Director of Sustainability
As Western’s sustainability officer, Seth Vidaña oversees the functions of the Office of Sustainability, working with students, staff, and faculty to make Western a national leader in sustainability through advances in academics, operations, and co-curricular learning. Seth is driven to provide students with the opportunity to identify as protectors of people and planet, and hopes that their experiences at Western will stay with them for the rest of their lives. An envelope-pusher, knowledge source, and mentor, Seth is also co-chair of the Washington Higher Education Sustainability Consortium. He enjoys being a father, partner, trail runner, bee keeper, and is a proud first-generation American of Latino-Teuton heritage.
As the office coordinator, Shanna ensures office operations run smoothly at all times. Whether planning, scheduling, or handling details like making sure everyone gets paid, she completes her tasks with a smile, making the lives of those who work in the office easier (and ideally more fun). Shanna is committed to creating a life where together, people and the planet thrive, and is thrilled to be supporting Western’s positive impact on the planet and in the local community. For her, thriving is continuous and encompassing. Shanna cherishes laughing, riding her bicycle, spending time with friends, cooking, playing tennis, hiking, and reading.
Sustainability Action Plan / Communications and Engagement Coordinator
A recipient of Western’s 2018 Team Recognition Award for writing Western’s first twenty-year Sustainability Action Plan, Susanna is now supporting its implementation by connecting people and resources across campus and throughout the greater Bellingham community. Susanna’s work includes overseeing communications of Western’s sustainability initiatives, giving voice to the efforts and achievements of students, staff, and faculty. She is passionate about social and economic justice and the deep ties to ecological protection, believing that the earth will be safe when people have what they need and feel secure. Susanna holds a Master of Arts in Education from California State University, San Bernardino. A practitioner and promoter of individual and collective resiliency, Susanna is a ballerina, gardener, and volunteer with the Whatcom County Community Emergency Response Team.
Social Media Coordinator
As the social media coordinator, Elayna understands that the best way to promote sustainable living is through the facilitation of social media marketing, as it is so widely used today. Inspired by a passion for creating a sustainable, renewable future she employs a variety of social media tactics to share the many events, achievements and developments in the community and around the world. Elayna is studying Business Sustainability with a concentration in Energy and a double minor in Economics and Environmental Policy. It is her personal mission to learn something new every day, and she looks forward to spending the year learning many new ways to shift toward a holistically sustainable future. Hailing from sunny Southern California, Elayna has come to greatly enjoy the variety of natural offerings in the Pacific Northwest and in her free time can be found golfing, hiking or sailing as often as she can.
As a web developer, Joel is enthusiastic about fusing his web design knowledge and the university’s commitment to sustainability to make an impact. As a Computer Science and Mathematics Distinguished Scholar, he is always seeking opportunities to learn more about the ever-expanding industry he has become so passionate about. Currently a second-year student, Joel is an intended Computer Science major, Mathematics and User Experience Minor, and on-track to graduate with a Web Developer certification. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, he enjoys his time outdoors – whether that be hiking, hammocking, playing soccer or tennis, or swimming in lakes and rivers.
As a graphic designer, Hunter strives for creative collaboration, sharing authentic stories, and serving a purpose greater than herself. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design, with minors in Women, Gender and Sexuality studies as well as Arts Enterprise and Cultural Innovation. Long term, she hopes to work in fashion media as a creative director to move the industry into a more sustainable and inclusive future. When she is not at work, you can find her going for a run, talking to her mom on the phone, or meeting friends for coffee.
As an artist and graphic designer, Lia understands the power of visual impact in everyday life. She is excited to apply that power toward a meaningful cause, and to continue to learn about how impactful even the smallest collective move toward a sustainable future can be. Having grown up in the beautiful state of Colorado, Lia has an appreciation for the outdoors that helps drive the work she creates, and believes that spending time outside is the ultimate way to recharge. When she isn’t working toward completing her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, Lia is a player on Western’s club volleyball team, and enjoys collaging, water-coloring, climbing trees, and thrift shopping.
Feeding Western Staff
Feeding Western Coordinator / AmeriCorps VISTA
Tanner joins the Western Washington University community as an AmeriCorps VISTA and the head of the newly formed Feeding Western Program. In his role, Tanner aims to build and expand University programs dedicated to removing barriers for students experiencing food insecurity. He is very excited to be working within the Office of Sustainability because he and others realize that supporting community members who struggle with access to healthy affordable food is good practice in social and economic sustainability. Tanner holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a Biology minor from University of Wisconsin La-Crosse. He found his way to AmeriCorps VISTA and National Service through his desire to serve underrepresented, oppressed, and vulnerable populations. When not at work you will find Tanner volunteering in the community, at the gym, on Galbraith Mountain, or just sitting back and enjoying life.
Swinging into an area near you, Darrin is an International Business major with numerous interests stemming from sustainability. As a research assistant, he is assisting with Western’s STARs reporting and researching student transportation options on and around campus. When you can’t find Darrin nose deep in research, you can usually find him swinging in the trees with his hammock after a good hike. After university, Darrin hopes to serve internationally, working with humanitarian relief from a business standpoint.
Sustainable Communities Partnership
Sustainable Communities Partnership Program Coordinator
Serving as a liaison to communities around Western, Lindsey is connecting public needs and ideas with faculty and student energy and expertise. She also teaches Western’s Campus Sustainability Planning Studio. Lindsey is passionate about engaging students in real-world work and service toward positive change in their communities. She holds a Master of Science in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan, and has been working in sustainability in higher education for eight years. Her research has focused on leadership for sustainability, and sustainable food initiatives in higher education. When not at work, Lindsey enjoys growing and cooking food as well as playing in the mountains.
