Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 60.52
Liaison Lindsey MacDonald
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Western Washington University
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

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

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

University Sustainability Advisory Committee Charter
Approved January 9, 2014
Section 1: Mission
The mission of the University Sustainability Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) is to promote sustainability throughout the University – in planning, development, and operation of the campus environment and facilities, as well as in curriculum innovation, faculty, staff, and student research, and outreach to the greater community. Through these efforts, Western endeavors to become a national leader in sustainability.
The Advisory Committee is charged by the President to develop, recommend and oversee a Western Sustainability Plan containing goals, objectives, metrics and resource needs that identifies the steps necessary to meet Western’s strategic goals. The role of the University is to be a place for education and debate. In this sense, the Advisory Committee’s responsibility is to encourage passionate but balanced discussion about sustainability. The Advisory Committee does not take or express positions on behalf of the University on matters of public policy.
The Plan will enable Western to become a sustainable campus through three primary activities:
1. Build awareness, understanding, and a culture of sustainability on campus;
2. Promote and coordinate the integration of sustainability between campus operations and academic programs, including teaching, research, and service; and,
3. Report annually to the President and the President’s Cabinet on the ongoing measurement of progress toward the long-term goal of sustainability. The report should also contain recommendations for course corrections and Plan adjustments.
In order to align with budget planning timelines, the Plan should be delivered by the end of November 2014. The Advisory Committee will circulate and publish proposed recommendations in order to provide the campus community opportunities to comment and to offer feedback. It is expected that the Advisory Committee will provide updates in the interim.
The Advisory Committee will promote integration of sustainability across campus by seeking to incorporate sustainability into the areas of academics and operations.
Among other items, the Plan should seek to address the following:
• Integration of sustainability into campus operations and long-range planning;
• Reduce resource use, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation, seeking cost-savings wherever possible;
• The use of state-of-the-art planning tools and indicators of sustainability that enable assessment of performance; and,
• The development of an action plan for reducing Western’s carbon footprint as required by State law and as per our Climate Action Plan.
• Infuse sustainability into curricula throughout the University to prepare our students to engage global challenges and opportunities;
• Promote the application of the University’s expertise to solve complex sustainability challenges;
• Assist and support departments, programs and colleges in the creation and development of courses, curriculum, and interdisciplinary majors and minors related to sustainability;
• Advance and publicize sustainability-related research within and between disciplines;
• Help connect students with faculty, research projects, local organizations, and other resources related to sustainability;
• Encourage innovative organizational structures that facilitate education for sustainability; and,
• Use the campus as a learning laboratory to teach sustainable practices to the campus community.
• Encourage faculty/students to include sustainability efforts in their service learning program;
• Foster collaborations among departments, colleges, and among academic, planning, and operational functions of the University;
• Increase awareness of sustainability principles throughout the campus and the broader community;
• Promote a climate of innovation related to sustainability;
• Recognize, support, and reward initiatives that promote sustainability; and,
• Work with the Northwest Higher Education Coalition to share information on sustainability efforts.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

Co Chairs
Steve Hollenhorst (chair) Dean, Huxley College of the Environment
John Furman (chair) Director, Facilities Management

Program Directors
Sue Sullivan Director, Environmental Health and Safety
Leonard Jones Director, University Residences
Paul Cocke Director, Office of Communications and Marketing
Seth Vidana Manager, Office of Sustainability
Eric Alexander Director, Student Activities
Grace Wang Director, Sustainability Institute Initiative
Faculty Senate Representatives
Edoh Amiran Math, CST
Rebekah Green Env. Studies, Huxley
Dan Warner Accounting/CBE
Clarissa Mansfield Libraries- Rob Lopresti's replacement until he gets back
Eric Leonhardt ETEC, CST

Anna Kemper Associate Director AS Environmental and Sustainability Programs
Bridget Doyle Williams Student At-Large
Meghan Demeter Student At-Large
Maddie Gavigan Martin Program Coordinator, Resident Resource Awareness Program
Alice Lazzar-Atwood Student At-Large

Carol Berry Program Manager, Sustainable Transportation
Mark Brovak WWU Foundation Representative

Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

Western’s Office of Sustainability (OS) is dedicated to furthering the university’s goals for campus sustainability. As defined by Western’s Sustainability Committee, the Office of Sustainability facilitates the strategies, research, education, and implementation of projects and goals that protect local and global ecology, uphold social equity, create economic vitality, and maintain human health. Office programs include the Resident Resource Awareness Program, Sustainable Office Certification, Zero Waste Western, and the Sustainable Cities Partnership.

