The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) just wrapped up its first national conference yesterday at Arizona State University. In addition to a full schedule of papers, roundtables, workshops and field reports (in PDF), the Association also took time during the conference to honor four schools and one individual student with its first Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards on Thursday night. The institutional winner were Berea College, the University of British Columbia, Warren Wilson College and Lane Community College. The award for an individual student leader went to Emilie Brill-Duisberg, a senior at the University of Arizona.
Not only am I happy to see that 1) AASHE has a large enough membership to hold a national conference, and 2) it’s choosing to honor schools and students taking substantive action on sustainability, but also that so many schools are doing so many things. The awards criteria look pretty rigorous: schools had to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in their governance and administration, their operations, their curriculum and research agendas, and in their community outreach efforts. While I’m not as clear on the standards for the student competition, I do know that Brill-Duisberg came out on top of a pretty distinguished group: four other students from around North America received honorable mentions for very impressive work. AASHE has profiles of member institutions on its web site — award winners are highlighted in yellow. All of these schools are doing much more than I could possibly summarize here…
Congrats to AASHE itself for great work! I can’t think of a better way to ensure that sustainability stays on the radar screen than by challenging college kids to take on meaningful tasks in environments that adhere to the principles of greener living and working.
UPDATE: Eric Worth has a first-hand account of the AASHE conference up at the Huffington Post.