By Karina Mazhukhina | Jan 22, 2016

Whether it’s conserving water or donating unused food, the University of Washington Club is always looking for new innovative ways to stay sustainable.

“We try to align ourselves with the University’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Jenelle Ebisu, the UW Club’s general manager. “We’re always trying to support the environment as much as we can.”

For 105 years the UW Club has been providing full-service catering and meeting planning for departmental events, conferences, lunch services, and much more. With over 1,700 members – ranging from retired, visiting and current faculty and staff to alumni – the Club is committed to providing the best possible service and maintaining an environmentally friendly facility.

The UW Club has partnered with UW's Food Recovery Network student group to donate unused food to shelters and food banks in the Seattle area. Conserving water is also one of their top priorities. Instead of placing water pitchers at each table, there are now two beverage stations.

The Club’s efforts don’t stop there. A lot of their produce comes from Charlie’s Produce, the UW Farm, and various other local organic markets. When it comes to meat-based products, the UW Club serves only pasture-raised beef, which are fed a 100-percent vegetarian diet with no added hormones and no antibiotics. The Club also only serves humanely raised, natural pork, cage-free eggs, and milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones.

"We continue to serve organic and local items on the menu daily, but try our best to keep the price in line with what are members are willing to spend,” said Ebisu. “This does not save us money, but gives members a great value.”

But it’s not just during meals that the UW Club strives for environmental stewardship. Sustainability is at the forefront of every task – whether it’s recycling or composting, saving paper by using e-billings or choosing a more environmentally friendly form of transportation. About 75 percent of the UW Club’s members walk or take the bus to work.

“We’re sticking with our idea of being innovative and creating new ways that can help support the environment,” said Ebisu. “If anybody can come up with a really big idea, like conserving water or using e-billings, that’s awesome. But all the little things that we do everyday can really make a difference.” 

She added, “Members are always commenting on how they are glad that we are consistently working on being as green as possible.”