Welcome to the November WSU Sustainability Newsletter!
Weber State’s sustainability team won a Green Business Award, in the category of Energy Conservation, for WSU’s energy efficiency efforts and the Mow Electric community program. This win was motivated by the many partnerships within WSU and with the larger community.
In 2007, former president Ann Millner committed WSU to become a carbon-neutral campus by 2050. Since then we’ve cut our carbon footprint by over 25 percent, cut our utility costs by 44 percent, and saved the university over $11 million in utility costs as we’ve strived to meet the goal. The university is set to reach carbon neutrality well ahead of the 2050 goal.
The Mow Electric program was a collaborative effort with Weber-Morgan and Davis County Health Departments; and received funding from UCAIR and the Utah DEQ. The program helped 837 community members upgrade from gas-powered to clean electric mowers.
As stated in Utah Business Magazine, the program “resulted in reducing air pollutants by 4 million vehicle miles traveled and [helps] clear the air during Utah’s prime ozone-pollution season.”
WSU is proud to be mapping the way toward a carbon neutral model that serves the campus and larger community.
More than 20 departments, including Automotive Technology, History, Geoscience, Botany, and Business Administration, are offering such courses.
A few examples below highlight the broad range of courses being offered.
Introduction to Social Work (SW 1010), where students are introduced to social work, including an understanding of the importance of a sustainable world through human development, birth control, and environmental issues.
Construction Materials and Methods (CMT 1310), which covers the materials and construction methods used in buildings, with an emphasis on sustainable construction practices.
People and Nature (WSU 1560), where students explore the following topics: nature as commodity, nature and the imagination, nature and health, and nature and sustainability. We will view these through the lens of change, in particular historical change, the human ability to change, obstacles to change and living with change.
Symbiosis (HNRS 2040), looking at how organisms live closely together, while exploring the question: "How does symbiosis tell us about our place in the ecosystem?"
Marine Ecology (ZOO 4490), examining the physical, chemical, and biological interactions within and among marine ecosystems.
An interesting collaboration is happening between two courses, and it includes Friday lectures open to anyone. The courses are SOC 4990, Thirsty Society: A Sociology of Water, taught by Dr. Carla Trentelman, and GEO 4800, Great Salt Lake & Society, taught by Dr. Carie Frantz. Students may register for credit; however, anyone may attend the Friday sessions free of charge.
These parallel and intersecting courses related to water and society will bring in experts from the region to talk about the Great Salt Lake. They will explore how geology, chemistry, and ecosystems influence our local environment, health, and society. Topics include how we think about water; water use, abuse, and conservation; water and energy, politics, and social justice issues; access to water, water scarcity, and sustainability.
There are no prerequisites. Register for one or both courses, or simply bring a lunch and drop in at Tracy Hall (TY)102 on Fridays for the open lecture.
The Environmental Ambassadors have been dedicated to making a difference this semester. In October, they partnered with Community Rebuilds and organized an Alternative Fall Break to build affordable and energy-efficient housing. In November, they partnered with the Eco Club, a Northridge High School student-led club focused on engaging high school students in sustainability.
One event of particular note was the Water Wise Landscaping Project. After WSU was awarded the H2Oath Award, pledging to reduce water usage on campus, the Environmental Ambassadors engaged WSU landscaping to help plan the project. The resulting event brought over 45 students, faculty, and staff together to plant drought-tolerant plants that will reduce water usage by about 32,000 gallons each watering season. This 960 square foot area, once entirely grass, used around 48,000 gallons of water annually. Now, with drought-tolerant plants in place, watering will be needed only once a week! Through this project, EA is reducing water waste, getting the WSU community involved, and saving money. Thanks to all who came out to help!
Thanks especially to Drew Hodge, WSU's water conservation & sustainability specialist, for his leadership and efforts that contributed to EA’s winning the H2Oath award, which allowed this project to happen. Thanks also go to Mindy Mortensen, from Continuing Education, for her water-wise plant expertise and to Troy, Larry, and Brandon, with WSU landscaping. Thank you!
Are you a student engaged in sustainability research?
