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Higher education would practice sustainability, making it an integral part of operations, planning, facility design, purchasing, and investments and tie these efforts to the formal curriculum. The university is a microcosm of the larger community. Therefore, the manner in which it carries out its daily activities is an important demonstration of ways to achieve environmentally responsible living and to reinforce desired values and behaviors in the whole community. These activities provide unparalleled opportunities for teaching, research, and learning. Moreover, this is one of the most effective strategies to build a strong sense of collaboration and community throughout the institution.
Current Sustainable Practices in Operations
- Business office moving to electronic communication. Very little printing of documents. Almost all Whitworth faculty and staff payroll checks and over 60 percent of all student checks are direct deposit. Paying many vendors with direct deposit as well. Eliminated paper budget reports.
- Student life is doing much of the same listed above. They have gone to electronic housing contracts. R.A. applications and all meal plan changes are done electronically. In addition, they are being very careful with when and if lights are on.
- Most of campus is recycling print cartridges.
- Facility services recycles cardboard, scrap metal, wooden pallets and aluminum for a small return on investment. White paper and newspaper are picked up by a recycling company for a fee. Organic materials (tree stumps, scrap wood, pine needles) are trucked to Diversified Wood Products to be recycled, again for a fee. Revenues from recycling goes back to help pay for recycling efforts.
- We also recycle light bulbs, batteries, print cartridges, technological waste, oil, anti-freeze, hazardous waste, pesticides that can't be used, and chemical waste from the Science Building. Recycling these materials costs money (about $12,000/yr), but disposal of all these items is being done per industry standards.
- Facility services has contracted with the city for a free waste stream audit. This report will assess our recycling and trash efforts on campus and provide the university with recommendations on the best and most efficient way to reduce consumption, reduce waste and recycle more of the materials in our waste streams.
- Student life is currently buying locally from R.T. London, who uses a 90 percent composite wood for their furniture, which is better for the environment. This company also has good forest management practices.
- We are incorporating sustainability into all new architecture on campus. All projects must have a LEED certified architect involved.
- Many utilities are on internal controls to reduce energy use and save money.
- Whitworth recently purchased four electric trucks to replace gasoline vehicles and uses electric carts for other services on campus.
- Facilities Services Custodial Department uses paper products that all have at least 40 percent recycled fibers.
- Sodexo has added a sustainability link to its' Whitworth website.
- Sodexo and the Good Deeds for Trees group are educating the campus about sustainability. Programs like Sodexo's 90 Ways in 90 Days, the Good Deeds for trees Whitworth Sustainability week and the Sustainability Quiz have all been great attempts at spreading the word about sustainability.
- Facility Services and Sodexo are now in the process of planting a Family Farm in the back 40. This 60 x 60 ft plot will hopefully be an educational tool emphasizing the importance of the family farm to Whitworth students.
- Sodexo has also implemented a rule that all delivery trucks will shut their rigs off when delivering.
- All university letterhead is printed on paper with 30 percent post-consumer-waste material.
Short term (1 year) opportunities to increase sustainable practices in operations
O1. Centralize office supply purchasing on campus to ensure we are buying sustainable products OR train departmental purchasing agents to purchase the most sustainable products.
O2. Educate the entire Whitworth faculty and staff using the examples being set by the Business Office and Student Life to move to more electronic communication, double-sided copying, recycling print cartridges, light controls and a general awareness of the importance of sustainability.
O3. Discuss the best and most efficient way to shred and dispose of paper once it has been fully used.
O4. Add a sustainability tip to all issues of the Weeksworth and possibly The Whitworthian.
O5. If hiring a new purchasing employee, list experience in purchasing sustainable products as a preferred expertise. Also, write that emphasis into the job description.
O6. Spread the recycling and universal waste program throughout the entire campus.
- Educate R.A.s and R.D.s at the beginning of every school year and revisit once during the year as a reminder.
- Find a market or more cost effective disposal system for collected recyclables.
- Establish a broader recyclable collection program. Purchase containers for every office, classroom and dorm room to collect recyclables. Purchase Collection containers for each building floor for individuals to take recyclables to and sort into correct bins. ($25k for recycling containers)
O7. Investigate selling all furniture items that we are disposing to outside interest using Craig's List or Freecycle.org.
O8. Convert the campus to aluminum cans vs. plastic bottles. All food service and vending changed to cans. MORE CONVERSATION NEEDED.
O9. Encourage ASWU to make Sustainability the theme of Community Building Day.
O10. Get new Chemical Hygiene Officer up-to-speed
O11. Establish institutional eco-footprint benchmarks and then set 2007-2008 institutional goal for reducing electricity and gas use on campus by 10 percent.
