Environmental groups to host biennial sustainability fair

Event aims to educate participants on programs like Cougar Green Fund



Trevor Alkire, former president of the WSU Environmental Sustainability Alliance, shares details on the different components of the fair Friday at the Chinook Student Center.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen reporter

Environmentally focused organizations are hosting the fifth, biennial WSU Sustainability Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday in the CUB Senior Ballroom. The expo-style fair will now include a new awards ceremony.

Jason Sampson, assistant director of WSU’s Environmental Health and Safety department (EHS) in risk management and sustainability, said he believes the topic of sustainability has been put on the back burner for a long time.

He said the public has a misconstrued opinion of what is being done at WSU. Some people think the university is not doing anything because they do not see any noteworthy changes.

“A lot of people do not realize the extent we are going to conserve water or where all the energy conservation is happening because it is so far behind-the-scenes or in the programming of buildings,” Sampson said.

He said some people think what is being done has very little impact or it costs the university a lot of money.

“When it really comes down to it, every time we do something good for the environment, there is usually a financial gain from it,” he said. “It is not only really good for the environment; it is smart for companies, and it’s just smart moving forward to think of these changes.”

Trevor Alkire, former president of Environmental Sustainability Alliance (ESA), said the fair will be similar to an expo. The point is for organizations in attendance to showcase and highlight what they are doing with sustainability.

“What we are looking to accomplish is to educate more students, faculty and staff on opportunities to get involved with the current sustainability work going on,” he said. “To inspire them to take on projects as they see what kind of support structure there is at WSU to facilitate that kind of work.”

He said students should attend the fair to learn about what sustainability opportunities are open to them.

Students have the opportunity to donate $5 to the Cougar Green Fund when they register every semester, according to the WSU sustainability website. All students have access to the funds that are collected by submitting project and funding proposals.

“If they see something that they take issue with,” he said, “they have every ability to take the initiative and put a green fund proposal in.”

Alkire said a new thing at this year’s fair is an award ceremony.

Sampson said the Green Coug Awards will be distributed to 12 people across five different projects.

Alkire said EHS judged the nominees, and ESA will give out the awards.

He said he is confident that about 30 groups, including student Registered Student Organizations, graduate students and vendors, will be in attendance and have tables at the fair.

Sampson said The Phoenix Conservancy and WSU’s Center for Civic Engagement will be present at the event.