The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recently announced the 12 winners for the 2022 AASHE Sustainability Awards. The winners represent sustainability leadership from across the globe — Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, Kenya, Switzerland, United States, and Wales. 

The awards provide global recognition to the individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement. With the help of volunteer judges from the community, the awards program raises the visibility of high-impact sustainability projects and collaborations, pioneering research, and student leadership, helping to disseminate innovations and inspire continued progress toward environmental, social, and economic health.

This year’s winners:

Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Dr. Robert D. Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice. Dr. Bullard currently serves as distinguished professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy and director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University. He served as dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University from 2011-2016 and before that was founding director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He publishes widely on sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, disasters, emergency response, and community resilience, smart growth, and regional equity. 

Racial Equity and Sustainability Collaborations Winner

• University of Oregon’s Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice is a seedbed for applied, publicly engaged research that addresses the intertwined issues of racial inequality and climate crisis in innovative ways.

Campus Sustainability Achievement Award Winners

Associate/2-year Institutions

• Western Dakota Technical College’s EchoWorks: An Electronics Recycling College-Community Partnership highlights a partnership that reduces toxic waste while providing co-curricular learning and creating job opportunities for people with disabilities.

Institutions with over 10,000 FTE Enrollment

• Butler University’s Saving the Campus Farm: One Approach to Leveraging Institutional Support for a Campus Farm Space is a case study about leveraging institutional support for a one-acre farm through the strategic development of farm-situated curricula in eleven different disciplines.

Institutions with under 10,000 FTE Enrollment

• California State University campuses at Chico, Monterey Bay, San Marcos, Stanislaus, Cal Poly Humboldt, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, as well as Strategic Energy Innovations, partnered on a multi-campus faculty learning community consisting of 62 faculty representing over 30 disciplines. At the time of submission, the CSU Faculty Learning Community in Teaching Climate Change and Resilience resulted in over 75 classes being redesigned to include greater engagement of climate change and resilience.

Campus Sustainability Research Award Winners

Undergraduate Research

• Alejandra Marquez at the University of Texas at Austin for “Information Disclosure and Climate-Friendly Consumption: Assessing the Impact of Carbon Labelling at a University Dining Hall”. This honors thesis investigates the impact of implementing a traffic-light-colored carbon label in one of UC Berkeley’s dining halls. It showed that servings of red labeled (i.e., high emission) dishes decreased by 33 percent compared during the experiment, leading to an overall 13 percent reduction in average emissions per serving.

Graduate Research

• Anna Rose Ostrander and Jacob Thomas Namovich at the University of Michigan for “UM Scope 3 Purchased Goods & Services Emissions Footprinting”. This paper evaluates the emissions associated with purchasing of goods and services by the University of Michigan and recommends strategies to reduce these emissions.

Published Journal Article Related to Academics

• Charlotte Nussey at University College London; Alexandre Apsan Frediani at International Institute for Environment and Development; Rosiana Lagi at University of The South Pacific; Janaína Mazutti at University of Passo Fundo; and Jackline Nyerere at Kenyatta University for “Building University Capabilities to Respond to Climate Change Through Participatory Action Research: Towards a Comparative Analytical Framework”. Drawing on three qualitative case studies in Brazil, Fiji and Kenya, this paper examines the potential of participatory action research to contribute to climate justice.

Published Journal Article Related to Engagement

• Charlie Gardner and William Rowlandson at University of Kent; Aaron Thierry at Cardiff University; and Julia K. Steinberger at University of Lausanne for “From publications to public actions: the role of universities in facilitating academic advocacy and activism in the climate and ecological emergency”. This paper argues that academics should engage in advocacy and activism to address the climate emergency and suggests strategies that institutions can take to support such advocacy.

Published Journal Article Related to Operations

• Suyeon Lee at Seoul National University and Seyeon Lee at Syracuse University for “University leadership in climate mitigation: reducing emissions from waste through carbon pricing”. This paper investigates potential impact of internal carbon pricing on emissions related to waste management and disposal.

Published Journal Article Related to Planning & Administration

• Davina Mann, Janelle Kwon, Shaan Naughton, Jasmine Chan, Victoria Hobbs and Gary Sacks at Deakin University; Sinead Boylan and Amanda Grech at University of Sydney; Karen Charlton at University of Wollongong; Jane Dancey at Monash University; Carolyn Dent at Flinders University; Sophie Lamond at University of Melbourne; and Sandra Murray at University of Tasmania for “Development of the University Food Environment Assessment (Uni-Food) Tool and Process to Benchmark the Healthiness, Equity, and Environmental Sustainability of University Food Environments”. This study develops and tests a tool and process to benchmark the healthiness, equity and environmental sustainability of food environments in tertiary education settings. The resulting tool–the University Food Environment Assessment (Uni-Food)–includes 68 indicators related to university systems and governance, campus facilities and environments, and food retail outlets. 

Student Sustainability Leadership Award Winner

• Thomas Benson, chair of the Graduate Student Government Sustainability Committee at the University of Delaware, for A Student-led Approach to Campus Sustainability: Environmental Sustainability Report. Thomas worked with other students and stakeholders to publish a report that ultimately resulted in the establishment of a Sustainability Executive Plan for the university, among other outcomes

AASHE’s Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser says, “The 2022 AASHE Sustainability Award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for progressing sustainability at their campus. They are raising the bar and evolving what sustainability in higher education looks like.”