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How To Teach Sustainability So It Sticks

By Sharon Chen
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Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. They will be shaping our world through their purchasing power, their political choices, and the decisions they make. By making sure that their formative college experience is filled with sustainability, we can ensure that students carry green habits with them for the rest of their lives.

At the University of Washington, students have opportunities to make their campus more sustainable. They introduce small, simple sustainability concepts each semester (banning plastic water bottles, clothing swaps, alternative transportation) and work with volunteers and the surrounding community to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability. Putting sustainability into the hands of our students, and giving them the opportunity to think and act on environmental issues, is a great way to instill a sense of sustainability that they will hopefully carry with them long after graduating. Hands-on, collaborative learning such as this is just one way to increase environmental awareness on your campus. For more resources, join us on the Path to Positive

EcoReps works to improve campus sustainability

Lindsey Yamada | The Daily | March 1, 2016

Every Wednesday evening, environmentally friendly volunteers involved with EcoReps meet in a classroom to discuss how to make the UW a more sustainable place.

EcoReps, a student-run organization, introduces small sustainability projects each quarter on the UW’s campus, focusing on areas including waste diversion, energy reduction, water management, and alternative transportation.

“It’s just an opportunity for students that have project ideas or innovations to improve the sustainability on campus and we can help them develop that project,” interim EcoReps coordinator Merrick Calder said.

Last year the organization had numerous volunteers and service learners who combined community service with their academic coursework. They focused on raising awareness around their organization through communications and events. 

Now, under Calder’s leadership, the organization is shifting toward projects that are more innovative and beneficial for both the students and the campus at large.   

One current project is the Tap That initiative to reduce the amount of plastic bottle waste on campus. 

Working with the Earth Club, the project aims to raise awareness around the issue of plastic bottle waste. A similar initiative at Western Washington University was successful in banning plastic bottles on campus all together.

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