Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.48
Liaison Abraham (Avi) Henn
Submission Date Sept. 28, 2020

STARS v2.2

Northern Arizona University
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Matthew Muchna
Sustainability Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

NAU is very active with local and municipal issues affecting the communities we serve. NAU is part of a regional group of government entities called “The Alliance” which discusses policies of shared interest; including sustainability efforts. This provides opportunities for joint grant applications and shared resources that address critical infrastructure for priority projects. One such example is mass transit that serves both the local community and the campus community through a partnership with Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transit Authority (NAIPTA). Through its membership in the Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization and co-members; City of Flagstaff, NAIPTA, Coconino County and the Arizona Department of Transportation, NAU is deeply engaged in efforts to work across jurisdictional boundaries to ensure a comprehensive regional transportation system inclusive of trails, streets and highways accessible via multiple modes of transportation. Important to sustainability efforts and NAU’s astronomy research, NAU has been an engaged and vocal participant in dark sky regulations at the local and state level. This has included advocacy at the state level for maintaining the current light restrictions related to billboards and other light polluters, as well as working with the city and business organizations on responsible local ordinances. NAU has established a student fee to help support university sustainability initiatives. The fee was proposed by NAU’s president, supported by students and adopted by the university system governing body, the Arizona Board of Regents. This fee is deposited into the Northern Arizona University Green Fund which supports projects, initiated by university students, staff, and faculty, that reduce the environmental impact of campus operations and promote a culture of sustainability. Oversight of these funds are provided by a student committee that is supported by NAU staff and faculty. NAU’s Office of Sustainability is supported through central funding, and many student workers and an advisory committee assists in developing sustainability priorities and recommendations for consideration. Since our last report, the university has installed solar panels at many locations on campus. The university has increased its integration with the City of Flagstaff on sustainability planning and implementation to adopt a more cohesive sustainability master plan. These ongoing efforts are led by city staff and the NAU Vice President of Capital Planning and Campus Operations. One specific example of recent joint initiatives is NAU’s invitation to the City of Flagstaff to be a part of the university’s composting efforts. NAU’s composting program ensures that the university is able to dispose of campus waste more sustainably than traditional waste management systems. The university composts over 300,000 pounds of material every year, which prevents 250 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Over the last year the City of Flagstaff has joined this program, by adding grass clippings from city owned parks and cemeteries and other green waste such as leaves and pine needles. The goal is to begin adding food scraps from commercial sources next year.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

NAU is very active with local and regional issues affecting the communities we serve. Important to sustainability efforts and NAU’s astronomy research, NAU has been an engaged and vocal participant in dark sky regulations at the local and state level. This has included advocacy at the state level for maintaining the current light restrictions related to billboards and other light polluters, as well as working with the city and business organizations on responsible local ordinances. NAU participates in a statewide organization called Arizona Forward. Arizona Forward’s charge is to “convene business, as well as community and civic leaders in thoughtful public dialogue on critical sustainability issues for the state”. Last year NAU was honored with a special 50th-anniversary award at the Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards, for its engagement and accomplishment. Additionally, NAU’s research faculty and centers provide their knowledge and expertise at the state and regional level on many environmental issues. We assist land management planning for the State Land Department and State Forester through the Ecological Restoration Institute. And we support water quality, water supply and watershed science research in partnership with Salt River Project, one of Arizona’s largest energy producers. Specific information regarding the 5-year partnership with SRP can be found at: http://news.nau.edu/srp-research-partnership/#.X9IlDthKhPY. Information from this project has been used in congressional briefings, including last year’s tri-university conference on water, meetings with state legislators on water policy discussions and to support tribal leaders. NAU also supports the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals which provides research information on climate change on Native American lands and in tribal communities as well as professional development opportunities for professionals and Native American leaders serving tribal communities. These tools include information on climate change impacts, adaptation strategies, and other relevant topic, which are resources in outreach with tribal government staff, leadership and communities.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

While NAU’s efforts at the federal level are primarily through participation in national organizations, NAU faculty involved in sustainability education and research regularly make presentations to elected officials at all levels of government on issues such as land management, forest restoration and water quality and assurance. This information is often referenced by policy makers during legislative hearings and public statements. A prime example of this interaction U.S. Forest Service funding of NAU’s Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI), to assist in land management planning and education materials. The ERI is part of a tri-state collaborative authorized by federal legislation called SWERI which advises on land management policies for federal, state and local lands. The recently passed NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), is a result of this advocacy. The NDAA is currently before the President for consideration, includes conveyance of Camp Navajo to the State of Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. This will benefit local projects and enhance NAU’s current collaborative work on forest restoration, land management research and forest industries, expanding interest in supporting health forests through economic development. During this last congressional session (2020) NAU joined with the other two Arizona public universities in support of several water and land management proposals. One specific proposal which remains in discussion as of December 2020, is language in the omnibus bill funding the US Army Corps of Engineers to support a water research center.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
No

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

NAU partners with international researchers on climate change and environmental landscape research, as shown through numerous NAU faculty and researchers serving as authors of the 2018 ICPP report as well as the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.

However, the university has not engaged in international environmental policy discussions at the administrative level.


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):

Northern Arizona University engages in public policy discussions directly through the Office of the President, Office of External Affairs and Partnerships and Capital Planning, Campus Operations and Transportation as well as through our Vice President of Research and individual research centers and faculty.


A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):

NAU does not make political contributions/donations.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Information from the office of Christy Farely, Vice President of External Affairs and Partnerships

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.