Through the collaboration of the Operating Room nursing managers, the Environmental Services Department, and The Recyclers, and with the leadership of WASI intern Nathan Rudolph, Harborview Medical Center implemented a blue wrap recycling program in 2022. Blue wrap is used to wrap sterile surgical instruments, makes up about 19% of all the OR waste at Harborview and is not commonly accepted for recycling. The Harborview group found a vendor in Portland which would accept and recycle the material, and then worked with the operating room nurse managers to setup a workflow which collects the wrap before incision to keep the material uncontaminated. The program also involved collaboration with The Recyclers, a volunteer program run by Harborview Mental Health & Addictions Services designed as a workforce reentry program, who collect recycling throughout the hospital and bale the blue wrap for shipping. It is estimated that about 19,200 pounds of wrap will be recycled annually, and the Harborview team is creating a business case to encourage other area hospitals to implement similar programs.
The Husky Sustainability Awards recognize individuals and groups across all University of Washington campuses who lead the way for sustainability at the University of Washington. This is the 14th year awards have been given by the UW Environmental Stewardship Committee.
The Husky Sustainability Awards are given to students, faculty and staff from the Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses who show impact, initiative, leadership and dedication around sustainability. The 2023 recipients are:
Harborview Harborview Medical Center Blue Wrap Recycling Program
Institutional Climate Action
Institutional Climate Action (ICA) organized the effort that led to the UW committing to fossil fuel divestment by 2027. The campaign took several years, with the ICA student group building a coalition of students and faculty. This included organizing a petition that was signed by a diverse group of more than 1,500 students and faculty; collaborating ASUW & GPSS, to create student government resolutions calling for divestment; and then bringing the resolution to the Faculty Senate for passage of a parallel bill before presenting these to the Board of Regents which voted for divestment in the fall of 2022. ICA is continuing its work, advocating for the UW to take further steps and eliminate all traces of fossil fuels within our university.
Alexander Mamishev is the Director of the UW Industrial Assessment Center (UW IAC), which conducts energy assessments of manufacturers in Washington state, including manufacturers in rural communities and on tribal lands. IAC also serves as a liaison between UW research and industry - finding sites for demonstration projects and identifying industrial problems that can be addressed by UW researchers. Recommendations from the team that are implemented provide considerable cost savings for the plants, while also providing environmental benefits from the increased energy efficiency. A key goal of Mamishev’s work is to bring sustainability best practices to disadvantaged and underrepresented communities (DACs). As part of his commitment to this cause, he has promoted DoE initiatives (like the DOE's Justice40 Initiative) into the center’s operations and across campus. The Justice40 Initiative aims to provide energy resiliency and job creation in DACs and Tribal Lands, driving significant positive change in these communities. Under his leadership, the UW IAC has a team of about 20 undergraduate students from various disciplines, who receive real-world experience around green energy and sustainability practices.
As the food recovery coordinator with the UW Food Pantry, Hannah Whobrey has been directly responsible for coordinating the recapture of around 7,000 pounds of food from campus partners for use by the campus community this year, which is about a 60% increase from the previous year. The UW Food Pantry supplies UW students, staff, and faculty who are experiencing food insecurity with no-cost groceries, including ready-to-eat meals from campus partners. These meals from campus partners are just outside their expiration date and cannot be sold, but are still safe to eat when handled appropriately. Whobrey has coordinated the recovery of these meals, and also worked to improve pantry practices and led outreach efforts to campus dining partners while managing a student team of volunteers. Her work has ensured the recapturing of food waste will continue long after she exits the role.
Harris Nakajima was one of the first students to join the newly reestablished UW Industrial Assessment Center (UW IAC) in 2022. As part of the center, he has shown a deep commitment to sustainability. The UW IAC offers energy and waste assessments to manufacturers in Washington state. Nakajima has led more than 20 assessments, identifying energy-saving and waste reduction opportunities. He’s also served as a mentor to new students joining the center, and helped to foster a culture of sustainability within the center and at facilities participating in UW IAC assessments. He’s been a lead writer of the Center's online training program on sustainability, and led outreach efforts to identify eligible facilities for the assessment program.
The co-director of the UW’s Integrated Design Lab (IDL), Heather Burpee has advanced sustainability at the University of Washington with lasting impact across all aspects of UW’s interconnected missions of research, teaching, and service. A nationally-recognized expert in hospital energy efficiency and decarbonization, Burpee has worked with project design teams at UW to help create some of the most energy efficient buildings on campus. She also serves on the UW Green Buildings Standards Committee and the Energy Transformation Taskforce, as well as contributing to the College of Built Environments’ Climate Solutions Community of Practice. Her research has also influenced healthcare facilities nationally, and she is the primary author of an upcoming “Decarbonizing Hospital Buildings Guide.”
Melanie Malone is dedicated to environmental justice and building a research and teaching program that truly supports and serves communities and our students. Her research focus is on soil degradation and contamination, and her community-led work follows the concerns of those who live with the issues, and involves them in all stages of the research, and ensuing actions. She teaches Environmental Justice and a course entitled Critical Physical Geography at UW Bothell, where she encourages students to do equitable research with diverse communities and to understand how they might use the power of their UW degrees in improving environmental conditions for all.
