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 that Whitworth can best accomplish this goal by being a place that embraces sustainable practices in its academic 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 Committee of the University Council to identify and prioritize activities/initiatives that should be undertaken to make the campus more sustainable.
Whitworth has taken many steps to support sustainability. A few examples are listed below:
- Whitworth is a signatory on the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Initially signed by former president William P. Robinson and reaffirmed by President Beck A. Taylor, in 2010, participation in the ACUPCC signifies Whitworth’s dedication to working toward a carbon-neutral campus.
- Whitworth completed a comprehensive carbon audit in 2008 to establish a baseline against which to measure ongoing efforts to reduce the university’s ecological footprint; the university continues to evaluate greenhouse gas emissions regularly.
- Whitworth has expanded campus recycling to include collection in all buildings. The university has moved to a single-stream recycling system in order to capture a higher volume of recyclable materials. The campus maintains comprehensive hazardous-waste and universal-waste programs.
- The university has committed to buying 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-powered vehicles used by campus maintenance staff. The university also uses electric carts for mail delivery and other campus services.
- Whitworth has dramatically reduced paper consumption in many university business processes (i.e. direct deposit for all employee paychecks, electronic payment for vendors, the elimination of paper budget reports, creation of online forms for student-housing contracts, employment applications, RA applications, event registration). Official university letterhead is printed on a paper comprises 30 percent post-consumer waste.
- Whitworth is committed to sustainable approaches for new and existing construction and to pursuing appropriate levels of LEED certification. All new construction projects since 2010 have been LEED-certified. Operation of building systems and campus energy use is monitored by Whitworth Facilities Services.
- The university supports faculty-research projects and courses related to environmental science, environmental studies, sustainable practices, and environmental protection and remediation.
- Whitworth is a long-time member of the Au Sable Institute, a consortium of Christian organizations committed to teaching and outreach on sustainability.