Northern Arizona University has been recognized as a sustainability leader in the 2015 Sustainable Campus Index, achieving the “top performer” ranking in the areas of both Campus Engagement and Coordination & Planning. The 2015 Sustainable Campus Index highlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).
The Campus Engagement subcategory recognizes institutions that provide students with sustainability learning experiences outside the formal curriculum, and support employee engagement, training, and development in sustainability. The Coordination & Planning subcategory recognizes institutions that are dedicating resources to sustainability coordination, developing plans to move toward sustainability, and engaging the campus community in governance. NAU has achieved 100 percent of the available points available in both of these sections of STARS.
“Northern Arizona University’s participation in STARS and strong performance in the areas of Campus Engagement and Coordination & Planning demonstrates significant leadership and commitment to advancing sustainability,” said AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “We are pleased to recognize NAU for working to secure a brighter future by incorporating sustainability into campus operations, academics, administration and engagement.”
Some of the institution’s achievements in these areas include NAU’s Eco-Rep program. The role of the Eco-Rep is to provide peer to peer education on how to live more sustainably in NAU residential communities. Topics will include energy and water conservation, recycling, and other relevant environmental issues. Eco-Reps will serve as a resource that role models and promotes environmentally conscious behavior within their residential community/area.
Another achievement recognized by STARS is the creation and recent revision of NAU’s Sustainability Action Plan. “This Plan has helped us revisit every aspect of operations, academics, and research on campus.” Explains John Morris, chair of the Coordinating Committee for Sustainability, “by utilizing the Plan’s clear objectives and detailed actions we’re able to systematically advance sustainable initiatives on campus through participation from departments all across campus.”
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS was developed by AASHE with broad participation from the higher education community. The credits included in STARS span the breadth of higher education sustainability and are organized into four categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Planning & Administration. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website. For more information, visit stars.aashe.org.
About the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
AASHE empowers higher education 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 www.aashe.org.