September WSU Sustainability Newsletter


Welcome to the New School Year

As September unfolds, we want to welcome you to the start of the new academic year. We also want to recognize that it has been a tumultuous few months for all of us as we’ve made adjustments and readjustments to navigate an ever-changing world with COVID-19. In our community and across the globe, this has meant loss of one kind or another – the ‘normal’ we used to know, jobs, loved ones, and perhaps even the loss of the sense of security that we didn’t really think much about before. It has also been a time where we have shown collectively that we can make changes that work -- that we are adaptable -- and it has helped bring into sharper focus what really matters in our lives.   

These last months have also been a time rocked by necessary protests and a movement against the continuing injustices and built-in discrimination in our country, painfully illustrated by cases of police brutality and the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, sadly just two victims in a long list of Black deaths.  This underscores our need to recognize that Black Lives Matter. 

This has been a painful period but also one full of potential to make our society, our world, and ourselves better.  We at Weber State Sustainability are committed to doing work that moves us closer to a sustainable, just, and vibrant community for all, one that functions within the limits of our natural world.  We are also working on ourselves, examining how our own lenses are tainted and how to overcome that. As we move forward, we intend to work harder to be good allies and anti-racists, and have committed to increase diversity, inclusivity, and equity in our programs and projects. None of these projects will be “done” in the short term, but rest assured, we are in it for the long haul. 

A new semester is a great time for a fresh start.  We wish you the best for 2020-2021.

- The WSU Sustainability Team

Receive a Discount on Smart Thermostats and Free LED Bulbs

Weber State University’s Empower Northern Utah program, in partnership with UCAIR, the Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation, Futures Through Training HEAT Program and others, is helping Weber and Davis County residents to be more energy efficient. We are offering a steep discount on the Nest Thermostat E at under $60, a savings of about $110,  while also exchanging thousands of free LED light bulbs for old inefficient bulbs. 

Pre-registration is required for both the thermostats and bulbs. Registration opens Sept. 16 at noon at

The first 200 successful registrants for the thermostats will be able to pick up Oct. 3 at the WSU Ogden campus. Three thousand LED bulbs will be split between two exchange events, Sept. 23 and Sept. 26, at the Weber County Library Main Branch (2464 Jefferson Ave.).

Using a Nest Thermostat E offers an average utility bill savings of $131-$145 per year. LED light bulbs are over 85% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and typically 47% more efficient than compact fluorescent bulbs.

Empower Northern Utah is Weber State’s community engagement effort to help residents act to reduce pollution while saving energy and money on a community-wide scale, thus clarifying the connection among environmental issues and their social and economic implications. See details and register at

Climate Change & Culture Shift Series

Climate change, a consequence of human-induced global warming, presents a major challenge to society both locally and globally.  This series offers presentations from faculty in diverse disciplines as well as from practitioners in the field. It explores topics and perspectives related to shifting culture to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all as we address climate change. Topics include ethics, policy and politics, equity and social justice, civic action, behavior, history, media/communications, art and storytelling, game theory, resilience planning and more. 

Upcoming sessions:

Thursday 09/10/2020     
“Ethics in the Anthropocene,” Dr. Robert Fudge, Weber State Political Science and Philosophy Department

Tuesday 09/15/2020     
“From Despair to Meaningful Action: A Pathway to Empowerment,” Laura Schmidt, founding director of Good Grief Network, & Aimee Lewis Reau, lead facilitator and co-founder of Good Grief Network

Tuesday 09/22/2020     
“Transforming Cultures to Create a Sustainable Civilization,” Erik Assadourian, former senior fellow of Worldwatch Institute, writer and researcher

Please visit our website for a full list of sessions.

The series is free to all as a drop-in event. Each session runs over the lunch hour, making it a perfect time to eat while enjoying the discussion.  If you would like to receive the Zoom link and reminders of the week's topic in your inbox, please complete this two-question form.

Join a session on Tuesdays via Zoom at

Community Garden Newsletter and Gleaning

Weber State’s Community Garden is striving to provide information to students that will support their own garden and community.  This summer, the Community Garden started releasing monthly garden newsletters so students can follow along at home with tips & tricks.  

With COVID-19 prevalent, the importance of home and community gardens is more evident than ever. The produce from Weber's garden has continually been donated to the Lantern House Homeless Shelter in Ogden, UT. Reach out to the Community Garden to donate any extra produce by “gleaning.” 

