Creating a Smaller Ecological Footprint

Green practices guide campus construction and renovation projects, including the recently completed student residential hall, awarded LEED Gold certification, and Ford Hall, an academic building that also received LEED Gold certification in 2010. Former Willamette President M. Lee Pelton signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and energy management systems have been implemented in campus buildings with a goal of cutting energy consumption in half by 2020.

Electric cars and hybrids are replacing the gas-dependent vehicle fleet, free city bus passes are given to students and staff, car sharing and rideshare programs promote energy-smart transportation, and a campus Bike Shop, staffed by student volunteers, offers free bike loans.

Praised as one of the most beautiful “urban walks” in the state, the Willamette grounds are even greener than they look. Lawns are fertilized with compost tea, native plants reduce the need for water and chemicals, most weeds are hand-pulled rather than sprayed, and leftover garden debris provides compost for community gardens.

The Willamette food service, Bon Appetit, partners with local farms, ranches and fisheries to offer organic, hormone-free, sustainably produced food. Students even volunteer with spring planting projects at local farms to better understand how our food is produced. Menus feature in-season and locally produced food to reduce transportation costs and pollution. Cooking oil is recycled, food leftovers are given to local ranchers, and disposable tableware is made from sugarcane or recycled paper.