News and Events
The Western Front
October 7th, 2018
In September, the Federal Transit Administration awarded Whatcom Transportation Authority a $2.3 million grant to cover 85 percent of the funds necessary to purchase two electric buses and charging facilities. The new buses will be joining WTA’s fleet in 2020.
The 12-year service life of each electric bus is estimated to reduce WTA’s fuel consumption by 100,000 gallons, carbon dioxide emissions by 1,100 tons, nitrogen oxide emissions by 674 pounds and particulate matter emissions by 30 pounds, according to a Whatcom Transportation Authority press release posted on September 24.
Community Relations and Marketing Manager Maureen McCarthy said the grant application was competitive. In the application, WTA shared how the electric buses would benefit Whatcom County and how they would prepare to properly maintain the buses
October 5th, 2018
Western Washington University was recently ranked 15th in the “25 Best Green Colleges in The United States” list by Collegeconsensus.com, and was the top-ranked institution in the Pacific Northwest.
The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes those ranked on the list as higher education institutions using the largest amount of green power. Ranked institutions also share values such as environmental stewardship, respect for human impact on the planet and reputation for sustainability.
Western students were recognized as being the primary motivation for the university’s use of renewable energy, having successfully organized a grassroots campaign in 2004 to power the institution wholly through renewable energy sources through its annual Green Energy Fee.]
September 24th, 2018
The Port of Bellingham sold 1.733 acres of Bellingham’s downtown waterfront to Harcourt Developments in May this year for the construction of three new condominium complexes. Harcourt is an Ireland-based construction management company that has exclusive development rights to 19 acres of Bellingham’s downtown waterfront. Construction is anticipated to be completed by fall 2020. According to the architectural proposal, the structures will include commercial space at the ground level for restaurants, drinking establishments, retail and water-oriented businesses, as well as below-grade parking and storage space. The uppermost residents will enjoy unobstructed views of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands.
Friday June 1st, 2018
Western Washington University’s Sustainable Communities Partnership (SCP) will celebrate the successful completion of its second year working with regional communities at a year-end event on Monday, June 4.
This academic year, SCP partnered with Skagit County on eight projects, all of which were designed to contribute to a more thriving county. These projects have engaged eight faculty and 73 students, in close to 7,000 hours of work. The following projects will be highlighted in presentations this coming Monday.
The Western Front
May 30th, 2018
At the end of spring quarter, the student-designed curriculum for an environmental justice minor will be submitted to Western faculty.
The new minor will explore issues of diversity and social injustice in environmental education.
The effort to launch this minor began in 2015, led by a group of passionate students, environmental studies assistant professor Kate Darby said. They put together an intensive proposal, drawn from surveys and studies from around campus.
When it came time to submit, the students involved graduated, Darby said. The papers were lost, but their efforts weren’t.
When junior Samara Almonte came to Western, she thought it would be more radically involved in social justice, she said. Huxley, the first environmental college in the nation, was formed in the 1960s during a wave of social movements. In her classes, on the other hand, she found a lot of repetitive information focusing only on the Pacific Northwest, she said.
“According to what Western, what Huxley and what just, in general, U.S. culture labels an environmentalist, I can’t name myself that because I am not those things,” Almonte said. “But according to what people of color in my community have been saying what environmentalism is and what sustainability is, then I can define it myself. I just don’t think Huxley is leaving room for all of those different definitions.”
May 22, 2018
Zero Waste Western, a program of the Office of Sustainability, in collaboration with the Campus Community Coalition, is hosting Move Out Madness on Friday, June 15, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Move Out Madness helps to keep the streets of Bellingham clean by minimizing and properly disposing of waste during move-out. Each year, Move Out Madness continues to reduce Bellingham’s previous problem of student belongings being left on city sidewalks after move out.
“The people of Bellingham have noticed an extreme reduction in furniture left on sidewalks over the year, largely as a result of Move Out Madness,” said Gwen Larned, Zero Waste Coordinator.
Carol Berry is retiring after 23 years at Western Washington University.
On Friday, June 1, the Office of Sustainability will hold a farewell event for Carol. The retirement party will take place at 10 a.m. in the Old Main Solarium, OM 590, and will give people who have worked with Carol a chance to wish her well in her retirement.
During her 23 years at Western, Carol has worked in a variety of positions in different departments, including working as a parking information specialist for Public Safety, Sustainable Transportation Manager, and Campus Conservation Program Manager. During her time at Western Carol created and managed two long-standing programs, Sustainable Transportation and Sustainable Office Certification. Sustainable Transportation program efforts have resulted in less than 11 percent of students commuting in single occupant vehicles annually. The Sustainable Office Certification Program has enrolled 25 percent of Western offices in actions that affect people and planet positively.
