Sustainability at Whitworth University
Acknowledging that sustainable activities are those that meet contemporary needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, Whitworth University is committed to promoting an understanding and appreciation of sustainable practices on our campus and in the community and to increasing our employees' and students' abilities to participate in a sustainable society. We believe this goal can best be accomplished by being a place that embraces sustainable practices in its curriculum, in its faculty and student development, in its facilities and operations management, and in its community involvement.
Reflecting Whitworth's mission to honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity, the university has established a standing sustainability sub-committee of the Presidential Planning Commission to identify and prioritize activities/initiatives that should be undertaken to make the campus more sustainable. The sub-committee has identified short- and long-term goals for education/curriculum, research operations, and external communications/outreach– which are explored in more detail on links from this page.
To date, Whitworth has taken the following steps to support sustainability:
Former President Bill Robinson signed the National Association of Evangelicals statement on climate change and the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. President Beck A. Taylor reaffirmed the university's commitment to sustainability in fall 2010.
The endowment committee of the Whitworth Board of Trustees voted in fall 2008 to invest
$2.5 million in a fund devoted to clean technologies.
Whitworth completed a comprehensive carbon audit in Oct. 2008 to establish a baseline against which to measure ongoing efforts to reduce
the university’s ecological footprint.
- Whitworth has recycled or reclaimed 2/3 of the material generated in the 2007 demolition of Lincoln and Beyond halls, including 17,150 pounds of scrap iron recycled, 727 pounds of copper recycled, 26 pounds of red brass recycled, 18 loads of clean wood shredded and recycled and 20 loads of concrete recycled. Also in 2007, four houses were relocated rather than demolished to make room for the Omache Field project at the southwest corner of campus.
- The university communications office has encouraged alumni, donors and parents who receive President Beck Taylor's monthly newsletter, Mind & Heart, to sign up to receive it electronically. In the past two years, more than 4,700 people have asked to receive the e-version of the newsletter, significantly reducing the number of copies that are printed and mailed.
- Sodexo has adjusted purchasing to buy all bread products from local producers and to ensure that much of the produce is organic and/or fresh. Sodexo also serves fair-trade drip coffee, provided by DOMA, and has committed to using disposable cups and utensils made from biodegradable potato and corn starch instead of plastic for all to-go and outdoor settings.
- The university is cooperating with Sodexo on a 60' x 60' family farm project to grow spring wheat on campus using sustainable farming practices.
- Whitworth has expanded campus recycling to include collection in all buildings and distribution to recyclers of white paper, newsprint, mixed paper, aluminum, glass and plastic bottles.
- Whitworth Information Systems is replacing all CRT monitors, which contain hazardous materials, with LCD screens, and is recycling all e-waste through a company that recycles or disposes of materials within the U.S. and according to EPA standards. Plans are under way to install new server technology and backup power supplies that will reduce energy consumption.
- The campus maintains a strong hazardous/universal waste program.
- Whitworth has completed an audit of its waste stream to identify opportunities to reduce campus waste and remove more recyclable material from the waste stream.
- The campus has sustained its commitment to buy all residence-hall furniture from a local vendor that uses 90 percent composite wood and works with suppliers that use sound forest management practices.
- Whitworth has purchased four electric trucks to replace gasoline vehicles used by campus maintenance and trades workers. The university also uses electronic carts for mail delivery and other campus services.
- All classrooms are outfitted with sensors that automatically adjust air flow and lighting when the room is not in use.
- The official university letterhead is now printed on a paper with 30 percent post-consumer waste.
- Whitworth has dramatically reduced paper in many university business processes (i.e. adoption of direct deposit for all employee paychecks and most student paychecks, electronic payment for most vendors, elimination of paper budget reports, creation of online forms for student housing contracts, employment applications, RA applications, event registration and many other business processes).
- Whitworth is committed to sustainable approaches for construction and operation of all new buildings and to pursuing appropriate levels of LEED certification.
- The university has distributed high-quality ceramic travel mugs to all faculty and staff and mounted a "Reduce waste one cup at a time" poster campaign to encourage employees to use re-usable containers when ordering coffee.
- Whitworth supports faculty research projects and courses related to sustainable practices or environmental protection and remediation. The campus has significantly reduced use of hazardous chemicals in printmaking, ceramics and other art processes.
- The university is a long-time member of the Au Sable Institute (www.ausable.org), a consortium of Christian organizations committed to teaching and outreach on sustainability.