History & Vision
Environmental Sustainability is a core part of the fabric of University of Washington Bothell, and has been since our inception over 20 years ago. The construction of campus at our current site has continued to guide our vision for the evolution of UW Bothell. Using the principles laid out in the 21st Century Initiative, our guiding document for 2008-2020, we have continued to build sustainability as one of our key initiatives. This page is devoted to exploring some of the history that has brought us to where we are today, and laying out the trajectory of our sustainability efforts into the future.
North Creek Wetland Restoration Project
The decision to restore a wetland area far beyond what state law required set the tone for campus priorities to this day (photo above shows campus in midst of construction). The wetlands have allowed this campus to exist as a living laboratory, giving students access to one of the biggest and most successful floodplain restoration projects in state history. It also paved the way for instituting campus-wide policies aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of the restoration attempt.
In 2006, the decision was made to reduce and ultimately cease the use of chemicals in managing the outdoor areas of campus. Using Integrated Pest Management practices in lieu of harsh chemicals, we have been able to keep the water flowing through campus safe, and subsequently help increase the health of the North Creek wetlands as well as the Sammamish River. Adopting campus grounds policies that effectively removed herbicides and pesticides from our management strategies led us to becoming the second campus nationwide to achieve Salmon Safe certification in 2008. Additionally, by adopting grounds management policies that encourage native planting and management, we are able to heavily reduce irrigation needs while still keeping to the aesthetic standards we are so proud of on campus.
This video explains the history behind the construction of campus, and contains interviews with the experts, faculty, and staff who designed and implemented the restoration project (7:32).
Timeline of Sustainability Achievements
2008: Creation of the 21st Century Initiative, UW Bothell's key strategic vision document for 2008-2020. The Initiative identifies sustainability as one of seven key priorities for the campus from 2008-2020, and resulted in the creation of the Sustainability Task Force
2009 (May): Sustainability Task Force report (.pdf), the first comprehensive look at environmental sustainability on campus
2009 (September): Climate Action Plan adopted for all of UW, with President Young, and Chancellor's Chan and Spakes, concurrently signing the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. These plans lay out goals for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and put in place benchmarks for reaching those goals.
2012 (August): President Michael Young signs Executive Order No. 13, only the 13th executive order in the school's history, emphasizing our need to plan with sustainability in mind, and establish higher commitments to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption.
2012: Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability (CACES) established.
2013 (July): First CACES annual report on environmental sustainability released (.pdf)
2013 (December): Clean Energy Institute launch by Gov. Jay Inslee and President Michael Young, UW Seattle.
2014 (March): WA State Dept. of Commerce Solar Grant of $553k awarded for new energy project on campus.