University News

WIU: Sustainability Commitment

March 7, 2011


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MACOMB, IL -- The Great Lakes Association of Colleges and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO) recently recognized Western Illinois University for its outstanding commitment to sustainability.

According to GLACUHO, over the past year Western has continued to show dedication to educating the campus about and implementing sustainable initiatives.

Selection for the recognition is based on numerous criteria, including unique programming, training and/or development, mentoring, projects or other campus initiatives fostering increased sustainability awareness, understanding, and education in focus areas including, but not limited to, global climate change, recycling, waste reduction, importance/impact of government policy on sustainability; student involvement in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the initiative and the impact on students; creative utilization of resources (i.e. cost effectiveness, collaboration with other campus offices, and use of community resources, etc.); adaptability to other institutions; and demonstration of a continued commitment to sustainability.

Mandi Green, a WIU alumna, was hired in Fall 2009 as the University's first sustainability coordinator to increase environmental and sustainable awareness and provide direction for the campus. Green has initiated a pilot program in two buildings where trash cans were re-designated for multi-use recycling; communicates regularly with other state institutions on current sustainability trends and practices; helps facilitate the campus sustainability committee; and works closely with University Housing and Dining and Physical Plant staff to incorporate sustainable methods for daily operations and new projects and renovations.

In addition to the hiring of a sustainability coordinator, Western's Multicultural Center was the first WIU building to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver Certification. The facility features a geothermal heating/cooling system, a turf roof, natural bamboo flooring and energy-efficient lighting, among several other green applications.

Western demonstrated that despite an unstable economy and tightened budgetary restrictions, the University continues to push forward with cost-effective programming and initiatives, such as the Connect by Hertz car-share program and Rocky Bikes, a campuswide bike-sharing program. Cross-campus collaboration between University Housing and Dining Services, Sodexo Campus Services and the landscape maintenance department included a pilot composting program in which food waste is collected several times a week from campus dining centers and combined with landscaping debris for a compost blend.

Another event cited within Western's nomination form was the annual WIU Environmental Summit, an event where organizations, agencies, and WIU students, faculty, and staff showcase sustainable initiatives on campus and within their communities.

"I truly believe Western Illinois University is deserving of this great honor. The faculty, staff and students on this campus have worked unbelievably hard during the last year to develop and institute sustainable practices throughout both the campus and community," noted nominator Joe Roselieb, assistant director of residential facilities at WIU. "It is because of these efforts that Western is able to continue to devote sustainable practices throughout our wonderful campus."

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations