Principle 2

Principle 2: Create a More Sustainable and Resilient Campus Landscape

A unified campus theme is established with a foundational plant palette. Areas with similar uses and spatial relationships should be developed with a plant and material palettes that communicate the type of use regardless of location on campus. New planting should be selected for drought tolerance, prioritizing native and adapted species to create a regionally appropriate campus character and promote biodiversity and sustainable maintenance. The planting palette for areas adjacent to the prairie should be selected from only native Palouse Prairie suited to the particular micro climate. The Palouse Prairie Foundation is an excellent resource for native plant lists and suppliers of plants and seeds.

Objectives and Strategies

  • The campus will be unified with a consistent and regional approach to the landscape.
  • Campus landscapes will utilize LEED and SITES rating systems to evaluate proposed landscapes for new buildings.
  • Campus-wide sustainable landscape construction, irrigation, and planting standards will be developed.
  • A hierarchy of landscape areas will be set (high to low priority, high to low visibility).
  • The landscape will extend the natural environment from which EWU was created into the campus core.
  • Landscapes within the Sustainability Spine will be modified to reduce turf areas, reduce water use and create more sustainable landscapes.
  • A regionally responsive plant palette will be implemented that includes plants appropriate for all campus site conditions.
  • Open and historic lawn areas will be identified and retained for recreation.
  • Turf areas will be reduced by 50%.
  • The existing tree canopy on campus will be protected and enhanced.
  • The carbon footprint of campus landscape management will be reduced by 45% by 2030.
  • The campus plant species diversity will be increased.
  • Landscape plantings and practices will be developed to support the achievement of Bee Campus USA designation for bees and other pollinators.
  • Native species representing local communities (prairie, wetland, aspen/riparian, steppe, and ponderosa pine/bunchgrass) will be used throughout the campus landscape.
  • Landscape plantings will incorporate a layering system to provide habitat opportunities for birds, insects, and other wildlife to increase campus biodiversity.
  • Plantings at building entrances will include a consistent yet diverse plant palette of low water use/ maintenance native and adapted plants that provide year-round interest.
  • Landscape plantings will reinforce the historic character of key buildings.
  • Stormwater management will be integrated into the landscape.

  • Green technologies will be evaluated as a priority for implementation.
  • Alternative transportation and EV Powered Vehicle infrastructure will be developed.
  • Future solar panel locations will be identified to ensure that landscape strategies for existing and new plantings can be implemented to preserve key solar access.
  • Pervious paving systems will be integrated into locations to reduce stormwater runoff.
  • Native and low water use species will be incorporated into green roofs on new and renovations where possible.
  • Plant additional trees that will provide shade to minimize heat island effects.

  • Natural connections between the Restoration project and the campus core will be established.
  • Existing wildlife corridors and habitats will be enhanced where possible.

Sustainable Landscape Development

All campus improvements should be made with an eye toward sustainability, through reducing water use, promoting multi-modal transportation, reducing heat islands, and maintaining artificial and natural landscapes. EWU should continue utilizing LEED standards and reference the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) when planning buildings and development. SITES is similar to LEED but focuses specifically on landscapes; it is a set of comprehensive, voluntary guidelines with a rating system that assesses the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes. Certified projects can earn Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum levels.

Campus landscape areas generally fall into four categories with unique functions and aesthetics:

  • High Impact Contemporary
  • High Impact Traditional Collegiate
  • Low Impact Contemporary
  • Low Impact Habitat Restoration

Plants can be used to reinforce campus identity. Landscape areas adjacent to and leading up to buildings
are of chief importance and should highlight entrances and plazas. Other areas of importance include transition areas, shared spaces, and walkways. Shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses should be used to bring bold color, movement, and texture to active spaces within the campus. By using a standard selection of plants in areas receiving similar types of use, a familiar pattern is established that communicates a spatial relationship within the campus.

The foundation of the campus plant palette will be native and adapted ornamental plants, including species recommended for Palouse Prairie management. The selection of appropriate plant material for use on any project within the EWU campus is significant. New planting designs should match the surrounding context while increasing the drought-tolerant and native species, leading to a more natural landscape.

