Moving to a greener tomorrow
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Students and staff from Seattle Central and North Seattle colleges represented the district at the annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education in Portland, Ore., earlier this month. "Getting to meet the students from Central was one of the best parts," says Zoe Euster, a student at North and the communications coordinator for its Environmental Working Group. "I hope we can keep working together beyond this conference."
North students were able to share their ideas about campus sustainability with President Warren Brown, also a conference attendee. Student Christopher Strouse says it was a great opportunity to speak directly with college leadership about sustainability topics. "We discussed the formation of a college solar energy consortium between North and other regional colleges to research utility-scale solar energy on college campuses," says Strouse. "We also talked about producing a Spring Sustainability Symposium after Earth Day as a ribbon cutting for North's new solar installation."
Students engaged in a critical examination of how to improve sustainability at their colleges. Areas of focus ranged from campus operations, curriculum development, integrating social justice into environmental campaigns, and preparing for green jobs.
Post-conference, the students are working with the sustainability committees at their colleges to implement new ideas and advance the cause across the district.
In January, Seattle Central’s recently formed Sustainability Council performed a comprehensive campus waste audit to determine the college’s overall waste composition.
Dozens of student and staff volunteers sorted more than 80 bags of waste and recycling from campus buildings. The volunteers were trained to measure and record waste in volume and weight and sorted it into nine different materials. As a result of the audit, the Sustainability Council identified specific areas for improvement.
Moving forward, the Council plans to post the waste audit results in high traffic areas, create uniform waste stations and signage, and introduce a campus-wide campaign around its newly implemented composting program.
Recology CleanScapes, which assisted with the audit, will train Sustainability Council members to be on-site experts as they roll out their campaign and continue to reduce waste on campus.
Click here for more info and waste audit results »