Biking to AASHE

Join PLU Sustainability as we pedal over 150 miles to the largest sustainability conference in the country.  We will be leaving on Friday, October 24th at 7am from the PLU campus.  We will stay the night in scenic Longview, and be off again in the morning of the 25th, Portland or bust. 

After the conference, you are welcome to join us on the ride back.  We will be back by 9pm on Thusday, October 30th, although we will be making a game time decision as to how to split the distance over the days after the conference.

This is the most eco-friendly and community driven route to the AASHE conference.  We are going at a pace that everyone can enjoy, and we are going rain or shine.  


Register Here.


For more information email

UnPLUg Recap

As we head into the holiday season and the end of another semester, the Sustainability office would like to take a moment to reflect on the month of unPLUg, a month focused on reducing energy consumption and raising awareness for sustainable practices at PLU throughout October. Harstad Hall was the winner of this years unPLUg competition, with the least amount of energy consumption compared to the previous year of unPLUg out of all the res halls. Throughout the month of unPLUg the Sustainability office hosted a number of events, including film showings in res halls, Habitat restoration work parties, a Parkland Beautification day, and a culminating acoustic open mic at NPCC to announce the results of unPLUg to PLU and the Parkland community. The Sustainability office would like to give a big thanks and shout out to everyone who participated in unPLUg, namely all of the sustainability leaders in RHC and RHA, as well as LASR and other community members who were involved in the programming of unPLUg at PLU. There is no doubt that unPLUg would not be successful without the hard work and dedication of everyone involved. In addition, the Sustainability office would like to acknowledge all of the people around campus and in the community who took the time to think about their energy consumption habits and made commitments to sustainable practices in their daily lives. A huge part of the Sustainability office’s mission is education and sustainable practices, but it is the people who take the time to listen and apply the principles of unPLUg that make the biggest difference. While the month of unPLUg was a huge success, we hope that with the darkening of the days and the transition of unPLUg into the rest of the year, that these habits and the information learned will remain an important part of PLU life. Great job everyone, keep up the great work!


Some photos from the Acoustic Open Mic at NPCC:

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A Personal Statement about Initiative 522

The SPLU Sustainability Office was recently asked to post this personal statement from a community leader on their thoughts of I522.  If you would liek to know more, please email


These words already resonate with you on a soul level.   I started my own journey as an organic gardener, mentor, and activist after experiencing chemical poisoning from Home Garden products as an adult and witnessing animals die on a Wheat Farm in Eastern, WA due to overspraying, when I was young.  I became fully activated with WTC when I had my newborn son and learned that pesticides were in breast milk.  As I volunteered and trained with Seattle Tilth I realized that organic food/sustainable issues were not just about taste preference but a bottom line concern about the health and safety of our food our planet and our children, children especially are vulnerable to the effects of chemicals and pesticides. 

Like many of you I have educated myself in breadth and depth in these issues and I support  I-522 100%.

This fall, Washington voters will have the opportunity to make our state the first in the nation to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods when they vote on I-522. I-522 is about creating transparency for food shoppers and the industry responsible for the creation of these GE foods, an industry led by chemical giants such as Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow Agrosciences, and Bayer CropScience. Many of the seeds that these corporations sell to farmers produce crops that are resistant to herbicides and pesticides, allowing farmers to spray large amounts of these chemicals on their crops without killing them.
These chemicals, which are produced and sold by these same companies, have many unintended environmental consequences, from the creation of chemical-resistant “superweeds” to the damage to biodiversity in our ecosystems. These companies know that their profit margins depend on the public remaining in the dark when it comes to genetically modified crops, which is why they’re pouring millions of dollars into the campaign to defeat I-522.

Our advantage this election will lie in the efforts of our volunteers, which is why we need your help to make sure that Washington voters know about Yes on 522. We would love to have you join us in our phonebanking this fall!  Dates will be announced.  We may communicate via email amongst ourselves to keep campaign information protected.  Blessings to all who will help.   We need volunteers to phonebank, provide rides, and we are looking to get organic food vendors to provide snacks too.
- Sunny Earles

Lummi Totem Pole Journey: Draw the Line Against Coal Export

Written by Jessica Zimmerle
Outreach Coordinator for Earth Ministry 

Dear Friends of Faith,

The Lummi Nation have boldly said NO to coal export, and they are asking YOU to stand with them.

