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WKU Office of Sustainability Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Office of Sustainability to promote a culture of sustainability at WKU, integrating principles of ecological integrity and social equity into academics, practices, and partnerships. Our goal is to ensure that WKU is an institution that provides innovative solutions to global challenges, prepares students as engaged and responsible citizens, and observes best practices in campus operations and services.


Environmental sustainability has been defined as the proper balance between competing needs: our needs as humans to move forward both technologically and economically as well as the the needs to protect our environment. The WKU Student Government Association is partnered with the WKU Office of Sustainability as part of their commitment to finding this proper balance for all Hilltoppers. 


In order to place environmental sustainability issues directly in student hands, the WKU Student Government Association has pledged to improve environmental sustainability at WKU through their Sustainability Committee, which focuses exclusively on sustainability issues and is headed by the Student Sustainability Coordinator, who serves as the official liaison between the student body and the WKU Sustainability Coordinator in the Office of Sustainability.


 The Sustainability Committee focuses on further improving WKU’s environmental sustainability efforts that include, but are not limited to, recycling, reducing paper usage, incorporating more renewable energy across all of our campuses, offering healthier food options on-campus, reducing our carbon emissions, and assisting the WKU Sustainability Coordinator with conducting Green Tours around Bowling Green campus. Past initiatives have included implementing a reusable To-Go container program in Fresh Foods Co., creating a recycling program for both football games and basketball games, planning WKU’s annual Earth Day Festival, and starting a transition in eliminating plastic bags from Subway locations on campus.


The future looks bright for the Sustainability Committee, as Student Body President Andi Dahmer is committed to making campus sustainability a priority. Plans for the 2017-2018 academic year include: developing a reusable cup for all dining locations, creating a reusable bag program for stores on campus, increasing vegetarian options for students, strengthening ties with WKU Greek Life, promoting LEED Certification for future construction projects, researching the viability of a transition from natural gas into solar power, crafting a Climate Action Plan, expanding the Big Red Bikes Program, maintaining WKU’s status as a Fair Trade University, and beginning WKU’s role as a member of the University of the Arctic Partnership.   


New to WKU this year is the introduction of the Diddle Arena Recycling Program. For the 2017-2018 WKU Men’s and Women’s Basketball Season, every home game will feature a student organization who participates in recycling waste during and following the conclusion of the game. 30 volunteers are required, but there is no maximum. Smaller student organizations may partner with another student organization. Each game is a 4-hour time commitment, but there are many incentives involved. The student organization who participates earns $500 for the group or a philanthropy of their choice. Furthermore, members of the organization earn service hours, receive a free Recycling T-Shirt, learn about recycling and waste reduction on campus, and get the enjoyment of supporting WKU Athletics. Organizations who partner together share the $500 donation. Interested student organizations may contact Elizabeth Gafford at Elizabeth.gafford@wku.edu to be placed on a contact list. Once the basketball schedule is released, student organizations will be able to sign up for home games on a first-come first-serve basis.


If you would like to know more about the work of the Sustainability Committee, or if you desire to join the Sustainability Committee, contact the Student Sustainability Coordinator, Ian Hamilton, at ian.hamilton410@topper.wku.edu. Sustainability Committee meetings are held each Thursday from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM in DSU Room 2081.


To learn more about WKU’s sustainability efforts and the Office of Sustainability, please visit the Office of Sustainability’s official website: https://www.wku.edu/sustainability/index.php 

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 Last Modified 1/14/19