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.

For fiscal year 2024, UW Sustainability will develop strategies to enhance engagement, with a strong focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Equitable and diverse engagement across the entire organization will be a priority for the Sustainability Action Plan Update, with UW students, faculty, staff, and extended community playing a critical and central role in providing input. Re-evaluating our goals, strategies, and subsequent actions will be developed through a robust community engagement process.

Until then, UW Sustainability will continue to work toward the spirit and intent of this target. In particular, the office will focus on supporting sustainability efforts happening across the UW, increasing awareness of these existing actions while also providing resources and information around sustainability for the UW community.

Status updates

Target actions for 2024

View actions for past fiscal years

Sustainability plan guiding principles

  •  Ensure students achieve sustainability literacy
  •  Choose our research conscientiously
  •  Keep equity and inclusion at the center
  •  Use resources responsibly
  •  Decarbonize

AASHE STARS categories:

  • EN 2

    Student Orientation

  • EN 9

    Professional Staff Development & Training

  • EN 12

    Continuing Education

  • EN 13

    Community Service

UW Sustainability will have added staff resources in FY24, including revising the job description for a vacant position. This role is expected to be hired in Fall 2024, and the duties will include enhancing engagement with students and faculty, including identifying and promoting Living Lab opportunities and overseeing the lab and office certification programs.

Steps we will take in FY 2024

  • Update the UW Sustainability website to better present sustainability information 
  • Revamp the Green Office and Lab Certification programs 

Update the UW Sustainability website to better present sustainability information

Continuing the work of updating the website, UW Sustainability will be launching a new homepage design intended to modernize the look and feel of the website, while also improving the ability of users to discover information about the UW’s sustainability performance and resources.

In addition, this year UW Sustainability will focus on auditing and updating the content on the site, with an initial focus on the topic pages in the “campus” section. The intent is to expand these pages to provide a more complete overview of UW’s sustainability work around topics such as energy, water, buildings, etc.

Revamp the Green Office and Lab Certification programs 

The Green Office and Green Laboratory Certification programs run by UW Sustainability have served as an outreach program to encourage and recognize sustainability practices in workspaces across the UW. These programs were put on hold during the pandemic response when most work was being done remotely. Now that instruction and many staff have returned to in-person or hybrid schedules, UW Sustainability is evaluating these programs to determine programmatic changes to help us meet our goals. This work started in FY23, however, staff turnover put the work on hold. We expect to resume the work in FY24.

While there are many student organizations and individual students working on and advocating for sustainability at the UW, there is no structured way for students to consistently make their voices heard in sustainability discussions.

Over the past year, UW Sustainability and the Campus Sustainability Fund 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. 

In the upcoming year, UW Sustainability and the CSF plan to launch this committee, identifying student representatives and holding regular meetings. This first year will serve both as the start of the committee and a learning opportunity to determine what changes might be needed to make the committee serve as an even better method for communication with students and providing a method for student voices to inform sustainability actions.