Public Engagement

Introduction

Engagement in community problem-solving is fundamental to sustainability. By engaging with community members and organizations in the governmental, non-profit and for-profit sectors, institutions can help solve sustainability challenges. Community engagement can help students develop leadership skills while deepening their understandings of practical, real-world problems and the process of creating solutions.

2384 resources

Smart Partnerships: How Higher Education Institutions Can Enhance the Capacity of the UN to Govern the Global Commons

  • Antioch University, New England (NH)

This dissertation explores how partnerships between UN agencies and higher education institutions (HEIs) can enhance governance of the global commons. Unique attributes that HEIs have to offer in this regard ...


Open Letter to Sustainability Evaluating Organizations

  • AASHE (PA)

Below is the Open Letter to Sustainability Evaluating Organizations, posted to the AASHE Discussion Forums on July 19, 2010 (FAQs included). Original signatories are indicated in the PDF, and the ...


Beyond problem solving: Engineering and the public good in the 21st century

  • University of Sydney (NSW)

Problem solving is upheld as a defining feature of engineering identity, and the ability to solve problems is built into engineering curricula as a learning outcome and a graduate attribute ...


Building Community Investment at New York University

  • New York University (NY)

Anchor institutions – large non-profit organizations like colleges, universities, or hospitals that are tied to a place by infrastructure and mission – should be harnessed to positively affect the growth of the ...


The Power of Purchasing: Using University of Michigan Procurement to Promote Social Change

  • University of Michigan (MI)

The University of Michigan, as a public university, has an inherent responsibility to serve the interests of the community it represents. The institution purchases more than $1 billion of goods ...


Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (TX)
  • University of San Francisco (CA)
  • Wesleyan University (CT)
  • Case Western Reserve University (OH)
  • Loyola University New Orleans (LA)
  • Fordham University (NY)
  • Duke University (NC)
  • American University (DC)
  • University of Chicago (IL)
  • University of Pennsylvania (PA)
  • Responsible Endowments Coalition (PA)

This report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition seeks to connect struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism. The report profiles three administration-led initiatives ...


Icebox Detox Challenge

  • Arizona State University (AZ)

The Icebox Detox Challenge addresses environmental stewardship activities by promoting an environment where laboratories have an accurate inventory of all biological samples at ASU. This innovative approach allows researchers to ...

  • Posted July 27, 2016
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Green Genome Institutional Self-Assessment Tool

  • American Association of Community Colleges (DC)

The Green Genome Institutional Self-Assessment Tool is a free tool designed to enable community colleges to quickly gauge how well they are leading and integrating sustainability and green workforce development ...


AASHE Launches Version 2.1 for the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System

  • International Facility Management Association (TX)

AASHE recently launched the latest version of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) that features data auto-population, exemplary practice options and more.

  • Posted July 22, 2016
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Co-designing research on transgressive learning in times of climate change

  • Wageningen University

This paper reflects on the epistemological context for the co-design of a research programme on transformative, transgressive learning emerging at the nexus of climate change, water and food security, energy ...

  • Posted July 21, 2016
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Education for sustainability-challenges and opportunities: The case of RCEs

  • London South Bank University

This article will focus on the challenges of leadership and management of a key initiative of the 2005-2014 UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), namely the Regional Centres ...

  • Posted July 21, 2016
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Quantitatively Assessing the Role of Higher Education in Global Sustainability

  • University of Toronto (ON)

Three analytical methods are used to examine three primary questions to address an observed scarcity of literature that quantitatively and empirically assesses the role of higher education in global sustainability ...

  • Posted July 19, 2016
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The State College Role in Advancing Environmental Sustainability: Policies, Programs and Practices

  • American Association of State Colleges and Universities (DC)

The American higher education enterprise has the capacity and fortitude to confront many of the country’s most pressing energy and environmental challenges. Many institutions and state college systems are ...

  • Posted July 18, 2016
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Regenerative Sustainable Development of Universities and Cities The Role of Living Laboratories

Now that the Earth has reached the limits of its biophysical carrying capacity, we have to change technologies, social practices and social norms relating to material production and consumption to ...


A Higher Calling for Higher Education

Education and knowledge resources are more available today than ever before. However, humanity’s two main conflicts - coexistence with nature and coexistence with each other - remain unresolved. We need a ...


A Big Hairy Audacious Goal: Marketing University Sustainability Credentials

  • University of Leeds (West Yorkshire)
  • St. Lawrence University (NY)
  • Ithaca College (NY)
  • University of Plymouth (Devon)
  • Bradford University (West Yorkshire)
  • Northland College (WI)
  • College of the Atlantic (ME)
  • University of Gloucestershire (Gloucestershire)

This paper explores the potential recruitment and retention benefits arising from the marketing of University of Plymouth’s sustainability credentials. It attempts this by:

  • reviewing academic and professional literature on ...
  • Posted June 27, 2016
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More colleges using green as selling tool

  • USA TODAY (VA)

USA Today reports that "universities and colleges across the country are increasingly putting on the green to attract students who are serious about environmental issues."

