December 2021 WSU Sustainability Newsletter

Happy Holidays from WSU Sustainability!Purple ornament that says Weber State hanging from a branch.

The end of the year is almost upon us and, with respect to the Coronavirus pandemic, we can  celebrate that we are in better shape today than we were this time last year. Now we have the products of science and concerted human effort in the form of various vaccine options available to nearly everyone in our communities.  These have thankfully allowed for greater social interaction and a more vibrant campus life.  We recognize that the pandemic is far from over and new variants make for many unknowns, but our collective resilience and perseverance are noteworthy, as is our better understanding of what is really key to a happy life. 

Through the year we have made progress with sustainability at WSU. Importantly, sustainability is included in the university’s new Strategic Plan, with goals to:  reach carbon neutrality by 2040 (a decade ahead of our original goal); achieve a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Gold rating by fall 2025 (which means advances in sustainability work across all areas of the institution); and help the region strive for carbon neutrality by 2050.  Weber’s commitment to energy efficiency and the electrification of everything shows in the two new buildings completed this year, the Outdoor Adventure & Welcome Center on the Ogden campus and Computer and Automotive Engineering building at the Davis campus. These strategies are key to reducing our carbon emissions.  On the transportation front, five new electric charging stations were added and construction is underway for the UTA Bus Rapid Transit system which will feature all-electric buses!  We also facilitated energy efficiency in the community, and low-income households particularly, through the Empower Northern Utah Smart Thermostat and LED light bulb program; reduced water use on campus; fostered engagement in sustainability-supportive practices both on and off-campus, including a revamping of the campus’ Green Department Program to version 3.0; and facilitated sustainability education across the curriculum and through community events.

We wish everyone a safe and rejuvenating holiday season and the best for the coming year, including good health, peace, and happiness.         

The Weber State Sustainability Team

Submit a Poster to the Student Poster ContestStudent and professor looking at a poster

Are you working on a class project, or an internship that relates to sustainability? Consider entering a poster to the Intermountain Sustainability Summit’s Student Poster Contest now through Tuesday, February 15, 2022. Posters can be based on the following topics:

· Sustainability Research (Undergraduate & Graduate)

· Green Design (e.g., architectural, landscape, engineering/technology)

· Sustainability Education and Community Engagement

· Sustainability in Action (e.g. program, policy, advocacy successes)

· Sustainability in Creative Arts and Humanities

· Green Economy

The Intermountain Sustainability Summit is an energetic two-day event, drawing approximately 400 sustainability professionals and emerging leaders from across Utah and surrounding states to the event. This year the event will be hosted virtually.

Students whose posters are accepted for the display will receive free admission to the main Summit events (Thursday, March 17, 2022), will have the opportunity to network with professionals in the field, and be entered to win prizes.

Sustainable Clubs & Volunteers Make a Measurable DifferenceFive students smiling at a football game standing in front of garbage and recycling bins.

Motivated by the phrase “Live Green and Bleed Purple,” over 70 people signed up to volunteer with Weber’s sustainable clubs volunteering a cumulative of 300 service hours during the Fall 2021 semester. Volunteers made significant, measurable impacts in a wide variety of projects!

· The Food Recovery Network (FRN) recovered and donated over 1,300 pounds of surplus food.

· The Garden Club, FRN, and Weber Cares Pantry hosted the Kitchenware Drive gathering nearly 475 pounds of secondhand kitchenware to provide to members of our campus who are experiencing food insecurity. Items including a microwave, blenders, an ice cream machine, baking dishes, essentials like cups, bowls and more were donated during the drive-through event. These items are now available for pickup in Stewart Library room 224.

· In partnership with Sodexo’s Robert Steedley, FRN members put together hundreds of PB&J sandwiches, which were donated for World Kindness Day.

· The Garden Club and FRN hosted a food preservation workshop, taught by O-Town Kitchen’s Coordinator, Isaac Farley. Participants made and took home tomato sauce and peach jam – yum!

· Wildcats are going zero waste with the help of the sustainable clubs. Fans at the Stewart Stadium and Dee Event Center were key players in reducing recycling contamination on campus. The football season closed with 90 pounds of clean recycling - now it’s basketball’s turn.

There are more opportunities to get involved this semester. Sign up through GivePulse here!

Spring Sustainability CoursesTwo female students sitting at a table studying.

