Two Tacoma educators named ‘Champions of Sustainability’ Three higher education sustainability leaders recognized for championing sustainability in the built environment

Katrina Taylor of Tacoma Community College (TCC), Ellen Moore of University of Washington-Tacoma (UWT), and Troy Builta of Mt. Hood Community College were each honored as champions at the 2019 Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC).
Credit: McKinstry

McKinstry, a national leader in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performing buildings, has honored three university educators as Champions of Sustainability for their dedication to promoting sustainability in the built environment.

The program recognizes organizations and individuals exhibiting a forward-looking approach to innovative energy and waste reduction in the built environment, which accounts for one-third of the world’s energy usage and more than 47 percent of carbon emissions.

Ellen Moore of University of Washington-Tacoma (UWT), Katrina Taylor of Tacoma Community College (TCC) and Troy Builta of Mt. Hood Community College were each honored as champions at the 2019 Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC).

Moore is a senior lecturer at UWT. Her research, teaching and practice revolve around the interconnection of media and the environment. Part of her pedagogy involves actively challenging students to consider their environmental impact in a consumption-focused society. To date, Moore and her students have participated in the “Plastic Free” challenge, where she and her students chose to go without any disposable plastic for a month; the “Carbon Challenge,” where students tried to lose 5,000 pounds of “carbon weight” in a quarter; and (this quarter) she and her great students are joining the “Buy Nothing New” movement, where they will buy nothing new for the next eight weeks. Currently she is teaching her new course: “Ecology, Inequality, and Popular Culture.”

Taylor is a political science professor at TCC. She facilitates experiential education and community engagement in both her political science and environmental sustainability classes, encouraging students to critically reflect on their individual habits and practices related to both the political system and the environment. Taylor has studied and advocated for the issue of climate change for over 20 years and is interested in reforming the education system to focus on preparing students and society for the ecological challenges of the future.

Builta is the Building Information Management (BIM) mapping and sustainability specialist at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) in Gresham, Ore. He is the chairperson of the college’s Sustainability Committee and has worked with the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council on the Clean Water Retrofit Project. MHCC now filters their runoff from roadways and parking lots before it goes into creeks and streams. This helped MHCC become the first Salmon Safe-certified community college in the nation. Builta also helped bring the annual Conservation and Repair Fair to the college in 2017. This event brings in exhibitors and vendors to help community members find ways to save money while reducing their environmental impact.

“We congratulate Troy, Katrina and Ellen for their inspiring leadership in championing sustainability,” said McKinstry Chief Market Officer Ash Awad. “Our built environment can and should do more to serve higher education. The world of higher education is filling that need by saving energy and cutting waste. We at McKinstry are proud to work alongside leaders like these to make a difference on campuses across the country.”

The 2019 Champions of Sustainability awards are presented in collaboration with the annual Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference (WOHESC). More information about WOHESC can be found at


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