By UW Sustainability | Nov 8, 2023
view of UW Power Plant with Lake Washington behind

At the recent UW Decarbonization Town Hall, one of the major questions posed from the audience was, "How can I get involved and help decarbonize our campuses?"

There are many different ways students, staff and faculty can get involved at the UW. We've put together just a few here. You can also email with questions or for information on other options.


The most direct way to get involved with the UW's work is to join the Student Energy Task Force. Students who are interested in learning more and providing feedback can join the Student Energy Task Force meetings. Every other month, David Woodson, the executive director of Campus Energy, Utilities and Operations, hosts an information session on the effort to move the University off of fossil fuels, and all current UW students are welcome. The next student task force meeting with Dave Woodson will be on November 27, 2023, 4-5 p.m. You can join via Zoom at this link.

The Student Energy Task Force is also working to organize a Teach-In during Winter Quarter. This event will help build a network between key student groups engaged in sustainability, policy, climate change, etc. and capture students who are interested but may not know the best way to get involved. If you are a current student and are interested in helping with this effort, sign up here.

In addition, there are several UW student groups working toward decarbonization. Institutional Climate Action (ICA) has been an active student voice calling for accelerated climate action. UW Solar invites students from all backgrounds to join their work in adding solar energy capacity on campus. 

There are dozens of other student groups working on various aspects of sustainability on campus. These are a great way to work on the areas you're interested. For more options, the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) has included a list of student group opportunities in its resource guide.

In addition, many official committees at the UW have seats for student representation, often appointed by ASUW or GPSS. The Environmental Stewardship Committee, U-Pass Advisory Board and Faculty Senate Councils all have ASUW representatives. You can contact ASUW to learn more about how to apply for these and similar positions. 

Many academic student employees and researchers are part of the UAW Local 4121 which has a Climate Justice Working Group to advance climate, social, and environmental justice policies at the UW, city, county and state levels.

Other sustainability opportunities

The Environmental Stewardship Committee provides recommendations for environmental policies at the University of Washington, and oversees progress towards meeting the goals of the UW's Sustainability Action Plan. All meetings are open to the public via in-person and virtual attendance options. The meeting schedule and an archive of past meetings can be found at the ESC meetings page. The meetings of the Sustainability Action Plan Executive Committee are also recorded, and past meetings can be viewed here

There are many volunteer options across the UW. These groups need volunteers to help make a difference toward sustainability on campus:

  • UW Farm has volunteer opportunities throughout the year. You could be picking produce, preparing beds, weeding, seeding, or many other tasks to help grow on-campus produce. All volunteers must sign up online before participating.
  • Society for Ecological Restoration regularly hosts work parties on the UW Seattle campus. See their calendar for more information.
  • UW Food Pantry relies on volunteers who are committed to ensuring every community member has access to healthy and wholesome food.
  • The Bean Basket is a student-run, on-campus store providing sustainable and organic bulk foods, teas, and spices at the lowest possible prices. Sign up to volunteer here.