We strive to provide services that have a minimal impact on our environment.  We are inspiring people to not only be happy but to build healthy communities through sustainable practice and education. We know that all Cougs must do their part in determining our future through practices that enhance social, environmental, and economic sustainability. Following NIRSA's Sustainability model, our approach to providing service and education prioritizes resource management, minimizing environmental impact, and fostering inclusive spaces to develop community.

Sustainability Statement

University Recreation & the Chinook prioritize sustainable practices based on Social, Environmental, and Economic criteria to meet the current demand of the WSU Community without compromising the needs and resources of future Cougars.

Project and Initiative Highlights

  • Eco Adventures: outdoor recreation programs joined with ecologically positive action. WSU Eco Adventures promotes sustainable use of the outdoors through modeling positive user relationships with the environment. This program is a collaboration between the Center For Civic Engagement and University Recreation.
  • Since 2011, ORC has provided 170 certifications in Leave No Trace per year, advancing our commitment to environmental stewardship.
  • Transportation Options: The Coug Bikes program was launched in 2018 to replace the Green Bike program which was introduced in 2008.  The Green Bike program had more than 20,000 uses throughout the year. The WSU bike share programs were implemented in order to lower the number of trips made by motorized vehicles on campus, in turn decreasing traffic, carbon emissions, and increasing student health. 
  • Energy Conservation:  In 2011, the Student Recreation Center engaged in an energy services contract that resulted in four projects that reduced the electrical and natural gas consumption of the SRC by over 9% annually.  In the summer of 2019 the SRC will be doing a lighting retrofit in the gymnasiums and natatorium that will reduce electric usage by approximately another 6%.
  • Inclusive Recreation:  University Recreation and the Chinook are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.  Social sustainability is supported through facility design, equipment purchase, staff training, and our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • The Chinook was awarded LEED Silver for its efforts in sustainable construction.
  • Staff Education: Every year staff is trained on ways to reduce their impact including an annual audit of their daily functions and operations. This helps the team set sustainability goals for the year.
  • Waste Minimization:

    • Recycling:  University Recreation and the Chinook remain committed to maximizing recycling efforts.  Efforts to provide clearly marked containers along with training to staff and patrons will allow for improvement on what is currently an approximately 60% landfill diversion rate.  The long term goal exists to increase this diversion to 90%.
    • Maintenance Schedule:  Development of a comprehensive maintenance has been critical in being successful in providing long usage for facilities and equipment.  This well developed and executed plan reduces waste and ensures stewardship of student fees.
    • Purchasing:  Using department-developed criteria, purchases take into consideration product make up, source of production/distribution, fair labor practices, and durability.  Evaluation of these criteria help improve social, environmental, and economic impacts of all purchases.
    • Compost: Taking environmental education and stewardship from the backcountry to everyday responsible living, ORC is WSU's first pilot program to collect compost in a small office.  Currently UREC and the Chinook offer staff composting programs as well as composting options at Freshen’s Fresh Food Studio in the Chinook

Improving your individual sustainability:

Be mindful when you buy or consume. How is this sustainable? Opt for reusing, recycling, fair trade, local, consignment, or thrift shopping.  What are ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle? Here are some tips and tricks to get you started:

  • Put on an extra layer of clothing instead of turning on the heat. Doubling your socks works wonders.
  • Start timing your showers. A shower timer helps!
  • Turn off your devices at night including your WIFI box.
  • Walk, use a bicycle/Coug Bike, roller blades, longboard, or scooter to commute to campus or around campus.
  • Use public transport. It’s also an excellent opportunity to catch-up on reading or other things you couldn’t do while driving.
  • Opt to receive digital letters and notices. Unsubscribe, opt for digital bills, keep catalogue and news subscriptions online.
  • Limit the amount of water you use to wash you face or brush your teeth.
  • Re-use food containers like glass jars or plastic containers and make more meals at home.
  • Grow your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables even if it’s just a few pots around the house. It all helps.
  • Stop buying bottled water and instead opt for a re-usable water bottle or a coffee mug (UREC offers free water refills).

How To Get More Involved 

Feedback- Comments and Suggestions

Fill out the main UREC feedback survey and select "UREC General".