The Associated Students' Environmental and Sustainability Programs office is the hub for student engagement in sustainability issues and includes: Western Student Transportation, The Outback farm, and the Environmental Center.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Seth Vidaña, Campus Sustainability Manager

Does the institution have a mechanism for broad sustainability coordination for the entire institution (e.g. a campus-wide committee or an officer/office responsible for the entire campus)?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the institution-wide coordinating body or officer during the previous three years:

Office of Sustainability & Sustainability Manager Accomplishments over the last three years:
• Three Western Offices Obtain Sustainability Certification - 2016

The Office of Sustainability at Western Washington University offers Sustainable Office Certification to reduce costs, protect the environment, conserve resources and promotes fairness, safety and health. The program supports actions and provides a simple way of measuring efforts that happen at the office level. Participating Offices are recognized for their level of achievement, as a way of showing thanks and appreciation for measurement of work well done. Three offices additional were recognized for certification in 2016 at a ceremony in the Underground Coffeehouse in the Viking Union on May 10, for a total of 27 participating offices.

• Western Marks 10 Years on EPA Green Energy List of Top Higher Education Purchasers of Renewable Power in 2016 - 2016

Western Washington University has appeared on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the top green energy purchasers in higher education for the past 10 years. In fact, Western has been on the EPA’s top college list since it was launched in January 2006. In the most recent listing in April, Western was 20th on the EPA’s list of the top 30 green energy purchasers in higher education. Western is also the only college or university in the state of Washington on the EPA list, last updated on April 25.

• Western Offers Viking Electric Bike Program to Students, Staff, and Faculty for Commuting and University Business – 2016

Transportation around the University entered a new age in 2016 when a pilot program offering electric bikes to members of the Western community commenced. Thanks to a Sustainable Action Fund grant, the Viking e-bikes are now available for loan to students, staff, and faculty, allowing them to commute, travel on university business, or just experience an environmentally-conscious way to get around Bellingham. Loan periods can range from one hour up to an entire academic quarter, and each loan includes a comprehensive package of cycling accessories to facilitate a successful, safe journey. Ultimately, the program’s goal is to convert routine car trips made by faculty, staff and students to bike trips, decreasing carbon emissions and increasing campus community members’ overall health and fitness. The program also includes an electric cargo tricycle that is used by the Associated Students Publicity Center for deliveries around Western’s campus, entirely replacing a polluting gaspowered truck.

• Western Washington University Increases its Commitment to Serve ""Real Food"" on Campus in 2016 – 2016

On Friday, April 1, 2016, then-Western President Bruce Shepard signed the Real Food Challenge petition brought forth by the Students for Sustainable Foods. The Real Food Challenge is a national campaign motivated to change the standard for university food. The primary goal of the challenge is to shift one billion dollars of university food budgets away from industrial farms towards local, community-based farms by 2020, said sophomore Environmental Studies major Rosa Rice Pelepko, vice president of Students for Sustainable Foods. Rice-Pelepko defines ""real food"" as sustainable, fair, and local, with a focus on consumers, community, producers and the Earth. The Western Real Food Initiative states that the University is committed to the goal of allocating 25 percent of campus dining hall purchasing dollars to “real food” by 2020, as defined by the 2015 standard of the Real Food Calculator. Western spent 18.34 percent of its dining hall food budget on ""real food"" from October 2014 to July 2015, according to the initiative.

• Western Joins Community Partners to Promote Green Energy in Bellingham - 2016

2016 was Energy Year in Bellingham, as announced Mayor Kelli Linville, at a festive celebration to inaugurate the release of the City’s revised Climate Action Plan in 2016 that updated energy and conservation measures and strengthen our resiliency for the future. Western Washington University chose to participate in the energy prize goal with eight other community partners. The University, its partners, and the City support a Green Power Challenge to retain and strengthen Bellingham's role as a state and national leader in making the conversion to clean power sources. Connected to this challenge, the Solarize Whatcom campaign is actively seeking to increase Bellingham's solar installations and help residents save on energy costs. As all parties involved await the decision of the energy prize committee, they know that the positive steps taken to make our local community greener will have long-term effects.