Students may still register for Spring 2022 sustainability designated (SUS) courses. Over 40 courses on an array of topics from interior design to arctic and alpine environments have a SUS attribute indicating that they explicitly include sustainability learning outcomes. One such course, available for credit and open to anyone as a drop-in lecture series, is Dr. Carie Frantz’s Geoscience & Society Seminar series (GEO 4990). The theme this year will be water: water quality, water projects, Great Salt Lake’s declining levels, climate change and precipitation forecasts, snowpack, reservoir filling, and more.  The series will feature guest speakers each week.  Sessions will be held on Fridays at 12:30 p.m.

Zero Waste HolidaysPresents wrapped in brown paper

‘Tis the Season to be Sustainable!

The winter holidays are a great time to connect with loved ones by giving gifts, sharing comfort foods, and practicing traditions. However, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, “Americans generate 23% more tons of waste in December than in any other month of the year.” Make this season a more sustainable time of the year with these environmentally friendly holiday tips!

Give experiential gifts. Experiences make new memories. Give tickets to concerts, sporting events, movie theaters, or the gift of the outdoors such as an annual National Parks pass. Learn a new hobby or skill together by signing up for cooking classes, or art lessons. Check out Weber State’s community classes for ideas.

Handmade gifts are fun to make and show appreciation for family, friends, and the Earth. You can create unique items, such as transferring family photos onto DIY Christmas ornaments. Try compiling a plant-based recipe book (accompanied by tasty homemade treats) or making DIY soap bars.

A good sustainable habit is reusing or upcycling items you may already have or can find at thrift shops. Consignment stores, thrift shops, antique stores and online marketplaces like KSL or Facebook Marketplace are great ways to find gifts, which reducing waste. You never know what type of treasures you might find at a fraction of the price!

Shop according to your values by supporting local and socially-just BIPOC-owned businesses. The Wasatch Front has many amazing local shops, artists, and artisans who create beautiful gifts. Browse Utah’s small businesses at the Local First Directory, Black-owned Utah businesses, or explore gift ideas at the Fair Trade Federation's list of member organizations. 

Sustainable gift decorating is aesthetically pleasing, and more personalized. You don’t have to say goodbye to fancy bows, ribbons and beautiful gift wrap to wrap sustainably. Reuse decorative tins, gift bags and boxes year after year, or wrap your gifts with newspapers, brown paper bags or upcycled fabrics such as scarves, silks or cloth napkins with a traditional Japanese wrapping technique called Furoshiki. If you still want to purchase wrapping paper, try recyclable wrapping paper or brown craft paper. Learn how to wrap these without tape! You can also secure gifts with twine and top them off with natural elements such as pinecones, dried orange slices, or pine twigs.

Feel good about the gifts you give, by utilizing these sustainable gift giving tips.

Welcome New and Advancing Green TeamsGreen Team logo.

The Green Department Program recently updated the program to version 3.0 (V3.0). As the program changes to include new updates, new teams are coming online, and moving up in certification.

Disability Services is the newest Green Team to join with over 85 other WSU Green Teams. This month Botany advanced to achieve the highest ranking; Green V3.0.

To learn more about V3.0, or how your department or office can join the Green Department Program, email Analeah at

Apply for the Hulet Round River ScholarshipStudent holding a trash bag climbing a rock wall smiling.

Applications are now available for the Hulet Round River Scholarship.

Round River Conservation Studies engages students in learning from landscapes. Wildlife conservation programs are currently available in Mongolia, Belize, British Columbia, Chile,  Botswana, and the Western United States.

Student programs are designed for small student groups “…in ongoing research projects that are finding and implementing solutions to real conservation and environmental issues.” These studies provide upper-division academic credit, as well as personal and professional growth opportunities.

The Hulet scholarship provides partial support for a WSU student to participate in either a summer or semester-long Round River Conservation Studies course. Participants will earn either nine academic credits for summer programs or 15 academic credits for semester-long programs.

Qualified applicants who are not awarded the Hulet Scholarship may still qualify for scholarship support directly from Round River.

Upcoming Events

Enjoy the holiday break and we'll see you next year!

In the meantime, you can mark these events in your calendar for next semester:

  • Geoscience and Society Seminar Series focused on Water, Fridays at 12:30 p.m., starting January 14th 
  • Intermountain Sustainability Summit happening March 17-18, 2022.
  • Climate Teach-In, March 30, 2022


In the News

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From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste

COP26: Key Outcomes From the UN Climate Talks in Glasgow

COP26: Together for our planet