DOUBLE STUDENT, STAFF, AND FACULTY SUSTAINABILITY ENGAGEMENT BY 2024
This Target is about increasing the visibility of, and access to sustainability in campus life. Implementing actions include a wide range of education programs, collaborations, and volunteerism that touch the lives of nearly every student, staff and faculty member, as well as community members in the neighborhoods surrounding UW campuses.
Target actions for FY23
- Expand University-wide communication on sustainability
- Enhance community engagement opportunities
Expand University-wide communication on sustainability
UW Sustainability revised its website to provide better access to information and resources on sustainability across the UW. This past year the UW Sustainability team underwent a content audit, identifying the existing topics available on the website and updated the website navigation to make it easier for users to find relevant information. The main URL was also updated from green.uw.edu to sustainability.uw.edu to better reflect our mission and the current definition of sustainability.
UW Sustainability also worked with the UW Facilities communications team on a homepage redesign for sustainability.uw.edu, determining how to present the most important information on the homepage to facilitate the user experience. The new homepage design and content work was completed, and the actual process of building and launching the design will occur in late summer 2023.
Enhance Community Engagement Opportunities
UW Sustainability, UW Facilities Energy, Utilities & Operations, and the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) partnered to organize a student task force related to the UW’s decarbonization effort. This taskforce provided an opportunity to share information and updates with students, as well as giving students an avenue to voice suggestions, concerns and other feedback regarding the project. The student group met quarterly with Director of Energy, Utilities & Operations David Woodson, and the Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) facilitated meetings of the group every other week throughout the school year.
In addition, UW Sustainability and the CSF developed a structure and framework for a student sustainability advisory committee, which will help foster collaboration and coordination among student groups as well as creating a more direct connection to students for sustainability engagement. The sustainability committee is also intended to serve in an advisory role, supporting UW sustainability efforts and cross-disciplinary efforts across the organization.
FY 2022 progress
Target actions for FY 2022
- Whole U and UW Sustainability collaborate to expand university-wide equitable engagement
- Expand professional development opportunities for faculty and staff
- Inventory and expand community engagement
Much of the work under this target has focused on organizing and promoting sustainability events, providing opportunities for the UW community to connect on a variety of sustainability topics. Events enable new learning and engagement around topics in-depth or at an introductory level, and promote cross-disciplinary collaborations between different units.
The engagement working group organized several events throughout the year to facilitate this engagement, including a Tri-Campus Food Systems event in the Fall and a Food Systems Conversation Series in the Spring. UW Sustainability also welcomed a return to in-person events with a Sustainability Fair in the Fall - inviting academic departments, operational groups and student organizations to table and provide information on sustainability efforts - and Earth Day events in the Spring. There are also hundreds of events hosted by different groups across the UW every year, including academic seminars and lectures, volunteer work parties and student-led events. Annual offerings include the School of Environmental & Forest Sciences’ Sustaining Our World Lecture, the Student Food Cooperative’s Humble Feasts, the Foster School’s Environmental Innovation Practicum, the American Indian Studies Department’s Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltx: Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge symposium, and many more from a wide variety of disciplines.
While events play an important role in community engagement, events are a small part of the larger sustainability picture, and generally only reach a small percentage of the UW community. This target will be re-evaluated to address quality of engagement rather than only quantity, as high-quality engagement with fewer people can be equally if not more impactful. We also want to better identify the desired outcomes from an engagement target, and how equity can be better centered in our collective sustainability engagement work. Finally, if the updated Plan includes a measurable target for engagement, we will need to ensure the target can be measured over a baseline.
Previous status reports
Metrics for this target are still being developed. As part of the fiscal year 2021 Action Plan, UW Sustainability will lead an effort to define “sustainability engagement” in measurable terms, and assess a 2020 baseline. The defined measurement unit shall correlate to an individual receiving an encouragement toward considering environmental impact, human health, diversity, equity or inclusion in the context of their participation in the UW community.