By Lindsey Boisvin | Nov 7, 2015

By Lindsey Boisvin, Facilities Services' Sustainability Communications Intern

Tuesday, Oct. 13, the Husky Union Building Lyceum was filled with employees, students, faculty, and surrounding Seattle community members as UW Sustainability co-hosted a Seattle Greendrinks gathering with the UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, UW Surplus, UW Professional and Continuing Education and UW Bothell's School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

According to the Seattle Greendrinks website, the local Greendrinks network was started in 2003 to expand Seattle’s environmental community. The group hosts monthly social gatherings every second Tuesday to mingle and chat about sustainability issues.


#Sqwatch is enjoying GreenDrinks at the HUB. #sustainableUW

A photo posted by UW Sustainability (@sustainableuw) on

Oct 13, 2015 at 6:28pm PDT

The event was filled with pub tables and booths scattered with information on involvement opportunities. Event attenders weren’t left empty handed: food was doled out by Chaco Canyon Organic Café, and Two Beers Brewing and Seattle Cider Company distributed free drinks. After the room had started to fill, Ron Pernick, the founder and managing director of Clean Edge, took to the stage. He encouraged students in the audience to dive into careers in grid technology, water reuse, and vehicle electrification.

In the corner of the lyceum, Facilities Services' UW Surplus joined in on the action. Their table was covered in rows of ceramic branded mugs, filled with pens and information cards. A digital slideshow of some of their oddest donations played off to the side, flipping between photos of a red leather couch, frizzy blonde doll heads, and an old-school air hockey table.

“[Greendrinks] was a way for us to partner with others in the campus community and engage with people who have a shared interest in sustainability,” said Suzanne LeMere, the Program Support Supervisor for Moving & Surplus. “We felt this event was a great fit to promote UW Surplus and educate everyone about our sustainability efforts.”

UW Sustainability set-up camp on the opposite end of the Lyceum. Sqwatch – as always – loyally sat on his tiny tabletop chair watching the proceedings.

This was the first time Greendrinks was hosted at UW, but they’re already planning an event for next year. Sean Schmidt, UW Sustainability’s assistant director, said next October UW Sustainability will host a second round of Greendrinks.

According to Schmidt, “Greendrinks offers students the chance to network with environmental and sustainability professionals, many of which may be looking for interns or new staff. Our event was also an opportunity to showcase our many degree and certificate programs at our three UW campuses that are of interest to practitioners in environmental and sustainability industries. Greendrinks was a chance for community members to learn about what sustainability efforts are underway at UW, from our Climate Action Plan to efforts to green our athletics programs.”

Bry Osmonson, one of the volunteers at the event, hasn’t been in the Pacific Northwest for long, but she said she quickly found her niche at Seattle Greendrinks. Osmonson described Greendrinks as a “collaborative approach to reach a more sustainable future. Two heads – or a hundred – are better than one."

"UW Sustainability and our other co-hosts were very pleased with the event, as was Sustainable Seattle," Schmidt said. "We counted over 150 people in attendance. There was a great cross section of UW students, faculty, and staff, as well as UW alumni and many individuals from the Puget Sound environmental and sustainability industry."

Find more sustainability stories in the latest Facilities Services newsletter.