AASHE is helping to create a brighter future of opportunity for all by advancing sustainability in higher education. By creating a diverse community engaged in sharing ideas and promising practices, AASHE provides administrators, faculty, staff and students, as well as the business that serve them, with: thought leadership and essential knowledge resources; outstanding opportunities for professional development; and a unique framework for demonstrating the value and competitive edge created by sustainability initiatives.
AASHE defines sustainability in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations.
AASHE is an independent 501(c)(3). Institutional membership in AASHE includes every individual at an institution.
In 2008, the AASHE Board of Directors adopted a statement of our Vision, Mission and Goals for 2011.
Our services include:
- AASHE Annual Conference North America's largest campus sustainability conference
- Professional Development workshops and webinars
- AASHE Newsletters including AASHE Announcements, AASHE Bulletin, and STARS Update.
- Resource Center with specialized online resources and directories
- Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)
- AASHE Awards Program recognizing sustainability leadership by institutions and individuals
- Supporting the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment
Our activities are designed to:
- Make sustainable practices the norm within higher education
- Facilitate institutional efforts to integrate sustainability into teaching, research, operations, and public engagement
- Disseminate knowledge and best practices and promote resource sharing
- Support all sectors of campus in achieving sustainability goals
- Increase collaboration among individuals, institutions, and external partners to speed the adoption of sustainability practices
- Influence education policy so that sustainability is a focus at local, state and national levels
We strive to model sustainable practices in our own operations and activities.
AASHE's roots go back to the Education for Sustainability Western Network (EFS West), established in 2001 with funding from the Compton Foundation and support from Second Nature. EFS West served college campuses in the western US and Canada, providing resources and support for their sustainability efforts. Founding member Judy Walton became EFS West's first Executive Director in 2003.
In 2004, EFS West held the first North American Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education, in Portland, Oregon. The success of this conference and increasing demand for EFS West's resources led it to transition from a regional organization to a North American higher education association - the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. AASHE was officially launched in January 2006, serving as the first professional higher education association for the campus sustainability community.
In 2006, AASHE held its first conference in Tempe, AZ, with over 650 attendees. By its next conference, in Raleigh, NC, in 2008, attendance had tripled to over 1,700 participants. Today, AASHE continues to work to advance sustainability in all sectors of higher education and support campuses in meeting their sustainability goals.
On November 13, 2009, AASHE was awarded the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Sector award along with eco-America and Second Nature for the development of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment. In October 2010, AASHE was recognized by the NAAEE as the Outstanding Service to EE Organization, Global Level.