The University of Idaho has a program Los Altos’ Green Team would be envious of: the Green Certification program. The program works to create a sustainable environment through small steps in students’ day-to-day lives, and rewards them for maintaining a green footprint.
One of the many activities funded by UI’s Sustainability Center, the Green Certification program, strives to reduce the environmental impacts of certain spaces across campus such as offices, classrooms and dorms through educating students and staff on the influence of their carbon footprint.
Depending on what level of Green Certification students and staff want to attain (bronze, silver, gold or platinum), they take a survey that gives them specific actions they must take in order to achieve their certification. For example, if a student wanted to achieve bronze certification for their dorm room, they would have to complete actions such as printing double sided copies in order to save paper, shower for 10 minutes or less and recycle.
The Sustainability Center’s leadership consists of a program manager and seven other students, who all receive training from the center’s director and advisory board. The student-funded organization has a mission of creating and developing a healthy and educational living environment both on campus and beyond by promoting an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. The university has a goal of reaching carbon neutrality, a process by which an organization limits the amount of carbon dioxide it produces, by 2030.
In addition to the Green Certification program, students and staff are also able to join Eco-Ambassadors, an environmental leadership program funded by the Sustainability Center. A subcategory called Greek Eco-Ambassadors is specifically for students at UI who are members of a fraternity or sorority and are interested in reducing their environmental footprint.
By becoming an Eco-Ambassador, students commit to being role models for their peers and challenge them to adopt sustainable practices in their day to day lives through promoting Green Certification.
In addition to UI being environmentally conscious, it is also affordable for certain West Coast students because of the WUE program (Western Undergraduate Exchange). WUE allows California residents to apply to a selective amount of universities as if they were residents of that state. For the University of Idaho, a Californian student would be paying $7,488 tuition instead of the $23,812 out-of-state tuition.
The University of Idaho shows through their various student-run, student-funded programs that they are well aware of the environmental impact that every student is capable of making. Saving the planet may seem like an incredible feat, but the Sustainability Center claims that, “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.”