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

STARS v2.1

Western Washington University
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Seth Vidaña
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Western Creates New Mountain Environments Research Institute

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Western Washington University created a new research center, the Mountain Environments Research Institute (MERI) and named Environmental Sciences Department research faculty member John All as its founding director.
The mission of MERI is to develop an inclusive and collaborative research, conservation, and education community through local and international field-based programming to facilitate innovative scientific research, improve life for mountain peoples, foster effective mountain stewardship, and to create the next generation of skilled mountain researchers.

“We’re going to take Western students into alpine research environments across Washington and the world,” said All. “Mountain environments are changing quickly as the global climate warms. Fragile indicator environments like the world’s mountain environments are among the first to be impacted by climate change.”

Courses offered through MERI will include Introduction to Mountain Research and Mountain Permaculture Science, which will examine long-term, small-scale sustainable production and ecosystem health in the mountains. MERI also hosted a study abroad program in the Andes in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca Mountains, featuring five weeks of backpacking and research.

MERI also began laying the groundwork for a Mountain Research Skills Certificate Program. After multiple surveys revealed a strong interest among students in mountain research courses, MERI faculty will create this certificate to provide the skills to conduct research in mountain environments as well as foster stewardship within the region’s communities.

Besides All, faculty in MERI come from disciplines across the Western’s campus, including the departments of Anthropology, Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geology, Recreation, and the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Their research interests and areas of expertise cover everything from how black carbon molecules and snow algae are helping melt glaciers in the Andes to how land use is impacting climate change in the Himalaya.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Research
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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