Weber State University’s Sustainability Practices and Research Center is a resource designed to educate students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community on the environment and sustainability both on and off campus.

The Intermountain Sustainability Summit is an annual event hosted by SPARC for sustainability professionals as well as emerging leaders. (Weber State University)
The Intermountain Sustainability Summit is an annual event hosted by SPARC for sustainability professionals as well as emerging leaders. (Weber State University) Photo credit: Weber State University

The center works closely with the Energy and Sustainability Office under the arm of Facilities Management by putting on community events to raise awareness, such as the upcoming Empower Northern Utah event that will be focused on LED lightbulbs and smart thermostats.

Alice Mulder, associate professor of geography and director of SPARC, explained the importance of understanding what is happening across campus revolving around sustainability.

While SPARC is a resource that wears many hats, Mulder’s focus has been on encouraging faculty to include some aspect of sustainability education in their classes.

“Every fall for the last few years, I have organized a speaker series focused on sustainability,” Mulder said. “The last few years, we had a series that was focused on climate change.”

This fall, the series is titled Sustainability Snapshots, Stories of Sustainability Teaching, Application and Research.

The next event in the speaker series will feature Matt Gnagey, associate professor of economics at WSU. The Sept. 7 presentation, titled “The Economics of Secondary Water — What’s it Worth?” is in Lindquist Hall room 395 and is also accessible via Zoom at 1:30 p.m.

The series will be centered around faculty. Many faculty members who will be involved, Mulder explained, are award-winning members of WSU in their respective fields. These faculty members will speak to different viewpoints around sustainability, such as achievements in the research they have completed and how that can relate to sustainability.

Bonnie Christiansen, academic sustainability coordinator at WSU, works to promote sustainability because it comes down to a basis of how we interact and connect with each other.

“The future starts now,” Christiansen said. “The choices we make every day impacts our tomorrow and the days that follow.”

Christiansen said by choosing more sustainable habits and behaviors today, we get to decide the world we want to live in, and tomorrow starts with an individual relationship with sustainability awareness today.

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