First-ever Western Sustainability Awards presented on campus

Friday, October 28, 2011 - 4:06pm

Recipient of the 2011 Sustainability Award in Operations, presented by Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs, Rich Van Den Hul : Academic Custodial Services

Academic Custodial Services is recognized for:

ACS is being recognized for a number of recent advancements in their operations, including

  • Eliminating petrochemical cleaning products, and even eliminating green cleaning chemicals through use of the active ion technology
  • Reducing the exposure of building occupants and workers to toxic cleaning chemicals while maintaining a high degree of surface cleanliness
  • Increased stewardship of building surfaces for long-term stewardship and durability
  • Conservation of cleaning budgets through elimination of cleaning chemicals
  • ACS won the 2010 Grand National Green Cleaning Award
  • Through this, ACS has established themselves a national in Green Cleaning

Recipient of the 2011 Sustainability Award in Academics, presented by Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Steve Vanderstaay: Victor Nolet, Professor of Secondary and K-12 Education, Woodring College of Education.

Nolet is recognized for:

  • Beyond leading efforts at Woodring College of Education, creating Teaching for a Positive Future, the Sustainability Education Summer Institute, being chair to the Chair to the national American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) special study group on Environmental and Sustainability Education,
  • Victor has crafted environmental and sustainability education standards for Washington State.
  • Victor worked with the WA State Professional Educator’s Standards Board (PESB) to establishing pre-service teaching standards for ESE for all pre-service K-12 teachers in WA State last year.
  • These teachers are now required to take Supplemental Teaching Authorization in Environmental and Sustainability Education, which will be offered by Woodring starting this next summer.
  • As a direct result of this work, PK-12 students across the state are being impacted as a result of their teachers receiving explicit professional development in the area of ESE and subsequently developing authentic and meaningful sustainability curricula.
  • Through this and the work of his colleagues he has established WWU as a leader in the nation on sustainability education.

Recipient of the 2011 Sustainability Award in Student Life, presented by Associated Students President, Anna Ellermeier: Students for Sustainable Food, Associated Students Club

Students for Sustainable Food is recognized for:

  • Their efforts in providing research on WWU’s local food purchases, including sorting through hundreds and hundreds of invoices to find out just how much organic, local, fairly traded and humanely-raised food WWU purchases
  • Working with the WWU administration to adopt the Real Food Challenge 20% local, organic, fairly traded and humanely raised food by 2012
  • Receiving a grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation for creation of Viking Field to grow produce for WWU
  • Through this, SFS has put WWU on the map for integration of the university with its local agricultural community

More about Students for Sustainable Food: or email

Recipient of the 2011 Sustainability Award in Community Partnership, presented by Vice President for University Relations, Steve Swan: The Urban Transitions Studio: A COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Huxley College of the Environment and Nicholas Zaferatos

The Urban Transition Studio is recognized for:

  • Connecting students with their community to take an active role in helping shape Bellingham’s development
  • Students in the Urban Transitions Studio engage in real life problem solving situations and impacts local communities by formulating and proposing strategies to achieve sustainable futures
  • This program creates a collaboration between the Western Washington University, the City of Bellingham, and non-profit Sustainable Connections to transition Bellingham into more urban and sustainable city.
  • This program has investigated how to bring major retail back to Bellingham’s downtown core and examined how single-use areas such as the Bellis Fair Mall can revert to new, more sustainable community uses.
  • The 2011 UTS project identified strategies for establishing transit oriented urban villages in five Bellingham locations, including a site on the WWU campus.
  • Through this, UTS has linked the university and the city in working toward a sustainable Bellingham

More about the Urban Transitions Studio: or email


Seth Vidaña, coordinator of the WWU Office of Sustainability, adresses the audience at the first-ever WWU Sustainability Awards Ceremony.