Sustainable Landscape Development

A “Bee Campus USA” designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, among other species. It provides a framework for college campus communities to work to conserve native pollinators by increasing the abundance of native plants, providing nest sites, and reducing the use of pesticides. Affiliates make commitments to save native pollinators through education and outreach. Students, faculty, administrators, and staff work together to carry out these commitments and make their campus a better place for pollinators. A designation from this organization would signal EWU’s commitment to sustainable practices to prospective students and potential donors.

Turf areas are typically the most resource-consumptive landscape element on campus. It is very valuable where it is frequented – for study, relaxation, and recreation (quads, etc.) – but in the underutilized portions of campus, it serves little function. Turf areas adjacent to buildings should be minimized to limit overspray and hard water stains on structures.

Converting these areas to planter areas filled with native and drought-tolerant species will support native wildlife and pollinators. Additionally, native grass seed mixes should be explored for some remaining turf areas to minimize irrigation and fertilizer requirements and bolster biodiversity. Regionally native and diverse habitats are more resilient to drought, cold, and disease and will attract a greater array of birds, wildlife, and insects.

Replacing irrigation and fertilizer-reliant turf with native and drought-tolerant plants would reduce irrigation efforts, limit the use of chemical fertilizers, and provide habitat for native species and pollinators. There is an opportunity to evoke the feeling of the natural Palouse Prairie throughout campus while contributing educational areas for students and strengthening the cultural heritage of the campus.

High and Low Changes

Function: Tough, resilient plantings with limited turf grass that maintain their form in winter and withstand constant foot traffic and de-icer.

Aesthetic: Layered landscape with all-season interest. Large, bold plant masses match the building scale. Little to no symmetry in front of buildings with large beds of native and adapted shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses. Plants selected for moderate height, limited pruning requirements, and to cover areas, reducing weeding.

Function: Tough, resilient plantings and appropriate turf grass areas that maintain their form in winter and withstand constant foot traffic and de-icer.

Aesthetic: Layered landscape with all-season interest. Symmetrical plantings reinforce grand building entries, for example. Plants selected for traditional Collegiate style (yews, for instance), moderate height, limited pruning requirements, and to cover areas, reducing weeding. Perennial displays at major high-impact entrances and unique focal points. Turf grass areas are strategically maintained to support informal student gatherings and recreation.

Function: Native and adapted, tough, resilient plantings. Layered landscape with simple, structured plantings in transitional areas with pedestrian scale. Resilient plants withstand urban conditions and prevent erosion. It also includes turf grass areas converted to low-maintenance native and adapted grasses.

Aesthetic: Inspired by native plant communities, these transitional spaces incorporate stormwater facilities and provide opportunities to plant flowering plants to support pollinators. Incorporate benches and seat walls for students to gather. Low-maintenance grass areas reflect the prairie and Ponderosa Pine bunch grass aesthetic.

Function: Tough, resilient native plantings and prairie grasses in the Prairie Restoration area and extensions onto campus. Stormwater facilities will integrate these plantings to reflect a variety of moisture regimes and regional habitats.

Aesthetic: Layered landscape with all-season interest dominated by native grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees. Natural plantings that reflect regional habitat types provide opportunities for pollinators and wildlife. Identify priority areas to remove high maintenance and high water landscapes and replace them with native and drought-tolerant plants to minimize water and fertilizer use.

Commitment to Trees

Lining open walkways and paved areas like plazas with deciduous trees defines pedestrian walkways and spaces, shades them in the summer, and allows sunlight through during the winter months. Trees and vegetation minimize the urban heat island effect by shading hardscape surfaces, deflecting solar radiation, lowering surface and air temperatures, and releasing moisture into the air. Additional
benefits include:

  • Reduced energy use: Trees and vegetation that directly shade buildings decrease demand for air conditioning
  • Improved air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions: By reducing energy demand, trees, and vegetation decrease the production of associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. They also remove air pollutants and store and sequester carbon dioxide.
  • Enhanced stormwater management and water quality: Vegetation reduces runoff and improves water quality by absorbing and filtering rainwater
  • Reduced pavement maintenance: Tree shade can slow the deterioration of street pavement, decreasing the care needed.
  • Improved quality of life: Trees and vegetation proved aesthetic value, habitat for many species, and can reduce noise.