Transportation Program Coordinator
Working to decrease the number of people who travel to Western in single occupancy vehicles, Jillian is involved in education and advocacy for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders on campus. She is Western’s Campus Bicycle Educator and a League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor. Jillian earned a Master of Science in biology and her high school science teacher certification at Western Washington University. She is currently working on a master’s degree in sustainable transportation at the University of Washington. Outside of work you will find Jillian studying, hiking, or riding fast on her bike. She has also been known to enjoy a good play or movie.
Student Transportation Program Support Supervisor
Kay has been an employee of Western since 1997, and moved to the Student Transportation Program shortly after its inception in 2008. She handles the day-to-day business of the program, and works on projects to improve student bus pass availability and Late Night Shuttle operation. Kay assists the Western community with transportation needs, and works closely with the AS Alternative Transportation Coordinator. She has an A.S. degree in Paralegal Studies, and is a long time bus rider who enjoys supporting the Student Transportation Program and its goals.
Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund Staff
Sustainability, Equity, & Justice Fund Grant Program Manager
Johnathan Riopelle plans, promotes, and stewards the Sustainability, Equity, & Justice Fund Grant Program, instructs applicants in grant writing and project management, and writes the university’s annual sustainability report. He is an animal rights and meditative arts advocate, and holds degrees in Editing, Psychology, and Theology. Johnathan recharges with long bicycle rides, backcountry camping, and the works of Joseph Campbell.
Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund Projects Coordinator
Turner is spending this year providing students with opportunities to create positive change on campus through the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund. Working toward large-scale systematic progress, Turner is pursuing a degree in Environmental Science. With a strong background serving socio-economically diverse populations, he is focused on providing long-term solutions to matters of inequality through holistic community and infrastructure development. In his view, life will always find a way, and thus sustainability is an issue of balancing human health with the needs of our natural world. The only solution to our environmental crisis is one which values the wealth of diversity on our planet and celebrates its’ intrinsic beauty. Turner is an aspiring artist and writer, and hopes to one day influence society at-large to induce widespread understanding of the human condition.
Sustainability Representatives Staff
Sustainability Representatives Program Coordinator
As the program coordinator, Jessica supports Sustainability Representatives on their journey to cultivate sustainable and positive residence hall communities. She is passionate about making sustainability work more welcoming, accessible, and holistic, as both the human and more-than-human worlds experience environmental injustices. Jessica is currently working toward a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a Terrestrial Ecology and Freshwater emphasis. When not studying or in the office, she spends her time tending to houseplants, growing and cooking food, or fermenting things.
Sustainability Representatives Program Assistant Coordinator
As the assistant coordinator, Mabel does the behind-the-scenes work to support sustainability representatives so they have the tools to thrive as community leaders. A Fairhaven student, she is working on an interdisciplinary concentration combining environmental education and identity in order to discuss how climate change disproportionately impacts marginalized individuals. Mabel is also working toward a dual minor in Education and Social Justice, and Spanish. She is passionate about making education more accessible and working to prepare the next generation of environmental advocates. In her free time, you can find Mabel climbing rocks, finding deals at local thrift shops, making art, and cooking food with her roommates.
Zero Waste Western Staff
Zero Waste Western Coordinator
Starting as a former intern for the Zero Waste program, Hope is newly the coordinator. She will be working on an array of projects, including the installation of a waste-tracking system to improve the efficiency of how Western manages its waste, and educating students in the residence halls about waste sorting to promote the new composting program. She is passionate about transforming our current waste structures through zero waste practices and policies, creating cleaner, healthier environments for all communities. Hope is working toward a degree in Environmental Policy with a minor in Political Science. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and traveling to various places via road trip with friends.
Zero Waste Western Assistant
As the Zero Waste Assistant Coordinator, Emma organizes and plans events on campus and in the community to educate folks on proper waste sorting and ways to reduce their waste impact. A freshman, she is currently interested in studying environmental science, anthropology, mycology, entomology, food sovereignty, geology, geography, Spanish, or maybe all of the above? It can feel deeply challenging to affect change as an individual when big industry seems to be responsible for a large part of environmental degradation. But systems are made up of people; people who have the power to do good! Emma does this work because she believes in the power of people to make change. She is a beekeeper, and cares deeply about the pollinators who support agriculture and serve as strong reminders of the power of cooperation. Emma also plays in the band Fire Ants (shameless plug), another important cooperative species!
Zero Waste Western Intern
Zach is an intern with Zero Waste Western, helping to produce a more sustainable-focused environment on campus for future students to enjoy. his current projects involve sustainable initiatives that promote reusable mugs, waste reduction, and recycling system awareness. While working toward and acquiring a degree in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, with a minor in French, and specialization in Geographic Information Systems, Zach is also a laborer in the AS Recycle Center. He believes life is just filled with opportunities and bright stars to reach for. In his free time he enjoys long-distance cycling, photography, spending hours looking at maps, and virtual city-building games. Following the vision of Aldo Leopold, Zach dreams of buying a plot of land on the Olympic Peninsula, restoring the natural ecology, and then donating it as a preservation park.
Zero Waste Western Intern
As an intern for the Zero Waste Western program, Alexander will be conducting campus-wide waste audits to track waste diversion rates. In addition to the audits, he will research new ideas and programs to increase eco-effectiveness and bring Western closer to its zero-waste goals. Stemming from an interest in sustainable construction and embodied carbon life cycle assessment practices, Alexander is studying Business and Sustainability with a concentration in energy systems and policy. When not studying, he enjoys climbing, bicycling, being at work, and spending time in nature.