AASHE's 1,132 members and 286 STARS Institutions are at the forefront of education, operations, planning and engagement initiatives toward a more sustainable campus, community and world. In observance of Earth Week, AASHE is celebrating these achievements by asking our members and STARS Institutions to share the top three sustainability achievements they are most proud of.
Here is what they said...
Stormwater Interpretive Signage
Credit: Aaron Cianek.
The walls of our academic core extend to embrace the exploration of campus ecosystems. Interpretive signage and an outdoor classroom provide an educational component to our stormwater process. They create a living, learning laboratory for the campus and community by promoting conservation, land stewardship, and responsible measures for rainwater runoff.
Green graduate at Delta College. Credit: Andrea Techlin.
Delta’s commencement comes in all shades of green! Gowns use 100 percent recycled content yarn. Diplomas, produced by a carbon-neutral FSC-COC manufacturer, contain 30 percent post-consumer content. Commemorative pins are awarded to grads who pledge to "…use my knowledge of sustainability to enhance the communities in which I live, learn, and work."
Green Printing Services
FSC printing at Delta College. Credit: Andrea Techlin
Printing Services earned FSC-COC, making Delta, to date, the only college-owned and operated FSC Michigan printer. An internal assessment was conducted to develop a Documented Control System detailing purchasing, production, product handling, record-keeping, and training. Certification allows the Printing Department to use the FSC logo on its printed products, furthering sustainable awareness.
Climate Action Plan
Drew University Campus. Credit: Lynne DeLade
The Drew University Sustainability Committee, made up of students, faculty and staff representatives from all three schools, wrote the Climate Action Plan with the goal of climate neutrality by 2035. The University’s Board of Trustees and President approved the Climate Action Plan in 2010.
Students planting native ferns.
Efforts are underway to restore the forest ecosystem at Drew. Native trees and shrubs were planted in the Forest Reserve on campus. Each year at Fern Fest, volunteers replace a section of lawn and plant native ferns and wildflowers to improve the understory of the campus.
Real Food Commitment
Students for Sustainable Food. Credit: Bill Cardoni
In November 2011, Drew University became the second university in the nation to sign the Real Food Commitment, pledging to put 20 percent of our food budget towards local, ecologically-sound, fair trade or humane food by 2020. This effort complements our new student garden and annual Fair Fest.
Goal to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 30%
Harvard President Faust with Harvard REP students handing out CFLs to their peers. Credit: Office for Sustainability.
In response to this goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016 from a 2006 baseline, the entire community has acted to reduce energy and curb emissions through a combination of extensive energy audits, energy conservation measures, efficiency improvements to our energy supply, comprehensive green building standards, and behavioral change campaigns.
Green Office Program
Harvard's LASPAU Green Team with their re-usable mugs, implemented as part of the Green Office Program.
This program gives employees and green teams the tools and resources to reduce energy and conserve resources in their workplace, and has resulted in over 145 Green Offices and over 2,600 employees engaged in green campaigns. The four Leaf levels recognize and reward progress as offices implement more extensive sustainability actions.
75 LEED Certifications
Harvard’s Larsen Hall First Floor classroom was the first LEED-CI Platinum certified classroom in the world. Credit: Brooks Canaday.
In 2011, Harvard became the first higher education institution in the world to achieve 50 LEED certifications. In April 2012, we reached the exciting milestone of 75 LEED-certified projects including the reconstruction of Harvard’s greenest LEED Platinum certified laboratory building.
Haywood Community College
Electric Vehicle Charging Station
As a result of the installation, the only publicly available electric vehicle charging station in Southwest North Carolina, a faculty member converted his vehicle to electric to utilize the station between work and home.
Student Sustainability Projects
Students have implemented various projects around campus including an 8-kilowatt solar array; and the reforestation of an old drive with pocket wetlands and elm trees This provides our students with hands-on experience, as well as a way to engage them with sustainable practices and technologies.
LEED Platinum Building
Creative Arts Building; LEED Platinum
The 36,000-square-foot building that houses the Professional Craft Program is the only LEED Platinum building in Haywood County.