• Western Students to Help City of Edmonds Increase its Sustainability Efforts - 2016

Students at Western Washington University received a valuable real-world experience this year when they joined with the City of Edmonds in order to help find and implement ways for it to become more sustainable. This opportunity exists due to Western’s Sustainable Communities Partnership program. The program matches coursework on campus with issues facing a local city that is striving to achieve a sustainable future. Eleven projects in Edmonds were tackled by a set of Western resources that includes three student interns (who will thereby fulfill graduation requirements), six student employees, and the collective creativity of students in ten Western courses. The projects represent various aspects of sustainability within a municipal setting, including reduction of storm water impacts upon the Edmonds Marsh, development of a mobile app to make visitors aware of amenities in downtown Edmonds, evaluating available methods of dealing with construction waste and food waste, and analyzing the likely impacts of sea-level rise upon the Edmonds shoreline.

• SAF Awards in 2016

Western’s Sustainable Action Fund Program was again active in 2016, successfully funding and forwarding student proposals that will make our campus and community more sustainable, inclusive, and just. Projects Grants that were awarded or completed in 2016:
Large Grants of over $5,000 were awarded to create these projects:
o PAC Center Concert Hall Lighting - The incandescent lights in the Concert Hall were inefficient, costly, old, and wasteful. They were replaced with LED lights that enhance the performance space, save on maintenance costs and energy costs, and serve as a model for other performance spaces.
o E-Bike Pilot - Electric bicycles were purchased to loan to members of Western’s community in order to explore the utility and commuting applications of electric bicycles on and around campus.
o Lyn Okse – Members of the Vehicle Research Institute are designing and constructing a prototype, off-road capable, Neighborhood Electric Vehicle to support Facilities Management’s need for environmentally friendly vehicles.
o RECycling Your Power – Stationary bicycles that produce and send electrical power into the Western energy grid were introduced in the Recreation Center, offering a way for students, staff, and faculty to contribute to the University’s renewable energy efforts.
Small Grants, up to $5,000, were awarded to facilitate these activities:
o Western Gallery – Energy-efficient LED lighting was installed throughout the gallery to increase art visibility and decrease the facility’s carbon footprint.
o Dr. Vandana Shiva - Dr. Shiva is an environmental and social activist, author of more than 20 books, and world-renowned environmental leader and ecofeminist from New Delhi, India, who has been internationally recognized for her activism condemning globalization, empowering women, and fighting “Big Agriculture” for farm worker’s rights. Shiva was also the recipient of the 1993 Alternative Nobel Peace prize, the Right Livelihood Award. Shiva visited Western in February of 2016 to speak about women in agriculture, the slow food movement, traditional farming practices, biodiversity, and climate change.
o OHESC Conference – Western students and staff travelled to Eugene, Oregon to share sustainability presentations, roundtable discussions, and brainstorming sessions with members of universities from around the Pacific Northwest.
o See and Be Seen - This week-long event provided free bike lights to the campus community in order to improve safety conditions of all road users, promote bicycling as a feasible form of transportation, and increase cyclists’ confidence.
o Portable Water Refill Stations – As a means to provide clean drinking water to any event at Western, a group of students designed and produced water refill stations that can be borrowed for activities across campus.
o Climatefest – This day-long event, curated by a Western graduate student, celebrated local and global climate-positive action by groups and individuals.

