Fort Lewis College News

News at Fort Lewis College

Environmental Center projects create a better world

Environmental Center members conduct a waste audit of the campus.

The FLC Environmental Center's rich history of promoting sustainability on campus and in the community goes back more than two decades. The Fort Lewis Environmental Center was formed in November 1990, after students petitioned the student government with 800 signatures. Since then, the EC hasn't looked back as it leads the campus toward sustainability and creates ways for students to get hands-on experience changing the world for the better.

Here are several examples of project areas the EC is focusing on:

Campus Sustainability

Fort Lewis is proud to be a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007. To turn that commitment into action, in 2009 the President and the Board of Trustees approved Fort Lewis College's Sustainability Action Plan, which guides Fort Lewis College as it makes decisions and sets priorities, and outlines specific targets and the actions the College can take to achieve them. The Environmental Center played a valuable role in helping to develop the Campus Sustainability Action Plan, and continues to help the College achieve its sustainability goals.

Media & Communications

The Environmental Center works hard to get the word out. Ongoing projects include:

  • Making Waves: the EC’s radio show on KDUR, the campus radio station, exploring important community issues.
  • Deep Roots: An occasional column in Fort Lewis College's news magazine, The Independent.
  • View from the Fort: an occasional guest column written by EC staffers and published in the Durango Herald.
  • The Environmental Center online newsletter.

Education & Outreach

The Education & Outreach program works to increase involvement in EC programs and community projects through workshops in the residence halls, hands-on opportunities, talks and presentations, and Earth Week activities. Staffers are also available to help match interested students with ongoing EC and campus projects.

Climate Action

The EC’s Climate Action team works to make Fort Lewis a sustainable campus through research and education. Projects include:

  • Performing a campus greenhouse gas inventory.
  • Compiling renewable energy options for campus.
  • Campaigning for energy conservation in residential life and academic departments.
  • Offering energy audits for student off-campus residences.
  • Promoting sustainable transportation options to and from campus.

Local Food

The Environmental Center’s Local Food team manages an on-campus Eco-Demonstration Garden that gives students the chance to learn sustainable gardening practices and gain hands-on experience growing their own food. The team also works closely with community groups, including:

  • Community Connections' four-season greenhouse, which provides programs and activities for people with developmental disabilities.
  • Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado, a coalition of local groups working to strengthen local food systems for underserved populations.
  • The Food and Agriculture Committee of the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado.
  • Turtle Lake Refuge.
  • La Plata County's Healthy Local Foods Group.

Zero Waste

The Zero-Waste Team works to ensure that the College buys recyclable products and keeps waste out of the landfill through recycling and composting. Among its projects, the Team runs a weekly Free Store, does food and waste audits on campus, and manages an experimental worm composter. The team also recently received a grant to start recycling at all Fort Lewis College events, including sporting events and other outside activities held on campus. The Team also organizes a year-end, move-out collection program called Operation Dumpster Rescue.

Sustainable Business

The EC assists with strategic planning and marketing of Local First, a local independent business alliance that works to build a thriving network of local, independent businesses in Durango. Sustainable Business Team members help plan and carry out marketing and awareness of Local First initiatives such as the "Be Local Coupon Book." The Sustainable Business Team also partners with local organizations incliuding 4CORE, the Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado, and the City of Durango to assess, monitor, and continually improve the social and environmental aspects local businesses in La Plata county.

To learn more about the Environmental Center, visit [].

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