Over the last month, Earth Ministry has been partnering with the Lummi Nation in opposition to the construction of coal export terminals in Washington. My recent blog post entitled, “Sacred Lands, Sacred Waters,” describes the significance of Cherry Point, or Xwe’che’eXen, for the Lummi – how this land is the source of their spiritual connection to their living ancestors and how fishing in these waters are the source of their cultural lifeway.  

Jewell James and the Lummi House of Tear Carvers are known nationwide for their work in carving and delivering blessed healing totem poles to suffering communities, such as the one that stands in New York City for the children of all who were lost on September 11, 2001. They have now carved a healing totem pole, Kwel’hoy, meaning “we draw the line,” to raise awareness of their own suffering and unite all those who would be harmed by the construction of this terminal. Over the last week, the Lummi have traveled to Montana and back with Kwel’hoy along the entire path of the coal train tracks, stopping for blessings and ceremonies with other native tribes and community members.

I was fortunate to attend two stops along this journey, one on the lawn of the capitol building in Olympia and another at St. Leo Church in Tacoma. Both ceremonies were emotionally moving and extremely powerful. The Olympia ceremony was a beautiful display of native ritual as multiple tribes shared songs and blessings to support the Lummi. The presence and words of Billy Frank were especially inspiring as he is legendary for his activism in securing tribal fishing rights under the Bolt Decision of 1974. In Tacoma, the ceremony was graced by songs by the native youth drumming and singing group of Chief Leschi School and participation by attendees in a traditional cedar water blessing of the totem pole.


At both events, master carver Jewell James used the familiar phrase, “no means no,” to passionately declare that the Lummi have said no to coal, and that we must do the same. Directly addressing the faith community in Tacoma, James stated that “if you believe that God has given you this garden to protect, then it is your constitutional right to fight for it.” He emphasized the power of our words and actions; how we can reach millions if we all share this story and how important it is for us to implement our rights and advocate against coal from a moral, scientific, and legal standpoint. To do so, please contact the office of Senator Cantwell, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, in defense of Lummi treaty rights: 

Phone: (206) 220-6400
or email Sally Hintz, Sen. Cantwell’s Northwest Regional Directory:

The final Washington stop for the Lummi Totem Pole Journey is at Cherry Point tomorrow, Friday September 27 from 5:00-6:30. After that, Kwel’hoy will be delivered to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in British Columbia, who are also fighting to protect their own land from the devastation of oil pipelines. The gifting of this totem pole, and the journey it has undergone, unites all afflicted communities along its path with Native Tribes and First Nations in saying kwel’hoy, or “we draw the line” against coal export and tar sands pipelines. For more information about this final stop, please click here!

In peace,

PS: here is a great article about the Olympia stop!

Great Opportunity for PLU students

The Tacoma Entrepreneur Network (TEN) presents
Innovate! Create! 
Saturday, October 5 10-3
on the Puget Sound campus
Immerse yourself in entrepreneurship and innovative thinking at this intense and engaging competition. Students from PLU, UWT and UPS are put in cross-campus, interdisciplinary teams Saturday morning, then given a problem to address. You will work together to develop an innovative, creative solution—and pitch it to a panel of entrepreneur judges. Then (hopefully) win some of our great prizes ($100 gift cards to each member of the winning team, restaurant gift certificates for second and third place team members). You may view a 2.5 minutes film about the event at
We provide food, space, judges, mentors (short consults only!), prizes, and the problem. The problem you address is a secret. Last year it was obesity. The previous year it was solid waste. 
You provide your intelligence, time and creative thinking. Bringing a laptop or tablet is strongly encouraged. Please register at our website (–events.html) so that we know how many people to expect.
We hope to see you there!
Lynnette Claire
Lynnette Claire, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Business and Leadership
University of Puget Sound

Sustainability Committee Meeting 9/11/13


Jenny Taylor, Saiyare Refaei, Jessica Sadler, Sara Patterson, Joe Bell, Chrissy Cooley, Rachel Haxtema, Tanya Ulsted, Gretchen Howell, Mercy Daramola, Wendy Robins, Kelly Kohlwes, Nick Lorax, Romey Haberle, Rose McKenney

 Appointed positions:

Treasure -Sarah (RHA Sustainability Director)

Secretary – Saiyare Refaei (Former Sustainability Fellow)