Jefferson Community and Technical College
Jefferson held a tree planting at our Shelby campus to enhance the campus’s green landscape, celebrating Sustainability and Earth week by bringing together students, faculty and staff outside of the regular classroom or workplace setting. This event was used to announce our plan to restore 30+ acres to a natural habitat.
Jefferson held a composting display at our Technical campus during Earth Week allowing students, faculty and staff to see firsthand how simple composting is with ideas and tips to try at home. This event was used to announce what the college is doing with its first-ever composter.
Sustainable Transportation Outreach
Jefferson Community and Technical College – Southwest Campus
Jefferson’s Southwest campus Earth Week event focused on the importance of car maintenance and why it’s necessary for the environment and public health. A representative from the Louisville Air Pollution Control District offered tips for vehicle upkeep, anti-idling information, and provided tire gauges for everyone.
Lahore University of Management Sciences
'Always Green' Initiative
Academic Block at LUMS, a campus that recently launched the SarSubz LUMS Initiative.
From its inception a quarter century ago, LUMS has actively worked to be "green." The SarSubz LUMS Initiative ("SarSubz" is Urdu for "Always Green") is a formalization of this commitment to environmental consciousness and sustainable development.
Coinciding with Earth Day, LUMS announced the revival of its campus bicycle sharing program, which will allow anyone in the LUMS community to borrow a bicycle for use on campus or for nearby trips.
Planting Indigenous Trees
Dr. Adil Najam, LUMS Vice Chancellor, planting a Neem tree on campus at start of LUMS Tree Plantation Programme
Neem trees have recently been planted on campus. Neem trees were selected because Neem is an indigenous tree of this region. In light of Dengue concerns, their use as a mosquito repellant was also considered.
Southern Oregon University
LEED Platinum Building
56-kilowatt solar PV system atop the LEED Platinum Higher Education Center.
Southern Oregon University paired with Rogue Community College to build our Higher Education Center in 2008, the first building in the Oregon University System to receive LEED Platinum certification. There are many sustainable design features including a solar array, CO2 sensors, heat wheels, occupancy sensors and much more.
Southern Oregon University's Churchill Building, constructed in 1926
The current renovation of Southern Oregon University’s administrative building will result in significant energy savings. The renovation includes replacing inefficient windows, increasing insulation in the walls and ceilings, and upgrading to more efficient lighting and HVAC systems. Though not seeking certification, the project is slated to meet LEED standards.
Student-Led Recycling Program
SOU/RCC's LEED Platinum Higher Education Building in Medford, OR
Southern Oregon University now has an operational recycling program where none existed before. The creation of the program was entirely executed by students who gained funding through grants and student fees to place recycling stations throughout campus; construct SOU’s recycling center; and hire a full-time sustainability and recycling coordinator.
For the first time, Trinity University celebrated Earth Day with an entire week of activities to highlight the university’s commitment to sustainability and green practices. Highlights were:
Yoga and Other Earth Week Awareness Activities
Yoga in the garden, along with the outdoor viewing of environmental film "Green Fire"; festival showcasing student group and campus department green initiatives; art exhibit featuring recycled refuse; zero waste baseball game; and "Trash Hill," a collection of one day’s worth of trash to raise awareness that drew media attention from six TV stations, a radio station and a newspaper outlet.
LEED Gold Certification
News from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that one of our student dorms, Calvert Residence Hall, received LEED Gold certification. This is the second residence hall at Trinity to receive LEED Gold.
Environmental Leader Lecture
A visit from Furman University President Emeritus David Shi, an educational environmental leader who met with environmental studies classes and other student groups to discuss sustainability issues, and delivered a lecture about adapting to a sustainable future.
Unity's newest student housing is the nation's first campus residence built to the strict Passive House energy standard. Students were closely involved in the design phase while those in the Passive House course used building energy performance concepts to connect area residents with home weatherization incentives from the State.
Pastured Poultry Collaboration
Unity College's FFA club has joined forces with the local high school FFA chapter to raise pastured poultry. The students involved monitor, feed, water, and clean up after the chickens. The construction of chicken tractors also taught students important skills for raising poultry sustainably.
