October 2021 WSU Sustainability Newsletter

WSU Sets Ambitious Sustainability GoalsPresident Brad Mortensen speaking at a podium in front of a Weber State branded bus.

Weber State University’s newly created 5-year strategic plan includes new and ambitious sustainability goals. Initiated by President, Brad Mortensen, the strategic planning process included the WSU Sustainability team. The team helped the Community Anchor Mission Task Force to develop goals that beneficially impact both WSU campuses and the broader region.

The Community Anchor Mission goal is to: “Intentionally apply our intellectual assets, economic influence, and financial and human resources in partnership with regional communities to seek a sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental system that ensures opportunity, equity and inclusion.” WSU committed to three major sustainability-focused outcomes to support that goal:

1. WSU will achieve a Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Gold rating by the year 2025

2. WSU will achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2040

3. WSU will help the Northern Utah region strive for carbon neutrality by the year 2050

The STARS ranking is a global sustainability standard for higher education institutions. The ranking includes organizational performance in academics, engagement, operations, and policies. To achieve a STARS Gold rating by 2025 WSU is addressing all areas, focusing on over 60 metrics.  

In the academic arena, faculty are increasingly including more sustainability courses across the curriculum via the SUS attribute, and are adopting more sustainability-related learning outcomes at the departmental level. To increase engagement, sustainability is being included more prominently in new student orientation, and the University is working to employ a student sustainability ambassador for every college. On the operations side, WSU is working toward achieving a 50% waste diversion rate, cutting water consumption by over 30%. Finally, on the policy front WSU is creating green purchasing guidelines, and promoting carbon neutrality at the regional level.   

WSU will reach carbon neutrality by 2040, a full decade before the original goal of 2050. WSU is aggressively pursuing energy efficiency options, transitioning all buildings over to all-electric, heat pump-based mechanical systems, developing renewable energy on campus, seeking to procure off campus renewable energy, and transitioning WSU’s fleet and landscape equipment to all-electric models. All utility savings derived from energy efficiency upgrades, electrification of buildings and onsite renewable energy resources are reinvested into additional sustainability projects.

The most ambitious, yet meaningful new goal is to help the Northern Utah region strive for carbon neutrality by 2050. Given WSU’s experience and success in the sustainability and energy management fields, and its role as a regional sustainability hub, it is uniquely poised to serve as a regional anchor that provides the community with information, connections, and guidance toward the resources needed to work collectively toward a healthy climate.  

The WSU Sustainability team invites all to be a part of the growing sustainability successes at WSU. Faculty, students and staff all play important roles in helping WSU reach our institutional sustainability goals, and our community partners are critical to reaching our wider goals. To get involved reach out to Jenn Bodine, Alice Mulder, or Bonnie Christiansen with your ideas, questions and/or support.

Call for Speaker ProposalsA woman holding a microphone and smiling.

The Intermountain Sustainability Summit, hosted by Weber State’s SPARC is seeking speakers for the 2022 event to be held March 17-18. The call for proposals is open through Wednesday, October 20.

Summit planners are seeking presenters who can share bold ideas and encourage audiences to foster greater sustainability in our communities and the world.

The 2022 Summit theme ‘Reshaping Our Future,’ invites presenters to look beyond business-as-usual models and mindsets. Planners are seeking proposals ranging from practical, no-nonsense solutions to previously unimagined possibilities. Topics may include climate change, clean energy, traditional knowledge, transportation, supply chain, social and environmental justice, professional/personal development among other sustainability-related topics.   

October 20 will be here soon. Use this guide to the speaker proposal questions to help prepare a submission, or visit the speaker proposal page to suggest a speaker. 

Sustainable Clubs Gain More MomentumGroup of students smiling in front of the sustainability booth.

The Environmental Ambassadors, Food Recovery Network, Garden Club, and Citizens' Climate Lobby all worked together to host a booth at this year’s Block Party.

The sustainable clubs used sustainable materials to spice up their booth. Upcycling cardboard boxes and newspapers they made a photo-booth arch and table decorations.

The WSU sustainability booth drew significantly more attention than in years past. Students appeared not only more interested, but better informed about sustainability issues when they arrived. President Mortensen also dropped by, letting students know he supported their efforts for sustainability!  

The Sustainable Clubs were happy to welcome new students, as well as returning members for the kick-off clubs’ meeting. The turnout was great. As club members shared pizza and drinks, they learned how to get involved in upcoming events including the Homecoming Recycle Run, Zero Waste Athletics, and Hype Fest to name a few.  

If you missed the kickoff meeting and would like to know how you can be more involved, reach out in the following ways:

Instagram: @wsusustainableclubs

Discord: @Sustainable_Clubs #8940

Gmail: eaclub@weber.edu

Reconnect to the Ogden River and Make a Difference Women picking up trash at the side of the Ogden River.

Have you walked or biked along the Ogden River lately? It’s a beautiful time of year to visit the Parkway, but the area is in need of some attention.  


All are welcome to join in an Ogden River cleanup effort, as a part of Make a Difference Day. Lunch will be provided for up to 60 volunteers.


· Where: The northern parking lot of the Walmart located at 1959 Wall Ave, Ogden Wall

· When: Saturday, October 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m,

· Transport: For students who wish to ride from campus there will be a shuttle from the Dee Events Center to the service site -  9:30am (from campus to site), noon (from site to campus and bring any volunteers back to site) and 2:30pm (take volunteers back to campus). See the clean up announcement for any updates.


The Parkway cleanup effort was prompted by a class focused on environmental issues, taught by Alice Mulder, associate professor in the Department of Geography, Environment & Sustainability.  In addition to participating in the cleanup, students have been learning about the Ogden River, its history, characteristics and quality, and changing use within the city. 


The clean-up event is a partnership between the WSU Student Association’s Community Engagement Team, Ogden City and the Department of Geography, Environment & Sustainability.

Everyone can help make a difference. To join the event, meet in the northern parking lot of the Walmart, 1959 Wall Avenue, on Saturday, Oct 16, a pair of gloves is recommended. WSU students can catch a shuttle bus, which will transport students from the Dee Event’s Center on campus to the meeting location.  

Welcome New AmeriCorps & Staff!  Side by side smiling faces of the five newest members of the Sustainability Team.

Introducing the Newest Members of the Sustainability Team

The Energy and Sustainability Office (ESO) welcomed Analeah Vaughn, an AmericCorps volunteer, as the new Green Department Program Manager. She graduated with a B.S. in Geology with a Geography minor from Weber State University in April 2020, and completed a Geospatial Analysis Certificate in April 2021. Analeah is looking forward to helping the Green Teams on campus achieve their sustainability goals.

The SPARC has four new members who have joined the sustainability team: Sadie Braddock, Sammy Caldwell, Liz Stringham and Taylor Hepworth. 

Sadie Braddock is the new AmeriCorps Community Programs Coordinator in SPARC where she organizes sustainability-focused community programs and co-coordinates the annual Intermountain Sustainability Summit. She graduated with a B.S. in Geography with a double minor in environmental studies and sociology from Weber State in December 2020. She is fascinated with the interconnected relationship between our environment and society, and concerned about issues regarding environmental justice and climate change.

Serving as the new Student Sustainability Communications Coordinator, Sammy Caldwell is excited to be working in sustainability. She began spending the majority of her time outside at the beginning of the pandemic and found a passion for protecting and preserving the Earth as a result. Studying Education at Weber State and hoping to be a 5th grade teacher, Sammy is looking forward to educating future generations on sustainability and conservation.

Liz Stringham is serving as a Student Sustainability Coordinator. She is a junior at Weber State majoring in Geography. Liz is particularly interested in climate science. She is passionate about preserving and protecting the planet and is looking forward to contributing to the sustainability efforts on campus.

Taylor Hepworth is in her junior year at Weber State as a Graphic Design major and is serving as one of SPARC's new Student Sustainability Coordinators. She was drawn to the sustainability efforts that Weber is implementing on campus, as well as the work Weber is doing in collaboration with the community. Working with SPARC is opening opportunities for Taylor to use her design skills to enhance WSU’s work on campus and in the community.

Shuttle Running Between Davis and Ogden CampusesCartoon image of Waldo Wildcat driving a shuttle with students.

Do you commute between Ogden and Davis campus? Catch the WSU shuttle!

Students, faculty, and staff have been asking for shuttle service between the campuses. Weber is now offering a pilot shuttle service to determine if there is a demand for the service.

Shuttles run Monday through Friday from 6:45 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. To view the schedule and pick-up locations visit https://www.weber.edu/facilities/ShuttleBus.html.

Shuttle service between the two campuses is one of many strategies which can cut WSU’s carbon footprint. To date, WSU has cut its total carbon footprint by over a third but our emissions associated with students, faculty, and staff commuting to and from the university remain high and represent 66% of WSU's remaining total footprint. To be a part of the solution consider using shuttles!

Upcoming Sessions in the Sustainability Snapshots SeriesGraphic for Sustainability Snapshots

This month the Sustainability Snapshot Series will feature: urban heat islands and Ogden, math and climate change, plus the societal impacts of pollution regulations. Come learn how sustainability intersects across the curriculum. The series is free and open to all to attend either in person in Lindquist Hall 395, or remotely via this Zoom link.  All sessions will be held Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m.:

Oct. 12 – “Global Warming, Hotter Cities: Urban Heat Islands and Ogden,” presented by Dan Bedford, Professor of Geography, Department of Geography, Environment & Sustainability, and Director of the Honors Program, WSU

Oct. 19 – “Do Pollution Regulations Hurt Producers? How do they Affect Consumers and Society?” presented by François Giraud-Carrier, Assistant Professor Supply Chain Management, Department of Supply Chain & Management Information Systems, WSU

Oct. 26 – “Teaching Climate Change,” presented by Julian Chan, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, WSU

To see the full series calendar of session visit the Sustainability Snapshots webpage.   

Upcoming Events 

Empower Northern Utah Lightbulb Exchange
Saturday, Oct. 9
10:30 am-12:30 pm
Weber County Library (Main Branch)

Global Warming, Hotter Cities: Urban Heat Islands and Researching Ogden's
Tuesday, Oct. 12
1:30 pm-2:45 pm
Lindquist Hall 395 or by Zoom

Honors Program presents "A Beginner's Guide to Sustainability"
Thursday, Oct. 14
12:00 pm-1:00 pm
Weber Library 321 or by Zoom

Pollution Regulations and Society
Tuesday, Oct. 19
1:30 pm-2:45 pm
Lindquist Hall 395 or by Zoom 

Intermountain Sustainability Summit speaker proposals due
Wednesday, Oct. 20

Teaching Climate Change
Tuesday, Oct, 26
1:30 pm-2:45 pm
Lindquist Hall 395 or by Zoom 

Hurst Artist in Residence
Wednesday, Oct. 27
1:30-2:45 pm
WSU Library 

Add your events or suggest a story for the WSU Green Newsletter here

In the News

Climate scientists have a message for the world:
Don't give up

John C. Walbrecht: Protecting lifestyles and livelihoods in Utah starts with bold climate action

Can the economy afford NOT to fight climate change?