Pollinators are essential to a healthy ecosystem and are incredibly diverse. There are 500 bee species in Oregon alone, in addition to a vast array of beetles, birds, and butterflies that assist in plant fertilization. Unfortunately, many populations of pollinators have declined in recent years due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and disease. With the help of organizations like the Xerces Society, a nonprofit dedicated to invertebrate conservation, universities can support native pollinators while engaging students in science- and community-based discussions and creating leadership opportunities. The University of Oregon, a certified Bee Campus through the Bee City USA program since 2017, offers a strong case study, as it has taken significant measures to support pollinators on campus and in the wider community of Eugene, Oregon. UO has sponsored student groups like the UO Bee Friendly Committee to organize planting parties to create new foraging habitat for bees, as well as educational activities and movie nights to raise awareness of the incredible diversity of pollinators and their conservation concerns. The university continues to make pollinator conservation a priority, forming a new pollinator program through its Student Sustainability Center, helping to expand the reach, communications, and volunteer opportunities associated with pollinator work on campus. This poster aims to detail the variety of ways universities can support a national movement toward native landscaping and preserving biodiversity while providing students additional educational and professional development opportunities.
The Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) was established in 2009 at the University of Washington–Seattle with the original purpose of operating as a green fund to support students’ innovative climate change solutions. From its start as a student-led grassroots campaign, the CSF has evolved from a grant-driven body into a hub for intersectional sustainability. The CSF is informed by the Just Transition framework, which guides its shift from extractive relationships towards those of regeneration in two parts. First, acknowledging that historically marginalized groups who disproportionately face environmental injustice are currently addressing climate change. Secondly, building resilience within communities to gain the political power needed to enact effective climate change solutions. The first CSF-funded projects reflected a mainstream approach to sustainability, focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and waste reduction. While these infrastructure-related aspects of sustainability are vital to minimizing UW’s campus-wide environmental impact, they fail to center environmental justice, social equity, and community resilience. In 2019, to rectify this discrepancy, the CSF instated a vision to catalyze justice-focused sustainability projects. This was achieved through increased investment in the mini-grant program, the creation of a resilience seed grant, and partnerships with equity-focused campus groups. orThese programs have filled a gap in university-wide programming, providing support for groups that would otherwise lack access to grant money. However, solely offering project-based opportunities inherently presents barriers to sustainability engagement and limits interdisciplinary collaboration. In an efft to build community and foster agency in the role that students play in the climate crisis, the CSF is expanding beyond grant-making to offer accessible services to students that offer clear pathways for action. The first step has been the creation of an introductory resource guide on intersectional sustainability communicating ways to engage across media forms, disciplines, and desired involvement (e.g., self-learning, organizing, teaching). The CSF plans to create programming across campus that empowers students to contribute to climate change solutions during their time at UW and beyond.
Student engagement and participation are central components of environmental initiative and awareness within a college's student body. For community colleges, whose students reflect demographically diverse communities, these goals are often difficult to attain within the abbreviated time frame and more detached campus life. One answer is the use of service projects that can create a sense of community and optimism within otherwise siloed students who might not otherwise engage with student life. Clubs, students, and faculty who wish to inspire environmental action and educate their colleagues and community are often left with the question of what projects to pursue to achieve greater levels of involvement.
Our project attempts to illustrate how service learning within a community college can increase student involvement and persistence with environmentalism on campus. We accomplish this by publicizing and directing student involvement in service projects throughout various levels of our community while providing opportunities for civic participation and education both on our campus and in the greater Spokane area.
The intersection of biophilic design, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion provides a unique vantage point from which to design. When viewed as intersecting lenses for design the human state becomes more than utility or productivity, and more sustainable (socially, economically, and environmentally) designs emerge. How can Biophilic design become more inclusive in its process and more inviting to a diverse audience? How can architecture's initiatives look to nature for clues on how to move together toward a common purpose in unison?
This research study uses Opsis’s recently completed conceptual design for the new Athletics-Wellness Center (AWC) of Catlin Gabel, as a case study and starting point for the investigation. Catlin Gabel is Portland's nationally recognized progressive independent day school. The design is the result of a broadly inclusive process designed to capture the unique qualities of the Catlin experience, the campus setting and the community it serves. Beyond satisfying much-needed athletics and wellness programs, the design embodies a sense of welcome, invitation and inclusion for every student, community member and visitor.
Using a custom biophilic workshop process to engage stakeholders, themes related to site preservation and connection to nature and community emerged. The resulting design takes cues from the character of the existing campus, including smaller scaled buildings, deep roof overhangs, covered entrances, site terracing, social spaces, indoor/outdoor connection, and outdoor learning spaces. The design features transparency and flow between flexible program spaces to inspire curiosity and demonstrate wellness while also providing views to the outdoors and abundant natural light throughout the building. Natural materials include a structural system based on advanced timber construction. Exterior wood cladding and wood elements throughout the interior are consistent with the historically agricultural expression of the campus material palette while adding the warmth and textural expression of wood so familiar to our Pacific Northwest environment. Building on the success of this first workshop, Opsis was interested in exploring innovative tools and strategies for engagement that could be applied to future workshops with Catlin Gabel and other projects.
Through literature review, data analysis, and additional case studies, the research project focuses on how biophilia workshops and EDI principles intersect, allowing us to converse with community members on themes of inclusivity, justice, equity, resilience, and trauma-informed design. Based on Opsis’s experience in working with diverse communities, the findings show that the method of connecting to nature and allowing personal story telling to emerge is aligned with how we talk about believing personal narratives and stories in equitable engagement. Moreover, the current state of the investigation demonstrates that the two areas of focus – biophilia and JEDI - are inseparable parts of an overall justice approach, and that the design process must be cyclical, involving a variety of participants and consultants throughout its length. The study provides a series of recommendations and tools for students, practitioners and educators interested in advancing more just, inclusive, and nature-based processes, able to respond to our most pressing climate and humanitarian challenges.
The University of Washington has recently launched a “Green Revolving Fund” to enable utility savings to pay for projects that will result in additional savings. The poster will explain the concept of a green revolving fund, describe how the Fund came about (involving work by faculty and staff across departments), how the project was presented to decision-makers, and how the fund will be managed and maintained. The intent of the poster is to provide information that can help others create their own GRF.