  • Posted June 27, 2016
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First-year student attitudes towards, and skills in, sustainable development

  • Higher Education Academy (York)

This report on student attitudes towards, and skills in, sustainable development describes the results of an online survey of 5,763 first-year higher education (HE) students, across all four UK ...

  • Posted June 23, 2016
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2016 College Hopes & Worries Survey Report

  • The Princeton Review (MA)

Every year, The Princeton Review surveys college applicants and their parents about their perspective on the admissions process. The survey includes a question related to commitment to environmental issues:

"If ...

  • Posted June 23, 2016
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Sustainability Field Booms on Campus

This article describes fast growth in continuing education programs focused on sustainability.

  • Posted June 23, 2016
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Looking through the “greenwashing glass cage” of the green league table towards the sustainability challenge for UK universities

Purpose – This paper aims to critically focus on the UK's People & Planet's “green league table” in order to explore to what extent such league tables contribute to ...

  • Posted June 21, 2016
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Campus sustainability at the edges: Emotions, relations, and bio-cultural connections

  • Temple University (PA)

The university campus is often considered a key site for the development of environmental sustainability initiatives. At the same time, the concept and practice of sustainability has been critiqued for ...

  • Posted June 20, 2016
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Pre-Service Teachers and Climate Change: A Stalemate?

  • James Cook University (Queensland)

Findings from the second phase of a study of pre-service teachers’ attitudes to environmental education and knowledge of climate change are reported in this paper. A sample of 87 pre-service ...

  • Posted June 20, 2016
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Atlanta People's Climate March and Climate Summits

  • Georgia State University (GA)

Sustainable Energy Tribe (SET), the largest student environmental group on Georgia State University's campus, worked to make climate change and environmental justice major themes for the year. These efforts ...

  • Posted June 16, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Sustainabiliy Impact Fund

  • Northwestern University (IL)

This project is a student-led initiative to allow Northwestern alumni to donate to supporting sustainability initiatives on our campus. Titled the Sustainability Impact Fund, this initiative includes directed fundraising efforts ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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The Big Ten Prospectus: Aligning Sustainability with Collective Mission Level Priorities

  • Purdue University (IN)
  • Pennsylvania State University (PA)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (MD)
  • University of Iowa (IA)
  • University of Michigan (MI)
  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Central Office (NJ)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)
  • Indiana University Bloomington (IN)
  • Northwestern University (IL)
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln (NE)
  • Michigan State University (MI)
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (IL)
  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)
  • The Ohio State University (OH)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

With higher education facing ongoing budget cuts, top to bottom reviews of programs and policies, and critical questions regarding the value of a college education, we—as sustainability professionals—must ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
  • Case Studies
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Students and Sustainability: Mechanism for making Green Leaders

  • Ball State University (IN)

Introduction: Lead primarily by student initiative, a sustainability program has evolved into a new program whose mechanics are meant to make action, foster sustainable leaders, and educate a sustainable culture ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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Community engagement and education on energy and water conservation

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

Our capstone Sustainability class students at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) performed over twenty energy and water audits on local businesses in 2016. Each student was required to write up ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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Watershed UGA: Creating a University-wide Culture of Sustainability

  • University of Georgia (GA)

Thanks to funding and inspiration from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, in 2015 the University of Georgia and its community partners have created a vision and framework for using campus ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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Eagles, Education, and Engagement through Green Technology

  • Alfred State College (NY)

Alfred State College (ASC) School of Applied Technology and the United States National Arboretum (USNA) have collaborated for over eight years in an innovative partnership that has generated significant measurable ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Facilities and students working together for water conservation

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

The University of Texas at Austin’s facilities management initiated a comprehensive program in fall 2007 to develop and implement demand-side water conservation measures. During this project it was determined ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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The Shawneetown Gardens: a Sustainable Campus Community Garden Cultivated through Creation of Place

  • University of Kentucky (KY)

Rooted in the revitalization of a community garden on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, Kentucky, this project impacts a culturally diverse, multigenerational community through a multi-disciplinary effort led ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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BEE / HOUSE / LAB International Design Competition

  • University of Manitoba (MB)

BEE / HOUSE / LAB is an international design competition hosted by the University of Manitoba and open to students and designers in the field of environmental design, architecture, landscape architecture, industrial ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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The Morris Model: Catalyzing Community Resilience, Energy Conservation and Clean Energy Planning and Action

