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 2023, 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.

Target actions for 2023

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

Steps we will take in FY 2023

  1. Revise the UW Sustainability Website to better serve as a central HUB for information and resources across UW sustainability across UW 
  2. Revamp the Green Office and Lab Certification programs 

Revise the UW Sustainability Website to better serve as a central HUB for information and resources across UW sustainability across UW 

The UW Sustainability website is the primary online resource for sustainability information at the UW. In addition to highlighting sustainability programs and efforts at UW, the site provides sustainability related information across a variety of areas including research & academics, operations, and community and global leadership. 

UW Sustainability has identified a need to revise and update the website navigation and homepage, making it easier to discover, engage in, and access the content. We intend for the website to better serve as an information hub for sustainability across the University, elevate communication on current projects and opportunities, and promote opportunities for engagement across campus.

This is an initial phase of a larger website revamp, with an overall goal of creating a central clearing-house of sustainability related information where users can easily find resources, learn about UW’s sustainability efforts and get involved. UW Sustainability has reviewed a wide selection of university sustainability websites to identify best practices for navigation structure and information presentation. In addition to making existing content easier to find, UW Sustainability will audit existing website content, update outdated information, and fill gaps where information needs to be added. We will create a schedule for updating website content, making it easier to ensure information is consistently updated in a timely manner going forward.

UW Sustainability will also continue expanding our stakeholder network, identifying efforts on all three UW campuses and UW units to share and highlight.

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. 

Steps we will take in FY 2023

  1. Create a student energy task force at the Seattle campus 

  2. Develop a framework for a structured student sustainability group

  3. Coordinate with Continuum College on sustainability education 

Create a student energy task force at the Seattle campus 

UW Sustainability, UW Facilities Energy, Utilities & Operations, and the Campus Sustainability Fund are partnering to organize a student task force related to the UW’s decarbonization effort. This taskforce will provide an opportunity to share information and updates with students, as well as give students an avenue to voice suggestions, concerns and other feedback regarding the project.

Develop a framework for a structured student sustainability group (advisory to UW Sustainability) to start in fall 2023

There are dozens of official student organizations at the UW focused on aspects of sustainability, and many more students working on sustainability related projects or activism efforts  Yet, there is a need for a structured student group to consistently make their voices heard in sustainability discussions.

UW Sustainability will work with the Campus Sustainability Fund to create a representative student sustainability committee, to 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 and activism role, supporting UW sustainability efforts and cross-disciplinary efforts across the organization.

In the upcoming year, we will develop a draft framework for the new student sustainability committee, including the role of the committee, governance structure, member selection, and more. To begin developing this draft framework we will conduct stakeholder outreach, including existing student organizations, to provide their input on  the initial committee framework. This year will also help determine how best to structure and support a student sustainability committee to maximize impact, and ensure consistent engagement over time.

Coordinate with Continuum College on sustainability education 

UW Sustainability will work with the Continuum College to determine opportunities for developing innovative sustainability content, including community lectures and summer youth programs.