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

STARS v2.1

American University
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.75 / 4.00 Megan Litke
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

Included in strategic goal number seven: "Act on our values of social responsibility, service [and] an active pursuit of sustainability."


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the sustainability plan:
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The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):
Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, measurable sustainability objectives for the curriculum include: Increase courses which achieve one or more of the following:
Understand and be able to effectively communicate the concept of sustainability;
Develop and use an ethical perspective in which they view themselves as embedded in the fabric of an interconnected world;
Become aware of and explore the connections between their chosen course of study and sustainability;
Develop technical skills or expertise necessary to implement sustainable solutions;
Understand the way in which sustainable thinking and decision making contribute to the process of creating solutions for current and emerging social, environmental, and economic circumstances;
Contribute practical solutions to real-world sustainability challenges;
Synthesize understanding of social, economic, and environmental systems and reason holistically.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Plan states that we will further our understanding of environmental stresses through a commitment to collaborative research. The plan states that this commitment to research should be achieved by including a focus on resilience and urban ecosystems through the AU 2030 Planning Process. The goal has been achieved because Cities and Environmental Sustainability cross school efforts have since become a theme in the AU 2030 Plan which is the Provost's formal strategic planning initiative that looks to the institution's future and identifies groundbreaking areas for which AU can be nationally and internationally recognized. The plan highlights that "environmentally-focused research takes place across the AU campus,
with organized units in each of the schools and colleges and several
cross-cutting efforts."

https://www.american.edu/provost/2030.cfm
https://www.american.edu/provost/universityretreat/upload/Environmental.pdf


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, the goal is to continue to increase number of students and staff reached on a continuing basis as well as continuing to produce materials for outreach and events that are conducted on an ongoing basis.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, contribute to the community newsletter that is sent to campus neighbors, expand the green office program to engage more members of the community.

Within the Sustainability Plan, engage students in community service. Achieving a minimum of 100,000 hours of community service annually. Sponsor at least one major public service event annually related to sustainability.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, neutrality by 2020 through behavior change, efficiency, green building, investment in renewables, RECs, and offsets.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Green Building Policy and Sustainability Plan, achieve LEED Gold in all new construction projects and LEED Silver for all major renovations while reducing energy consumption 30% below ASHRAE standards in new buildings. Smaller projects adhere to the DC green building code.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, Reduce energy consumption in existing buildings by 10 percent; and design new buildings to use at least 30% less than ASHRAE standards.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, Using STARS to track, dining works to increase their sustainable purchases each year.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, earn points in LEED and STARS for related projects through prioritization of native plants in new construction projects and replacement plantings.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, through the LEED process, green office program, and behavior change programs reach out to purchasers across campus and influence the construction process by working to achieve related LEED points.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Plan lists switching the campus fleet off gasoline, providing incentives to reduce commuting emissions, earning Bike Friendly University designation, and exploring flexible work and telecommuting options as goals for transportation.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The Sustainability Plan outlines goals for reducing total waste by 10% and diverting 90% of all waste from landfill. Specific target areas listed include improving procurement, optimizing waste bins, and expanding organic materials collection to campus-wide. The formal, VP approved zero waste policy guides ongoing additional actions related to this goal. Outreach efforts are ongoing, and plans to connect with event organizers, residence halls, and the new law school campus are in the works this year.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

The sustainability plan lists reducing pollution in local water bodies by decreasing stormwater runoff generated on campus. It also lists expanding the number of LEED for Existing Building certifications on campus, this involves a prerequisite of water efficiency.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Formalized in the Inclusive Excellence Plan, AU is committed to make lasting improvements in both the diversity and inclusiveness of our community, AU is committed to the following actions:

This plan is organized under five goals:
Goal 1 Training, learning, and development to equip members of our community to lead change in a complex world.
Goal 2 A focus on campus climate, culture, and community, so that all community members feel
safe, satisfied, and that they belong here.
Goal 3 Changes to our systems, policies, and procedures to promote diversity, inclusion, transparency, and accountability.
Goal 4 Access and equity in the way we recruit, hire, train, develop, evaluate, and recognize faculty, staff, and administrators.
Goal 5 A focus on curriculum and instruction to seek to ensure that our core curriculum demonstrates critical inquiry, intellectual engagement, and respectful discourse.

Measurable Action Steps for Goal 1 are:
• Implement a university-wide system
of tracking and assessment and report
annually on completion rates and
effectiveness of training programs.
• Evaluate the impact and outcomes
of existing diversity and inclusion
training for all community
members and leaders.
• Implement a comprehensive
institution-wide training plan for all
community members and leaders,
tailored to the needs of specific AU
constituencies, and designed to focus
on unconscious bias and cultural
competence as critical aspects of
orientation and learning, onboarding,
and professional development.
• Evaluate and assess the effectiveness
of all professional development
and learning programs.

https://www.american.edu/president/diversity/inclusive-excellence/upload/18-160-IE_PLAN.pdf


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Within the Sustainability Plan, establish an Advisory Committee on Socially responsible Investing to make recommendations to the Finance and Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees.The advisory committee exists now and makes recommendations to the board.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
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The formal statement in support of sustainability:
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The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):
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Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter ---
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) ---
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter ---
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) Yes
UN Global Compact ---
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

We Are Still In
White House's American Campuses Act on Climate
District of Columbia Mayor's College and University Sustainability Pledge


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.