Jenny Taylor (President of GREAN Club) – Divestment from Fossil Fuels on Campus

-          Plan for a Divestment Forum Oct. 14th , 4 pm

-          Invite experts on various campus boards for a speaker panel

-          Connecting with other campus club leaders

-          Suggested by Dr. McKenney to talk with Dr. Kevin O’Brien and other professors, Dr. Susan Harmen, Dr. Mark Holmer, Dr. Katherine Pratt

-          Contact Jenny via email or the GREAN email

-          Jenny will be sharing a list of current or potential campus investments tied to fossil fuel companies

-          Helpful to have a list of what Jenny needs from us

-          Wendy Robins suggested the table top adds are free in The Commons and talk with Emily Peterson (ASPLU Finance Director)

-          Chrissy Cooley suggested writing in the Mast for their new sustainability column

-          Mercy Daramola suggested talking with RHA and RHC Sustainability Directors

Chrissy Cooley – Diversity Justice Sustainability (DJS)

-          Subcommittees came together for the final draft of the report for the last academic year

-          Recommend to reinstate committee to focus DJS

-          Recommendation to get another VP

-          Collaborating on a lot of events

-          Part of 20/20 plan

Green Fees (Jenny Taylor)

-          $30,995 Green Fees this year

-          New matrix to apply for Green Fee Proposal on Sustainability webpage

-          A couple left over proposal from CCES

o   VISTA position to start the Healthy Parkland Initiative (education about food security) – ask Joel Zylstra

o   (VISTA program 1-3 years to set up a strong partnership so that the community can sustain the program themselves)

o   Partners with Trinity Lutheran Church, Emergency Food Network, Franklin Pierce School District and local community gardens

o   For $5,000 dollars

o   What is the sustainability of this project in five years?

-          Another proposal from business student Alex for an alternative spring break to make wells in Nicaragua (needs to contact Wang Center)

o    Asking for $5,500 to cover for the cost of making the well

o   Everyone who goes on the trip will pay for their way there and back

o   Additional advertisement costs?

-          $1,500 asked for the Habitat for Humanity Build from CCES

o   well thought out plan

o   for transportation for class service learning experience on the site

-          New compost buckets from Chrissy and Wendy


-          Human Ecology and Food – Wendy, Rachel

-          Carbon Offsetting/Onsetting –Gretchen, Tanya, Chrissy, Joel

-          Experiential Learning – Dave, Wendy

-          DJS – Mercy, Saiyare

-          Green Fees – Jenny, Aiko, Sarah

-          Outdoor Classroom – Nick,

-          Green Fees—Sara, Jenny, Aiko


-          (Jenny) upcoming Oct. 17th coal export terminal hearing at the Tacoma Convention Center

-          (Saiyare) campus mural connecting with CCES, Sustainability, Residential Life, Art Dept. soon

-          (Chrissy) unPlugged in October, film to be shown in each hall thanks to Aiko

-          (Wendy) purchased 30 more composting buckets from a company in Tacoma, requesting Green Fees for a reimbursement, hopes of more off campus students can participate, connecting with pig farm to serve as feed and saves money, staff can take home a bucket too!

-          (Rachel-CCES) Sept. 24th last day to volunteer at Mother Earth Farms, food drives in October (Oct. 19th game end of drive), Trinity Food Pantry open Tuesdays and Fridays

-          (Nick) PLU Community Garden Workshop Sept. 20th, United Day way of Caring, 10 people from Microsoft coming to volunteer, some beds going to the Empty Bowl Campaign soon

o   I522 on ballot to label GMO Foods going up for election this November, rally in Sumner open house for discounted meals etc. this Saturday (email Nick for more details)

Two Americorps Members Sought for Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability


 Both begin September 1 and run through July 15. Applications accepted through June 30.

 Neighborhood Sustainability Outreach Coordinator
Through the Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhood project, the member will conduct intensive outreach to educate and change behaviors in an east Tacoma neighborhood on topics such as recycling, air quality, energy conservation, stormwater prevention, and urban forestry. Click here to see the position description and information on how to apply (through the Northwest Leadership Academy’s Urban Leaders in Training program)

Sustainability and Active Transportation Coordinator
Assist Tacoma’s Office of Environmental Policy & Sustainability by implementing the City’s Climate Action Plan strategies, engaging in community outreach and education, and sharing performance results. Click here to see the position description and information on how to apply (through My Americorps website)