Researching Campus Sustainability History

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2 replies [Last post]
AASHE Member
Joined: Aug 4 2010


I am working on my thesis literature review and part of it is a snapshot of the history of campus sustainability. I would love to include who established the first office of sustainability. I know that UC Boulder established their student led center in 1970, and I have read that the University of New Hampshire has the first endowed office of sustainability. However, I was hoping to verify they are the front runners for these titles. Can anyone share any additional information or point me towards some resources that may help me?

Thank you,
Cori Cusker

AASHE Member
Joined: Dec 23 2008

I have no idea about first susty office. I would look first at UBC--Freda Pagani, and the U South Carolina system. A women named Trish Jerman started a system wide effort there in ca 1996.

Does Chris Uhl's 1995 effort at Penn State count? He certainly did the first sustainability assessment.

I think me and Leith Sharp at Harvard started later (99ish) about the same time. And when did Kurt Teichert start the office at Brown? Probably in that vicinity.

Lastly, Georgia Tech did a sustainability retreat with key faculty and leaders in 1994 with some alumni guy named Ray Anderson. Carol Carmichael, (wife of then GaTech pres Jean Luc Something) headed up a susty program that was in place when I started at Florida in 99. She was a huge help to me.

Dave Newport
CU-Boulder, 2005-present
U Florida, 1999 - 2005

StaffAASHE Member
Joined: Dec 16 2008

Hi Cori,

You may find Sustainability on Campus: Stories and Strategies for Change useful. It was published in 2004 prior to AASHE as an organization existing in its current form (see AASHE's abbreviated history here).
In particular, Sustainability on Campus has a short and useful section on the sustainability movement in HE.

Another publication of interest would be The Sustainable Learning Community: One University's Journey to the Future. It is the story of the efforts of the University of New Hampshire (which does claim the oldest endowed campus-wide sustainability program in the US, 1997).

Good luck!