• Western recognized by Puget Sound Energy for Conservation Programs – April 2015
Western Washington University was recognized by PSE for energy savings projects and behavior change campaigns which have resulted in significant energy savings and rebates. Since July 2013, Western has partnered with PSE on 21 projects, resulting in over 5.2 million kWh saved and $750,000 in incentive funding. These projects included lighting upgrades, HVAC control system upgrades, HVAC retrofits, and the ongoing implementation of a Resource Conservation Management program. The total electric savings is enough to power over 400 homes per year and has led to substantial savings to the university’s power bill. University behavior change campaigns, which include Sweater Days, Power Down, and Go for the Green also contributed to the final goal.
• Carbon Emissions Continue Downward Trend – Throughout 2015
Data for FY 2015 shows an overall downward trend since 2009 and Western’s lowest carbon emissions since 2007. In order to meet state emissions requirements in 2020, 2035, and 2050, the pace of emissions reduction will need to be increased. Electricity use and natural gas combustion are the largest single contributors to Western’s emissions.
• New Offices Receive Sustainable Office Certification - February 2015
Eight new offices at Western Washington University have achieved sustainable office certification from the Office of Sustainability, bringing the total to 25 offices out of 137 university-wide, or 18 percent of all campus administrative, clerical, services and operations offices. Departments recognized included Public Safety, Map Collection, Tutoring Center, Environmental Sciences, WWU Everett University Center, Biology Stockroom, Human Resources, Huxley College Office of the Dean and Woodring College Office of the Dean. The program supports actions and provides a simple way of measuring efforts that happen at the office level. Participating Offices are recognized for their level of achievement, as a way of showing recognition and appreciation for measurement of work well done.
Go for the Green Event Celebrates Campus Residents' Sustainability – April 2015
The Residents' Resource Awareness Program held the seventh annual Go For the Green Celebration to recognize the work of Western's on-campus residents' efforts to foster more sustainable practices during winter quarter's competition highlighting waste, water, natural gas and electricity consumption. Residents, resident advisors, resident directors and University Residences administrators were in attendance to recognize student work and converse about the future of sustainability at Western through on-campus living
• Earth Week – April 2015
As part of Western Washington University's celebration of Earth Week, a number of took place on campus and in the community including a state-wide campus sustainability showcase, a public input event for the in-progress Sustainability Action Plan, a community bike ride, an event focusing on voices of women in agriculture, and a community celebration in Fairhaven College.
• The Fair – October 2015
The Fair, a significant part of Vikings for Change Month at Western Washington University, attracted roughly 500 people who played games, shared ideas and networked with local sustainable groups. The event, which was free and open to the public, featured free local food samples, over 20 carnival games, a model residence for low-impact living, booths from local sustainable groups, and a scavenger hunt with $900 in prizes.
• Graduation Sustainability Pledge – June 2015
Nearly 400 Western seniors chose to be part of Western’s third Sustainability Graduation Pledge. The pledge was available to any spring 2015 graduate. Students pledged to actively work toward social and environmental responsibility beyond college and received a pledge card for their wallet, a green ribbon to wear on their cap or gown, and optional recognition on the Office of Sustainability website.
• Move-Out Madness Event Reduced Furniture Abandoned in Neighborhoods – June 2015
Western Washington University and the City of Bellingham once again partnered to assist students in proper sorting and disposal of unwanted materials generated during annual spring move-out. Bins for reusable household items, clothing, non-perishable food, recyclable materials, and landfill waste were available at three staffed sorting stations in neighborhoods near the university. Previous years' events have reduced the number of abandoned items left in neighborhoods and diverted many pounds of recyclable and reusable items from the landfill. Over 60 yards of landfill material was collected that may have otherwise ended up on the street. Two moving trucks of reusable items were donated to local non-profit organizations.
• Sustainable Action Fund Grant Program – Throughout 2015
During 2015, the Sustainable Action Fund Grant Program allocated fund to on-campus sustainability projects which increase student involvement and education, reduce Western’s environmental impact, and create an aware and engaged campus community.

“Large Grant” (>$5,000) projects in progress or completed included:
o The Fair: An event to connected students with local businesses and organizations that uphold sustainable practices. Project Status: Completed.
o Outback Bike Shelter: A proposal to build and design a bike shelter for the Outback Farm. Project Status: In progress.
o Lyn Okse: Campus Electric Utility Vehicle: A proposal to build an electric utility-grade vehicle for use by campus vehicles. Project Status: In progress.
o RECycling Your Power: A proposal to implement four power-producing bicycles in the Wade King Student Recreation Center. Project Status: In progress.
o Electric Bike Pilot: A proposal to explore and demonstrate the efficacy of electric bicycles in advancing university goals associated with reduced environmental impact, reduced parking demand, and other factors. Project Status: In progress.

“Small Grant” proposals (< $5000) included:
o Project RENT: A proposal for a pilot program that utilizes peer-to-peer education to teach off-campus students about energy efficiency in their homes. Project Status: In progress.
o Bringing Knowledge to Plastics: A proposal to increase awareness of the effects plastics can have on people and the environment, while also educating students and staff in ways to minimize their impact when using plastics. Project Status: In progress.
o Campus to Compost: A proposal to build two large composting bins near Facilities Management. These bins will receive all the compostable organic debris accumulated from campus. Project Status: In progress.
o Aquaponics: A proposal to build an aquaponic system on the 4th floor of the ES building using a 150 gallon tank, with several rainbow trout and lettuce plants in separate containers. Project Status: In progress.
• Sustainability Action Plan – Throughout 2015
Following President Shepard’s authorization of a new charter for the Sustainability Advisory Committee in January of 2014, the Committee has made significant progress on the creation of Western’s first comprehensive Sustainability Action Plan. Milestones include: A public input event which collected over 1400 comments, creation of subject area chapter teams, the hiring of a Research Analyst to coordinate teams developing the draft chapters for each of twelve topic areas, and writing of the plan. Teams currently developing topic area chapters include: Curriculum and Research, Student Life, Dining Services, Transportation, Purchasing, Waste, Campus and Community Engagement, Built Environment, Grounds, Diversity, Affordability & Human Resources, and Coordination and Planning.