Volunteering at the garden is limited due to the restrictions of COVID-19, but work is being done to get the garden ready for club members to return to the grounds. The garden club is installing a club area with seating and shade, and members are building more garden boxes to enable more students to have and manage their own beds. Be sure to join the mailing list by emailing

WSU Faculty - Indicate you Teach Sustainability with the SUS Attribute

The SUS attribute is available for faculty to indicate that their course or course section addresses sustainability, broadly defined, in some way.  A course may focus on a vast array of issues, topics, tools and approaches in environmental and social/economic aspects of sustainability. The Faculty Senate first approved the attribute in Spring Semester 2019; it first appeared on courses in Spring 2020. Since then, faculty in six of WSU’s seven colleges applied for and received the designation, with the College of Education leading the charge with 47 classes touting the SUS attribute!

The SUS attribute signals to students that a class will incorporate sustainability learning outcomes. Students in these courses are being equipped for future decision making in local and global contexts. Formally incorporating sustainability into the classroom offers students context on how to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives, whether at school, work, home or play. Students can find the SUS courses at: or by searching for the SUS attribute during registration.

In an effort to make the present and the future vibrant, equitable, and sustainable, the Sustainability Practices and Research Center (SPARC) is working toward a goal of 100% of WSU departments teaching one or more SUS-attributed courses. Those who successfully apply this fall may begin using the attribute for Spring 2021 courses and may retain the attribute for five years before renewal.

Application deadline for Spring 2021 classes is Thursday, October 1.  The application process is simple – three steps.  The “Why, What, and How” of the attribute and all necessary links to apply can be found here Faculty are invited to participate in drop-in help sessions via Zoom on Thursday, September 17 and 24, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm. To learn more visit or contact the SUS Attribute Committee Chair, Alice Mulder, at for more information.


Sustainable Clubs now includes Citizens' Climate Lobby

The WSU Sustainable Clubs - which includes the Environmental Ambassadors, Food Recovery Network, and Community Garden - are excited to announce partnership with a fourth sustainable club, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL)! CCL is a national organization that advocates for a bipartisan solution to climate change. Join CCL if you’re interested in understanding climate issues and receiving hands-on experience in advocating for change!

By joining one or all of the sustainable clubs, you will gain a broader understanding of what it means to be sustainable and the tools to make a difference. Not to mention you wll make a few friends on the way. Follow us on Instagram @wsusustainableclubs and sign up to join the clubs through this link: (

Find upcoming events for the Sustainable Clubs at, or email to opt into Sustainable Club emails.


Solar Covered Parking Lot Complete!

WSU took another step forward in its goal of becoming a sustainable, carbon-neutral campus by installing a solar-covered array over the W10 parking lot, on the northwest side of the Ogden campus. The parking array opened to the campus community just in time for the new semester to start.

The power produced by the array is expected to offset 80% of Lindquist Hall’s energy consumption!

The university hopes to build additional solar-covered parking arrays every two to three years, with plans to eventually have 10 arrays across the Ogden campus.

“Solar is a major piece of the university's plan to reach carbon neutrality, and this array will help us with that goal,” Energy Manager Justin Owen said. “It will not only save money on WSU's utility bills; it will also reduce WSU’s environmental impact. Since we completely covered the lot, it has the added benefit of providing better quality parking and allowing the university to save money on pavement maintenance and snow removal.”

In 2007, Weber State set the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The university is set to reach carbon neutrality 10 years ahead of the original goal. Since 2007, WSU has reduced its total greenhouse gas emissions by 22% and energy costs by 47% in the process, saving more than $13.6 million in the last 10 years.

Sustainable Action Webinar Series

The Green Department Certification Program and the WSU Sustainable Clubs are teaming up to host a monthly series of Sustainable Action Webinars. Join these webinars to learn about sustainability and actions you can take at home to save money and reduce your environmental footprint! During the webinar you can also learn about the opportunity to win a gift card by participating in sustainable actions.  All WSU students, faculty and staff are welcome to join.

September Energy & Climate Topic Quick Tips:

Turn off the lights: Save money and energy by turning off lights when they are not needed. Leaving just one 60 Watt incandescent light bulb on for one hour consumes the equivalent energy of riding a bike at a moderate pace for nearly 40 minutes -- just to power that one light bulb!

Switch to LEDs: Though up-front costs of LEDs are more than the old bulbs, annual operating costs of LEDs are significantly less.

The average US household can save more than $50 annually on lighting costs when switching from CFLs and more than $350 annually per incandescent bulb switched to LEDs. That is 109 cups of coffee per light bulb!  Additionally, most LEDs are rated to last longer than 10 years. No more annual light bulb changes, less air pollution from electricity generation and less waste in the landfill.

Weber-Morgan Health Department Needs Your Help

The WSU team is looking to ensure we have a healthy resilient community. Take this health survey to help us understand if we are meeting these goals.

Fill out the survey here.