Sustaibility Department: Volunteers needed

Bellevue College has a very reputable Sustainability Department.  The department is divided into several smaller sections, such as the Environmental Advisory Committee, which advises the campus in matters such as environmental and sustainable programs and policies. The Sustainability Curriculum Sub-Committee is leading initiatives to infuse sustainability throughout the curriculum and to strengthen and diversify the community. Student Environmental Sustainability Fund Committee is responsible for advising allocations of the funds they receive and following the goals of “promote student’s commitment to minimize global warming emissions by supporting the institutions comprehensive plans to achieve climate neutrality,” according to the BC sustainability website.

Sustainability means maintaining ecological balance, which in turn means the exploitation of natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of an area.

BC has job openings in the sustainability department for people looking to go green.  At the moment, the only position that is currently open is the director position.  To apply, just log onto the sustainability website via BC main site and download the application form.

Mackenzie Williamson, the 2012-2013 Environmental and Social Responsibility Representative, explains how worthwhile working in the Sustainability Department really is: “Working in sustainability at Bellevue College is an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Getting paid to spread an understanding and appreciation for our environment is a dream job, and the enormous amount of extra-unpaid hours that I put in are testament to that. I work daily on creating a positive campus atmosphere that allows our students to get involved and gain the knowledge to make informed ecological decisions.”

Aside from job opportunities and employees, the Sustainability Department is looking for volunteers to help around campus.  This past week, volunteers have helped other students’ sort out their trash into the appropriate recycle, trash and food waste bins.

Deric Gruen, Sustainability Coordinator and Resource Conservation Manager, gave some insight:  “The Sustainability and Science Association, SAA, is the student program that is responsible for many of our great programs and achievements, including Earth Week and the Student Environmental Sustainability Fund.”

Williamson also talked about the bigger sustainability projects that will take place this year.  “The major project on campus at the moment will be the installations of solar panels in November.”  She didn’t elaborate as to where the panels would be placed.  In addition to the panels, BC is planning an electric vehicle on-campus event, a movement towards a banning of disposable water bottles on campus, reduced print limits, alternative transportation initiatives such as carpooling and Bite Me, which is the garden club.

The Northwest is famous for its effort in achieving sustainability.  Take Seattle for example. They have partnered with Waste Management, a company that is nationally recognized as being “green.” In September of 2011, Waste Management was placed on the Washington Green List, a list honoring 50 environmentally friendly companies, according to Seattle Business magazine.

Both Williamson and Gruen are encouraging anyone that is interested in helping once or volunteering on a regular basis to come and try it out.