Throughout her time at UW, Radha Iyer has been a driving force behind student sustainability efforts. A senior, she has been an integral part of UW Solar, a student-run RSO focused on designing, and implementing climate solutions on campus, throughout her undergraduate career. She is the Architectural Design Lead for a Solar Greenhouse project at the UW Farm, which will expand the UW Farm’s ability to grow produce throughout the year, and also involved in a design-build course at the farm. Iyer is currently working as the Building Materials Research Intern for UW Sustainability. She has skillfully synthesized her degrees in Architecture and Mathematics to create connections across campus, incite change, and lead sustainability efforts.
Legacy Award: Campus Sustainability Fund
Since its inception in 2010, the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) has provided grants for student-led sustainability projects on campus. The CSF generally invests more than $300,000 each year into student projects, and grant awards are determined by a seven-person student committee.
CSF grants have provided an opportunity for hundreds of students to turn their vision into projects that have made lasting impacts on the UW campus. CSF grants have led to the creation of solar power installations on campus, allowed the UW Farm to expand production and programming, supported cultural events such as AfricaNow and the Spring Powwow, supported art projects and much more.
Current CSF Program Manager Kyle McDermott has been a leader of program since 2016, when he was hired as the CSF Coordinator. Under McDermott’s leadership, the CSF has worked to prioritize intersectional sustainability, environmental justice efforts, cultivating living lab opportunities, and providing multi-level opportunities for student engagement. Along with McDermott, the current CSF student staff team of Coordinator Tatiana Brown, Outreach Coordinator Kort Maeda and Project Development Specialist Gulsima Young are working to expand the CSF’s role as a strong sustainability resource hub for students in addition to its grant-making.
The CSF has also worked to find opportunities for collaboration with other groups on campus, such as the Resilience & Compassion Seed Grants offered in partnership with the UW Resilience Lab. These grants support the beginning stages of projects that cultivate resilience, compassion, and sustainability.
The CSF has a record of taking initiative to find ways to expand and reassess programming to serve more students, especially students historically excluded from the environmental movement. That includes creating and expanding a mini-grant program, forming new partnerships, and creating stronger avenues for student leaders to engage in shared decision making. This year the CSF published a Resource Guide to provide students entry points to learning about Intersectional Sustainability, and is continuing its work to expand opportunities for all UW students to learn about sustainability and put that education into practice.
Legacy award: Jan Whittington
Jan Whittington is an associate professor of the Department of Urban Design and Planning in the College of Built Environments and director of the Urban Infrastructure Lab, which brings together students and faculty with a shared interest in the planning, governance, finance, design, development, economics, and environmental effects of infrastructure. She has also led the UW Solar student group since its inception, providing students with professional and academic support in proposing and designing new solar panel installations across campus.
Whittington’s work has made a significant impact on the infrastructure of the Seattle campus, as UW Solar is directly responsible for almost all of the UW’s current solar power installations. The group has worked with UW Facilities and other stakeholders to assess all campus buildings for solar feasibility and created a Solar Energy Plan. They are also working with UW Transportation to create solar installations in parking facilities to help facilitate electric vehicle charging and the electrification of the UW’s fleet. Whittington encourages students to address their projects from many lenses and angles, allowing all members to play a part. For example, students need to evaluate physical infrastructure, ease of installation, future research potential, and policy change. Through her impact, UW Solar acts as a de-facto alternative energy consulting firm on campus.
As the co-chair of the Faculty Council on Campus Planning and Stewardship and a member of the UW Sustainability Action Plan Executive Committee and Environmental Stewardship Committee, Whittington has advocated for the UW to take urgent action to address the climate crisis and prioritize sustainability. She has been an active participant in these groups’ discussions on how to accelerate the UW’s sustainability response and enhancing collaboration between the academic and operational sides of the university.
Whittington’s research around cities and climate change has also help create resources on climate-smart Capital Investment Planning which have been introduced to cities and other governmental agencies in 23 countries.
Legacy winner: Tony Guerrero
The Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services and Campus Operations, Tony Guerrero has long been the driving force behind sustainability on the UW Bothell campus. He has been part of the UWB Facilities team for over 20 years, and has helped to advance campus sustainability achievements including pesticide free grounds, stormwater to wetland management, energy reduction, load shedding, reducing vehicle miles traveled, supporting institutional research, promoting environmental design standards, and promoting student engagement. UW Bothell received the 2022 Excellence & Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, recognizing achievements which were implemented under Guerrero’s leadership. As a manager, he has focused on ensuring that staff at all levels feel empowered and have the resources to pursue sustainability related initiatives.
Guerrero helped create the UWB Sustainability Coordinator staff position, and ensured the position’s success by advocating for the Sustainability Coordinator to participate in leadership meetings, and ensuring that the sustainability perspective is heard by campus stakeholders. Under his leadership, UWB has allocated space for sustainability research, focused on ensuring access to the campus wetland, provided support for adapting to the Washington State Green Building Standards, and provided electric vehicle charging infrastructure beginning in 2011. His efforts on energy management metrics have reduced energy use while expanding the campus footprint, and he has allocated resources to ensure that transit is supported by ensuring access to campus comfort stations for coach operators.
Guerrero was the co-chair of the UW Bothell Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability for 11 years. He was also an active participant in the creation of the university-wide Climate Action Plan and Sustainability Action Plan, as well as the UW committees overseeing sustainability policy and action. He has utilized his connections throughout our region to encourage collaboration by stakeholders including the City of Bothell, UW Seattle, UW Tacoma, regional utilities, regional transportation groups, affinity groups, and trade groups.