A new report produced by AASHE – the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education – shows an explosion of activity around sustainability on campuses across the US and Canada. AASHE Digest 2006 offers a comprehensive review of campus sustainability efforts from the past year. The report includes over 600 stories about higher education institutions leading the way to a sustainable future. It is organized into 8 chapters covering: 1) institutional change, 2) education and outreach, 3) social responsibility, 4) green building, 5) energy management and renewable energy, 6) food and agriculture, 7) transportation, and 8) waste, water, landscaping, and procurement. "The incredible variety of sustainability activities underway on campuses is a sign of a healthy movement," said Tom Kimmerer, AASHE’s Executive Director. "If the first two months of 2007 are any indication, we are heading for another vigorous year."
The Digest offers ample evidence of a broadening and deepening of campus sustainability efforts, with more institutions of all types getting involved and campuses undertaking more significant measures than ever before to improve their sustainability performance. Of particular note is the fact that the combined green power purchases of the Top 10 higher education purchasers tripled in 2006.
Digest stories also show growing support for sustainability by the higher education associations. An entire track was devoted to sustainability at the "Campus of the Future" conference hosted by APPA, NACUBO and SCUP. Several associations have even formed a network called the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium (HEASC) to advance sustainability within their programming and operations.
In 2006, higher education media also acknowledged the growing interest in sustainability, with the Chronicle of Higher Education and University Business each devoting a special issue to the topic.
AASHE’s own growth over the past year mirrors the trends highlighted in the report. By the end of the year, membership in AASHE had more than quintupled since the beginning of the year. In addition, AASHE’s inaugural conference held in October 2006 was the largest campus sustainability gathering to date, attracting nearly 700 participants.
AASHE Digest 2006 is made possible with the generous support of AASHE business partners Mithun, Powersmiths, and PortionPac.
The AASHE Digest is an annual compilation of news stories and resources from AASHE’s weekly newsletter, the AASHE Bulletin.
The full report is available for download here.