Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 60.52
Liaison Seth Vidana
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Washington University
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.60 / 4.00 Seth Vidaña
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:
---

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:
---

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

Clean Energy
“Clean Energy”, later called “Western Wind” was an ongoing study conducted by students throughout the academic year of 2015-2016. Student groups assessed feasibility of a renewable power plant for university’s use through internet search, interviewing peer universities, discussing the matter with university’s administration, and surveying students’ willingness to pay for the plant. The outcome of the project was a comprehensive proposal to establish a consortium of universities in Western Washington to fund a Wind Farm that feeds the electricity into the grid.

Lights Out!
Was a student led study to record the amount of classrooms that stay lit throughout the night. The study also noted possible causes and solutions to the problem.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

Sustainability Action Plan Draft
A pair of students conducted multiple interviews with campus dinning administration and students to assess the needs and feasible solution for sustainable reform in dinning, and in effect draft a plan of action for the Sustainability Action Plan. Their draft was used in the creation of the institution-wide plan signed by the President in the fall of 2016.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

Sustainability Action Plan Draft
A pair of students conducted multiple interviews with campus grounds administration and workers to assess the needs and feasible solution for a sustainable reform in ground maintenance, and in effect draft a plan of action for the Sustainability Action Plan. Their draft was used in the creation of the institution-wide plan signed by the President in the fall of 2016.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:

Sustainability Action Plan Draft
A pair of students conducted multiple interviews with campus procurement administration to assess the needs and feasible solution for sustainable reform in purchasing, and in effect draft a plan of action for the Sustainability Action Plan. Their draft was used in the creation of the institution-wide plan signed by the President in the fall of 2016.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

EV Charging Stations
Students have conducted a thorough research to draft a policy for electric vehicle charging stations that will be added to the university’s facilities in the near feature. The draft included recommendations for the best pricing model and general rules of use, all based on the experiences of peer universities and existing parking rules.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

Street Waste
This project started as a study of the correlation between the street waste in the streets of Bellingham and students at Western. It was found that the majority of household items left out on the street were by left there for students for the lack of better disposal system. The group researched the best possible solution to deal with the large item street waste by interviewing peer universities, as well as university administration, community member, and local waste management representatives. In conclusion, a plan for an independent, student-run business was created to cope with this problem.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

Campus Rain Cisterns
Students identified the solution in response to the need for reducing water consumption. The group proposed to harvest rainwater on top of the Carver Gym building which consumes 10% of all water on campus. The proposal provided information about the environmental and economic impacts of such project, as well as suggested to use the cisterns as an educational tool for biology and engineering students.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:
---

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

Social Sustainability:
Students proposed a social campaign to raise awareness on social and environmental issues. The main topics were: Organic Agriculture, Fast Fashion and Privatization of resources. Students found issues that everyone can relate to and came up with a hashtag: #NotHereButNow to stress that our actions affect social, environmental and economic disasters, even if we cannot see them.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:

Sustainable Investments
Three students took over the debate between the students and the WWU Foundation officials over investing donated funds into fossil fuel companies. After many interviews, mediations, and consultations with the stakeholders involved, the group came up with a three-step plan to divest from the fossil fuels: to intensify the conversation with the investment managers of Commonwealth, to disclose the investment portfolio, and to provide educational opportunities to students who would like to learn about sustainable investing. The outcome of this project is under review for the official Sustainability Action Plan.


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:
---

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
---

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:
---

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:
---

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.