SPARC hosts an intercollegiate Student Poster Contest at the Intermountain Sustainability Summit at WSU each year. Posters must be based either on a project for a class, independent work, or an internship that relates to sustainability; they should include the name of a project mentor or adviser. Students whose posters are chosen to be displayed will receive free admission on the main Summit day, March 21, and be entered to win cash-card prizes. Submissions are due Friday, February 15th, 2018.
Each year the WSU Alumni Association and SPARC offer a Student Sustainability Research Award. There will be two $500 prizes for the best student sustainability research completed during 2018 or spring semester 2019. The deadline for submissions is March 1st, 2019.
November is Hunger Awareness Month at WSU, and there are many ways to get involved.
On campus, the Weber Cares Pantry is available for students, faculty, and staff with a valid WSU I.D. Individuals are welcome to fill up to two bags with food and other resources. The pantry is open Monday through Friday, 12:30 - 3:30 p.m., in the Shepherd Union (SU), room 402. Please visit SU 327, home of the Center for Community Engaged Learning, to assist with the pantry before or after open hours. CCEL is also giving away Thanksgiving kits to Weber State students, faculty, and staff who are facing food insecurities. Contact information and dietary concerns need to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 12th.
On November 15th, there will be a screening of the documentary Us and Them. The film educates the public on the realities of homelessness and encourages proactive solutions. The screening will be from 11:30 to 1:30 in the Honors Center. Following the film will be a discussion on food insecurity and homelessness within the country and on campus.
Green Teams - Volunteer on November 13th for the PB&J Sandwich Drive to build sandwiches for organizations in the community. The drive will be in the Shepherd Union, Ballroom C, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event is eligible for Green Team points under the sustainability-related events category. You can receive 1 point for having 25% of your office participate in a sustainability-related event, 2 if 50% participate, 3 if 75% participate, and 4 for 100%. To obtain your points, simply attend the event, have a great time, and email @kaylahickman a list of those who attended.
Support the Food Pantry! Sodexo is currently collecting donations to go directly to purchasing food for the Weber Cares Food Pantry. Their goal is to collect $2,000; they are $800 short. Green departments can earn 1 point for every $50 they collect within their department. Below are instructions on how to donate and get points.
1. Create a collection box or jar for cash from faculty and staff in the office.
2. Take proceeds to any Sodexo location in the Shepherd Union (626 Market Place, Stone Pizza, Tres Habaneros, Waldo's Chessie Grill, and Union Sushi).
3. No purchase is required; just tell the cashier you are donating to Sodexo's Stop Hunger campaign.
4. You will receive a receipt from the cashier for the amount your office donated.
5. Scan that receipt and send it to @kaylahickman for points.
To give, visit weber.edu/give or call WSU’s gift processing office at 801-626-6138. To discuss methods of giving, call the Development Office at 801-626-6073. To donate your time working alongside students, serving on committees, or volunteering as a guest speaker, contact the center at (801)-626-7737 or email@example.com.
Shades of Green is an innovative interdisciplinary course that provides multiple perspectives on sustainability. This month’s topics include:
Nov. 6- Ecological Perspectives: Case Study of Lead Mines and Songbirds, taught by Rebecka Brasso from Zoology
Nov. 13- Sustainable Planning and Green Technology, taught by Jeremy Bryson from geography and Will Speigle from Automotive Technology
Nov. 20- Performances of Water, taught by Jenny Kokai from Theater
Nov. 26- Biochemistry, medicines, and sustainability, taught by Tracy Covey from Chemistry
Anyone is welcome to attend any or all sessions without charge. Shades of Green is every Tuesday, 12-1:15 p.m., in SL 227.
The Energy & Sustainability Office is proud to announce the departments that have achieved certification since September 2018:
Sociology & Anthropology
Human Promotion & Health Performance
Office of Undergraduate Research
Please congratulate your colleagues on their green achievements!
Get on the Green Team
If you are interested in getting your office or department involved in the Green Certification Program, contact Kayla Hickman at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://weber.edu/sustainability/GreenDept.html. The purpose of the Green Department Program is to engage WSU offices and departments in the work of making the entire university more sustainable and carbon neutral. The program is voluntary and competitive. Participating departments acquire points through sustainable practices. The number of points achieved determines certification at the bronze, silver, gold, or green levels.