Contact: Crystal Simmons
Bulletin Editor & Program Manager
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
(888) 347-9997 x360

Announcing the Winners of the
2023 AASHE Sustainability Awards

Philadelphia, PA (December 7, 2023) – The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) held a virtual awards ceremony today to announce the 10 winners of the 2023 AASHE Sustainability Awards. The winners represent sustainability leadership from across the globe–Australia, Canada, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and the United States.

The AASHE Sustainability Awards provide global recognition to the individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement. With the help of volunteer judges from the community, the awards program raises the visibility of high-impact sustainability projects, pioneering research, and student leadership, helping to disseminate innovations and inspire continued progress toward environmental, social, and economic health. See below for this year’s winners:

Lifetime Achievement Award:

  • Dr. Peggy Barlett is the Goodrich C. White Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Emory University, specializing in agricultural anthropology and sustainability in higher education.  As the driving force behind Emory’s Piedmont Project, she has played a leading role in the development and dissemination of a model for infusing sustainability across the curriculum that has been implemented at hundreds of institutions.

Campus Sustainability Achievement Award: 

Racial Equity and Sustainability Collaborations Award:

  • University of Southern California’s Urban Trees Initiative brings together students, staff and faculty, with the city of Los Angeles and local nonprofits, to answer challenging questions about planting trees for climate resilience in disadvantaged areas of East and South Los Angeles.

Student Sustainability Leadership Award:

  • University of Southern California’s Eco Film and Media Arts Festival brought together student filmmakers and artists to showcase climate storytelling and activism, emphasizing the importance of the arts to create human connection and inspire action. 

Campus Sustainability Research Award Winners:

Undergraduate Student Research

Graduate Student Research

Published Journal Article Related to Academics

  • Sara Moreno Pires and Mariana Nicolau of University of Aveiro; Mahsa Mapar, Paula Bacelar Nicolau and Sandra Caeiro of Universidade Aberta; Nicoletta Patrizi, Federico M. Pulselli and Valentina Niccolucci of University of Siena; Nicolaos P. Theodossiou and Georgios Malandrakis of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki; and Maria Serena Mancini and Alessandro Galli of Global Footprint Network for Teaching sustainability within the context of everyday life: Steps toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the EUSTEPs Module. This paper describes outcomes from implementing a new interactive teaching module for introducing sustainability to students at four European institutions of higher education.

Published Journal Article Related to Engagement

  • Alaina Kinol, Elijah Miller, Hannah Axtell, Sophie Leggett, Yutong Si, and Jennie C. Stephens of Northeastern University and Ilana Hirschfeld of Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Climate justice in higher education: a proposed paradigm shift towards a transformative role for colleges and universities. This article explores how higher education can advance societal transformation toward climate justice, by teaching climate engagement, supporting impactful justice-centered research, embracing non-extractive hiring and purchasing practices, and integrating community-engaged climate justice innovations across campus operations. 

Published Journal Article Related to Operations

Published Journal Article Related to Planning & Administration

  • Tracy Harvey of Loyola University Maryland, and Alfonso Morales, and Catherine H. Middlecamp of University of Wisconsin-Madison for Defining Sustainability in Higher Education Institutions. This paper analyzes how higher education institutions in the United States define sustainability and identifies main 4 themes that appear in a variety of combinations.

“The 2023 AASHE Sustainability Award winners embody the spirit of progress in higher education sustainability,” said Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Hailing from different corners of the globe, their achievements showcase innovation and a commitment to positive change. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to these remarkable individuals and organizations, celebrating not just individual accomplishments but the collective impact of a global community dedicated to creating a sustainable future for us all.”

About AASHE  

AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff, and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit Follow AASHE on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X, formerly Twitter.