two male students sitting at table in the Commons

Campus Sustainability


Westminster University repeatedly receives recognition for its campus-wide sustainability efforts.

2020 Blue Sky Legacy Award

In 2020, Westminster became the first college or university honored with the Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky Legacy Award. The award recognizes the university as a longtime visionary supporter of the Blue Sky Renewable Energy program and an organization dedicated to making a difference in its community with sustainability measures.

STARS Silver Rating

Every 2-3 years, Westminster uses the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) voluntary self-reporting framework to gauge the university’s progress toward sustainability. To complete the report, the Environmental Center delves deep into the practices of the university. The rating system considers the environmental, social, and economic impacts of campus sustainability actions, assigns the campus a rating, and shows what areas of campus need improvements and how to make them. In 2011, Westminster was the first institution in Utah to receive a silver rating and has since earned it in 2014, 2016, 2019, and 2022. Westminster scores particularly well in campus engagement.

Princeton Review Green College

Westminster University is listed in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges: 2021 Edition as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, a recognition the university received multiple times.

Sierra Club “Cool School”

Westminster has been recognized multiple times on the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools List, which recognizes institutions with high sustainability ratings. The Sierra Club collaborates with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) to gather STARS reports data for this list.

westminster commons

Reducing Westminster’s Carbon Footprint

There are many sustainable features of Westminster’s campus. Westminster currently has 3 solar arrays and purchases additional renewable energy credits to further reduce the campus’s energy footprint. The campus also has a LEED® Platinum-certified building—the Meldrum Science Center—which features rain and snowmelt harvesting, energy efficiency (including solar panels), and advanced lighting controls. You can view these campus features and many more on the sustainability points map.

solar arrays with green mountains in the background

Gardens and Trees

Several gardens on campus were created in 2007 to showcase sustainable landscaping practices and were later rehabilitated by an Environmental Studies program capstone class. These outdoor learning spaces feature native plants, xeriscape principles, and wildlife habitats. There is even a whole garden featuring plants included in the works of Shakespeare.

The Organic Garden is a special garden created and managed by the Environmental Center to serve as a space for students to collectively grow, eat, and learn more about sustainable food. Anyone can get involved.

You can also view information about the different tree species on campus on the tree inventory map.

Do Your Part

You can help create a more eco-friendly campus by taking advantage of the resources and services available to you as students, faculty, and staff.

Alternative Transportation Options

As a member of the Westminster community, you have access to multiple transportation options that can cut down on your total greenhouse gas emissions during your commute.

  • Free UTA premium transit pass: Current students, faculty, and staff receive an ID card that serves as a free UTA premium transit pass to use on UTA Bus, Express Bus, TRAX, and FrontRunner. For questions, visit the reception desk in the Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center. You can use UTA’s website, the Transit app, or Google Maps to plan your commute.
  • Long-term bike rental: The Bike Collective offers a few long-term bike rental options.
  • Designated green parking: Parking spots are available for carpools and fuel-efficient vehicles in the lot between Jewett and Foster Hall.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations: Charging stations are located on the main floor of the northwest parking structure and under the southeast corner of Dumke Field.
  • Rideshare board: The Environmental Center puts up a board in Bassis 2 weeks before every break to connect people and help them carpool to their destination.

student in organic garden

two students dining

Practice Sustainable Living

There are many ways to practice sustainable living and make an impact on campus through everyday action:

  • Choose reusable dishes, silverware, and to-go containers in Shaw
  • When using pay for print, submit print jobs as 2-sided when possible and only print items you need on paper
  • Learn more about campus recycling and use the bins available around campus
  • Take advantage of waste-free event kits (free, reusable plates, cups, bowls, and silverware) available through the Environmental Center
  • Participate in the Organic Garden to learn more about growing fresh, healthy food for the campus community
  • Develop and start a project through the Ty Harrison Fund to support environmental learning and action on campus
  • Participate in Waste-Free Westminster activities and programs on campus
  • Obey Westminster's no idling policy

Green Event Certification

Make your campus event a green event. Earn a green event certification based on environmentally conscious event logistics and content.

Green Office Certification

There is a Green Office Certification in the works. If you’re interested in being a part of the pilot group, email the Environmental Center (

Sustainability Council

Westminster’s Sustainability Council was created to advocate for sustainability across campus. The council advises Westminster’s administration on issues of sustainability and works to integrate sustainability into Westminster’s operations, facilities, grounds, and curriculum. The council also helps set high-level priorities for future sustainability actions on campus. If you want to learn more about the Sustainability Council or are interested in joining, email the Environmental Center (

There is no absolute crisis or absolute hope. Crisis and hope are intertwined in a dynamic relationship like two tango dancers. Sometimes, crisis looms large; other times, hope comes into view. The relationship between crisis and hope is always in flux. Recognizing that keeps me going.

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illustration of a human head with green sprout growing out the top


Xiumei Pu

assistant professor of environmental studies