Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Megan Litke
Submission Date March 30, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

American University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Hannah Debelius
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that fall into the following categories?:
Yes or No
Active student groups focused on sustainability Yes
Gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems Yes
Student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes Yes
Sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills Yes
Conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience Yes
Wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles Yes
Sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences Yes
Programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills Yes
Sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution Yes
Graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions Yes
Other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives Yes

The name and a brief description of each student group focused on sustainability:

Eco-Sense is American University’s student organization dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability on campus, in the community, and in students’ everyday lives through student awareness, volunteering, promotion of sustainability best-practice on campus, and political activism. The group is committed to fighting climate change by increasing awareness and understanding of human impacts on the environment, as well as conveying the idea that leading an environmentally sustainable life is in the best interests of human beings. All activities aim to incorporate social justice issues as well as to create a healthy and environmentally sustainable future for all.


The website URL where information about student groups is available:
A brief description of gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems:

The garden is a space for all AU students, staff, and faculty to take advantage of where their food comes from and gain skills to grow for themselves. The garden is about 700 square feet, has 30 beds in addition to about 12 raspberry and blueberry bushes. We also grow a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, cucumbers, carrots, beets, okra, as well as herbs such as basil, thyme, and mint. The food we produce goes to members of the garden club (membership is open, and if you contribute you can share the harvest). The university dining hall also uses the herbs in their cooking.

Furthermore, we are reducing food waste while providing the garden with nutrients by expanding our compost capacity. We compost about 1-3 pounds of coffee grounds a week from the Davenport Lounge on campus in addition to food scraps and garden plant waste.

Campus also has a variety of edible garden areas around campus, including herbs for any student or staff member to harvest on the main quad by the library.

American University also has a Beekeeping Society, with open membership, that cares for an on campus hive. The society also works alongside the DC Department of General Services to increase bee hives and habitat on campus and throughout the city.


The website URL where information about the organic agriculture and/or sustainable food systems projects and initiatives is available:
A brief description of student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes:

The School of International Service houses the Davenport Coffee Lounge, a coffee shop run by students. The Davenport serves all organic and fair trade coffees and teas; composts coffee grounds, cups, napkins, and utensils; gives a discount for using a reusable mug; provides free reclaimed/returnable mugs; uses solar heated water; and features LED lighting. The building where the Lounge is located is LEED-Gold certified.


The website URL where information about the student-run enterprise(s) is available:
A brief description of the sustainable investment or finance initiatives:

The American University Sustainability Fund: American University’s Sustainability Fund advances the university’s active pursuit of sustainability by providing financial and administrative support for campus sustainability projects developed and proposed by members of the university community.

This program is open to any member of the university community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and neighborhood residents to propose sustainability projects. Projects must have a research or implementation component on the American University campus or in the nearby community. A committee of students, faculty and staff reviews and votes on proposals at least once per year.

Applicants may request between $500 – $1,500 per project. Project funds may be used for:
a) Materials or products required to implement the project;
b) Professional work, installation, or design;
c) Research and testing or monitoring equipment;
d) Student wages.


The website URL where information about the sustainable investment or finance initiatives is available:
A brief description of conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

Each April is declared "Earth Month", and student-focused events, speakers, and symposia are held throughout the month. Earth month 2015 included a documentary series, ecolympics, campus sustainability tours, food demonstrations, and speaker Thomas Day, Chief Sustainability Officer for the United States Postal Service, discussing sustainability in the federal government.

The second annual SEED conference, a student led event in April 2015, attracted nearly 70 student participants from five states and 10 universities to hear from dozens of professional and student speakers on a wide variety of sustainability topics. Throughout the year, student clubs such as EcoSense, and academic units including the School of International Service, Washington College of Law, Center for Environmental Policy, Center for Environmental Filmmaking, and Center for Food Studies host multiple speaker series related to sustainability.


The website URL where information about the event(s) is available:
A brief description of cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience:

ECOlympics is a campus wide, multi-week competition event for behavior change in energy and waste. The closing event was a concert performance by American University a capella groups.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts event(s) is available:
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A brief description of wilderness or outdoors programs for students that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The Outdoors Club is dedicated to creating a stronger relationship between students and the environment, offering trips throughout the year, including hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Students in the Washington Semester have the opportunity to choose the semester theme International Environment and Development.This program is a unique course of study that combines an engaging seminar, visits with numerous activists and leaders, study of strategies to achieve change, and valuable interactions among students. Students learn about key actors in the global community, study specific issues such as education, inequality, the Sustainable Development Goals, social entrepreneurship and public/private partnerships, conservation and climate change.


The website URL where information about the theme is available:
A brief description of program(s) through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

The student sustainability educators offer a variety of opportunities for other students to learn sustainable life skills such as speaking with residence halls about "green rooms," hosting an event in Fall 2015, utilizing dining services, to teach students how to cook with local ingredients, and demonstrating correct waste diversion at campus events. Student Sustainability Educators also maintain a blog that highlights sustainable life skills, including stories on growing food, reducing waste, and hosting sustainable events.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills program(s) is available:
A brief description of sustainability-focused student employment opportunities:

The Office of Sustainability hires sustainability peer educators annually to create and execute sustainability events, communications, and initiatives aligned with the larger goals of the Office of Sustainability. All students are welcome to apply for this paid position of up to 6 hours per week.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportuntities is available:
A brief description of graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions:

Graduating seniors can access a link to the graduation pledge. Anyone that pledges to consider sustainability in their future careers is able to pick up a green ribbon to display on their gown on graduation day.


The website URL where information about the graduation pledge program is available:
A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

The International Development Program Student Association (IDPSA) hosted a Sustainable Development Week in January 2016 targeting undergraduate and graduate students of the School of International Studies to participate in a week of event complimenting their academic work, including a documentary screening, student debate on a sustainable development issue, panel discussion, and service event. IDPSA also hosts a Friday Forum once a month to have speakers address topics of sustainable development.


The website URL where information about other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.