- What is sustainability and why is it important?
Sustainability is meeting our needs in a way that doesn’t compromise the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Currently, we depend largely on the rapid consumption of non-renewable resources -- particularly fossil fuels -- that will not be available for long. Many renewable resources are being used (soils, forests, fisheries, etc.) at a much greater rate than they are naturally regenerated.
We also are reducing biological diversity, ecological integrity and ecosystem functioning, the losses of which can have negative effects on ourselves and future generations. Sustainability depends on transitioning to alternative ways of living that do not detract from the capacity of the Earth to provide for others. We already know many of the steps this transition requires; it's just a question of making it happen.
- Does Western State Colorado University have a sustainability policy?
WSCU has several policies related to sustainability, all of which are consistent with our Environmental Charter. Current policies include those influencing purchasing, construction and renovation, and our commitment to reduce carbon emissions.
- How can I get involved with sustainability initiatives on campus?
There are several ways in which you can help further WSCU’s efforts toward sustainability. As a student, you can join the WSCU Sustainability Coalition, an active and dedicated group of students who are engaged daily in improving the campuses efforts toward sustainability. You also can become a member of a sub-committee working for the Sustainability Action Committee and work on issues such as outreach and education or help us reduce our waste. Staff and faculty also are welcome to join the campus’ formal efforts toward sustainability by joining these groups.
- What can I do to help?
The most important thing you can do to help is to examine your actions in the context of reducing our impact on the environment. Each day, we all make choices that could promote the concepts of reducing waste, reusing materials and limiting our use of energy and water. Each of us also has the opportunity to influence and educate others. We encourage you to consider the principles of our Environmental Charter and examine your actions in context of those principles.
- How do we compare to other colleges’ sustainability initiatives?
The short answer is: we’re doing a lot more than many colleges and universities, yet we’re also learning what else we could be doing from the institutions that prioritized sustainability before WSCU did.
Two initiatives that set us apart from other schools are:
- Creating a Sustainability Fund from students fees, for which students can apply to enhance sustainability on campus
- Having a presidentially-appointed Sustainability Action Committee with representation from across campus. One of the main areas we are focusing on improving is in energy efficiencies, such as our LEED buildings and raising community awareness about how to conserve energy.
- Are students required to take a sustainability course at WSCU?
While WSCU students are not required to take a sustainability course, the majority of academic majors offer courses in which understanding sustainability and/or environmental issues are important aspects of the course content.
- Give your car a break
Use public transportation , carpool or walk or bike whenever possible to avoid using your car. Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year. Whenever possible, combine activities and errands into one trip. For daily commuting, consider options like telecommuting (working from home via phone or over the Internet) that can reduce the stress of commuting, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save you money.