The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recognizes U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities that implement sustainability programs and practices on campus. Their Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) allows institutions to evaluate and report their sustainability performance with more than 100 criteria across four areas: Education & Research; Operations; Planning, Administration & Engagement; and Innovation.
A number schools have earned credits by incorporating Macmillan books into a themed semester or year focusing on sustainability or by including sustainability in new student orientation. Read about three of them now and stay tuned for more!
The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (Silver) has been recognized for their sustainability-related themed year: Sustainability and Community, and for assigning Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man as the summer reading book for incoming first-year students. The university also earned points from AASHE with the organic garden operated on campus by the Students for Environmental Awareness club; annual participation in Recyclemania, “a friendly competition among college and university recycling programs In North America and Canada”; hosting their third annual Bike Jam, which has grown into a month-long Bike Month Challenge; and more.
Ball State University (Silver) earned points for selecting Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe for the Freshman Connection common reading assignment in 2008. Elizabeth Kolbert visited campus to speak that year; in addition, authors Thomas L. Friedman and Ray C. Anderson, among many others, have given lectures on campus or keynotes at the university’s international interdisciplinary Greening of the Campus Conferences. Most recently, administrators and faculty from campuses all over the country attended Greening of the Campus IX: Building Pedagogy at BSU in March 2012.
Green Mountain College (Gold) racked up points toward their Gold rating with a themed semester that featured Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us. As incoming freshmen, all members of the class of 2013 received a copy of the book from the college. That fall, it was a central to their core writing course, Environmental Liberal Arts 1000: Images of Nature. Additionally, GMC seniors read Mr. Weisman’s Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World in their capstone seminar, and the author, the Fall 2009 Scholar in Residence for the master’s degree program in environmental studies, discussed both books with the undergrads at several events throughout the semester. Among the many other AASHE approved programs at GMC are: incentives for faculty who develop courses that address sustainability learning outcomes; and the REED Club, an academic program for students interested in pursuing Renewable Energy and EcoDesign (REED) certification in addition to their degree. In the fall of 2012, the curriculum will expand and GMC will offer a full 42-credit REED degree!