10th Annual Campus Sustainability Day Sees Highest Participation Ever

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10th Annual Campus Sustainability Day Sees Highest Participation Ever
Campus celebrations triple from last year

Nov. 1, 2012 (Denver, CO)—A record number of colleges held campus events and participated in regional and national conversations for Campus Sustainability Day 2012, the tenth anniversary of the event. More than 150 institutions officially reported holding events, three times the number from last year.

Celebrations ranged from photo contests, film screenings, and tree plantings to information fairs, campus clean-ups, and sustainability pledges and competitions. Partly due to its coincidence with Food Day, many campus events raised awareness about food issues on campus and in the community. Highlights of the day (and week) included:

  • President Mary Ellen Mazey of Bowling Green State University signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, making BGSU the 661st school in the nation to join the pledge.
  • St. Louis University in Missouri released its first annual Campus Sustainability Report.
  • Viterbo University in Wisconsin became the 14th Catholic university in the nation to take the St. Francis Pledge to care for creation and the poor.
  • Celebrity actress, singer and writer Rosario Dawson spoke at Rider University's celebration in New Jersey.
  • Students at Iowa State University convened 27 Ames-based small businesses, nonprofit organizations and student-run societies to discuss their common interest in a sustainable future.
  • Utah State University held its first-ever Alternative Transportation Week in honor of Campus Sustainability Day.
  • Wesleyan University in Connecticut celebrated Campus Sustainability Day for the first time.
  • The University of Virginia launched a new sustainability website and a “sustainability pledge.”
  • At Tufts University, 200 students dropped off all the garbage they had accumulated during a week-long Zero Waste Challenge. Their trash was placed next to a mountain of waste collected from five residence halls.
  • Corning Community College in New York prepared a "stone soup" with vegetables and herbs donated by members of the college community to celebrate local produce and community.
  • Michigan State University students created a video of their Campus Sustainability Day Walking Tour.
  • The Student Organization for Sustainability at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville sponsored the “Zombies, Vampires and Werewolves Costume Party” to educate people on sustainability in a fun environment.

This year saw a very active social media presence for the first time. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's (AASHE) Storify page captures many of the tweets, videos and photos about Campus Sustainability Day. The event also attracted a lively Facebook following.

During the week-long celebration across the U.S. and Canada, hundreds of students, staff and faculty attended a live, keynote broadcast and four regional conversations on the topic “Preparing Students for a Changing Climate.” The keynote broadcast drew a record 300 campuses from 47 states and 13 countries around the world, and addressed best practices for creating ecological curriculum, advancing experiential learning, and engaging faculty and the surrounding community in meaningful education.

“This was a phenomenal turn-out,” said Judy Walton, AASHE’s chief publications officer and coordinator of the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC), which hosts Campus Sustainability Day. "We had many new participants this year, and the level of discussion continues to notch up, as was evident in the Western Regional Conversation AASHE hosted. The hard work of the founders of Campus Sustainability Day is paying off greatly.”

Event founders include the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) which organized the first Campus Sustainability Day in 2003 along with Second Nature and AASHE. This year Second Nature hosted the keynote broadcast and SCUP and AASHE hosted two of the regional conversations.

The planning committee for CSD 2012 included all three founding organizations plus the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program, the American Association of Community College’s SEED (Sustainability Education and Economic Development) Initiative, and HEASC. Four additional groups helped promote Campus Sustainability Day 2012 as "supporting organizations:” IDEAS For Us, Focus the Nation, Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA Program, and U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.

About Campus Sustainability Day
Campus Sustainability Day was first held in October 2003. From 2003-2010, The Society for College and University Planning led the production of an annual anchor webcast to incite conversation and analysis of the campus sustainability movement. The webcast was co-produced and live streamed with The New York Times Knowledge Network from 2008-2010. Individual campus programs, events, teach-ins, and other conversations complemented this webcast across the nation each year. In 2011, a team of organizations and partners came together to more broadly engage the higher education community in the CSD program by creating a web page for sharing events and conversations, hosted by AASHE, and continuing an expanded anchor webcast and virtual conversation hosted by Second Nature. The Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC) helps coordinate CSD planning and activities.

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. Visit www.aashe.org.