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Sustainability Initiative at Olympic College

The Sustainability Advisory Council

The Sustainability Advisory Council is a group of Olympic College faculty, staff, and students dedicated to achieving a sustainable community for current and future generations. We first came together in January of 2007 for the purpose of promoting education about the environment and fostering sustainable operations and behaviors on campus. Supporting the President's Climate Commitment, our role is to develop, initiate, and monitor Olympic College’s plan for becoming a climate neutral campus.

The goals of the Sustainability Advisory Council:

Curriculum and Scholarship Goals

  • Build a culture of sustainability at Olympic College
  • Nurture an understanding of sustainability issues among faculty and staff
  • Encourage faculty to apply methods of teaching and learning that foster an understanding and practice of sustainability 

Student Engagement Goals

  • Support and promote a variety of strategies to engage students in environmental projects on and off campus through clubs, special activities, and class assignments
  • Serve as a liaison/contact for student-based environmental activities
  • Teach students how to recycle and live more sustainably

Operations Goals

  • Reduce the college's carbon footprint
  • Expand and enhance recycling programs
  • Reduce the use of toxic chemicals on campuses
  • Purchase recycled, recyclable, and/or energy star supplies and equipment
  • Develop environmentally sustainable landscapes for the college's campuses
  • Encourage the use of public transportation, walking and biking to school to reduce carbon emissions generated by student and employee commuting

Communication and Outreach Goals

  • Inform OC students and employees about environmental inititatives on campus
  • Outreach to community in support of environmental awareness and projects

The G-1 parking lot was selected as one of a150 pilot projects throughout the United States, Canada, Iceland and Spain to develop new sustainability standards for land development, similar to the LEED system for rating the sustainability of buildings.  It was one of only four parking lots in this pilot program.  Special design principles were applied which include all of the items mentioned above, as well as energy efficient LED lighting, safe pedestrian routes of travel and improved accessibility.

G-1 - A parking lot with gardens that work

Vegetation is one of the most effective methods to “clean” water polluted with contaminants such as oil, grease and toxic chemicals before it flows into local waterways.  The solid surface of parking lots causes water to run along the top instead of absorbing into the ground.  As it flows across the surface, the water picks up contaminants that spill or drip from cars and other sources.  This polluted mixture flows directly into local waterways and can harm fish and wildlife, taint drinking water and impact recreational areas.  To help limit pollution and reduce cleanup costs of local waters, Olympic College is leading the way to make water cleaner and safer using better designed parking lots and vegetation that filters pollution from water runoff.  This natural system also has the benefit of reducing heat buildup in parking lots during the summer, buffering sound from traffic, reducing storm water over load, and looking more attractive than other pollution removal systems.  In the case of the new parking lot, these systems are utilized to process runoff from a portion of Broadway Avenue and about a quarter of the Bremerton campus as well as the new parking lot itself.

During coordination efforts with the City of Bremerton and the Washington State Department of Transportation, we learned that there are plans to widen Warren Avenue.  Since we did not want to waste resources constructing parking that would be demolished shortly, we planned for the widening and landscaped the impacted area with low groundcovers.

Electric Car Charging in the G-1 Parking Lot

There are five electric car charging stations available on a first-come-first-served basis in the general parking lot, G-1.

Those of you fortunate enough to be able to use them, will need to register. Registration is free – the power is not.

To register go to www.blinknetwork.com . On that site, go to the membership tab. Highlight the button next to the level of membership you wish to use and follow the instructions.

After you register, you will receive a card. The chargers are activated by using the card and a pass code. 

The card can also be used at other chargers at locations across the U.S. There is a map on the web site that not only shows you where there are charging stations, but which ones are currently being used by someone else. The map does not show our stations yet, but one of our employees is already using one, and will soon be joined by an employee at Bremerton High School.

G-1 Parking Lot Economics

The electric charging stations and all of the sustainability consulting required for the project were provided to Olympic College free of charge. 

Additionally, using functional landscaping actually saved the College the money it would have been required to spend on underground water run-off processing system if the parking lot had maximized parking with a solid paved surface



The resources listed below have been gathered by members of our Sustainability Advisory Council for the purpose of helping you learn more about sustainability.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education