Building entrances should be a primary focus of campus spaces. Trees and shrubs at building entrances should support but not compete with the architectural definition of a building’s entrance. Bike parking should be organized linearly on pavement edges to minimize their visual prominence. Bike racks should be under a building overhang to protect them from the weather.

Trees in campus environments such as parking lots often face harsh conditions including compacted soils, road and walkway salt, air pollutants, and barriers to root growth. Future tree planting and management practices that include proper soil preparation and planting areas will help remediate urban stresses, and trees can live healthier lives. This, in turn, will improve the quality of the campus environment and bolster tree biodiversity. A standard campus plant palette should incorporate a variety of native and pollinator friendly plants to bolster resilience to climate changes and disease and support wildlife. A common plant palette should incorporate plants to minimize maintenance while providing an inviting and consistent image. Plantings should support the architectural definition of a building’s entrance.

Native and diverse habitats are regionally adapted and more resilient to stresses such as drought, cold, and disease and will attract a greater array of birds and insects. They can also promote familiarity with the Palouse Prairie’s natural ecosystem and biological systems’ ecological health.

Green Technologies

Multi-modal transportation should be encouraged by supporting bike and bus ridership with bike lanes, well placed and abundant bike racks, and safe, well-lit access to bus stops. EWU should periodically remind students that bus passes are included in their tuition. Free on-site parking should be minimized or assigned based on need (flexible parking) to discourage driving from Spokane and stimulate bus ridership. A strategic concentration of parking would promote more pedestrian and cycling friendly campus environments and achieve more cost and energy-effective operation of parking services. EWU must mitigate the demand for campus parking spaces to achieve a smaller carbon footprint and compel students to use public

The Climate Action Plan 2022- 25 reports that commuting by students and employees to and from campus makes up approximately 70% of Scope 3 (another person/ organization’s scope) emissions. Installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations could reduce excess parking and promote electric vehicle use for EWU and the City of Cheney. As of 2022, and do not show any EV charging stations within the city. Universities are often the nexus of innovation and technology, offering EWU the opportunity to champion EV use within the city and demonstrate its commitment to climate resiliency.

Priority locations for future solar panels should be identified to ensure new tree plantings will not block sunlight. Candidates for solar panels can be new construction or existing buildings, as long as the structures can bear the extra weight. EWU should conduct a solar study to determine which existing roofs might be good candidates for solar panels and to explore grid integration requirements. New planting areas and designs should take advantage of passive solar and daylighting techniques to lower energy use; deciduous canopy trees on the south side of buildings can shade structures in the summer and allow sunlight penetration in the winter. New buildings should be sited and designed to minimize energy by employing proper solar orientation to minimize the need for mechanical heating and cooling systems and reduce operating costs.

Lighting plays a significant role on campus. Site lighting contributes to public safety wayfinding and highlights substantial elements within the landscape. As part of the school’s Climate Action Plan, modifying older light fixtures to LED lighting would significantly reduce electricity use, provide longer-lasting bulbs, and potentially contribute more ample light to all pedestrian corridors and outdoor spaces.

Green roofs can retain a large amount of stormwater runoff depending on the frequency and intensity of rainstorms. Extensive, shallow-media systems and intensive, deep-soil systems can transform flat roofs into parks and gardens. Other benefits include reductions in building energy (heating and cooling) costs, urban heat island effect, heat sink opportunities in the summer, and biodiversity and habitat enhancement. Most green roofs are planted with droughtresistant, non-native plants. Still, many support locally adapted prairie grasses and wildflowers, while other green roofs are used as gardens for herbs and vegetables. Green roofs can serve as learning tools for students and create additional campus green spaces.


Existing wildlife habitats should be identified, protected, and enhanced to create appropriate wildlife covers, such as logs, brush shelters, dry stacked stone walls, and bird and bat houses. These spaces will look different from traditional campus spaces and should include signage informing passers-by of the space’s intent and the benefits of biodiverse habitats.