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WMU receives national recognition for sustainability efforts

Posted at 8:33 PM, Sep 14, 2023

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Western Michigan University is breaking down barriers and making efforts toward building a more sustainable future.

WMU receives national recognition for sustainability efforts

The university announced it has been recognized as a top performer in the 2023 Sustainable Campus Index.

“To be called out the way we were by AASHE for this recognition makes us feel like we're really on the right track,” said Neil Drobney, program director and affiliate faculty for the Haworth College of Business.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recognizes top-performing sustainable colleges and universities. Western’s Bronco Challenge for Sustainable Impact is what gained their attention.

“The challenge is an opportunity for students to work in teams to solve one of the world's significant sustainability problems,” Drobney said.

The United Nations has listed 17 sustainable development goals, on which students had to base their projects on.

“Students have to come up with an original idea for a new product, a new service, a new business, or a new public policy that solves whatever goal they've decided to work on, whatever project they've decided to work on,” he explained.

Goals include no poverty, quality education, gender equality, and zero hunger— which is what Will Roosien’s group focused on.

“We developed an NGO that was focused on providing a resource for individuals from inter-city and underprivileged areas so that they could garden and grow their own produce,” Roosien told FOX 17.

The project was called “Seed”, and focused on closing equity gaps and improving nutrition.

“We wanted to build out a program and prove a method in which gardening isn't exclusive for those who can afford it,” he added.

The university is kicking off the second year of the challenge as interest and industry sponsors grow.

Students have until Nov. 10 to register. The cash prize competition will kick off next April with presentations.

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