EWU Sustainability Week Underway

Sustainability Week, April 25 – 29, is about celebrating the work that the EWU community is doing to reduce the university’s impact on the environment, while also looking toward the future and finding new ways to make a difference for our planet. It will feature a variety of events and a daylong conference. 

An Earth Day fair and the grand opening for EWU’s new Eagle Station bus plaza, on Friday, April 22, led into this full week of activities.

Highlights of this week include a daylong conference, Sovereignty Through Sustainability, to be held on Tuesday, April 26, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m inside the NCR in the PUB.  The day’s discussions will explore key climate change issues, and how they are impacting our region’s Native tribes and surrounding communities. David May, EWU’s interim president, will present a keynote address to open the day’s full slate of dialogue and activities. 

Margo Hill, associate professor of urban and regional planning, and Erin Ross, director of tribal relations, are hosting the conference. 

Among the topics they’ll cover are natural resource management in the context of climate change, the impact of wildfires on our region and ways of connecting the prairie restoration work with food sovereignty.

In addition, representatives from the Spokane Tribe of Indians and other regional tribes will share details about what they’re doing for sustainability. Panelists will offer their input, and Eastern faculty members will share perspectives on how all of our efforts tie together, and ways in which we can continue to develop and deepen collaborative relations.

You can access additional information, including the full conference schedule and speaker bios, on the EWU Sustainability Website. Participation via Zoom is also available. 

Other events for Sustainability Week include a Prairie Restoration volunteer event, to be held from 1-4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at the Research Greenhouse; an EWU Community Garden volunteer event, 1-4 p.m. on Thursday, April 28; and a Campus Clean Up, starting at the Campus Mall, 10 a.m.- noon on Friday, April 29.

Erik Budsberg, EWU’s director of sustainability and coordinator of the week’s events, says the mission for this year’s Earth Day and Sustainability Week is to expand our collective definition of sustainability and to “think about sustainability in a much broader perspective.” 

“Really we need to approach things with the understanding that everything you do should be environmentally friendly, socially just, and economically viable,” he says.

The Eastern community also needs to consider the earth and the role we all can play in sustainability — not just on Earth Day or during sustainability week but every day, Budsberg adds: “You don’t have to do it all — every little bit counts.”

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