Food Bank Farming
Unity College hosts the hunger relief agriculture project Veggies for All, which annually grows about 13,000 pounds of produce for the local food pantry on and near Unity’s campus. Food is stored in the student-built root cellar for distribution throughout the long Maine winter.
University at Albany
Mock Electricity Bill Program
Implementation of fake electric bill program for on campus apartment residents. We have a complex on campus that houses 300 apartments that are metered individually. We issue mock electric bills to the residents twice a semester. These bills help them compare their apartment use to the highest, lowest and average use in the complex. The bills also come with conservation tips on the back. In the spring, we co-sponsor a contest where the apartment with the lowest electricity use and the biggest decline in electricity use are awarded prizes.
Carbon Footprint Reduction
Reduction of carbon footprint by 14 percent in the last four years. This has mainly been achieved through energy conservation measures. We were recognized for these efforts in 2011 with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Environmental Excellence Award.
Clothing Exchange and Wellness Fair
A university-wide clothing exchange and wellness fair to celebrate Earth Day. The Office of Environmental Sustainability works with our Employee Assistance Program, student groups and academic apartments to put on a full day of events. The day begins with a wellness fair where health screenings like blood pressure checks, glucose screenings, spinal adjustments and pulmonary checks are done for free or low cost. The afternoon features exhibits around a main theme (this year was food and nutrition) along with small demonstrations on the topics.
In addition, the campus comes together to donate their gently used and unwanted clothes and exchanges them for some "new to you" clothes in a campus-wide clothing swap. Leftover clothes are donated to the City Mission. At night the student groups provide an array of educational speakers on sustainability topics and good some music to enjoy each others company while we celebrate the earth.
University of Alberta
Sustainability Awareness Week
Each year, the University of Alberta hosts Sustainability Awareness Week in partnership with more than 30 on- and off-campus organizations. This past year, the week featured 54 unique sustainability-related events that engaged and educated a total of 8,045 members of the campus community and general public in environmental, social and economic sustainability-related issues.
One Simple Act on Campus
University of Alberta students making commitments towards the One Simple Act on Campus program.
In 2011-2012, the University of Alberta rolled out the One Simple Act on Campus project. The program invites the campus community to make a commitment to implement a simple action into their daily lives relating to waste reduction, energy efficiency, sustainability or water conservation. So far, over 400 students, staff and faculty have made personal commitments.
A student pledging to power down for the hour for Earth Hour 2012, as part of the One Hour, No Power: Campus Challenge.
For Earth Hour 2012, the University of Alberta teamed up with nine other post-secondary institutions from across Alberta to raise awareness for the need to take action against climate change by hosting the One Hour, No Power Campus Challenge. In total 2,317 students, faculty and staff participated, pledging to power down during Earth Hour.
University of British Columbia
Centre for Interactive Research and Sustainability
UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is a global leader in utilizing physical space as a living laboratory. CIRS research focuses on sustainable building design and operations, policy analysis and strategy, and tools for modeling and visualizing sustainable communities. CIRS seeks solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.
A "Do It in the Dark" organizer shows off the competition bulletin board and calendar
From November 7-25 2011, students living at UBC’s Totem Park and Place Vanier Residences competed in “Do It in the Dark.” This province-wide energy conservation competition challenged students to reduce energy consumption by taking action in their own residences. Students competed for online prizes, energy savings and bragging rights.
AMS Sustainability Fund
GeoGarden outside of UBC's Geography Students' Association
Inspiring students to promote sustainability, the AMS Sustainability Fund provided $46,554 in financial support this past year for student-led projects. Funds have been used to establish bikeshare programs, GeoGardens (community food garden for geography students), and biodiesel production from cooking oil waste. The program increases student engagement and resource conservation via peer-to-peer sustainability programs.
University of Calgary
Schulich Axiom Solar Car
Team members in front of the Axiom solar car
The University of Calgary’s Schulich Axiom solar car was the top Canadian team in the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge, placing 19th out of 37 teams. The 3000-kilometer race, finishing in Adelaide, Australia, took participants through some of the most remote and barren regions on the continent.
The University of Calgary’s cogeneration plant, opened in 2011, supplies 99.9 percent of the Main Campus’ energy needs with cleaner power than that available from the grid. The plant cuts the university’s CO2 emissions by 25 percent and saves $3.5 million in energy costs annually.
Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability
The University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business has partnered with Enbridge to create a best-in-class corporate sustainability centre. The Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability (ECCS) will collaborate with academics, institutions and private sector organizations to provide a neutral ground for impactful and relevant research and education.
University of Denver
Photo taken by Michael Johnson, University of Denver
Many of the successes we’ve achieved with sustainability at the University of Denver were originally researched and suggested by students: becoming an ACUPCC signatory, bringing composting to campus dining, hosting conferences, installing water bottle filling stations throughout campus, participating in Denver B-Cycle, expanding campus recycling, and many more!
Energy Reserve Fund
Our Energy Reserve Fund allows for savings generated by efficiency upgrades to create a source of capital for future efficiency projects. We’ve invested $1.5 million in efficiency projects like lighting and mechanical upgrades; we’ve reduced electrical consumption by over 4 million kWh/yr, (a carbon offset of more than 4000 MeTCO2/year).
Full-Time Sustainability Coordinator Position
We are thrilled to have a full-time sustainability coordinator starting soon. As we look forward to that and as we reflect on our history, we are proud of the many things we have accomplished over the years with an ALL-VOLUNTEER force of sustainability activists amongst our students, faculty, and staff.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Outreach and Education Events
April Muller, winner of the undergraduate sustainability research award for work on "From Circle Campus to Cycle Campus"
Last summer we held the first annual Summer Institute for Sustainability, an intense interdisciplinary program for graduate and senior-level undergraduate students. For a week in August, participants from diverse academic backgrounds were immersed in a broad spectrum of sustainability and energy related topics: policy, economics, health, science, engineering, environment, urban planning, business and entrepreneurship. In the fall, we held our annual Sustainability Week with an event each day promoting recycling, reuse, conserving energy, walk/pedal/ride, and eating local.
Throughout the year, we hosted a monthly Sustainability Lunch Series. In January, we held a 4-year anniversary celebration for the Office of Sustainability, which was well-attended by many campus and external community partners and included a formal presentation of the 2011 Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award to the Chancellor. In April 2012, we promoted and hosted over 30 Earth Month events including the University of Commonsense panel on the future of nuclear energy, several water-related seminars, a sustainability award as part of the annual Student Research Forum, an Arbor Day celebration, Ecojamapalooza earth day celebration with the Giving Tree Band and Schwintonation, Earth Day Tree Planting with Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams in memory of Wangari Maathai at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum on campus, and concluding with a three-mile Fun Run.
Tree Planting Program
Students plant tree during Arbor Day celebration
This year the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Management oversaw the inventory of over 5000 trees, including over 100 species, the development of an urban forestry care plan, an educational program, tree planting, and formation of a campus tree care committee. For this effort we were awarded Tree Campus USA recognition. We also applied for and received a tree planting program from the Arbor Day Foundation, allowing us to host a tree planting event with nearly 100 volunteers and 40 trees.
After several years of hard work, UIC Students from the Undergraduate Student Government and green student groups got a green fee approved by the Board of Trustees this spring. The fee will provide nearly $200,000 annually to support campus sustainability projects including the purchase of clean energy through renewable energy credits or alternate means.
University of Iowa
Recycling and Composting Programs
The recycling and composting effort at the 2011 UI Convocation and President's block party kept 90 percent of the waste generated at the events from going to the landfill. Volunteers educated 4,500 incoming students about recycling and collected compostable food materials, plastics, cardboard and redeemable beverage containers.
Energy Control Center
The University of Iowa Energy Control Center houses one of the most advanced and extensive energy management tools available in a campus environment. Building Energy Dashboards provide real-time and historical displays of energy consumption (steam, electric, chilled water) in all UI buildings connected to the campus utilities system.
Biomass Energy Program
Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant uses woods chips
Since 2003, oat hulls have served as the cornerstone of the UI biomass energy program. This spring 2012, biomass (wood chips) use on campus expanded to the UI Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant, earning it the National Recognition Award for engineering excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies.
University of New Hampshire
UNH Sustainability Book
Cover image courtesy of artist Dennis Balogh and the UNH Foundation, Inc.
