AASHE Sustainability Leadership Award Winners Announced

For Immediate Release - Friday, September 7, 2007
Contact: Julian Dautremont-Smith, AASHE Associate Director - (610) 349-5994

Muncie, IN: The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) presented its annual Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards Friday morning. The winners were the Michigan State University, Middlebury College, Green Mountain College, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. In addition, The Evergreen State College and University of California, Berkeley received honorable mentions. The awards recognize institutions that have demonstrated an outstanding overall commitment to sustainability in their governance and administration, curriculum and research, operations, campus culture, and community outreach.

AASHE also presented a Student Sustainability Leadership Award to Megan Naseman, a recent graduate from Berea College. The award, which comes with a $750 prize, honors an undergraduate student from an AASHE member institution who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting campus sustainability.

The awards were presented at the 7th biennial Greening of the Campus conference entitled, Partnering for Sustainability: Enabling a Diverse Future (Sept. 6-8 at Ball State University).

"We had a very competitive pool of applicants this year, so winning one of these awards is a major achievement," said Tom Kimmerer, the Executive Director of AASHE.

The awards are endorsed by the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC), a network of 13 leading higher education associations with a commitment to advancing sustainability within their constituencies as well as in the system of higher education.

“As a key supplier of environmentally preferable products to the Higher Education sector, Office Depot applauds the efforts of all of the Campus Sustainability Leadership Award Winners,” said Victoria Dumont, Director of Education and Government Solutions for Office Depot, which is sponsoring the awards program for the second consecutive year.

Yalmaz Siddiqui, Environmental Strategy Advisor to Office Depot added, “Office Depot has an environmental vision to increasingly buy green, be green and sell green. By recognizing the leaders of today we hope to encourage the integration of green thinking into the organizations of tomorrow.”

AASHE received 21 applications for the campus awards and 12 applicants for the student award. The award winners were selected by pools of campus sustainability experts assembled by AASHE.

Brief summaries of the achievements of each award winner are included below. Applications for the campus awards have been posted online at: www.aashe.org/resources/profiles/profiles.php

Summary of Award Winner Achievements

Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards

One Campus Sustainability Leadership Award was given in each of the following categories:
• Community colleges and other two-year institutions
• Four-year and graduate institutions under 1,000 student FTE
• Four-year and graduate institutions 1,001 - 7,500 student FTE
• Four-year and graduate institutions over 7,500 student FTE

Chandler-Gilbert Community College (Chandler, AZ) has committed to climate neutrality through participation in the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The College requires LEED Silver certification for all new construction, and uses reclaimed water for irrigation. A campus-wide lighting retrofit was recently completed, and the College is engaged in a comprehensive energy audit. In addition, a student sustainability pledge has been incorporated into the commencement ceremony.

Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT) has oriented its mission around environmental responsibility. Students are required take sustainability-related courses as part of GMC's core curriculum in Environmental Liberal Arts. GMC purchases renewable energy credits to mitigate more than half of its electricity consumption, and has installed solar panels and a small-scale wind turbine on campus. Thirteen percent of the food served in its dining hall is produced locally – a number set to increase 5 percent per year over the next three years. GMC employs a full-time sustainability and service coordinator, and a student-approved fee of $30 per year supports Campus Greening Fund that allocates more than $25,000 annually for student-initiated sustainability projects. GMC is a signatory to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT) has committed to becoming climate neutral by 2016. It has the oldest undergraduate environmental studies program in the United States and its students are on the forefront of student climate action, playing leadership roles in major national events such as Step It Up. Middlebury spends 25 percent of its dining budget on locally grown and produced food and the college recycles 60 percent of its waste. It is installing a biomass gasification facility that will use wood chips and cut the college's fuel oil consumption in half. Middlebury’s long-term goal is to obtain the chips from local suppliers who practice sustainable forestry. Middlebury employs a dean of environmental affairs as well as a sustainability coordinator. Sustainability is incorporated into orientation for new students, staff and faculty.

Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) has adopted environmental stewardship as a major component of its campus vision. The University has committed to 2% annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through participation in the Chicago Climate Exchange. MSU has committed to meet LEED standards for new buildings and has the lowest electrical consumption per square foot among the Big Ten universities. The University has a wide variety of academic programs and research initiatives related to sustainability, and five times more courses on sustainability are offered this year than in 2000. To coordinate its efforts, Michigan State employs a director of campus sustainability, a campus environmental management systems manager, energy and environment engineer, solid waste coordinator, and an environmental stewardship project coordinator.

Honorable Mentions:
The Evergreen State College's strategic plan commits the institution to achieving carbon neutrality and zero waste by 2020. 100% of the College's electricity consumption is mitigated through the purchase of renewable energy credits, and 40% of its food budget is locally grown and/or organic products. University of California, Berkeley has committed to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2014. Both UC Berkeley and Evergreen State are signatories to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Student Sustainability Leadership Award

Megan Naseman led sustainability outreach efforts at Berea College. Serving as the Outreach Coordinator Sustainability and Environmental Studies (SENS) Program director of the SENS theme house, Megan organized major events and activities including Campus Sustainability Month, StepItUp, Earth Month, and more. Megan also organized a sustainability-focused training session for all of Berea’s Residential Assistants and produced a directory of campus sustainability efforts as well as educational handouts about the Ecovillage and sustainable living. Judges were particularly impressed with Megan's collaborative and welcoming approach to sustainability and her success at engaging new audiences in sustainability efforts.

About AASHE:
AASHE is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to create a sustainable future. It was founded in 2006 with a mission to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education - from governance and operations to curriculum and outreach - through education, communication, research and professional development. AASHE defines sustainability in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations.