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Seattle Central’s Sustainability Story

Ten years ago, there were no compost bins at Seattle Central, greenhouse gas emissions from utility use weren’t being tracked and there was no such thing as the Sustainability Council.

While individual students, faculty, and staff cared about the environment and made pursuits towards conservation, there was not one staff member solely dedicated to overseeing sustainability efforts for the Seattle Colleges. Nor was there an administrative structure for student led sustainability efforts.

All that changed in 2009, when Seattle Colleges hired their first Sustainability Coordinator, Ian Siadek. Under Ian’s watch, greenhouse gas emissions were monitored, recorded and reported, and Sustainability Councils at North and Central campuses took root.

After seven years Ian’s replacement–Adam Maurer–was brought on board as the second Seattle Colleges Sustainability Coordinator.

I got the chance to speak with Adam this spring.

What’s Happening Now


Adam Maurer is lean, fit and smiling wide as we sit in the atrium of Seattle Central College. Originally from northern New York State, he spent summer’s growing up doing chores on his grandparents’ farm, and he’s comfortable enough in an outdoor shirt and denim pants–work clothes: Adam Maurer likes to get things done. He gestures enthusiastically, stretching his arms forward, waving at all the space around us:

“It’s like a whole city block, four stories high!” Adam exclaims exuberantly, his eyes sparkling with energy. He’s referring to the Broadway-Edison building, heartbeat of SCC and the building we happen to be in.

“BE alone makes up over 20% of the total area of the all the Seattle Colleges.” Adam spouts off the top of his head.

As the Seattle Colleges Sustainability Coordinator, Adam Maurer leads the collective efforts toward sustainability. Seattle Colleges are committed to preparing their students for success in a changing, challenging future, and sustainability fundamentally supports that goal.

He wants to make sure every voice has a seat at the table–and that every opinion is evaluated. He wants you to be involved.


The United Nations defines sustainability as the “ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Seattle Colleges have adopted this definition and incorporated it into their strategic plan (see the office’s current website).

You may have noticed more recycling bins around campus these past few years, or more areas for composting and better signage around waste containers; these and other improvements are thanks to Adam and several key supporters of sustainability initiatives around campus.

At Seattle Central, the Sustainability Council is chaired by Julia Buchans, Manager and Student Leadership veteran, in addition to having voices like Auxiliary Services Director Jeff Keever, tenured professor Rebecca Tesdell, and Allied Health leader Alexis Fein present at the table.

The Councils’ busy calendar of year-round activities culminate in Seattle Central’s annual Earth Week celebration in late April. More information can be found at

Vision for the Future


Adam wants to see long-term, continuous environmental progress happen–the kind of growth that builds over time and leads to lasting changes. Many people have contributed their efforts and insights over the years, and Adam is happy to build on the work of his predecessors by involving students, faculty and staff within Seattle Colleges.

To reach this achievement, Adam believes various voices around the Seattle Colleges are the key to success. He wants to make sure every voice has a seat at the table–and that every opinion is evaluated. He wants you to be involved.

To reach out and learn more about sustainability initiatives around campus, consider volunteering or participating with the Sustainability Council. Sustainability efforts coordinated by various student groups, such as the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, are also ways to get involved.

With leaders like Sustainability Coordinator Adam Maurer, and the efforts of contributors across campus, our students, faculty and staff can truly be engaged. Thanks to his efforts–and yours–sustainability work can make a positive lasting impact on our school and region for decades to come.

To reach Adam, contact him at

For info about Seattle District sustainability efforts, visit


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