Sustainability Awards & Certifications
Certified Fair Trade University
Former president Gary Ransdell signed a fair trade resolution in 2011, making WKU one of four Fair Trade Universities in the United States at that time. This resolution has greatly improved the availability of fair trade products such as coffee and tea in campus dining locations.
National Wildlife Federation Campus Pollinator Pledge Participants
Pollinators play a critical role in providing food for both people and wildlife. By incorporating pollen-rich plants into landscaping, we provide nutrition to pollinators. Bees, bats, and butterflies move from one plant to the next, carrying pollen as they go. As they travel, they fertilize plants and increase reproduction. Pollinators are an important link in the food chain and provide a source of protein for birds, reptiles, and amphibians. WKU committed to the National Wildlife Foundation Campus Pollinator Pledge in 2019.
Here are our action items:
- Launch a campus campaign on pollinators highlighting why pollinators are important and how individuals can take action on campus and at home.
- Convene campus maintenance/operations department staff and identify opportunities for revised mowing programs and milkweed / native nectar plant planting programs.
- Increase the percentage of native plants, shrubs and trees that must be used in campus landscaping ordinances and encourage use of milkweed where appropriate. Change weed or mowing ordinances to allow for native prairie and plant habitats.
- Work with campus faculty and staff to ensure pollinator conservation is a long-term priority for the campus and included in the campus’s Master Plan, Sustainability Plan, Climate Resiliency Plan or other campus plans.
National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat
WKU's 206 acre main campus is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Anywhere from a personal garden to an outdoor workspace can be certified as a wildlife habitat. Spaces must prove that they meet provide various elements to help support the nature surrounding them. These include food, water, shelter, and places to raise young. Sustainable practices must be employed within the space such as avoiding chemical pesticides and reducing exotic species. WKU became a Certified Wildlife Habitat in 2017 and has greatly improved on necessary measures to stay true to this commitment.
Parking Structure 3 received a Parksmart Bronze certification from the Green Business Certification Inc in 2018. PS3 was the first parking structure in Kentucky and the 26th in the world to receive a Parksmart certification. Parksmart is the world’s only certification system designed to advance sustainable mobility through smarter parking structure design, construction and operation. The Parksmart certification process looks at four components: Management, Programs, Technology and Structure Design and Innovation. An informational sign is installed on the first floor of PS3 that describes the sustainable features of the structure. These include an efficient LED lighting system, electric vehicle charging stations, air pump station and bicycle repair station. During construction, 82 percent of the building materials in the precast structural system were extracted or manufactured within 300 miles of the site. Nearly 82 percent of the construction waste was recycled. The project incorporated and reconfigured the adjacent campus transit hub to improve pedestrian safety, bus circulation and traffic flow and provides a connection for students to the campus and Bowling Green’s GObg Transit Center.
Tree Campus USA
WKU's campus became a Tree Campus USA in 2011. The Tree Campus USA program recognizes campuses that effectively manage their campus trees, form partnerships in the community related to healthy forest initiatives, and encourage student engagement through service learning opportunities. Certified universities must establish a tree advisory committe, create a campus tree care plan, dedicate funds for tree-planting and management, observe Arbor Day annually, and create service learning projects.
USDE Green Ribbon Schools
In 2015, WKU was recognized nationally as one of nine US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. WKU was Kentucky's first university-level nominee for this award. The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honors elementary, middle and high schools, districts and postsecondary institutions that are exemplary in three Pillars: Reduced Environmental Impacts and Costs; Improved Health and Wellness; and Effective Environmental and Sustainability Education.
Certifications In Progress
Bicycle Friendly University
In an effort to encourage safe bicycling at WKU, the Office of Sustainability has partnered with WKU Parking & Transportation, ORAC, and the City of Bowling Green to create a bicycle safety training program. A lack of formal bicycle safety instruction for both riders and drivers has become a prevalent issue on campus and in the community. Several students will be certified by the League of American Bicyclists standards, allowing for peer-to-peer instruction. The program will contribute to our Bicycle Friendly University application.
National Association of Fleet Administrators Sustainable Fleet Accreditation
Sierra Club Cool Schools
UI Green Metric World University Ranking
UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative