Sustainability at Walla Walla University is increasingly becoming a more conscious effort on campus. Students have led the focus on sustainable living, and have made or are in the process of making many improvements to campus sustainability.
As an example, the WWU recycling program is run and coordinated by the student body. Starting in late September, students began voicing irritation at the fact that recycling was not as easy and accessible as it should be. The student body association responded, together with the WWU administration, adding 40 large recycle bins around campus. ASWWU also told the students that they no longer needed to sort their recyclables, which the recycling manager would take care of.
Because recycling is still not as easy and accessible as it can be, the ASWWU is also working with the dorms to place recycling bins in every hallway. In addition, 10 new permanent bins have been ordered by ASWWU and the administration to be placed next to the trash cans along walkways, and will be monitored by ASWWU to make sure they are emptied and are always available. We want students to recycle and are trying to make the system as simple as possible.
To better accomplish this, we are adding nine permanent bins around campus for students to put cardboard in. Before this year, all recycling from buildings was placed next to Dumpsters, and as a result, many people would try to help out by throwing what they thought was "trash" into the Dumpster. Students who wish to recycle cardboard will now know exactly where they can place it.
Another new initiative began after students and faculty heard about the Rees and Sumach Community Garden in Walla Walla. We thought it would be a great way to show our own sustainability by starting a WWU student/faculty/staff/community garden. Plans are currently underway to plant a garden in an empty plot along Birch Street just north of Whitman Drive in College Place.
This university-owned area will host a 100-foot-by-270-foot garden with 40 individual plots 10 feet wide by 20 feet long and 20 15-by-20 plots. Many students, faculty, and staff remain in College Place during the summer and will be able to cultivate and harvest plots in this garden. Realizing the community's needs as well, there will also be plots for community members to rent for the year if they need a little extra growing space. If you are interested in having a plot, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
ASWWU is helping fund the garden with a $2,150 contribution from its Campus Improvement Fund. To show its support, the administration has pledged the use of the land for at least the next several years, and is helping to coordinate its irrigation by enlisting donated help from irrigation specialists Wagner Landscaping to help students draw up plans. Wenzel Nursery and Kevin's Brookside Nursery will donate plants, and L&G Ranch Supply will help with fence posts. The administration will be paying for a water meter to be installed.
Recognizing the importance of sustainability in general, and its importance to students, faculty, and staff, this fall Walla Walla University established an official WWU Sustainability Committee, that we hope will help us take further actions like these.
Jimmy Wilhelm is a senior history major at Walla Walla University, and is a member of the new WWU Sustainability Committee.