UNH's sustainability leadership was chronicled in a book written by over 60 faculty, staff, and community members in 2009.
Credit: UNH Photographic Services.
In 2009, UNH began using processed landfill gas from the EcoLine project, a landfill gas-to-energy project that uses methane gas from a nearby landfill as the primary fuel for the COGEN plant. UNH will sell the renewable energy certificates (REC's) associated with ECOLine's electricity generation to help finance the capital costs of the project and to invest in additional energy efficiency projects on campus. When combined with the COGEN plant, ECOLine will stabilize energy costs, provide energy security, and demonstrate environmental responsibility.
ECOLine and selling RECs are part of UNH’s aggressive climate action plan called “WildCAP,” which will outline how the university will lower its emissions to basically zero and secure its leadership position in climate protection as part of its broader sustainability commitment. Under WildCAP, UNH will cut its greenhouse gas emissions: 50 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 on the road to carbon neutrality by 2100.
Food System Work
Credit: UNH Photographic Services.
From the first organic dairy research farm at a land grant university to the innovative dual major in EcoGastronomy, UNH is advancing sustainable food from farm to fork to health and nutrition outcomes. The image is of an EcoGastronomy class with instructor Dan Winans from the UNH Whittemore School of Business & Economics.
University of Virginia
Local Food Commitment
Students sample local food at a Local Food Fair in Fall 2011. Photo by Dan Addison
The University of Virginia has established partnerships with the Local Food Hub and Blue Ridge Produce, two local entities that aggregate food items from small family farmers and make them available to institutional buyers like us. Thanks to those partnerships, we have purchased local apples, squash, potatoes, asparagus, berries, tomatoes, kale, lettuce, and more over the past two years. We are exposing UVa's student body to an array of healthy and sustainable - and just as importantly, delicious - food offerings and hope that they embrace a commitment to local purchasing in the years to come.
Reusable To-Go Container Program
Celebrating Earth Day with a photo booth and food in a reusable container
This year alone, 180 new students have signed up to use reusable containers and have diverted a number of disposable clamshells from the landfill. Dining has expanded the program this year to include its food trucks, a new residential dining location, and to include a drop-site for dirty containers at a popular library cafe.
Fair Trade App
Dining audited its Fair Trade offerings this year during Fair Trade Month (October) and added the results to the crowd-sourced Fair Trade App. Now people can easily log onto the Fair Trade USA Facebook page or download the app and quickly learn where to find Fair Trade Certified items on UVa Grounds!
Vancouver Community College
Bottled Water Ban
Tony Tang, Darell Mussatto, Charmaine Waters, Greg Moore and Kathy Kinloch
Vancouver Community College President Kathy Kinloch made history on Thursday, March 22 as she and Students’ Union of VCC Chairperson Charmaine Waters signed a pledge to make the VCC the first post-secondary institution in Metro Vancouver to eliminate sales of bottled water by spring 2013. Tony Tang, Vancouver city councillor, congratulated the college and SUVCC on this new sustainability initiative and presented a proclamation from the City of Vancouver; March 22, 2012 is officially Vancouver Community College Bottled Water Free Day. The initiative has received support from Dogwood Initiative, Wilderness Committee, David Suzuki Foundation, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, BC Health Communities and Back the Tap Coalition.
Environmental Sustainability Plan
The fourth initiative in VCC's 2011-2014 strategic plan is to build and implement a college-wide Environmental Sustainability Plan. Within this initiative, VCC will bring sustainability principles into the thinking, actions, culture and everyday operations of VCC, demonstrate our respect for the envronment as we educate students, staff and faculty about environmental stewardship and seek innovations and improved practices that reduce our carbon footprint.
In celebration of Earth Day, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is proud to announce it has joined the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to further efforts toward building a healthy and just world. Through membership in AASHE, VCC will receive support in advancing its sustainability initiatives on campus and in the community. "I am pleased to announce VCC's membership in AASHE," said Kathy Kinloch, VCC president. "This collaboration will further strengthen the commitment to the environment that resonates so clearly within VCC's 2011-2014 Strategic Plan and will position our students, staff, faculty and administrators as leaders in the post-secondary move towards greater environmental sustainability."