Finally, the learning and benefit to society of higher education forming partnerships with local and regional communities to help make them socially vibrant, economically secure, and environmentally sustainable will be a crucial part of successful higher education. Imagine the economic leverage if the nation's 4,100 higher education institutions were modeling sustainability by purchasing sustainably preferable products and services and how much greater the benefit could be if they were doing joint purchasing with local communities. Utilizing faculty and students to conduct research as an integral part of the learning experience would greatly enhance education and promote a strong sense of connection and caring for the local communities and to the ecosystems of which they are a part.
Modeling and encouraging sustainable practices to the larger community by communicating what Whitworth is doing in terms of sustainable.
Current Sustainability Communications/External Programs
- President Emeritus Bill Robinson signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment and the National Association of Evangelicals Statement on Climate Change. President Beck A. Taylor reaffirmed the university's commitment to sustainability in fall 2010.
Short-term (one-year) opportunities to increase sustainable practices in community
C1. Integrate sustainability themes into existing programs/activities i.e. focusing the Whitworth Writing Rally on a writer who addresses ecology or sustainability, focusing Community Building Day on sustainable projects or use of sustainable practices in CBD projects, bringing in speakers and authors to address sustainability
C2. Create a webpage that documents what we're doing and what some near-term plans/projects might be.
- Identify Whitworth research projects related to sustainable practices (Caccavo's work on Hanford remediation, Breno's work on water-soluble catalysts, Richard Stevens ion-propulsion system), then taking those to K-12
- Make more visible/active Whitworth's membership in Au Sable Institute (http://ausable.org), a consortium of Christian organizations committed to teaching and outreach on sustainability
- Publicize efforts already under way by Sodexo
- Publicize commitment to involve LEED-certified architects on all new projects, and inform the community about sustainable practices employed in Weyerhaeuser Hall and Duvall Hall
- Publicize the fact that Bill Robinson is a signatory to National Association of Evangelicals Statement on Climate Change and the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
- Report on sustainability themes addressed in curriculum, particularly gen-ed curriculum like Core 150 and Core 350. Mention point in Educational Principles on stewardship of creation.
- Publicize minor in environmental science if/when it comes online.
- Promote/support work of the Good Deeds for Trees.
C3. Co-sponsor Inland Northwest Presbytery involvement with Presbyterian Church (USA) group called Restoring Creation Enablers (RCE) which does direct outreach.
C4. Join American Association for Sustainability in Higher Ed (AASHE)
C5. Adopt a campus statement on sustainability (example below):
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.
C6. Complete an energy audit, then post it and identify benchmarks for improvement. Possibly challenge other colleges or organizations to participate in the audit and post results publicly for generate incentive for change
C7. Encourage development of new majors in environmental/sustainability studies. (Discussion under way to create majors in environmental science and environmental studies.)
C8. Write a WT feature on Whitworth's commitment to sustainability once initial report of task force is complete (i.e. what PLU and UPS have done).
C9. Develop and implement a campus-wide visibility/awareness campaign (like Jim O'Brien's 90 ideas in 90 days.)
- Inform students how much the university has budgeted (see below) for expenses that can be reduced with more sustainable choices on a daily basis and what those sustainable choices would be. Commit to spending any unexpended funds in those budget lines on sustainability projects/initiatives (list possible examples). Keep campus community informed on a monthly/quarterly basis of where we stand compared with prior year in terms of expended budget.
Natural gas/oil: $575,000
Solid waste: $184,200 (Whitworth and Sodexo)
Copier/printer expenses: $242,000
Total: $1,711,200 (One percent reduction = $17,112)
C10. Pick a book for common new-student reading that is focused on sustainability issues, i.e. The Long Dark Emergency or The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver.
Long term (2-5 years)
CL1. Sustainability across the curriculum: identify and/or create courses in every department that can address sustainable issues.
CL2. Working with campus grounds, and students, to use more native plantings on campus and in the region (potential CBD project).
CL3. WU as change agent in Evangelical and CCCU circles with regard to creation care/stewardship.