  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)

The University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) has demonstrated a successful planning approach with partners across the state to build climate resilience into the consciousness and planning efforts of the city ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Ohio University's Professional Development Program for the Advancement of Sustainability

  • Ohio University (OH)

Ohio University's Office of Sustainability designed a Professional Development Program to advance the university's sustainability profile, particularly with its built environment. On a monthly basis staff from Architecture ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Emory University's Pollinator Protection Program

  • Emory University (GA)

Concerned about the plight of bees and other pollinators, essential for two-thirds of the food crops we eat every day, Emory University developed a comprehensive Pollinator Protection Commitment, which includes ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Zero Waste Game Day at Duke University

  • Duke University (NC)

Leading up to the 2014 Duke Football season, a formal partnership was created between Duke Athletics, Duke Recycling, Duke Stores, and the Duke Sustainability Office in order to successfully achieve ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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The Water Hub at Emory University

  • Emory University (GA)

The WaterHub® is a decentralized, district-scale water reclamation and reuse system serving Emory University’s main campus in Atlanta, Georgia. As the first of its kind in the United States ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Roles for university researchers in urban sustainability initiatives: the UK Newcastle Low Carbon Neighbourhoods project

  • Kingston University London

There is considerable debate regarding the contribution to be made by higher education institutions and the researchers they employ in realising environmentally sustainable urban spaces, and the relationship between academic ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Eco-Schools Leadership Initiative (ESLI)

  • College of William & Mary (VA)

I co-founded Eco-Schools Leadership Initiative (ESLI) (eslileaders.org) which is an after-school program where high school and college students teach elementary school students about the environment. There are six high ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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The role(s) of universities in dealing with global wicked problems through multi-stakeholder initiatives

  • Wageningen University
  • University of Cape Town

Multi-stakeholder initiatives have emerged as collaborative partnerships to deal with wicked problems, particularly in the global food system. This article analyzes the role that academics play in these initiatives at ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Sustainability Reporting in Higher Education: Interconnecting the Reporting Process and Organisational Change Management for Sustainability

  • Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Madrid)
  • Utrecht University
  • KU Leuven

Although there has been a considerable increase in the publication of sustainability reports in the corporate world in the last decade, sustainability reporting in higher education institutions is still in ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Learning about Sustainability—What Influences Students’ Self-Perceived Sustainability Actions after Undergraduate Education?

Changing societies’ minds about sustainability requires knowledge about the situation, awareness of what needs to be done and actions to change today’s unsustainable behaviors. Universities are challenged to develop ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Environment Week at UAlberta

  • University of Alberta (AB)

From June 6–10, the University of Alberta hosted a series of free events to celebrate Environment Week and engage our community in sustainability. UAlberta partnered with local organizations such ...


The Learning Garden at Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)

Virginia Commonwealth University's Office of Sustainability has created a new, urban, Learning Garden that produces fruits and vegetables exclusively for donation. The garden was created in response to a ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Project Sin Fronteras

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (TX)

Project Sin Fronteras is a project without borders, crossing institutional boundaries, and transforming sustainability concepts and practices into enriched curriculum and research. It provides a two-pronged approach to education for ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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CPS Café – Sustainable Food Service Operation

  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (WI)

The CPS Café is an eatery operated mainly by students across campus and is a unique food service business open to the public. It is a program within the College ...


Social Impact Solar

  • California State University, East Bay (CA)

Poverty, inequality, and environmental sustainability are the biggest issues facing humanity today. Located in the richest state in the nation, with the nation’s most aggressive renewable energy programs, Cal ...


Ohio University Move-Out Sustainability Project

  • Ohio University (OH)

Each year during student Move Out week, Ohio University's Department of Recycling and Zero Waste partners with the City of Athens, Athens Hocking Recycling Center, local businesses, community non-profit ...


Campus sustainability efforts: A study of the long-term impact of college and university sustainability programs

  • University of Colorado Colorado Springs (CO)

The topic of this study is a new approach to understanding the effectiveness of campus sustainability efforts at American colleges and universities. A series of national sustainability organizations rate effectiveness ...

This tab provides access to data collected through AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS). STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS enables meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the campus sustainability community. Additional content and advanced benchmarking tools will be added to this tab over time.

Programs and Initiatives

The following links connect to specific Content Displays on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Scores

The following link connects to the Score Display on the STARS website (AASHE membership and log-in required).

Public Engagement Partners

Environmental Association for Universities & Colleges (EAUC)

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Business Affiliate

Rivanna Natural Designs

Richmond, VA
Business Affiliate
Planet-friendly awards and plaques. FSC-Certified wood, recycled glass