Housing Sustainability

Our Mission

The Housing Sustainability program aims to provide on-campus residents with educational programming and initiatives that value and prioritize sustainability in the residential experience. In alignment with Western’s Sustainability Action Plan and University Residences Initiative for Student Engagement (URISE), our programming is designed to prepare students for life after on-campus living, educate students on sustainability, reduce on-campus waste, and help students save money through programs like the Resident Checkout Program. 

Education and Engagement

The goal of Housing Sustainability's educational programming is to prepare on-campus residents for life beyond Western by providing resources that can build habits to save money, make a positive impact on the environment, and promote personal wellness. By combining educational and interactive activities, we offer on-campus residents a holistic sustainability education alongside their residence hall experience.  

 

Western’s Sustainability Action Plan, adopted in September 2017, guides action and promotes accountability for sustainability initiatives around campus. Residence hall education aims to improve student's understanding of wellness in line with the Sustainability Action Plan’s four “pillars”, by expanding student's awareness of how local actions can impact 1) global ecology, 2) social equity, 3) economic vitality, and 4) human health.  

Education and engagement in the residence halls use sustainability education to build inclusive communities through interactive activities, aid in career preparedness by promoting critical thinking and promote personal wellness, all in line with URISE’s goals for on-campus communities. 

“Western inspires graduates who create a sustainable world by integrating social, economic, and ecological justice (SEE) practices into their lives…” and fosters “…an appreciation and understanding of the impact of human choices on people around the world and the planet itself.”  

 

– Western’s Sustainability Action Plan 

Education and Engagement Events Schedule for the 2022-2023 academic year coming soon! 

  

Fall  

Winter  

Spring  

Theme  

Food Waste   

Energy Use 

Water Resources  

Events  

TBD  

  TBD

TBD  

  

Resident Checkout Program

When moving on campus, residents have access to a large inventory of over 2,100 suggested on-campus essentials valued at almost $52,000, available for checkout through the academic year free of charge. The Resident Checkout Program offers both short- and long-term items, for a wide range of essentials available to all students living on-campus. Before buying items for your stay in the residence halls, check what’s available through RCP for free! 

 

View the Resident Checkout Program

Residence Hall Composting

Western's program is one of the first residence hall composting programs in the nation. All on-campus residents are supplied with the resources, education, and support they need to compost effectively. 

Program benefits: 

  • Develops practices that build autonomy and prepare students for off-campus living. 

  • Promotes a consistent culture of sustainable waste management across campus.

  • Pairs with educational programming to increase awareness on the social, economic, and ecological benefits of composting.

  • Reduces landfill waste, which diminishes greenhouse gasses released by landfills and protects ecosystems near landfills .

  • Converts potential landfill waste into a useful product sold in local communities. 

 

Each resident's room/suite is equipped with a composting bucket, an instructional sheet, an instructional sticker, and a roll of biodegradable liners(25 liners in each). Birnam Wood and Buchanan Towers house one compost bin per apartment/suite to be kept in the kitchen area of each apartment/ suite. Students are supplied with 25 liners per bin each quarter, so it is recommended that students use liners only for their compost bins. Residents can contact their front desk staff to acquire additional liners if needed.  

There are several outdoor compost waste “toters” located in each residential community Waste Dropoff Areas, where residents can deposit their compostable materials. We recommend that you empty your composting bucket once a week and before session breaks and ends.

Additional education and engagement activities for composting etiquette and food waste will be provided throughout the year to facilitate effective composting within the residence halls. Events like the Sustainability Extravaganza, UR Facilities Amenities and Offerings, and DIY(Do It Yourself) low-waste swaps Makerspace activities are offered to provide community-oriented learning spaces for students to expand their knowledge about food waste reduction. In addition, weekly audits of compost toters determine compost contamination levels in each residence hall and inform composting curriculum for the year.

Opting out: 

Residence hall composting is an “opt-out” program, which means all residents will automatically be supplied with the resources to compost successfully on campus. However, if residents choose not to compost, they are encouraged to keep their clean, empty bin stored in their room, such as in a closet or under a bed. Damage or loss of compost bins will result in a fine to your Western Account. 

Contact Us

Have questions about our programs or offerings? Email us at Housing.Sustainability@wwu.edu.

Follow our Instagram @wwu.housing.sustainability for regular program updates!