Aerial view of Seattle and Mt. Rainier from the UW campus

The UW 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.

Committee role and structure

  • The Committee communicates with individuals, groups, and committees across the University, both to gather information about ongoing sustainability measures, and to communicate progress. The Committee also works to identify emerging and growing opportunities for collaboration among academic and administrative units, offering the campus as a learning lab for students and faculty to work with administration on increased operational sustainability.
  • The Committee reports to the President, Provost, and Senior Vice Presidents.
  • The Committee is represented by individuals from administrative departments, academic units and student groups, as well as members from the UW Bothell and UW Tacoma campuses and ex-officio members from the Medical Centers and Housing & Food Services. See the members of the committee.
  • The Committee meets five times per academic year. 

Historic timeline

December 2000: then-Executive Vice President Weldon Ihrig convened a 12-member task force to review the UW’s environmental policies and practices.

Academic year 2003-2004: formation of the Sustainable UW Alliance, to encourage focus on clean energy and green buildings.

August 2004: creation of the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC). Then-UW President Mark A. Emmert announced to the President's Cabinet and the Board of Deans that the UW was adopting a Policy of Environmental Stewardship, of which the ESAC was the overseeing body. The Policy reaffirmed the University's commitment to environmental stewardship and responsibility. ESAC was chartered to act as a guide, provide advice and help develop the University's sustainability goals and was formed through a grassroots effort of staff, faculty and students coordinated by the Program on the Environment.

January 2009: ESAC chartered a Climate Action Planning Oversight Team.

September 2009: the UW’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was drafted, adopted, and submitted to the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment  (ACUPCC).

April 2012: ESAC was reorganized into the Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC), a University-wide committee that oversees the University's goals and development in relation to its commitment to sustainability. In collaboration with University units and stakeholders, the Committee identifies long-term goals and standards, as well as develops benchmark measures .

August 2012: President Michael Young signed UW Executive Order Number 13 on Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. The effort was spearheaded by ESC and CAP policy sub-teams. The Order confirms the University's longstanding commitment to sustainability and serves as the guide for future sustainable policy development and pursuit of CAP objectives.

June 2016: The ESC voted to implement a new Statement of Purpose further defining the committee's role and function.

Contact information

For further information about the Environmental Stewardship Committee, contact:

UW Sustainability