By Claudia Frere-Anderson | Nov 1, 2018
Claudia's Corner

This year UW Sustainability is celebrating 10 years of working to advance sustainability at the UW!

Our mission began in 2008 when we were formed as the Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Office, a small team of two staff and two students under the leadership of then-Senior Vice President V'Ella Warren and then-Associate Vice President Ruth Johnston (who is now helping lead UW Bothell as the Vice Chancellor of Planning & Administration). Today, we’re known as UW Sustainability, and I have had the privilege of working with passionate staff and students

As we've traveled this journey, we’ve hit some impressive milestones. The office was created at about the same time as UW drafted its Climate Action Plan, which set the ambitious, University-wide goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. We also helped facilitate the creation of the Campus Sustainability Fund in 2010, the student-led environmental grant organization which has since awarded more than $2 million to over 100 projects.

Each year, we've organized spring Earth Day celebrations and fall Sustainability Fairs which have brought a multitude of speakers, performers, and vendors to campus to celebrate the UW’s environmental efforts. During those Earth Day celebrations, we've awarded more than 70 Husky Green Awards to dedicated UW sustainability leaders (students, staff and faculty) on all three campuses.

We're proud to have hosted countless student staff and interns, each of whom has contributed to the success and character of our office. We've partnered with the student group EcoReps to promote student-generated ideas to improve the University’s sustainability. We've also coordinated UW practices for sustainable operations with help from students and others, through initiatives such as Sustainability and Medicine, Sustainability in the Arts, and our Green Certification Programs.

Our work in reporting sustainability efforts has been instrumental in the UW receiving a perfect score on the Princeton Review’s Green Rating system for eight straight years, a STARS gold rating from AASHE, and recognition from peers and other state, national and international associations.

This year we are excited to be integrating with the UW Business Diversity Program, through which we will bring more inclusion, diversity and business equity into our work.

These are just a handful of the many accomplishments our staff and students have acheived over the past decade. We're looking forward to supporting the university's commitment to a more sustainable future.

Looking ahead, we’ll continue to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, to work with a diverse business community, and to include students, whose unmatched value provides fresh ideas, a distinct vision, and generational diversity, in our work.

An exuberant "Thank you!" to all of our past and present staff and students in recognition of their efforts which have made UW Sustainability what it is today.