North Seattle College has been committed to sustainable and environmentally responsible practices for nearly two decades. In the last five years this work has expanded to include not only environmental, but also social, cultural, and economic sustainability.
North has a sustainability committee with broad campus representation from student, staff, faculty and administrators. Sustainability is infused throughout the campus from the long-range campus plan to daily practices of recycling and energy conservation, and the community at North continues to pride itself for its sustainable practices, and for being a model for community colleges and higher education campuses nationwide.
The Sustainability Committee was formed in 2004 under the direction of President Ron Lafayette. This primarily volunteer committee coordinated Earth Day events each year and worked to implement policy changes on campus to reduce resource consumption and improve sustainability literacy.
During spring quarter 2009, Students for Sustainability worked with student leadership, the Student Fee Board, North's administration and the Sustainability Committee chair, the student Sustainability Club, and College faculty and staff to fund a sustainability coordinator. Thanks to student leadership, the progress of sustainability development and education has accelerated dramatically.
In February 2018, electric vehicle charging stations were made available on North’s campus.
North has developed a model to utilize students to advance sustainability across campus. Based on coursework and personal interest, students design and implement real-world sustainability work in partnership with the faculty, operations staff and administrators. Not only does this partnership provide the College the needed evaluation and research to shape operations and curriculum to be responsive to today’s challenging economic conditions, but offers students unparalleled training to be competitive in the workforce or higher education.
The lens of sustainability provides a clear picture for preserving a world where future generations have the same opportunities as current generations. Everyone must work together to shape the jobs and research to accomplish this vision. North has emerged as a leader in training the workforce of the future. The College is leading by example to inspire students to think critically about all aspects of our world within the context of environmental literacy, social justice and economic systems that reflect these values.
- In September 2019, North was recognized as the number four institution in the nation, amongst associate colleges for sustainability, by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The ranking was measured by the Sustainable Campus Index, which recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability impact areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System.
- North was recognized as an official Fair Trade (FT) certified campus, by Fair Trade Campaigns, in January 2019. North was the second college in the state of Washington and 55th in the nation to receive this recognition. North’s FT and Local Sourcing Resolution commitments include outreach on FT purchasing at events and providing FT options at its retailers on campus (i.e. the Grove and Bookstore).
- North received a silver rating recognition from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System program in Dec. 2017. North also received a silver rating in 2013 and a bronze in 2011.