Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.17
Liaison Courtney Stoner
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

American University
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Hannah Moskowitz
Sustainability Analyst
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have one or more active student groups focused on sustainability?:
Yes

A brief description of active student groups focused on sustainability:

The American University Beekeeping Society promotes the health of honeybees and pollinators on American University’s campus, and within the local community. We practice small-cell, treatment-free beekeeping, in hopes of encouraging beekeeping for the sake of bees, not profit.

The Student Zero Waste Club aims to “to help American University achieve zero waste to landfill and incinerators by 2020 via education of the student body.” They host events such as Project Move-Out, an effort to reduce waste during move out by collecting unwanted items and then reselling them to students at the beginning of the next year.


The website URL where information about the student groups is available (optional):
Does the institution have gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:
Yes

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

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 two on campus hives. 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 gardens, farms or agriculture projects is available (optional):
Does the institution have student-run enterprises that include sustainability as part of their mission statements or stated purposes (e.g. cafés through which students gain sustainable business skills)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

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 enterprises is available (optional):
Does the institution have 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

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance 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 funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives is available (optional):
Does the institution have conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability:

Each April is declared "Earth Month", and student-focused events, speakers, and symposium are held throughout the month. Earth month 2017 included the annual Campus Beautification day, a guided community bike ride, and an interactive art project.

In March 2017, American University hosted the second Student Summit attached to the 10th annual Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference. Over 100 students attended a day-long workshop with 18 different student led sessions addressing a wide variety of campus sustainability ideas and initiatives.

A book club runs year-round with a different sustainability-focused book for each month, finishing with an hour long session open to all to discuss the book.


The website URL where information about the conferences, speaker series, symposia or similar events related to sustainability is available (optional):
Does the institution have cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability that have students as the intended audience?:
Yes

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations or performances related to sustainability:

Sculptor of the Symbol of Sustainability and co-founder of the Mother Earth Project Barton Rubenstein visited campus with his Humans of Mother Earth project in April 2017. The event encouraged AU community members to share their feelings and perspectives on climate change, conservation, and being a human on this earth.


The website URL where information about the cultural arts events, installations or performances is available (optional):
---

Does the institution have wilderness or outdoors programs (e.g. that organize hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or other outings for students) that follow Leave No Trace principles?:
Yes

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

AU Outdoors Club hosts wilderness-related events such as kayaking on the Potomac and rock climbing, as well as occasional overnight camping trips to nearby locations such as Shenandoah National Park.Other trips throughout the year include biking and hiking. During all trips, leaders encourage participants to follow Leave No Trace principles.


The website URL where information about the wilderness or outdoors programs is available (optional):
Does the institution have sustainability-related themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences (e.g. choosing a sustainability-related book for common reading)?:
Yes

A brief description of the 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 AU Scholars program is a two-year living and learning program for incoming students. During their second year, scholars work in teams to research and come up with solutions to a wicked problem, sustainability issues being one such option. At the end of the year, the teams give presentations to a team of faculty judges who decide a winner.


The website URL where information about the sustainability-related themes is available (optional):
Does the institution have programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:
Yes

A brief description of the programs 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 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 Office of Sustainability also trained orientation leaders to allow for a discussion on sustainability on campus for incoming first-
year students. Topics included waste sorting and diversion and energy conservation techniques.


The website URL where information about the sustainable life skills programs is available (optional):
Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:
Yes

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

Student Sustainability Educators serve a critical role in the Office of Sustainability by working with students across campus to expand sustainability awareness and increase engagement. The part-time, paid interns connect students with institutional sustainability initiatives, create connections with the Office of Sustainability, and inspire personal behavior change in the AU community. Students work 5-10 hours per week, including mandatory weekly meetings and at least two hours in the Office of Sustainability. Tasks include event planning and outreach, in addition to general office work as needed. Students receive training in sustainability topics such as green buildings, zero waste, carbon neutrality, and energy efficiency, as well as strategies for developing outreach campaigns and effectively engaging peers.


The website URL where information about the student employment opportunities is available:
Does the institution have graduation pledges through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:
Yes

A brief description of the graduation pledges:

Graduating students can elect to take the Green Graduation Pledge. Those who do, receive a green pin to wear on their robes during their graduation ceremony. The Green Grad Pledge states: “I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organization for which I work.”


The website URL where information about the graduation pledges is available (optional):
---

Does the institution have other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives?:
Yes

A brief description of the other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives:

The School of Communication's Center for Environmental Filmmaking hosted an Environmental Film Series. The series included documentaries, short films, and film discussions following the showing. The School of Communication's Center for Environmental Filmmaking also organized an Eco-Comedy Video Competition. The competition was for students to produce a short, humorous video that related to conservation and environmental protection. The spring 2017 theme was Conservation and Environmental protection.


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

Estimated percentage of students (full-time and part-time) that participate annually in sustainability-focused co-curricular education and outreach programs (0-100):
---

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.