Friday, May 18, is Bike to Work and School Day! There are many ways to celebrate.
Three Celebration Stations on Campus – May 18, 7-10 am Ride your bike to campus and get cheered on at a Celebration Station. The Office of Sustainable Transportation will be hosting two Celebration Stations: one at the Student Recreation Center and one near Red Square at Bond Hall. The Outdoor Center will be hosting a Celebration Station at their location on Garden Street.
Smart Trips Bike Party on Bay Street – May 18, 4-7 pm Celebrate being a cyclist with tricycle races, bicycle polo matches, gold sprints, food trucks, a Boundary Bay Beverage Garden, and more!
Bike Parade to the Bike Party on Bay Street – May 18, 5:00pm Gather at Fisher Fountain in Red Square at 5:00. The bike parade will leave at 5:15 for a leisurely ride to the Bike Party on Bay Street.
The Western Front
May 16, 2018
Western’s first tiny house is on schedule for completion by summer 2019, the first in a growing program that has organizers looking for volunteers across campus and majors.
Project Zero Net Energy Tiny House (ZeNETH), a student-led venture housed by the Institute for Energy Studies, is building a tiny house to offer a potential solution for affordable housing while implementing sustainable practices.
Senior Kellen Lynch is the project manager of ZeNETH.
“I believe we should be compelled to innovate and change things all around us if we’re seeing issues,” Lynch said. “But doing it in a mindful way, not just going out and reshuffling the world based on our image.”
Zero Waste Western and the Sustainable Action Fund to host Post Landfill Action Network’s Points of Intervention Tour
Zero Waste Western, a program of the Office of Sustainability, will host the Post Landfill Action Network’s Points of Intervention Tour on Tuesday, May 8. There will be multiple workshops offered throughout the day, followed by a People of Color Caucus hosted in partnership with the Ethnic Student Center and a main speaker series. Guest speakers include Junior Walk, Amira Odeh-Quinones, Pashon Murray, and more.
Monday April 9th, 2018
Western’s Office of Sustainability is conducting a survey to identify all the sustainability initiatives and endeavors happening across campus, from student clubs, to staff initiatives, and faculty research, as well as what is being done in our community.
So that we can better connect people and resources, communicate and share the great work being accomplished in alignment with the Sustainability Action Plan, and create a stronger sustainability community, we invite you to take a few minutes to complete this short survey. This survey will remain open until Friday, April 20.
Please direct any questions to Susanna Hamilton at 360-650-4357 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for helping us celebrate this incredible work and inspiring others to engage.
April 4th, 2018
Kellen Lynch, project manager for the WWU student-led Project ZeNETH (Zero Net Energy Tiny Houses) will provide an update on the Institute for Energy Studies project as part of the Huxley College Speakers Series Thursday, April 5, at 4:15 p.m. in Academic West 204.
The talk, co-sponsored by the Institute for Energy Studies, is free and open to the public.
In addition, there will be an opportunity for students to ask questions about the work and to potentially join the growing team. Lynch hopes to encourage other driven students to look at their own education with a critical eye and identify ways to improve upon it.
April 4th, 2018
The Zero Waste movement is budding in the City of Bellingham.
Local organizations are reaching out into the community to inform residents and business owners about the efficiency of reducing waste in homes or businesses and they’re getting a positive response from a town known for its environmental awareness.
Sustainable Connections, a local nonprofit, launched the Toward Zero Waste Project in 2007 to help businesses come together and transition to using more sustainable practices to take care of their waste.
April 4th, 2018
Nestled at 1421 N. Forest St. is a storefront with bright fabrics piled behind its windows.
Ragfinery, a local non-profit with the goal of diverting textile waste from landfills, collects these supplies to become new creations.
Ragfinery was founded in April 2014 as the second business of ReUse Works, an organization focused on community and sustainability. ReUse Works provides job training and business opportunities for low-income residents using discarded materials. The Ragfinery is a creative community staple with an environmentally conscious twist.
Shan Sparling, program manager at Ragfinery, said the organization has a multitude of facets including upcycling, community outreach and creative collaborations.
March 9th, 2017
Students at Western Washington University are designing and building a zero-net-energy house to address local housing issues and educate the University and community about sustainable home design as part of an initiative called “Project ZeNETH.”
“ZeNETH” stands for “zero-net-energy tiny house.” When completed, the house will produce at least as much energy as it consumes through a rooftop solar PV array, energy efficient systems and smart building design.
The students are working with Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences Imran Sheikh. He said the total projected cost will probably be less than $50,000 in materials and hopefully some of the cost will be covered through donations or discounts from manufacturers.