Willamette creates institutional sustainability goals

by Jennifer Johnson,

  • Zero waste photo
    Hundreds of students and families saved 99 percent of their waste after meals outside of Putnam University Center.

Community involvement will help Willamette meet its sustainability goals.

During Willamette’s Opening Days in August, hundreds of people saved 99 percent of food-related waste by completing one simple action.

After eating a few meals, students and their families tossed their leftovers and utensils into compost and recycling containers — called zero waste stations — set up near Putnam University Center.

The joint effort by students, Facilities Services, university food provider Bon Appetit and Willamette’s Sustainability Institute aimed to remind people how easy it can be to run a zero waste event and introduce new students to zero waste goals, says Joe Abraham, director of the Sustainability Institute.

The effort was part of a planning process within the university to focus its priorities around sustainability. In August, the Sustainability Executive Committee in August approved five goals: Climate action and energy innovation, zero waste, environmental and land stewardship, community engagement and education for sustainability. Abraham will continue to provide updates this year on the progress the university is making toward defining these goals and the programs and initiatives associated with them.

Willamette students are invited to become members of working committees associated with each goal. Members may research, collect and analyze data to enable each committee to produce a set of recommendations for the Sustainability Advisory Board and its executive committee. 

Students who serve on the committees will gain valuable, practical experience and offer input that will have a real impact on their community.

For more information, contact Joe Abraham, director of the Sustainability Institute, at jabraham@willamette.edu or 503-370-6482.