability Research Award. Research projects from the 2023 calendar year and the 2024 spring semester are eligible. Applications are due Wednesday, March 27, 2024.

Two $500 cash awards are available for student submissions and two $1000 awards for faculty in traditional or applied research.

Members of the Environmental Initiatives Committee will review the research based on the following criteria:

  • The link to sustainability, expansively defined;

  • the generation of new content or knowledge for sustainability;

  • the research approach, including creativity/originality; and

  • the impact (practical or scholarly).

For more information and links to submit your work visit the student or faculty award webpages.

Green Badge Program Updates

Participate in the Green Badge Program and start earning your badges today! March’s Green Badge is “Energy & Climate.” Learn more about the intersection of energy and climate and how to be more energy efficient. Participation in the Intermountain Sustainability Summit counts towards this month’s badge.

Twenty-three people earned February’s “Education & Outreach” 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.

Welcome to the Green Teams Student Health & Wellness!


Upcoming Events & Important Dates

Intermountain Sustainability Summit
Main Day

Shepherd Union
Thursday, March 21
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
More Info & Detailed schedule


Intermountain Sustainability Summit
Post-Summit Workshops

Shepherd Union
Friday, March 22
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
More Info & Detailed schedule


Community Garden Installation Pt.1
Wellness Annex (A29), 3690 Taylor Ave, Ogden
Monday, March 25
1–3 p.m
Register on GivePulse


Community Garden Installation Pt.2
Wellness Annex (A29), 3690 Taylor Ave, Ogden
Friday, March 29
noon–1:30 p.m
Register on GivePulse


Indigenous Voices Pow Wow
Dee Events Center
Saturday, March 30
1st Grand Entry – noon
2nd Grand Entry – 6 p.m.
More Info


Community Garden Installation Pt.3
Wellness Annex (A29), 3690 Taylor Ave, Ogden
Friday, April 5
12:30–2 p.m
Register on GivePulse


Sustainability Research Award Applications Due
Wednesday, March 27
Students Learn More Here
Faculty Learn More Here


World Wide Climate Justice Education Week 2024
Monday, April 1–Saturday, April 6
Specific Events and Times

News & Resources

Ogden Arts & Adventure Show 41 - Intermountain Sustainability Summit, Ogden | The Banyan Collective

WSU to host leading voices on sustainable businesses, communities | WSU Today

WSU students drive partnership with Grow Ogden community farm | Standard-Examiner

As the Lake Fades | Utah Museum of Contemporary Art Exhibit

CCL Mountain West Regional Conference | Citizens’ Climate Lobby