Welcome to the October WSU Sustainability Newsletter!


Visit the New Sustainability Website

We have been diligently working this summer to redesign our website, and the new version is complete! The new website focuses on easing navigation for each kind of user. Students, faculty, staff and community can find what they need within their category. Students who click on the student tab will find student organizations and resources. This may include the Environmental Ambassadors, our list of sustainability courses offered that term, opportunities for research awards in sustainability, and much more. Likewise, community members and faculty will find specific opportunities and information applicable to them.  

Visit our new and improved website at https://www.weber.edu/sustainability/ to see what you can find! 


Utah Climate Action Week

The Honors Program, SPARC, and the Energy and Sustainability Office are excited to participate in Utah Climate Week 2018! Created by the Utah Climate Action Network, Utah Climate Action Week offers events, awareness, and conversations about climate change risks and solutions in Utah. Climate Week runs October 1 – 7. 

WSU is hosting four free events during Climate Week to inspire action and solutions: Tuesday, Oct. 2, from noon to 1:15 p.m., Professor Carie Frantz will discuss geological perspectives on climate change. Also on Tuesday, and again on Thursday (Oct. 2 and 4), SPARC and the Energy & Sustainability Office are hosting tours of WSU’s sustainability features from 2:30 to 4 p.m. RSVP to Bonnie at bchristiansen2@weber.edu to attend either of the tours. Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Honors Program and SPARC are hosting Decoding the Weather Machine, a documentary from PBS's NOVA science series, in the Wildcat Theater from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. 

For more information about Weber State events, visit weber.edu/sustainability/events. Learn more about Utah Climate Week 2018’s state-wide events at utahclimateactionnetwork.com/climateweek. 

The Three Tenors of Climate Change

Join us for a free event to hear from a climatologist, filmmaker and global health expert about how climate change affects us on Wednesday, Oct. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City.   

Science is about facts, and scientific fact is at the center of climatologist Dr. Ben Santer’s work on global warming. The esteemed scientist from Lawrence Livermore Labs will join Milwaukee-based filmmaker Chip Duncan and global health expert Dr. Hernando Garzon from California’s Kaiser Permanente for an evening of discussion about glaciers, global climate modeling and the long term health consequences facing a warming world. Using personal stories, long term study and decades of documentation and participation, Santer, Duncan and Garzon have teamed up to bring their climate story to audiences across the U.S.

Summit County, and SPARC  invite you to register to attend The Three Tenors of Climate Change event at Eventbrite.com.  Registration is required, but the event is free.   

Campus-wide LED Conversion

One ongoing energy project at WSU is focused on upgrading lighting efficiency all across campus. The energy team looks at efficiency and how long a light is left on when evaluating a light’s energy usage. To ensure WSU’s lights are as efficient as possible, all campus lighting is being upgraded to LEDs. LEDs are much more efficient than traditional fixtures, have a much longer life span, and don’t emit as much heat. A good example of a great LED project is the parking lot lights at Davis. WSU replaced its 400-watt metal halide bulbs with 100-watt compact fluorescents. Now, 40-watt LEDs are providing better lighting to the lot while using 90% less energy.   

WSU is using white light, or 5000k LEDs, which uses a lot of green wavelength. This is the wavelength to which the human eye is most sensitive, which means that it can provide the same visibility with less light. We’ve also been adding automated sensors that detect when a space is vacated and turns the lights off. Our exterior lighting is controlled by photocells that detect when the sun comes up and turns our parking and street lights off accordingly.  

Currently, all exterior lights and 11 buildings on campus are 100% LED, including Facilities Management, Shepherd Union, and Tracy Hall.

Alternative Fall Break

Environmental Ambassadors will be leading an Alternative Fall Break to Moab, UT, in order to build affordable and sustainable housing. The trip will take place October 18th-21st.  We are partnering with Community Rebuilds, a non-profit dedicated to building energy-efficient housing at a low cost with straw bale. Through this hands-on project, Environmental Ambassadors will gain knowledge on energy efficiency, the details associated with constructing a sustainable straw bale home, the history and purpose of Community Rebuilds, team-building, and tips and tricks to be more environmentally conscious in their own homes and communities. If interested in attending the service trip, please contact Kyia Hill at kyiahill@weber.edu by Tuesday, October 9th. If interested in Community Rebuilds, please visit communityrebuilds.org


Faculty Sustainability Spotlight: Fire and Lichens

Heather Root (botany) has been working with colleagues from University of California Davis to examine the effects of wildfire on lichen communities. Wildfires in the region have been growing in size and severity in recent years, which can expose ecosystems to more extreme disturbance than they have experienced in the past. Lichens are beautiful components of forest diversity, providing food and nesting material for many species of wildlife. Heather and her co-authors found that lichens were much less diverse after severe fires. The team sought to understand whether this was simply because they were burned or also because of indirect effects from the forest canopy. They found that the latter was the more important driver of lichen loss, suggesting that the lichens are unlikely to recover until trees have regrown enough to provide cooler, moister habitats. Lower-severity wildfires, which left behind many trees, were compatible with maintaining lichen diversity. The results were recently published in the academic journal Global Change Biology here: http://acconsensus.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/11/Miller_etal_2018_GlobalChangeBiol_LichensFire.pdf

Shades of Green is an innovative interdisciplinary course that provides multiple perspectives on sustainability. This month topics include:  

Oct. 2nd- Geological Perspectives on Climate Change  
Oct. 9th- Perspectives on Business, Ethics, and Sustainability by Shaun Hansen and Shane Schvaneveldt  
Oct. 16th- Rhetoric of Sustainability by Rachel Bryson and Sylvia Newman  
Oct. 23rd- Sustainability and Community Health by Kathleen Cadman  
Oct. 30th- Environmental Political Theory by Thom Kuehls  

Anyone is welcome to attend any or all sessions for free. Shades of Green is every Tuesday, 12-1:15 p.m. in SL 227. 

See semester classes at https://www.weber.edu/sustainability/shades-of-green.html

Giving Our Things a Second Life

Fix-it Clinic volunteer coaches helped students, faculty, staff and community members repair over 70 lbs., of items that could have otherwise gone to the landfill on September 27, in the Shepherd Union Atrium.

Coaches worked with participants to fix items of all types and sizes ranging from a large silver KitchenAid Mixer to a clasp on a delicate golden necklace. Over 87 percent of the items brought to the clinic were successfully repaired. One student worked with seamstress coach Joan Gustafson, putting his still full backpack on the sewing table to mend the pack’s bursting seam. It was fixed and ready to go in seconds.   

The event was hosted by SPARC and the Utah Recycling Alliance. All coaching and repairs were offered free of charge. 

New Budget Specialist: Joan Gustafson

We are pleased to welcome Joan Gustafson, our new budget specialist to the sustainability team. Joan is serving three departments including the Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL), the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and the Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC) to help with budgets and other accounting responsibilities. 

 Joan has worked at Weber State for eight years in the Human Resources (HR) department where she did clerical work, accounting, customer service, bookkeeping, and administration. Joan assisted HR in becoming one of the first Green Teams on campus. She enjoyed the work and people in HR, and enjoyed being part of the team helping people find the resources they needed. 

Sustainability has always played a role in Joan’s life. She was inspired by her father, who lived through the Great Depression as a child, and thereafter always focused on using resources wisely. Joan’s father was an avid recycler. He earned enough money from collecting and recycling scrap metal to buy his first pickup truck! Joan focuses on “reuse, refurbish, and recycle” for her sustainability mantra. She loves giving things a new life.  

Joan enjoys many activities with her family, from sewing, knitting and crocheting to four-wheeling and motorcycle trips. They also like to camp in their solar powered, off-the-grid, green trailer.  

Joan’s expertise and positive attitude are a welcome addition to our team. 

Green Department Spotlight: Tammy Bates

Weber State’s Campus Rec Department is no stranger to competition and the importance of teamwork. Now they have applied these principles to the Green Department Program. Every great team depends on strong leadership, and Tammy Bates has taken on this role in stride. Tammy’s passion for sustainability has empowered students and staff to play an active role in creating a more sustainable office and campus. The Energy and Sustainability Office (ESO) sat down with Tammy to learn more about her personal interest in sustainability and her experience with the Green Department Program. 