Job title of the sustainability officer position:
Campus Sustainability Manager

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

Job description for the sustainability officer position:

Job Summary

Guides WWU on the path of national leadership in campus sustainability. Serves as a consultant to WWU executive management in the development and implementation of strategic sustainability goals, initiatives, and long-range strategic plans for WWU. Creatively works within existing and develops new programs to promote innovations towards sustainability and create a community-wide culture of environmental mindfulness. Develops relationships with other institutions, foundations, government agencies and non-profits to advance mutual goals in campus sustainability.

Reports to
Vice Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Distinguishing Characteristics
The Sustainability Analyst works to advance WWU’s efforts to become a sustainability leader in higher education by leading and organizing activities between with administrators, faculty, staff and students to provide the knowledge, skills, and motivation that will integrate sustainability values and practices into WWU’s strategic planning processes; the management of its resources and operations; facilities planning and design; its research activities; the curriculum; and the extra-curricular life of WWU.

Hours of Work
Monday through Friday, 8a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Essential Job Elements

• Create a strategy to integrate sustainability principles into the operational functions of the university; utilize the University’s Sustainability Committee, in-house expertise, peer institution practices, literature and conferences to develop ideas to advance Western’s sustainability efforts; evaluate these opportunities for technical feasibility, cost effectiveness, and acceptability by the Western community; create detailed implementation plans to recommend to University administration; work with units to implement approved project plans; analyze effectiveness and results of projects.

• Develop and coordinate a process that leads to the creation of sustainability standards and policies that can be implemented at an institutional level. i.e. Transportation, Waste Management.

• Oversee the development and maintenance of campus-wide sustainability committees.

• Interact with units/departments that have existing sustainability initiatives, e.g., Office of Facilities, Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Procurement to enhance existing efforts by providing suggestions that lead to more sustainable operational systems, to coordinate efforts that exit across units/departments, and to share ideas regarding successful initiatives across units/departments.

• Provide support to Facilities Maintenance for the development and implementation of energy and natural resource conservation projects, including energy conservation and green building design. Assist and participate in the selection, management, and review of sustainability analyses conducted by consultants, and including collection of documents and establishment of database of LEED points by category for all projects where sustainability analyses were completed. Monitor and evaluate design, construction, and operations for environmental design practices; participate in sustainable design charrettes on major construction projects.

• Establish Western as a national leader in the field of sustainability and higher education at the state, regional and national level. Publicize, promote, and communicate Western’s sustainability efforts within and outside of the Western community. Document progress towards sustainability and promote broader awareness of Western’s environmental efforts and accomplishments. Actively disseminate information on issues of sustainability, especially regarding the environmental impacts of Western activities, Western’s sustainability initiatives, and how individual members of the Western community can make positive contributions. Develop a comprehensive web site for the sustainability initiative. Manage, create materials for, and update the Office of Sustainability website.

• Serve an ex-officio member of Sustainability Committee and provide support for the committee’s activities including coordinating the monitoring of Western’s sustainability performance (including areas such as energy, materials procurement, materials and water consumption, waste streams (solid, food, hazardous), recycling percentages, and emissions to land, water, and air); coordination of the Green Fee proposal process.

• Teach the Campus Sustainability Planning Studio class quarterly including public presentations.

• Build involvement and support for sustainability projects among faculty, staff, and students across the entire campus.

• Identify opportunities for outside grant funding, rebate programs, or other savings programs.

• Manage staff, student employees, graduate student research assistant and/or environmental interns.

• Speak at local and regional conferences.

• Develop and teach a course on sustainability and higher education. Coordinate with Western faculty to integrate sustainability initiatives into their curriculum.

• Build bridges to academic deans and directors across campus departments.

• Communicate the sustainability strategy to Western administration and the Board of Trustees.
• Perform additional duties as required.

Job title of the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (2nd position):

Job title of the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

Job description for the sustainability officer position (3rd position):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.