Sustainability

Residence Life at Western Michigan University is proud of its efforts to be a sustainable housing operation. Our goals are both to reduce our environmental impact and to educate students.

Custodial and facilities

Residence hall and apartment custodial staff uses “Green Seal Certified” cleaning products wherever possible for all custodial cleaning tasks.  Most custodial equipment is also green, such as floor scrubbing and window washing equipment that utilizes water electrolysis technology. Water electrolysis uses zero chemicals to clean, which means the use of up to 47 common general purpose, hard surface, glass and carpet cleaning chemicals was eliminated.

Western View Apartments are LEED certified. All possible light bupounds in campus housing are low-energy use bupounds. Occupancy sensors are installed in some common areas, and plans to install more are set. Entrance mats to buildings are made out of 100 percent post-consumer polyester fiber from drinking bottles and 15 percent post-consumer recycled rubber reclaimed from tires.

Ecothon 


Ecothon is a monthlong competition among the residence halls focusing on sustainability awareness, active recycling and energy reduction (electricity). Four weighted factors—energy reduction, recycling collections, staff programming, and hall government involvement—determine an overall campus winner. The hall winning Ecothon receives $500 to do a sustainability project in the hall such as a hydration station for water bottles or motion-sensor lights, has a tree planted by the building, and receives $300 to have a hall celebration. Main campus and Valley winners are also recognized for the energy reduction, recycling and staff programming categories.

Ecothon is a collaboration with Facilities Management and the Office for Sustainability.

Past winners

 

Ecothon
overall winner

Energy Reduction category winners

Recycling category winners

Staff Programming category winners

Notables

Spring 2013

Burnhams

Draper
Siedschlag
Valley I

Burnhams
Ackley/Shilling

Burnhams
Britton/Hadley

Recycled 5,450 pounds

Spring 2012

Henry Hall

Henry Hall
Valley II

Bigelow Hall
Ackley/Shilling

French
Eicher/LeFevre

Recycled 6,514 pounds

Spring 2011

Draper/Siedschlag

Davis Hall

Hoekje Hall

Davis Hall

Recycled 2,579 pounds

Fall 2011

Davis Hall

 

 

 

 

Spring 2010

Valley II

 

 

 

 

Recycling

All students are provided a recycling container in their room. Larger bins for paper, plastic, glass and Styrofoam are in hall lobbies, and recycling dumpsters for paper, plastic and glass are strategically placed around the residence halls. During residence hall move in, there is a cardboard and Styrofoam capture program that recycles several tons of material in August and September.

Replaced furniture is repurposed by offering it to local charities and organizations. Bed frames are recycled, resulting in cash flow for future projects versus an expense for their disposal. Bed mattresses are also recycled instead of going to the landfill.

Trash to Treasures

During residence hall move out, students can bring down gently used items to donate to the Deacons Conference. Items accepted include clothes, books, household items, furniture and appliances. The Deacons Conference then distributes the donations to families and individuals in need within the Kalamazoo area. Trash to treasures not only lets Western students impact their community, but it also reduces the volume of usable but unwanted items going to the landfill.