Fall fair promotes community sustainability
Smart living displays and pumpkin decorating filled the Viking Union’s Multipurpose Room during the Sustainability Fair on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
This marks the fifth year of the annual fall fair meant to promote sustainability between Western and Bellingham communities.
Susanna Hamilton, Sustainability Action Plan Coordinator at Western, planned this year’s event.
“We want to invite organizations from campus and organizations from the community to come in and talk about how they do sustainability, what they do to provide sustainability resources to the students on our campus,” Hamilton said.
Enya Garcia is a junior who runs the Office of Sustainability’s website. She spent her time at the fair volunteering and working the raffle.
“It’s kind of like our little info fair to get people interested and know about all of the sustainable programs on campus,” Garcia said.
Hamilton said the fair has a four-part definition for sustainability that was printed on their posters.
These included protecting local and global ecology, upholding social equity, creating economic vitality and maintaining human health.
Hamilton hopes that people will be able to take with them the notion that sustainability is more than just the environment.
“This is about making sure there’s social equity, and that we’re taking care of each other and human health,” she said.
The fair represented groups within campus like the Outdoor Center and the Housing Index, but the organizations displayed weren’t just in-house.
“We’re looking at bringing in community organizations that are also sustainability focused … so that students on campus know what resources are available in the community,” Hamilton said.
Organizations like the Whatcom County Community Emergency Response Team and Community Food Co-op helps to showcase a community and campus relationship.
Izzy Juell, a vendor and senior Western student working for the reclaimed-material store RE Store, said the store diverts items like doors and windows from landfills and other areas to recycle back into people’s hands.
Creating a scavenger hunt for the fair, Hamilton asked organizations that were at the event to provide participants with questions about how sustainable practices are used within their companies.
Once answered, event-goers could go to a table to get tickets entering them in the fair’s raffle to win a prize donated by a local business.
The event also included pumpkin decorations and local, sustainably-sourced food.
Western freshman Ryan Yee said he came to the fair because of his interest in business and sustainability, as well as the sustainability efforts in the local area. Yee said he’s out of state, and coming here from Hawaii made him appreciate the recycle-forward attitude of Bellingham.