The Sustainability Center was established as the first student-led center west of the Mississippi in 2006 as part of campus wide student movement. A student fee funded organization, the Sustainability Center is led by a student director and 9 student staff. We receive training, support, and guidance from the Sustainability Program Manager, Sustainability and Student Engagement Coordinator and an Advisory Board.
The Sustainability Center supports efforts to create an active culture of sustainability and we are committed to developing and maintaining healthful, educational living environments while fully integrating sustainable practices at the University of Idaho.
Sustainability involves reorganizing our life support systems; climate, energy, biodiversity, food, consumerism and consumption, waste, transportation and built environment. We do this through projects that reduce our environmental footprint and increase participation and collaboration among students, faculty, staff and community members in addressing sustainability-related issues.
What Motivates Us?
Climate change is happening and the evidence is clear. Earth's average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather. At the current level of 397 ppm, we are rapidly approaching the projected “tipping point” of 450 ppm.
But what does that mean for us? The truth is, climate change affects everyone. While it might seem impossible to address this global issue, we are dedicated to addressing climate change where we can— in our home state of Idaho. Idaho currently emits the least amount of carbon dioxide per person of the United States, less than 23,000 pounds a year! However, the future is uncertain. Temperature changes will affect ecosystems and alter landscapes throughout the state, and major economic drivers, such as recreation and agriculture, will become compromised.
To learn more about temperature projections for Idaho go to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and results from the UK Hadley Centre's climate model.