CWU rolls out new sustainability initiatives

CWU rolls out new sustainability initiatives

This fall, Central Washington University is putting its commitment to sustainability front and center.

The university has introduced a sustainability certificate program, where students develop experiential, service-learning projects that focus on addressing the sustainability needs of the university and community partners.

CWU is also in the process of hiring a sustainability coordinator, who will create a strategic plan to improve the university’s processes and programs.

The third initiative is The Wildcat Neighborhood Farm, an on-campus sustainability center and outdoor classroom that just completed its first growing season.

In the fall of 2020, The Farm will provide a range of produce to CWU Dining Services, and donate to food pantries.

Dining Services has already started rolling out recyclable and compostable packaging materials at its new facility, Northside Commons.

“CWU is really committed to sustainability, and it’s great that we’re beginning to create a roadmap for what we would like to do in the future,” said Susan Kaspari, an associate professor of geology who is helping coordinate the university’s sustainability initiatives. “There are a lot of exciting things starting to happen on campus.”

Over the past 18 months, Kaspari and environmental studies secretary Danielle Palmer have partnered with others on campus — many of them students — to collect data that can be used to evaluate the university’s sustainability performance.

Kaspari recently submitted CWU’s most recent data to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), helping CWU earn a Bronze rating under the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). AASHE also presents Silver, Gold, and Platinum ratings.

Students and staff are encouraged to explore the growing number of sustainability opportunities at CWU, such as working at Sustainability Cafes, enrolling in the new certificate program, volunteering at The Farm, and joining the Environmental Club.