WMU to observe National Campus Sustainability Day

Contact: Matt Hollander

John Francis book cover

KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University will observe National Campus Sustainability Day Wednesday, Oct. 24, by hosting various events to raise awareness about sustainable living and celebrate campus and community sustainability projects.

Events will include a student luncheon, a campus sustainability tour, a project showcase in the Office for Sustainability's new location at the corner of Howard Street and West Michigan Avenue, and a keynote address by Dr. John Francis, also known as the Planetwalker.

Catered by Gorilla Gourmet, the student luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. outside of the Health and Human Services Building. It will give students the opportunity to interact one-on-one with Francis. Following lunch, at 12:30 p.m., will be a public walking tour of campus sustainability sites, beginning at the Health and Human Services Building and ending with a project showcase at 2 p.m. in the new Office for Sustainability, located at the corner of South Howard Street and West Michigan Avenue. Francis will deliver his keynote address at 7:30 p.m. in Schneider Hall's Brown Auditorium.

All National Campus Sustainability Day events at WMU are free. The luncheon is for WMU students only, and reservations are required at wmu-sustainability@wmich.edu. The campus tour, project showcase and keynote address are open to the public.

Student organizers Marley McVey and Nichole Tramel say they hope to raise awareness of current campus initiatives and provide resources to students and community members by showcasing the innovative new Office for Sustainability space and sharing Francis' inspiring story.

"Once people have these resources, they will be able to visualize how they can work together to improve the Western experience," they add.

John Francis

At the age of 25, after witnessing the devastating 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill, John Francis gave up the use of motorized vehicles. Soon after, he took a vow of silence and began walking and sailing around the world. He refused to use motorized vehicles for the next 22 years, and didn't speak for 17. During this time, he managed to earn a bachelor's degree at Southern Oregon University, a master's in environmental studies at the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. in land management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Francis has since worked as an oil spill policy expert for the United States Coast Guard and an ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program. His lifelong commitment is to raise environmental awareness through the promotion of listening, learning and connecting to the earth and to each other.

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.

For more information, visit wmich.edu/sustainability or contact WMU's Office for Sustainability at wmu-sustainability@wmich.edu.