KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University’s Office for Sustainability invites campus and community members to attend a Thursday, Nov. 8, reception to mark the start of operations at its new campus location at the corner of Howard Street and West Michigan Avenue. The event begins at 3:30 p.m. with a project showcase and open house; formal remarks begin at 4:30 p.m.
A continuation of the project showcase, which will feature campus efforts in the areas of curriculum, research, operations and local community sustainability, will follow from 5 to 6 p.m. During this time, WMU Catering Services will also provide light refreshments created in part with produce from the WMU student garden.
Dr. Harold Glasser says that while WMU has made tremendous strides toward building a campus culture of sustainability, the University is only at the beginning of the journey.
“Endless opportunities for improving quality of life for all—through research on real-world problems, using the campus as a living, learning laboratory and experiential learning—lie before us.”
"It’s our hope that this new building—with its collaboration, research and studio spaces—will incubate a host of new research and curriculum initiatives that will advance sustainable economic development and improve quality of life for all, in our region and beyond.”
Building sustainability stories
The new Office for Sustainability space has many sustainability stories to tell. Almost all of the building’s features and contents are original or reused from other campus locations, including old Sangren Hall and the upholstery shop. Where new materials or products were needed, an effort was made to source them locally. The reception desk was crafted by Rob Chamberlin, a local woodworker, and includes Walnut from staff member Matt Hollander’s family property. The concrete breakroom countertop was produced using glass from campus recycling efforts.
Fostering sustainability requires collaboration across the student body, faculty, staff, administration and community sustainability partners. The new Office for Sustainability space has been renovated to stimulate and advance collaboration. It features a variety of work, meeting, conference, breakout and retreat spaces. The building will also begin to house existing campus sustainability initiatives such as the Farm Stand, and the new Sustainability Studio will house the Bike Stable, a bicycle repair cooperative. Finally, a new electric car charging station has been located in the parking lot, bringing WMU’s nationally recognized electric vehicle charging infrastructure to 21 stations.
WMU's Office for Sustainability
The mission of the Office for Sustainability is to guide and assist the WMU community in fulfilling and growing its sustainability commitments. Through building a diverse and flourishing learning community around sustainability, it will continually explore and develop new opportunities to create a culture of sustainability and improve the quality of life for all.