WKU Green Tours showcase sustainability

Brittiny Moore

Composting student waste at Downing Student Union, lighting Diddle Arena with LEDs and planting indigenous vegetation are just a few ways WKU has worked to become a more sustainable campus.

People can see and discuss these and other environmentally friendly acts on campus during a Green Tour hosted by WKU’s Office of Sustainability.

The Green Tours are led by Sustainability Coordinator Christian Ryan and showcase the innovations WKU has implemented towards becoming an eco-friendly campus.

“This is a way to raise awareness to our sustainability initiative on campus,” Ryan said. “The tour shows how we are operating our campus to make it more sustainable.”

Tours include eight signs around campus that highlight one of WKU’s many sustainable acts, such as the lighting at Diddle Arena. The Office of Sustainability is currently working on developing tour signage.

The signs are sponsored primarily by Sodexo, the company that provides WKU with facilities management.

Johnson Controls, a partner for sustainable energy efforts, also sponsors signs that promote a sustainable energy environment.

“The signage is great, and the walking tour is great, but it’s not enough,” Ryan said. “I’d love to have a WKU Green Tour app to use while you walk around campus as well as a virtual Green Tour for prospective students.”

Molly Kerby is an associate professor in the diversity and community studies department and the director of Quality Enhancement Plan Implementation. According to her, the Green Tours are a good way for students to learn to identify problems and find ways to fix them.

Kerby actively participates in the Green Tours by taking her Public Problem-Solving class on the tour each semester to understand the solutions people have sought to make WKU more sustainable.

“Christian always identifies a problem and plans to make it better,” Kerby said, adding that the problem is fixed by the time she returns each semester.

Kerby acknowledged that sustainability efforts on campus help both the environment and WKU’s budget with energy-efficient measures.

“All of [the Office of Sustainability’s] initiatives have been successful and save money,” Ryan said. “Our decisions must be better for the environment, community and the budget.”

The tours take at least an hour to allow enough time for the full learning experience. They are run when people make requests to the Office of Sustainability or contact Ryan directly.