ESO: What first interested you in sustainability? 

Tammy: Well, I have always recycled. My daughter is 17 years old and I have raised her to be that way. I think I was just a hippy as a teenager. I was always listening to The Beatles, and very into saving the Earth. I think it is something that is within me.

ESO: Why did you get involved in the Green Department Program? 

Tammy: I want Weber State University to be the greenest campus in the state of Utah, and I also want Campus Rec to be the greenest department on campus. It stemmed from competition. However, the underlying goal is to help the world be a cleaner place, make less trash, and really empower students. Every person that we teach and empower is going to teach and empower others. Sustainability is just going to spread like a really good virus.

ESO: What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

Tammy: I really dig our “Green Power” sign upstairs in the gym, which highlights the exercise equipment that generates energy and puts it back into the grid. Now we can focus on placing more signage really emphasizing that and encouraging students to use that equipment. It was a process to place the first sign, but a good process, because students are learning things and being involved. The students came up with slogans and designs, and we all voted on which one we liked most. It was time consuming, but everyone got to be a part of it. 

ESO: What was your greatest challenge and how did you resolve it? Or what points are the most difficult for your office to achieve?

Tammy: The most challenging thing was bringing plants into the office and composting. I found that candy motivates people. We have a stash of really good candy bars. Staff can pick their favorite and get a bar after they have emptied the compost bin. We resolved the challenge through incentives and collaboration. We have so many employees coming and going out of the office, and at first it was hard to get everyone on the same page. We just had a fall staff meeting and did a presentation about the Green Department Program and recycling. After that presentation, 16 people signed up to be part of our Green Team, so it made an impact. 

ESO: What advice would you give to others who are just getting started?

Tammy: Just start where you are. Look at your department and the people you are working with. Consider that everyone is at a different level of interest, and try to find things that grab their attention. Then let it grow from there. Get people involved as much as possible.

ESO: What sustainability change could people make in their own lives that would be simple but have great impact?

Tammy: The most critical thing is making yourself aware of what can be placed in the recycling bin and what cannot. Be meticulous about placing the right items in the right bin because that is going to impact the city’s decision on whether they will get rid of the recycling program. Then from there branch out and look for things you can reuse or repurpose. Some items don’t need to be recycled because they could have a really cool functional purpose. We live in a creative world, so there are so many possibilities.

ESO: Has this program influenced you in your home life?

Tammy: I used to throw everything in the recycling bin. When there were changes in the recycling policies, I had such a hard time at first not recycling things that I formerly could. I would cringe putting plastics #3-7 in the trash, and it was a hard transition. Now it has gotten easier, and I am teaching my daughter not to place things like dirty foil in the recycling bin. We are making those changes at home, so we can walk the talk there as well.





October 2018 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Utah Climate Action Week:

  • WSU Campus Tour
    Tuesday, October 2nd and 4th
    2:30-4 p.m.
    Stewart Library 148
    RSVP to bchristiansen2@weber.edu
  • Decoding the Weather Machine Screening
    Wednesday, October 3rd
    12:30-2:30 p.m.
    Wildcat Theater

Alternative Spring Break
Oct 18th-21st
RSVP by Oct. 9th with Kyia Hill at kyiahill@weber.edu

Shades of Green
Noon-1:15 p.m.
Science Lab 227

The Three Tenors of Climate Change 
Thursday, October 4th, 7 p.m. 
Salt Palace Convention Center 
Free and open to the public 
Register now

Hurst Artist-in-Residence: Jane Kim Lecture 
Friday, October 12th at 6 p.m. 
Kimball Visual Arts Center, Lindquist Lecture Hall 120 
Free and open to the public 

Environmental Ambassadors Meetings
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Shepherd Union 331
(Everyone is welcome!)

Environmental Initiatives Committee Meetings
2:30-3:30 p.m.
Shepherd Union 321

For more information on events, contact katherinemeyr@weber.edu