The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recently announced the 2017 winners of its annual Sustainability Awards for their outstanding achievements and progress toward sustainability. AASHE bestows its annual awards on institutions and individuals that are leading higher education to a sustainable future.
2017 AASHE Sustainability Award Winners
This year AASHE received a record 230 total entries, with winners named in three categories. The awards were presented at the 2017 AASHE Conference & Expo in San Antonio, TX.
“The 2017 award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for solving some of the world’s most complex challenges,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “They are truly pioneering the campus sustainability movement.”
Campus Sustainability Research Award
This award recognizes research that contributes to the advancement of higher education sustainability.
- Ethan D. Schoolman, Mike Shriberg, Sarah Schwimmer, and Marie Tysman for “Green cities and ivory towers: how do higher education sustainability initiatives shape millennials’ consumption practices?” This study found that millennial students do not become more committed to sustainable consumption during their time on campus, suggesting the need for new approaches to encourage sustainable consumption among students.
- Katja Brundiers and Arnim Wiek of Arizona State University for the “Beyond Interpersonal Competence: Teaching and Learning Professional Skills in Sustainability“. This article argues that academic sustainability programs do not sufficiently facilitate students’ acquisition of professional skills in communication, teamwork, and stakeholder engagement and presents a model for how these skills can be taught in an undergraduate course.
- Elizabeth A. Castner, Allison M. Leach, Neil Leary, Jill Baron, Jana E. Compton, James N. Galloway, Meredith G. Hastings, Jacob Kimiecik, Jonathan Lantz-Trissel, Elizabeth de la Reguera, and Rebecca Ryals for “The Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network: A Multi-Institution Program to Research and Reduce Nitrogen Pollution.” This paper shares the results of a collaborative effort to assess the amount of nitrogen pollution caused by seven different institutions.
- Allison K. Wisecup, Dennis Grady, Richard A. Roth, and Julio Stephens of Radford University for “Comparative study of the efficacy of intervention strategies on student electricity use in campus residence halls.” This study found that communications and programming around energy conservation is a cost effective way to reduce student electricity use.
- Nick Morris of Kent State University for “Relocating Education for Sustainability: From the campus to the community.” This dissertation examines the benefits of partnerships between higher education institutions and environmentally-oriented community partners like parks.
- Danielle Chun of Messiah College for “The Drivers Behind Edible Food Recovery Programs at Institutions of Higher Education.” Based on a survey of 100 AASHE members, this study found that an institution’s “sustainability mindset” was the most significant determinant of whether a food recovery program was in place. Interestingly, institutional wealth did not seem to have an significant impact.
Campus Sustainability Achievement Award
This award honors higher education institutions for successful implementation of projects that advance sustainability.
- Johnson County Community College for its “Student Sustainability Committee” initiative that helps develop student leadership skills and sustainability knowledge. The committee has funded over 100 individual grant proposals since its inception, totaling nearly $3 million.
- Illinois State University for the “Fix It Friday” project, in which fashion students offer free sewing, mending, and clothing repair services to anyone in need.
- Black Hills State University for the “Black Hills Food Hub: rural food hubs serving a wider demographic” project, a partnership between the university and the local community that reduces barriers to local food.
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.
- The Engineers for a Sustainable World chapter at Georgia Institute of Technology for the “Natural Herbicides Project” that developed an effective natural herbicide and conducted tests to demonstrate its efficacy for use on campus lawns.
Since its inception in 2006, more than 75 campuses have been recognized through the award program. Read more about AASHE’s awards programs here.