• picture of Community Action Fund for Equity and Sustainability Committee project

    Community Action Fund for Equity and Sustainability Committee Projects are Sprouting Up on Campus

  • image of students at Zena

    More than a Forest

    At our 305-acre Zena property we're studying and demonstrating ecological restoration, sustainable forestry, and growing food.

Sustainability at Willamette University

At Willamette, we seek to envision the future of humankind as a sustainable enterprise – not only the natural world that sustains life, but also the communities and economies that connect us to one another.

Sustainability Month

During the month of October there are a number of fun and engaging events to check out.

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Our Zena Property

305-acres of forest, prairie, and small sustainable agriculture for students, faculty and staff.

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Community Action Fund for Equity & Sustainability

Our student-led program funds projects advancing sustainability, equity, and social justice.

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Sustainability Leadership

The Willamette University Sustainability Institute Director reports to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and meets periodically with an Executive Committee regarding Sustainability Advisory Board proposals, the Sustainability Institute's annual work plan, and other issues as needed.

Executive Committee Members

  • Carol Long, Senior Vice President For Academic and Student Affairs (chair)
  • Ruth Feingold, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Ed Whipple, Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Joe Bowersox, Professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences (faculty representative)
  • Jim Bauer, Vice President, Planning and External Affairs
  • Dan Valles, Vice President, Finance

Willamette University's Sustainability Institute serves to strategically advance sustainability in academics, operations, and campus and community engagement.

The Institute also oversees the administration and planning of Willamette University's 305-acre Zena Property, and administers the Community Action Fund for Equity and Sustainability Committee.

View Staff

The Sustainability Advisory Board is composed of appointed faculty, staff, and students focusing broadly on assessing and advancing (1) sustainability in the curriculum, (2) campus and community engagement, (3) and operations and campus planning, and (4) their integration where possible. The Advisory Board's charge is to:

  1. Advocate for engagement and learning outcomes as integral to all curricular, co-curricular, and operations & campus planning sustainability initiatives at Willamette University.
  2. In conjunction with the Sustainability Institute director, identify and monitor progress towards specific sustainability goals that comport with broader objectives and expectations established in the university’s strategic plan and set by the Sustainability Executive Committee.
  3. In conjunction with the Institute director, provide progress reports annually to the Sustainability Executive Committee.
  4. In conjunction with the Sustainability Institute, the Community Action Fund for Equity and Sustainability Committee, and other campus units, engage student, staff, and faculty in the advancement of sustainability at Willamette University.
  5. Provide ongoing guidance, support and advice to the Sustainability Executive Committee and Sustainability Institute Director as needed in achieving desired outcomes.

2018-19 Advisory Board Members

  • Susan Smith, Law Professor and Director, Sustainable Environmental, Energy, and Resources Law Program
  • Cecily McCaffrey, Professor, CAS(History)
  • Catalina M. de Onís, Assistant Professor, CAS(Civic Communications & Media)
  • Susan Chiapella, Budget & Accreditation Analyst, AGSM
  • Mark Mazurier, Assistant Director, Campus Planning
  • Carol Drost, Associate University Librarian, Hatfield Library
  • Eric Lassahn, Senior Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement
  • Christine Shanaberger, Director of Foundation Relations, Office of Development and Alumni Relations
  • Andre Uribe, Executive Chef, Bon Appetit at Willamette University
  • Lauren Collar, undergraduate student representative
  • Rylie Lang, undergraduate student representative

About Sustainability

Teaching Sustainability Literacy

Willamette offered one of the West’s first environmental science programs (1973), and more recently faculty have incorporated sustainability into courses in almost every discipline, from the arts and humanities to the sciences. The College of Law offers an innovative Certificate Program in Sustainable Environmental, Energy and Resources Law.

Creating a Smaller Ecological Footprint

U.S. Green Building Council LEED standards have guided campus construction and renovation projects for over a decade. We are an institutional member of the Climate Leadership Network and have implemented energy management systems and energy efficiency projects that have helped us cutting energy consumption significantly.

We offer a range of transportation options and subsidies, including subsidized bus passes, car sharing, rideshare programs, a free bike registration and lock program, 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. One of the few certified organic campuses in the U.S., 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.

Ties that Bind

The first institution established in the West, Willamette's approach to sustainability integrates ecological sustainability with equity and social justice. We believe communities are truly sustainable only when they are based on the foundation of social justice.

That’s why students spend 65,000 hours each year volunteering here and around the world. Volunteering is not a graduation requirement, but a thoughtful choice, one that is integral to the Willamette educational experience. The humanitarian outlook continues after graduation. Willamette consistently ranks in the top 20 small schools in the country for number of alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers, and in 2012, it received a Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction standing from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Greenbacks Go Green

Budgets are usually the first consideration when institutions are making environmental decisions, but Willamette has implemented a policy that runs against the common institutional grain: Purchases are based on durability and environmental friendliness, not the lowest bid.

Facilities and grounds administrators believe we have a responsibility to balance economic and environmental sustainability, to consider the true cost of our actions. They also believe that sustainability has paid off. A computerized energy management system saved the campus $470,000 in its first five years alone.

News Story

Why study sustainability? It's relevant to any major.

As we think about the future, we must reconsider the way we live, work and play to make the best use of our natural resources. 

Students work with Professor of Environmental Science Joe Bowersox
News Story

Willamette ranks No. 9 in US for Peace Corps volunteers

University has been ranked among the top small colleges 15 of the last 17 years.

blue badge logo; text: Peace Corps Top Colleges 2019 Ranked in the Top 10 Peace Corps producing schools peacecorps.org
News Story

Willamette among Princeton Review’s top colleges

The university is named among the top colleges, best value colleges and green schools.

four students converse in Jackson Plaza in spring

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