Sustainability Action Plan

With direction from the Chancellor, CACES was tasked with creating a 5-year plan for advancing sustainability at UW Bothell, outlining goals that would drive the direction of the Committee’s recommendations and actions. The recommendations listed throughout the Sustainability Plan reflect the campus’s aspirations for new and improved programs, initiatives, and practices that are achievable, yet require commitment to improvement and leadership in the field. The goals in this plan are intended to be implemented by 2023; the university’s 5-year mark. Following is a link to the final Sustainability Action Plan.

Sustainability Action Plan


Sustainability Action Plan Overview

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

Sustainability is a core element of the fabric of the University of Washington Bothell and has been since our inception nearly 18 years ago. The current campus strategic plan (the 21st Century Initiative) identified sustainability as one of seven key initiatives in 2008, and we have continued to build on early successes and expand our sustainability efforts ever since.

We envision UW Bothell, in partnership with Cascadia College, as having a distinctive reputation for sustainability, both regionally and nationally. This reputation will be based on synergies arising from staff, faculty, and students engaged together and with the surrounding community to produce tangible accomplishments in research, teaching, operations, student life, and community partnerships around sustainability. We will build on our history of a collaborative and interdisciplinary culture to enhance sustainability for students, faculty, staff, and community partners. We recognize that the health and well-being of our people is connected to the health of our natural spaces and are committed to advancing and improving the well-being of the university and its spaces.

With a campus-wide Strategic Plan underway for 2020, it is time for UW Bothell to re-evaluate and re-prioritize its goals and strategies for integrating sustainability across all functions of the campus. While we have made immense strides toward reducing our environmental footprint and infusing sustainability throughout campus, there remains much room for improvement. Doing so will allow us to continue to lead and be innovative in our strategies, as well as align with current campus goals. 

1.2 Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability

The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (CACES) is a campus advisory body that serves to coordinate and guide progress in fulfilling our commitment to environmental sustainability by directly advising the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors on sustainability-related topics (see Appendix 1). CACES works to promote and facilitate the cooperative efforts of the campus community members, including faculty, students, and staff to educate, develop values, share knowledge, recommend policies, and implement sustainable practices.

1.3 5-Year Sustainability Plan

With direction from the Chancellor, CACES was tasked with creating a 5-year plan for advancing sustainability at UW Bothell, outlining goals that would drive the direction of the Committee’s recommendations and actions. The Committee chose to use the framework of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education reporting program, called the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (AASHE STARS). Use of this framework allowed for the goals to be aligned with best practices in sustainability within the higher education setting and allows for the campus to more easily measure and benchmark its initiatives against other similar institutions. The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee formed subcommittees to represent the various sections located throughout this plan, to outline goals and connect efforts (see Appendix 2). The recommendations listed throughout the Sustainability Plan reflect the campus’s aspirations for new and improved programs, initiatives, and practices that are achievable, yet require commitment to improvement and leadership in the field. The goals in this plan are intended to be implemented by 2023; the university’s 5-year mark.

1.4 Sustainability and Campus Priorities

UW Bothell has a deep commitment to creating an environment that sustainably and equitably meets the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of the future. Effective work regarding sustainability must include efforts toward and recognition of the importance of equity, inclusion, and diversity within our human community. As a university, we weave these important concepts into everything that we do, ensuring the consideration of perspectives, opinions, and impacts to our entire UW Bothell community.

In 2015, the UW Bothell Diversity Council produced the campus Diversity Action Plan, which established immediate, mid, and long-term goals for the campus to meet in terms of supporting underrepresented groups at UW Bothell. The successful implementation of initiatives identified in this strategic plan will require coordination with the UW Bothell Diversity Council to take advantage of effective synergies that can arise from our efforts. Following the adoption of this strategic plan, CACES will work with the Diversity Council to ensure such coordination and collaboration on initiatives as appropriate.

“Human sustainability” is specifically identified as a part of the sustainability priority in the 21st Century Plan. Though this is a very broad arena, one aspect of human sustainability undergoing considerable scrutiny on-campus is well-being and work. In 2016, the Chancellor’s Office and the Engagement Planning Group partnered with the Office for Organizational Excellence and Human Resources to conduct a faculty and staff survey about the work environment on campus. The feedback from that survey has guided the development of a campus “People Strategy” to celebrate and improve the work environment on campus and its impacts on employee well-being.

As with diversity, successful fostering of sustainability on campus will require coordinating initiatives in environmental sustainability with campus efforts and perspectives on human sustainability. CACES will work with appropriate offices on campus to coordinate work and promote both environmental and human sustainability.


Strategic Goals for Campus Sustainability

2.0 Curriculum

2.1 a. Integrating and Assessing Sustainability Across the Curriculum
  • Create tools and resources to facilitate the incorporation of sustainability into courses
  • Explore means of assessing sustainability literacy on campus  
  • Construct tools and resources for faculty to implement green practices in course delivery         
2.1 b. Expanding Academic Exposure and Opportunities in Sustainability
  • Strengthen and expand sustainability offerings in current and additional degrees / curricula
  • Strengthen the exposure of all students to concepts surrounding sustainability
2.1 c. Promote Scholarship and Service in Sustainability
  • Encourage Community-Based Learning and Research (CBLR) components in sustainability teaching

2.2 Research

2.2 a. Increase Engagement in Sustainability Research
  • Foster faculty and staff Sustainability Research Fellows Program
  • Showcase sustainability research
  • Promote student research opportunities
  • Develop research support

2.3 Campus Operations

2.3 a. Building Energy Conservation
  • Upgrade all lighting to energy efficient LEDs
  • Build load shedding into the Metasys Johnson Controls Building Automation System
  • Revise Building Hours Policy to include blackout times during academic breaks when campus is shut down
2.3 b. Waste Management
  • Centralize waste operations
  • Waste education
  • Landfill waste reduction
  • Add Minimax service to leased buildings
2.3 c. Water Conservation
  • Improve tracking of water consumption
  • Implement rainwater capture for irrigation use
  • Enhance water conservation in landscape irrigation
2.3 d. Landscape
  • Restore and conserve upland coniferous forest
  • Implement on-campus plant material propagation
  • Advance on-campus food production for Food Services and Husky Pantry
  • Improve wetland access

2.4 Transportation

2.4 a. Encourage Alternative Transportation Options
  • Promote alternative fuel vehicles
  • Prioritize implementation of strategies in the university Trip Reduction Plan
  • Reduce vehicle volume on campus
2.4 b. Investigate Opportunities to Reduce our Transportation Impacts 
  • Develop a transportation study
  • Minimize impervious surfaces
  • Investigate certification opportunities
  • Engage in future research projects connected to our regional bike trails

2.5 Food and Dining

  • Enhance sustainability in food purchasing
  • Educate food service staff and consumers
  • Increase sustainable food options

2.6 Purchasing

  • Bring Supplier Diversity Program from UW Seattle to UW Bothell
  • Develop Green Purchasing Guidelines and encourage their use
  • Investigate opportunities and feasibility for tracking and reporting environmental and social impact criteria within purchases

2.7 Campus Engagement

2.7 a. Campus Sustainability Engagement
  • Create a formal peer-to-peer education program
  • Integrate sustainability into orientation programming
  • Develop support for campus sustainability projects
  • Integrate sustainability into Residential Life
  • Develop sustainability programming in Outdoor Recreation and Wellness
2.7 b. Outreach Materials and Publication
  • Develop campus-wide sustainability outreach campaign
2.7 c. Staff Involvement
  • Incentivize involvement campus sustainability activities for staff and faculty
  • Provide continuing education opportunities for staff and faculty in sustainability topics
  • Increase access to and attendance in University of Washington wellness programs
2.7 d. Sustainability Programming
  • Increase engagement in current sustainability programming
  • Improve engagement with Campus Garden and the Sarah Simonds Green Conservatory

2.8 Public Engagement

2.8 a. Community Partnerships
  • Leverage community partnerships to meet other sustainability goals
  • Build upon existing relationships with community partners in organizing summer camp programs
2.8 b. Strengthen Resources for Campus-Community Members
  • Strengthen online resources about sustainability for public access
  • Improve signage and interpretation of UW Bothell grounds to enhance understanding and appreciation of the environmental history and sustainability projects
  • Create a “green ribbon” graduation pledge
  • Identify and implement a system for qualitative and quantitative assessment of public engagement efforts on the UW Bothell campus
2.8 c. Community Service
  • Enhance and expand community service programs related to sustainability
  • Magnify involvement and participation in wetlands projects
2.8 d. Community Stakeholder Engagement
  • Incentivize community engagement for faculty, staff, and students throughout the university
  • Build out Community-Based Learning capstone projects with Cascadia College and external organizations
  • Diversify and expand CBLR sustainability partnerships
  • Create an inter-campus effort around creating community engagement opportunities

2.9 Campus Planning and Development

2.9 a. Campus Planning
  • Ensure CACES involvement in future campus development and planning
2.9 b. Creating Guidelines 
  • Create guidelines and implementation strategy for “greening” events across campus

3.0 Celebrate Sustainability

3.1 Participation in Sustainability-Related Conferences and Organizations
  • Support faculty, staff, and students in the attendance of sustainability conferences and other off-campus development opportunities
  • Bring sustainability conferences to the UW Bothell/Cascadia College campus
3.2 Establishment of a Sustainability Award
  • Establish a Sustainability Award to be presented by CACES for students, staff, and faculty in various categories

4.0 Collaboration

  • Support the goals of other regional campuses to enhance their own sustainability practices
  • Build on relationships between university councils and campus sustainability entities

5.0 Next Steps

The purpose of this plan is to create a roadmap as to how to advance sustainability in the future, and these goals can be used to create opportunity pathways that hadn’t been considered before. The next step will involve discussions of priorities and strategies for implementation of these goals. We recognize that implementation of these goals will require participation from many campus stakeholders, and we appreciate all efforts made toward reaching our sustainability goals.

Appendix: Contributors