Sustainability Week Celebrates University Efforts to Help the Environment

April 21, 2023

This year’s Sustainability Week, beginning today, is dedicated to celebrating the work the university community is doing to reduce its environmental impact, while also encouraging new initiatives that will benefit our planet. 

Today’s kick-off event, the annual Sustainability Week Earth Day Fair, is timed to coincide with the culmination of this year’s Diversity and Inclusion Week. Events will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the campus mall. Over 30 EWU clubs and organizations will be there with information tables, including, for the first time, representatives from off-campus organizations such as the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, the Washington Trails Association and the Spokane Tribe of Indians. 

The Spokane Tribe will be tabling to talk about their food sovereignty project. “They have been growing native foods with indigenous practices in order to build up their traditional food sources and restore some of their land, says Erik Budsberg, EWU’s director of sustainability and coordinator of the week’s events.  The plants they are using, he adds, “have a lot of significant value and purpose.” 

EWU’s sustainability team and students have been working with the tribe on these efforts. “It’s a really cool project and it’s a chance for students to connect with the Spokane Tribe and learn about their practices,” says Budsberg. 

Other Sustainability Week highlights include a “Sustainability Scavenger Hunt.” Beginning Monday, April 24, “sustainability signs” — each with a QR code that university community members can scan — will help interested Eagles learn more about the particular area where the sign is posted. The scavenger hunt will be available all week long. 

On Tuesday April 25, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m., there will be a virtual “Fire and Water Earth Week Talk” with EWU’s Lauren Stachowiak, an assistant professor of geosciences at EWU, and Gerry White Jr, executive director of the Spokane Riverkeeper. The event, available on Zoom, will also be recorded and posted on EWU Sustainability Website

Stachowiak’s talk will cover topics like wildfires, wildfire mitigation and general fire issues in the region. White will be discussing water-related issues within the region. 

There will also be opportunities to volunteer. On Wednesday, the “EWU Community Work Party: Easy Come, Easy Grow Club” will be held from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Volunteers should meet behind the Red Barn. Thursday offers up  the “Greenhouse Work Party: Prairie Restoration Project,” from noon – 2 p.m. Volunteers should meet in P12 behind Roos Stadium. 

Lastly, on Friday, April 28, the Office of Sustainability will be sharing the week’s highlights on their instagram account @EWUsustainability. 

You can access additional information, including the full conference schedule and speaker bios, on the EWU Sustainability Website. Participation via Zoom is also available.