Earth Week: Campus sustainability

Graphic by Michelle Fredrickson

It’s Earth Week at Bellevue College and sustainability initiatives can be seen all over the campus.  Earth Week is all about promoting environmental friendliness, and with an Environmental Representative on the ASG and a Bellevue College Sustainability Department, there are many upcoming programs for students to consider.

“One of the exciting projects at Earth Week is the ‘Pledge and Act of Green’ campaign,” said Deric Gruen, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator in an e-mail. “We’re making a video and will be building a tree of pledges from students to make sustainable behavior changes.”

Being green will be a theme for this week, and this is just one of the initiatives during Earth Week where students can show support for the environment.

Even with the huge environmental event of the year right here, environmental coordinators are still planning ahead. For summer, a new Student Ride Match Program will be started. “[This will] help students save money and earn rewards by finding partners to share the ride to campus,” said Gruen. “We are working with King County Metro and the Washington Department of Transportation to get grant funding to customize the site and coordinate its launch.  Students in the advertising class are creating a campaign to create awareness.”

Once this site is created, it will be posted in the sustainability newsletter. The newsletter subscription is another project in the works at the department – getting subscriptions up. Gruen said, “We’re currently in the midst of a campaign to sign up 1,000 students to our monthly newsletter and student opportunities mailing list.  We currently have 759.” Subscriptions are easy and available at the BC Sustainability Department website. Also on this site is more information about parking and ride-sharing initiatives on campus; there’s an environmentally friendly way to get to school from most places.

Another major project underway is the water system – according to the Sustainability Department website, “Bellevue College closely monitors energy and water consumption, matches HVAC and lighting equipment schedules to building occupancy and maintains procedures to promote conservation.  In 2011 we undertook a comprehensive audit of all campus buildings which will lead to retrofits of lighting and water fixtures and improvement to our heating, ventilation and air conditioning.”

The entire campus will physically become more sustainable with environmentally friendly water systems and lighting.

The website also lists other projects underway: IT efficiency, resource conservation procedures, BC2 Eco-office audits, and many others.

Gruen said, “We’re also working to infuse sustainability across the curriculum into everything from accounting to business to humanities.”  It’s a goal of the sustainability department to integrate environmental friendliness to teachers and students all across the school through faculty trainings, course development, sustainable classroom practices, and sustainable literacy.

Finally, there are many major long-term campus involvement initiatives, which aim to get students involved with sustainability on campus. Earth Week is one of these initiatives. So is the Captain of Sustainability – a coalition of staffers to improve communication about sustainability—, the Bellevue College: Beyond Conservation (BC2) – a group that takes surveys of faculty, staff, and administrators to learn more about environmental behavior – and sustainable internships with Gruen’s department.

Details on all of these initiatives and more are available through the monthly sustainability newsletter. More information and subscriptions are available at