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Sustainability

BIXI green bikes at WSU
Summer 2012

What moves you at WSU

One fuzzy old photograph of construction in downtown Pullman shows images of early days in the city: men laying a foundation by hand, a horse-drawn carriage on the street, a bicycle leaning on a post in the foreground. The photo has no date, but that bike, like a relic dropped by a time traveler, looks remarkably modern.

You won’t see a horse-drawn anything on Pullman’s streets now, except in parades, but you still see bikes among the buses, pedestrians, and a lot of cars.

Bridgette Brady, director of Washington State University’s Transportation and Parking Services, envisions bike use on campus increasing over the next … » More …

Carol Miles
Spring 2012

Mulch ado about garden plastics

In 2001, Carol Miles certified WSU’s first piece of organic land, a three-acre parcel at the WSU Vancouver Research and Extension Unit. It was a landmark moment, leading the way for organically managed land at all of WSU’s research facilities.

But one thing kept nagging her: the plastic.

In the absence of conventional herbicides, weed control was her number one issue, and laying down a layer of plastic took care of the problem handily. But it’s nonrenewable and not recycled.

If it’s going to be used in an organic production system, reasoned Miles, now a vegetable horticulturist at the WSU Mount Vernon … » More …

Video: Build a Bouquet of Local Flowers

Diane Szukovathy from Jello Mold Farm in Washington state’s Skagit Valley puts together a bouquet of locally-grown flowers and offers tips to gardeners on building their own bouquet of blooms. Diane and her husband Dennis Westphall grow cut flowers. They have teamed up with Washington State University researchers Bev Gerdeman and Lynell Tanigoshi to build a community of local, seasonal flower growers in the Pacific Northwest. The growers sell at markets, directly to farmers, florists, grocery stores, and local businesses. Read more in “Business is Blooming.”

Spring 2011

Digging the new EcoWell

Students and faculty develop a mighty thirst after working out at WSU’s Student Recreation Center, and now they have a new, healthy, and environmentally friendly option to quench it.

The EcoWell vending machine’s slick iPhone-like touchscreen lets users choose their water (purified, carbonated, or hot), add any percentage and mix of juices, and include energy supplements if desired. But thirsty patrons better have their own bottles. An EcoWell machine only dispenses drinks, not disposable containers.

EcoWell grew from the minds and efforts of Reid Schilperoort ’10, Brian Boler ’09, and Andy Whitaker ’09, now at MIT graduate school, when they were students in the … » More …

Fall 2010

Cultivating new energy

With just a whiff of irony, let’s sing a song of praise for gasoline.

A single gallon contains more than 30,000 calories. You wouldn’t want to drink it, but in straight-up energy terms, that’s enough to power a human for about two weeks.

Gasoline is convenient, portable, and for the most part, cheap. For the purposes of this story, I used it to log more than 1,000 miles around Washington State and make appointments, easily, and always on time. Tank low? More than 2,000 filling stations were out there for me to fill her up and pay with a piece of plastic.

“The liquid fuel … » More …

Winter 2009

Stormwater central

There’s nothing mundane about the new parking lot at the WSU research and extension center in Puyallup. It is a state-of-the-art polluted water collection system. The 70-some parking spots are specially designed to drain the water from each space into separate collection cells.

The project, which broke ground last summer, is an early step in the station’s efforts to become a leader in Low Impact Development techniques, providing guidance for the rapidly developing community along the Puyallup River Valley. In this case, the station will look at how to capture and clean stormwater runoff so that it doesn’t contaminate waterways, damaging … » More …

Winter 2009

Opening new doors to green

The soaring ceiling, room-length fireplace, and glass doors that open to the outdoors give the lobby the flavor of a ski lodge crossed with an open-air café. However, the ambience of Olympia Avenue—Washington State University’s new residence hall—masks its eco-friendly bones: the exposed wood comes from old buildings, a retractable screen shades the lobby when it’s too sunny, and the floors are polished decorative concrete.

“I love the space. It’s just so exciting to live in a brand-new hall,” says sophomore Hannah Donaldson, one of about 230 residents of the new building. Donaldson, an animal sciences major from Sultan, points out that information throughout the … » More …

Winter 2004

The Circle of Life and the Farmer's Daughters

Determined that, contrary to popular assumption, bread flour could indeed be grown in the Inland Northwest, a few years ago Fred Fleming ’73 and Karl Kupers ’71 started growing Terra, a new variety of hard red spring wheat developed by Washington State University wheat breeder Kim Kidwell. They named their business Columbia Plateau Producers and their flour Shepherd’s Grain.

Visualize how a small operation under the big skies of eastern Washington moves into the full-court press of deep-pocketed global business activity. Farmers talking to millers, bakers, and consumers. Convivial conversations that put loaves of bread on the table and spread the message about soil health … » More …