Zarea Lavalais elected as new AS VP for Sustainability

On Friday, Feb. 5, the Associated Students of Western Washington University (ASWWU) Executive Board of Directors welcomed their new AS VP for Sustainability, Zarea Lavalais. Lavalais’ term began immediately, following the Board’s consent to the results of the 2021 special election. Lavalais is majoring in cultural anthropology with a minor in psychology, and will serve as the AS VP for Sustainability until the end of spring quarter, 2021.

Lavalais has served in numerous leadership roles on campus, including as past President of Western’s Residence Hall Association (RHA), a member of her hall council, and as a dedicated intersectional environmentalist. Lavalais notes, “The reason I ran for [AS] Vice President for Sustainability is because I find social sustainability important; it is the glue between economic and environmental sustainability. Yet, it’s mostly on the back burner.”  

Lavalais’ goals as AS VP for Sustainability include increasing the campus’ awareness of different forms of sustainability and emphasizing social inclusion to create more opportunities for all students.

“I also want to address the deep-rooted systemic inequalities within [WWU],” she said.

AS President Abdul-Malik Ford extended a warm welcome to Lavalais on behalf of the Board and is eager for her to begin her work as an ASWWU executive.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to work with Zarea; it brings joy to my heart to work alongside such a sharp leader,” Ford said. 

Students can stay up to date with Lavalais’ work by following her Instagram account, @MVP_of_sustainability, or by emailing her at 

The AS VP for Sustainability oversees the AS Environmental and Sustainability Programs Office and chairs the Sustainability Equity and Justice Fund; they also consult and assume leadership roles for initiatives related to reducing Western’s carbon footprint and promoting alternative forms of transportation. The ASWWU is an organization designed and run by Western students. For disability accommodations, please contact Western is an equal opportunity institution. For more information, visit

Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 10:10am
 Zarea Lavalais smiles on a set of stairs

Zarea Lavalais