The Western Office of Sustainability is hosting the first Washington Higher Education Sustainability Conference.
The event is taking place on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 6 and 7, in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room.
The conference also includes the student summit, which facilitates discussions on a range of topics, from “sustainable food and dining” to “making sustainability sexy,” according to the event program.
Discussion topics ranged from heating a building — using compost in campus gardens — to finding successful ways to encourage recycling.
The WHESC is a marketplace for new ideas on the advancement of sustainability practices on college campuses throughout the state.
After the buzz of successful sustainability conferences at Portland State University in 2013, a standing committee of 14 higher education groups came together to organize a conference at Western, said Kerrieann Mullaney, Communication outreach manager of Social Enterprises, Inc. — the company that puts the conference together.
The two-day conference includes breakout sessions, workshops, keynote speeches and a student summit. The leaders of breakout sessions and workshops range from students to university staff, discussing their involvement in sustainability groups or practices on campus.
Western student Jacob de Guzman has been working on campus at the Office of Sustainability for three years. He led a breakout session that discussed “working toward zero waste across campus” and was a keynote speaker at the student summit.
“Having that collaboration between people from all around the state who have different experiences and different perspectives is really beneficial,” de Guzman said.
On Friday, a sustainable design and building tour will look at topics such as the sustainability of Miller Hall and the Vehicle Research Institute on campus.
Single day tickets for students are $35 and $120 for non-students.