Sustainable Living

Education

Western is a university of the environment. Sustainability is at the heart of what we do here. Here at WWU, our efforts and initiatives are defined in the Sustainability Action Plan, creating accountability for bettering our sustainability practices across campus. Western’s Sustainability Action Plan, adopted by the institution in September 2017, is the University’s road map for protecting local and global ecology, upholding social equity, creating economic vitality, and maintaining human health.

Four Pillars of Sustainability:

Global Ecology

Social Equity

Economic Vitality

Human Health

Goals:

Within Student Life the vision is that “Western inspires graduates who create a sustainable world by integrating social, economic, and ecological justice (SEE) practices into their lives”.

Goal 1: Students have a solid foundation for understanding cultural and global interdependence.

Goal 2: Through structured community and campus-based co-curricular learning experiences, students gain knowledge and insight of sustainability in practice.

Goal 3: Social, Economic, and Ecological (SEE) sustainability principles are integrated in student career and lifelong practices.

Through newsletters and student engagement sessions (Info Fair, virtual and in-person meetings) sustainability education in the residence halls will be designed to be complementary to Residence Life URISE Learning Goals of building inclusive communities, career preparedness, and personal wellness. 

Engagement

This year, residents will have the opportunity to engage with peers in learning the four pillars of sustainability, practice creating sustainable practices within the residence halls, and more with monthly events and offerings in collaboration with AS Recycle Center, Zero Waste Western, and Office of Sustainability.

Monthly Sustainability Themes:
September Compost 101 December Conscious Consumption March TBD
October Eating Sustainably in the Residence Halls January Break Up with Fast Fashion April TBD
November Low Waste, Affordable Swaps February Sustainability Fair May TBD

Solid Waste Reduction

Residence Hall Reuse Program

Reuse is important in reducing waste while also saving money and fostering community. The Residence Hall Reuse Program (RHRP) is part of the Resident Checkout Program and allows on-campus residents to rent approved appliances, Twin XL bedding, storage solutions and more for the duration of the academic year. 

We set off on a mission to start at the source of local waste production and overconsumption of more-or-less- “Single Use” items for the residence halls. Our vision is holistically sustainable, creating a closed loop system on our campus! Our rental system runs on the generosity of previous residents' donations, the return of rentals after use in clean, good working conditions, and that you consider donating any accepted goods at the end of the year. 

Throughout this program we will also be educating residents on the importance of conscious consumerism while providing them an opportunity to directly take part in a much-needed paradigm shift away from current destructive tendencies of materialism. 

 

Learn about what the program has to offer and how to rent for free on the Resident Checkout Program site!

Residence Hall Composting

As of Nov. 28, 2018, Western Washington University has one of the first composting programs of its kind.

Each resident hall is currently equipped with its own composting bucket, an instructional sticker and biodegradable liners.

Composting Program Benefits

  • Accessible to all students
  • Requires no custodial labor
  • Creates a consistent culture of sustainable waste management across campus
  • Builds long-term success even with student turnover
  • Educates to instill lifelong sustainability habits
  • Increases awareness on social, economic, and ecological benefits of composting
  • Reduces landfill waste and greenhouse gases
  • Creates a positive impact on habitats near landfills
  • Converts potential landfill waste into a useful product sold in local communities
  • Decreases University disposal expenses

Compost Liners

As part of your compost bin delivery, you received a roll of liners to last the entire quarter. Your next roll won’t be delivered until the next break, so make sure you’re only using the bags for compost!

Birnam Wood and Buchanan Towers

Birnam Wood and Buchanan Towers houses one compost bin per apartment/suite to reside in the kitchen area of each apartment/suite. Compost bins for the rest of the campus living community occupy in each room.

Compost flyer with information written on this page

Where to Empty Compost

There are several compost toters/dumpsters located in your residential community. The Office of Sustainability recommends disposing the liners and their contents once a week if you are disposing of wet organic waste. If your items are dry, you may go much longer without emptying your bin.

Compost throughout the Day

Your sustainable lifestyle doesn’t need to end in your room. WWU has a variety of places to dispose of organic waste throughout the day. You can find compost bins inside each of the dining locations across campus or in Red Square.

 

For questions about replacing the biodegradable liners or the compost bins themselves, please contact us at Housing.Sustainability@wwu.edu.

Audits

In collaboration with SSC and WWU AS Recycle Center, regular audits are conducted on campus to keep our facilities operationally sustainable. While ensuring we minimize our resources and examining contamination, we can work towards economic vitality and diverting funds away from excess waste management costs to our residence.