On October 9, 2016, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced the 2016 winners of its annual Sustainability Awards for outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability. AASHE conducts these awards to recognize institutions and individuals that are leading higher education to a sustainable future. One winner — the University of Manitoba — organized BEE/HOUSE/LAB project, an international competition to design houses for bees, a species under threat from loss of habitat.
The awards were presented at the 2016 AASHE Conference & Expo in Baltimore, MD.
This year AASHE received 220 total entries, with seven winners named in three categories: Campus Sustainability Achievement Award; Student Sustainability Leadership Award; and Campus Sustainability Research Award.
Campus Sustainability Achievement Award
This award that honors higher education institutions for successful implementation of projects that advance sustainability.
- Cedar Valley College’s Quality Teaching in Practical Sustainability (Q-TIPS) program provides sustainability training to help faculty members better prepare students for the ‘big questions’ of the 21st Century as they relate to real-world issues such as energy consumption, air and water quality, and climate change.
- Furman University’s Community Conservation Corps (CCC) program provides free home weatherization to low-income homeowners in the greater Greenville, South Carolina community. This program has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 100 mTCO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) in approximately 100 houses.
- University of Manitoba organized the BEE/HOUSE/LAB project, an international competition to design a bee house for fabrication and deployment that can house 80-100 solitary bees, a species under threat from habitat loss. The university recently installed 50 of the winning house designs around the campus.
Student Sustainability Leadership Award
This award honors students and/or student teams from higher education who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting sustainability on campus.
- Erica Davis from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville spearheaded a food recovery project called Smokey’s Pantry. This project provides groceries recovered from various sources and distributes them to families and individuals who are food insecure.
Campus Sustainability Research Award
This award that recognizes published and unpublished research that contributes to the advancement of higher education sustainability.
- Joanne Ma, Justin Cruz, Itay Porat, Lawrence Giannotti and Thanh Tran from the University of Houston won the undergraduate student research award for their investigation into campus water conservation opportunities, which included an evaluation of the structure, costs and laws associated with the current on-campus water management system.
- Brittany Szczepanik, John Dooley, Whitney Johnson, Divyesh Kumar, Benjamin Kunstman and Kristin Steiner from the University of Michigan received the award for graduate student research based on their proposal, developed in partnership with Johnson Controls, Inc., for doubling energy efficiency at the University of Michigan by 2030.
- Tina Lynn Evans with Colorado Mountain College won the award for published research with a journal article about the process of activating hope and agency among undergraduate college students.
“I am delighted to see such distinguished and hard-working sustainability leaders recognized as AASHE Sustainability Award winners. They are truly pioneering the campus sustainability movement and their achievements represent big wins for our community,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser.
Award recipients receive recognition in a variety of formats as well as a plaque made of Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood from Rivanna, a woman-owned B Corp with a commitment to sustainability. To date, more than 70 campuses been recognized through this AASHE award program since its inception in 2006.