Western recognizes campus sustainability efforts

Western Today staff
Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 10:13am

Five recipients were given 2012 Western Sustainability Awards at the second annual ceremony during Sustainability Week. The awards honor the Western community's commitment to achieve sustainability and celebrate the efforts of various individuals, groups, programs or projects that make important contributions to Western sustainability. Eleven individuals and groups were nominated for activities in the areas of academics, operations and student life.

This year’s winners:

AMSEC Solar Project Team, receiving a 2012 Western Sustainability Award in Academics for:

  • Creating Innovative work on improving the efficiency of luminescent solar concentrators.
  • Working as a team of five faculty and over a dozen student researchers to bring about advancements in solar technology.
  • Being awarded a $970,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's SOLAR program to further this research.

Miller Hall Renovation Team, receiving a 2012 Western Sustainability Award in Operations for:

  • Gaining the Western's first LEED Gold Certification for a campus building.
  • Excellent collaboration between the Office of Facilities Development and Capital Budget and Woodring College of Education.
  • Creating a 30-percent drop in electricity use and a 40% drop in heating use through this project.

Energy Savings Company Project Team, receiving a 2012 Western Sustainability Award in Operations for:

  • Creating for the first time at WWU, a campus-wide energy and water conservation project, spanning 28 buildings.
  • Creating an annual savings of $230,000 rising to $370,000 annually in ten years.

Students for Sustainable Water, receiving a 2012 Western Sustainability Award in Student Life for:

  • Initiating an effort to address the issue of bottled water on campus.
  • Giving students tools to become more sustainable in their plastic consumption by providing free reusable water bottles and educating folks on the location of the new bottle refill stationsacross campus.
  • Drafting an advisory student ballot initiative for the removal of bottled water from campus.

Gary Bornzin, receiving 2012 Western Sustainability Award in Lifetime Achievement for:

  • Being a voice for sustainability education for decades and acting as one of the first sustainability educators to emerge on campus and placing sustainability-related themes at the center of his teaching.
  • Providing leadership for the development of sustainability across the curriculum, both at Fairhaven and through his campus wide work.
  • Creating curriculum that students overwhelmingly find valuable, inspiring, empowering, and life changing.
  • Acting as a longtime advisor for WWU's Outback Experiential Learning Site and acting as a member of the WWU Sustainability Committee since its inception in 2005.

The awards were presented by members of Western administration and a keynote address was given by Alison Gannett, world class extreme skier and sustainability advocate.

The concept and practice of sustainability is part of the mission statement and strategic plan of WWU, and is exemplified in academics, student life, operations, and connection to the greater community. Western is recognized for its campus-wide efforts through national rankings such as the Sierra Magazine's Cool School list, the Aspen Institute's Beyond Grey Pinstripes, and the EPA's Green Power Partnership.

The WWU Office of Sustainability is Western’s hub for campus sustainability and is aimed at helping Western reach national leadership in sustainability. The Office of Sustainability assists in this aim by prioritizing sustainability goals, integrating sustainability into WWU’s culture, academics and student life, advancing knowledge of sustainability, acting as a liaison on sustainability initiatives and publicizing the efforts of WWU.


Chemistry professor David Patrick consults with graduate students Willie Benjamin, left, and Tristan Butler, as the group works on a new type of solar collector that works well on cloudy days. File photo by Rhys Logan | Communications and Marketing intern