December WSU Sustainability Newsletter

Happy Holiday Season from WSU Sustainability

Happy end of the year!  As 2020 was the year the pandemic began, there are promising signs that 2021 could be the year that it ends and our lives, work, play and celebrations can return to something far less restricted.  We certainly hope so.

It has been a tumultuous, stressful and challenging year for all of us, and we must recognize that for some individuals, families, communities, and businesses it has indeed been devastating.  But it has also been a year when what matters most has been brought clearly into focus – our health, the health and safety of our loved ones, provision of the basics, helping those in need, the critical role of science and medicine, and the importance of all the frontline workers who really keep daily life, its provisions and care ticking along.  We have also proven ourselves resilient and found new ways to do things, some of which are better than what we did before.  

We’ve been at work through the year on projects and initiatives that tie into the larger goals of sustainability and our commitment to a just and sustainable world for all.  We’ve been building our capacity for clean renewable energy at Weber State with a covered solar parking lot; revising our Climate Action Plan to meet our carbon neutral goal earlier than planned; fostering sustainability education across the curriculum and through community online events; facilitating energy efficiency in the community, and low-income households particularly, through the Empower Northern Utah Smart Thermostat and LED light bulb program; building a net-zero house in Ogden to demonstrate its feasibility and economic viability; and fostering engagement in sustainability-supportive practices both on and off-campus.   

We wish you a happy holiday season! May it be a peaceful, restful, and joyful time.  We encourage you, if you are able, to support organizations that are providing for those in need.  Below are some local suggestions:  

     - Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership (OWCAP) -  

     - United Way of Northern Utah - 

     - Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah - 

     - The Lantern House - 

     - Your Community Connection (YCC) - 

                                                                                                                       - The Weber State Sustainability Team 

Great Ways to be More Sustainable This Season

The holidays are a time when we like to show our friends and family how much we appreciate them. This year may look a little different, but the good news is that there is no shortage of ways for us to show our appreciation for friends and family as well as the Earth! 

Use Sustainable Wrapping

Decorating gifts beautifully can be easily done by reusing materials already in your home! Use pages from newspapers, magazines, paper from old books, or brown paper bags for wrapping paper. Use twine to tie on natural decorations like a pine cutting or reuse ribbon from previous packages. For over 1,000 years, the ancient Japanese art of furoshiki has been used from wrapping sacred objects to one’s kimono when taking a bath. The practice now extends beyond Japan as a sustainable method of wrapping gifts for all occasions using fabric scraps. Learn how to make and tie your furoshiki with this YouTube tutorial

Give the Gift of Outdoors 

Did you know that Waterfall Canyon is where waterfall ice climbing was invented by famed climber, Jeff Lowe? He knew that Utah boasts one of the most beautiful winter landscapes with quick access to world-class ice climbing, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snowman making. The opportunities are endless! Rent winter gear from your local Weber Outdoor Program at affordable prices to get you started. 

Shop Your Values – Local and Diverse 

Many people have chosen to support local, socially-just businesses to shop with their values. The Wasatch Front has many amazing local shops, artists, and artisans who can create beautiful gifts.  

Browse Utah small businesses at the Local First Directory. Black-owned businesses can be found here. Other gift ideas can be explored at the Fair Trade Federation's list of member organizations. 

Share Plant-based Recipes 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (or Cranberry) Cookies  

1 cup white flour (or gluten free substitute) 
2 cups rolled oats  
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut  
1 tablespoon, + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
¼ teaspoon salt  
¾ cup sweetener (any combination of maple syrup, honey and/or agave)  
½ cup canola oil

Toast nuts, then chop and set aside to cool. Mix dry ingredients (flour, oats, coconut, cinnamon, and salt) in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl (sweetener, oil, vanilla). Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing until moisture is equally distributed. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips (or cranberries for a winter delight). Lightly roll dough into equal size balls, and slightly press onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Enjoy!

Spring Sustainability Courses

Students may still register for Spring 2021 Sustainability designated (SUS) courses. Over 20 courses from math to sociology have a SUS attribute.  

One such course open to the public is Dr. Carie Frantz’s geoscience & society seminar series. The series will incorporate case studies, readings, presentations, and/or seminar-style discussions related to geologic hazards/disasters, natural resources, climate change, and applied geoscience careers. Sessions will be held via Zoom on Fridays from 1:00-2:30 p.m. 

Welcome New Sustainability Team Members!

The Sustainability Offices are very grateful for the expansion of student members this year. Meet the new 2020 student sustainability team members: 

Cayden Quayle – WSU Community Garden President 

Cayden Quayle is a botany major at Weber State. He’s loved gardening his whole life.  Cayden has competed on the archery team and the WSU League of Legends eSports team. Outside of school, Cayden likes to spend his time longboarding, snowboarding, playing video games, working in the garden, and spending time with his friends. 

Isabel Hernandez Martinez – Environmental Ambassadors President & Student Sustainability Coordinator 

 Isabel Hernandez Martinez is a mechanical engineering major at WSU. She joined the Environmental Ambassadors (EA) during her freshman year and was inspired to enlist others to help the environment. In her spare time, she enjoys watching anime, playing tennis, exploring small cafes, and going on hikes with friends. 

Nathan Hole – WSU Sustainability Practices & Research Center Student Intern 

Nathan Hole is a geography major at WSU and the new intern with SPARC. Nathan would like to work in international sustainable development or environmental law. He enjoys doing anything that gets him into the outdoors and experiencing the beauty and serenity nature has to offer. 

Kaila Lemons – WSU Food Recovery Network President & Zero Waste Coordinator 

Kaila is an environmental science major. She has a passion for leadership, advocacy, and inspiring action. Her vision for the future includes serving her community as a chief sustainability officer, upholding environmental justice, and taking risks to set industry standards. In her spare time, Kaila enjoys mentoring youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, photography, traveling, and reading.  

Tia Jochimsen – WSU Citizen’s Climate Lobby Student Chapter President 

Tia got involved in Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) this past summer after completing their Climate Advocacy Training Program and decided to start a club at Weber State. She is majoring in communication with an emphasis in civic advocacy and a minor in sociology. She also serves as the current head of social media for WSUSA. Beyond school and work, Tia enjoys spending time outside hiking or kayaking with family and/or friends.

Click here to learn more about Sustainable Clubs.

Cayden Quayle

WSU Community Garden President 

Isabel Hernandez Martinez

Environmental Ambassadors President & Student Sustainability Coordinator

Nathan Hole

WSU Sustainability Practices & Research Center Student Intern



Kaila Lemons

WSU Food Recovery Network President & Zero Waste Coordinator

Tia Jochimsen

WSU Citizen’s Climate Lobby Student Chapter President 

Student Poster Contest

The 12th Annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit, is now accepting submissions for the Student Poster Contest. Students can upload their posters here

The Intermountain Sustainability Summit will be held virtually on Thursday, March 18, 2021, with affiliated events on the 19th. The Summit is an energetic event attended by hundreds of sustainability professionals, industry practitioners, policy experts, educators, and students. 

If you have any questions about the poster contest, please contact Katherine Meyr by email (preferred method) at or leave a message by phone at (801) 626-6310. For more information, sign up to receive Summit updates.  


December 2020 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Deadline for WSU Hulet Round River Scholarship
Thursday, Dec. 31
5:00 p.m.

Geoscience and Society Seminar
1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Deadline to Submit Student Posters
Friday, Feb. 12

For questions or to add events to next month's newsletter, email