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The Fierce History of Now: 25 years of change with the Environmental Center

Check out this awesome Fortifact mini-documentary to learn more about our roots and the work we do!

Important Moments in the History of the Environmental Center


Professors Don Gordon and Bill Romme work with students to establish the “paper chase” recycling program on campus. 


Students for a Sustainable World (SSW) registers as an RSO I and attracts an active membership of 35 students to its meetings.

Students begin aluminum recycling on campus.


First proposal for an Environmental Center goes to ASFLC with 800 student signatures in February 1990.  ASFLC forms an ad-hoc committee to study the issue and votes to establish the Center on November 26, 1990.

Students work with Physical Plant to expand recycling on campus to glass, metal, and newspaper.

Environmental Studies Task Force studies ways to expand environmental course offerings at Fort Lewis College and development of an Environmental Studies major.


The first meeting of the Environmental Center Oversight Committee (later to become the EC Board of Directors) in February 1991.

Environmental Center opens its doors with a speech by President Joel Jones on October 2nd, 1991 in the attic space of the College Union Building above the KDUR radio station.

Students Gerri Radosevich, former president of SSW ,and Jeffrey Rogers serve as the first student co-managers of the Center.

The EC publishes its first newsletter – to become Green Freedom and begins accepting donations for its library.


Gerri Radosevich becomes the first professional coordinator of the Center.


Recycling expands to include office paper, cardboard, #1 and #2 plastics on campus and students transport materials to Pagosa and New Mexico.

Students work to help the city expand their recycling services to include plastics and cardboard and establish a recycling center near the trash transfer station.

Ani Difranco plays for Earth Week 1993.


Physical Plant hires a recycling manager for campus program that had been a volunteer partnership between the Center and Physical Plant staff.

Native American activist Winona LaDuke speaks at Fort Lewis as part of Southwest Environmental Justice Series.

Students organize Population Awareness Week for the fall semester.


Lynn Bossong becomes EC Coordinator.

Deep Ecologist Dolores LaChapelle speaks at Earth Week 1995.


Fort Lewis purchases a baler to handle cardboard, plastic, and paper recycling.

Environmental Policy Minor approved by the Curriculum Committee.

Student Environmental Action Coalition, Campus Ecology, Wilderness Defenders Club all work out of the Environmental Center on campus, state, national and international issues.

Students work to stop the Dudley Timber Sale between Durango and Pagosa Springs and stop logging on the Taylor Ranch in San Luis Valley.

Students organize Rainforest Awareness Week.


Cassandra Teurfs hired as interim coordinator for the Center.

Beth Richman becomes EC Coordinator.


Students research sustainable features to include into the design of the planned Student Life Center, forming their own club Students for Sustainable Design.

Earth Week 1998 focuses on sustainable design.


Environmental Center students organize relief effort for victims of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras.  They raise over $3,500 on campus along with truckload of donations of food, clothing, tools, seeds, and household goods.

Students for a Sustainable Design become the Campus Ecology Club.

President Blanchard and Vice-President Dolphin attend Campus Ecology Forum focused on increasing the sustainability of the Fort Lewis College campus. Students begin collecting baseline information on the College’s environmental performance.

President Blanchard establishes the President’s Advisory Council on Environmental Affairs (PACEA) after meeting with EC Board of Directors and the Campus Ecology Club president.

Dave Henson, director of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, keynotes Earth Week 1999.


President Blanchard signs the Talloires Declaration on campus sustainability.

David Orr keynotes Earth Week 2000.

1st Annual Hozhoni Days/Earth Week 5K Walk/Run event.

Students organize to stop Fairplay development above Horse Gulch.

Michael Rendon becomes EC Coordinator.

Planned environmental assessment of Fort Lewis College campus cancelled at last minute due to budget cuts.


Student Life Center opens and becomes the greenest building in the Four Corners region thanks to student initiative and research.

Campus Ecology Club and the Environmental Center establish a demonstration organic garden on campus next to the College Union Building.

PACEA wins approval of the first Fort Lewis College Environmental Policy.

Bread and Puppet Theater Company keynotes Earth Week 2001.

Students at Fort Lewis create the Eco-Star pilot project focused on recognizing local businesses with sustainable practices.


Wavy Gravy keynotes Earth Week 2002.

EC hosts the 1st Annual REEL Environmental Experience Film Festival.


Dr. Vandana Shiva keynotes Earth Week 2003.


Environmental Center publishes the Durango Green Map with assistance from First National Bank of Durango.

Ward Churchill keynotes Earth Week 2004.


John Todd keynotes Earth Week 2005.

EC gets college grant to expand the library and start composting program.

PACEA incorporates sustainability into the campus master plan.

Jenny Barker becomes the first professional intern for the Environmental Center.


Environmental Center students set new record in Snowdown outhouse stuffing contest.

Marcus Renner becomes EC Coordinator.

Derrick Jensen keynotes Earth Week 2006.

Students install three-season greenhouse next to EC garden.

Students start composting food waste from the cafeteria.

EC student staff expands to over thirty students.

Environmental Studies major approved by Faculty Senate.


Environmental Center hosts the two-day Homegrown Local Food Conference for 175 people.

David Orr keynotes Earth Week 2007 focused on sustainable design.

President Brad Bartel signs the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment pledging Fort Lewis will become a climate neutral campus.

8th Annual Hozhoni Days/Earth Week 5K Walk/Run event.

Environmental Center begins LIFE (Learning to Invest in the Future of the Earth) House residential living program.

EC organizes the Durango-premiere of The 11th Hour for the 6th Annual REEL Environmental Experience Film Festival.

Environmental Center students spearhead first comprehensive Campus Sustainability Assessment and greenhouse gas inventory of campus.


EC hosts Focus the Nation event, including presentation of Sir Clive the Climate Crusader and his Quest for the Grail of Green Power, as part of nationwide teach-in on climate change.

EC hosts 3-2-1 Sustainability Initiative involves campus in creation of a Sustainability Action Plan.

Brower Youth Award winners Alberta Nells and Alex Lin keynote Youth- Powered Earth Week celebration.

Food for Thought orchard planted on campus.

Green Freedom newsletter goes online.

Environmental Center helps publish first Be Local Coupon Book to support Local First, an alliance of locally-owned, independent businesses.


Environmental Center Board approves the Center’s first strategic plan.

Sarah Ruth van Gelder, co-founder and executive editor of YES! Magazine keynotes Earth Week focused on innovation.

Fort Lewis approves Sustainability Initiative Student Fee at $0.05/credit hour to fund student sustainability projects on campus.

Environmental Center moves garden next to the John F. Reed Natural Area.

Environmental Center moves into Trailer Town during renovation of the Student Union.

Environmental Center starts summer Local Food Fellowship to train the next generation of local food activists.

Fort Lewis creates Pathways to Sustainability program to organize its sustainability initiatives.

Students organize Durango’s participation in 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action.

Students finish drafting Sustainability Action Plan for Fort Lewis College, which is approved by President Bartel in December.


Former EC Coordinator Michael Rendon becomes Mayor of Durango.

Students organize Take Back Your Future Earth Week events.

Animas Hall receives LEED-Gold certification.

EC organizes the first annual Revive and Thrive Masquerade and All Species Parade from campus through downtown.

Students win approval and funding to have recycling bins at all events held on campus.