Sustainability-Blueprint 2011-2020 and Environmental Charter

The 2010-2011 academic year at Western State Colorado University (Western) has been recognized as the Year of Sustainability. To build on this momentum and culminate its successful effort the Environmental Studies (ENVS) capstone class, ENVS 400, initiated a campus-wide process to develop a working sustainability plan. Students in the class used the following processes to develop a plan: 1) an exhaustive search of sustainability plans from colleges and universities across the US to identify appropriate models for Western, 2) dozens of meetings with student groups, faculty, administrators, and Western standing committees to develop and refine ideas, 3) surveys of the student body to assess support for proposed action items, and 4) a series of open forums widely attended by campus and community members to develop both an understanding of current progress and a shared vision for the future. This document is the result of these planning efforts, reflecting ideas, desires, and a sense of purpose held deeply across the campus community.

The plan is divided into six sections: campus landscape, education, energy, food, material flow, and transportation. Included herein are immediate actions recommended for 2011-2012 and longer term proposals to be considered for implementation between 2012-2020. The blueprint is intended to stand as a living document, to be passed from current to future students, faculty, administration, and community members. It is meant to evolve and adapt with the times while keeping all stakeholders in constant dialogue with opportunities to sustainability at Western.

Read full report here

Blueprint For Sustainability

Immediate Actions

  • Expansion of native plants, xeriscaping, and food production gardens
  • Residence Life sustainability education and power strip project
  • Pilot micro-hydro system
  • Real Food Challenge for campus dining services
  • Green purchasing policy
  • Recycling policy
  • Bicycle rental program
  • Tracking of fleet fuel consumption

Future Recommendations


  • Decreased amount of impermeable surfaces
  • Enhanced sustainability education within the WSC curriculum
  • Increased purchasing of renewable energies
  • Increased on-site production of renewable energies
  • Fully functioning campus greenhouse
  • Phase-out use of bottled beverages
  • Implementation of a parking permit/fee system

2020 Goals

  • 20% reduction of baseline 2006 CO2 emissions from electric and natural gas consumption by 2020
  • Reduction of transportation fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to meet our climate commitment goals for the year 2020
  • Increased local, sustainable, fair, and ethical real food choices to 20% by the year 2020
  • 20% of campus landscape as native gardens, xeriscaping, or food-production gardens by 2020
  • 20% reduction in waste stream by 2020

Downloads: Blueprint for Sustainability 2011-2020


Environmental Charter

The students, faculty, staff and administration of Western State Colorado University recognize the institution’s responsibility to improve environmental awareness, stewardship of natural resources, and resource efficiency. We endorse the following principles and goals.

Environmental Education

Western State Colorado University has an obligation to educate campus citizens and the public about environmental responsibility and facilitate constructive dialogue that simultaneously considers environmental, business, economic, and social concerns.


Western State Colorado University is situated in an outstanding natural environment which is integral to its identity and success; therefore, Western has a responsibility to teach and assist in natural resource stewardship for the benefit of current and future generations.

Need to Increase Efficiencies

If Western does not show its students the importance of saving energy, then who will? It is important for Western to function as an exemplar of resource efficiency by reducing its carbon footprint, installing low energy using appliances/ fixtures, and utilizing low water usage fixtures.


  • Increase knowledge and understanding of both institutional and personal relationships with the environment and provide assistance to the public as environmentally-sound solutions are sought in consideration of varied societal interests.
  • Improve stewardship of the natural resources of the campus and the region we serve.
  • Develop institutional procedures to increase resource efficiencies such as:
    • Encourage the reduction of natural resource (energy, water, material) waste and increase resource efficiency.
    • Support an effective program that promotes reuse and recycling of resources
    • Buy environmentally friendly products including goods containing recycled materials whenever practical.
    • Explore incentives for departments or institutional offices that demonstrate significant advances toward reducing environmental impacts while increasing economic efficiency.
    • Minimize environmental impacts and maximize environmental efficiencies in campus development whenever practical.
  • Continue to refine exemplary environmental education, natural resource stewardship, and environmental efficiencies in light of these principles in future campus planning efforts.

Effective November 1, 2005