Sustainability at CWU

surc dining room

Sustainability Initiatives in Auxiliary Enterprises

Big impact on students, low impact on the planet—our mission in Auxiliary Enterprises is to enhance the quality of life for students by providing superior services and supporting a productive learning environment with sustainability in mind.

Current Initiatives:

  • Purchasing a paper for Wildcat Printing containing recycled content, sending used printer parts off for refurbishment and reuse, donating unusable paper to the Residence Life Office and Early Childhood Learning Center, and creating notepads of reusable paper for distribution to the campus community.
  • Diverting recyclable waste from landfills, using bags made from 25% recycled materials, printing with water-based inks, selling Green Books made with recycled paper, and using biodegradable packing peanuts in the Wildcat Shop.
  • Recycling 30 tons of cardboard and 950 square yards of plastics, paper, aluminum and other metals, partnering with Baker’s Commodities to collect and recycle cooking oil into biodiesel and other products, and purchasing from local companies in Dining Services.

Future Initiatives in Dining and Catering Services:

  • Diverting Food Waste—Landfills emit some of the highest quantities of methane (CH4)—one of the more effective greenhouse gases. A large part of that is due to anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. Anaerobic conditions foster the growth of bacteria and microorganisms that break down matter into CH4 and other gases—when that gas is allowed to go into the atmosphere, we’ve got problems. Under the proper aerobic conditions, bacteria and microorganisms can break organic matter down into a highly nutritious source of fertilizer. How do we foster proper decomposition of organic waste on campus? Composting! Our goal is to begin by diverting our pre-consumer food waste (before it goes out to the dining halls) from the landfill, and eventually move towards diverting post-consumer waste.
  • Growing food! We want to provide fresh produce to students from about as local a source as possible—right on campus. We are in the process of securing space to support our plan to grow vegetables for the dining halls and to provide to students where we can. Agriculture contributes to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While we cannot supplement everything, we can do our part to mitigate agricultural emissions by producing as much as we can on our campus and purchasing as much as we can from our community farmers and regional producers.
  • Creating Opportunities—We want students to be at the center of our food sustainability projects. What does the CWU community want to see? What do you want to accomplish for future generations of students, faculty, and staff? Contact our Sustainability Project Specialist, Kate Doughty to see how you can be involved!

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