Long term (2-5 years)
OL1. Hire a sustainability coordinator. In order to keep the momentum of a sustainability movement going, Whitworth must have a full time sustainability coordinator on staff.
OL2. Construct a new recycling building that is appropriate for the volume of recycling on a campus of almost 3000 people.
OL3. Increase charge for parking (Include faculty and staff) to help fund sustainability initiatives.
OL4. Create incentive for carpooling and using public transportation
OL5. Use drought tolerant (low water) native plantings in future landscaping.
OL6. Purchase equipment for emission inventory, add automatic boiler controls
OL7. Create ability to monitor each campus building's energy use.
OL8. Construct a LEED-certified building
OL9. Become a leader in the university environment in the area of sustainability, particularly among CCCU schools.
OL10. Look at purchasing green energy credits for some/all campus buildings ($1 per 300 kilowatt hours)
OL11. Rainwater collection investigation? (Aquifer stewardship issue)
OL12. Investigate adding solar options for energy capture.
OL13. Purchase and install integrated irrigation time clock, allowing system to be shut off on rainy days.
Sodexo at Whitworth Sustainability Initiative
Our goal is to develop an on-going systemic approach in providing the Whitworth campus a sustainable food service program that is ingrained in our culture and in concert with the goals of the Whitworth University Sustainability Task Force.
Current Sustainability Actions in Place at Foodservice
- All of our deli breads are from Shepherd's Grain, who uses fully sustainable agriculture practices.
- We are purchasing organic fruit from Charlie's, our local produce supplier.
- Sodexo has a rule that all vegetables we serve must be fresh (with the only exception being frozen corn and peas).
- We are connected to the Campus Kitchens program. This program takes leftover pans of food that we have and coverts these products into meals to feed the poor and homeless in Spokane.
- We save leftover fruit from the dish room and take it home to our employees' horses. (By law, we can't serve it to humans)
- We have developed a Family Farm Project which will allow for Whitworth students to plant a crop of wheat on this campus using fully sustainable agriculture procedures.
- We demand all of our suppliers to comply with a Supplier's Ethical Code of Conduct, which requires them all to utilize sound and responsible ethical, social, and environmental practices.
- All of our bagels are bought locally from Sweetwater Bagels.
- We use Hammer Fair Trade drip coffee.
- We sell a reusable Sodexo Mug with all proceeds going to the National Wildlife Foundation.
- We partner with The Food Alliance, the nation's leading certification organization for environmentally friendly and socially responsible agriculture.
- We do not allow our staff employees to use paper cups for their beverages.
- We have assessed all of our purchases and have set goals to increase our local purchasing by a minimum of 20 percent by next fall.
- We consolidate our refrigerators during the summer months to save power.
- We reuse paper in our printing processes whenever possible.
Short term (1 year) opportunities to increase sustainable practices in foodservice
F1. Start to educate our students in all areas of sustainability.
F2. Inform students about the amount of food they waste on a daily, weekly and yearly basis. (first estimate is $126,000) a year.
F3. Set up a GREEN CORNER in the cove area of the Café seating area. We could have a bookcase of sustainability reading materials, live plants, appropriate posters etc. this could be where sustainability groups meet.
F4. Change the hood system schedule in the kitchen so that we are in control of putting them on and off, not an automatic control panel.
F5. Reduce the heat in the HUB. It's too hot most of the time.
F6. Shut off all lights in rooms when not in use.
F7. Take the lead on recycling bottles and cans. Encourage students to recycle all over campus and make it convenient for them. Figure a pick up system.
F8. Further educate our staff on sustainability. Set up a suggestion program where they can help us ingrain this into our culture.
F9. Create a student suggestion box as well.
F10. Print only when necessary.
F11. Shut off all our computers at night
F12. Buy recycled paper for printing.
F13. Have a totally local and/or sustainable meal.
Long term (2-5 years)
FL1. Charge for parking to provide revenue for sustainability program expenses.
FL2. Create a Sodexo Student Internship Program that has a Sustainability Intern. This student intern will be helping to educate the campus on sustainability. He/She will be planning sustainability events like films, speakers, contests etc. that will happen at least once a month. The focus will be in line with the Whitworth Sustainability Committee's Areas of Planning - Education, Research, Operations and Community Outreach. Each activity will require a follow report on its success and suggestions for improvement.
FL3. Eliminate use of all Styrofoam on campus.
FL4. Introduce china coffee cups in Mind and Hearth.
FL5. Introduce china as an option to serve the Café entrees on as well.
FL6. Arrange for sustainability films and speakers to show and/or speak on campus.
FL7. Eliminate trays in the dining room.