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UNH Receives National Campus Sustainability Leadership Award

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
September 23, 2009    

Innovations like EcoLine™, a landfill gas-to-energy project that uses purifie purified methane gas from a Waste Management landfill as the campus’s main energy source contribute to a recent sustainability award. Mike Ross, Photographic Services.

UNH has received an annual Campus Sustainability Leadership Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). UNH’s award, to be presented tonight at the association’s Greening the Campus conference in Indianapolis, is in the four-year universities with between 5,000 and 15,000 students category.

 “UNH has been a leader at integrating sustainability into its academics and operations for more than a decade, and the university continues to impress with initiatives like its EcoLine™ landfill gas-to-energy project and its new academic program in EcoGastronomy,” says Paul Rowland, executive director of AASHE. “We had a very competitive pool of applicants this year, so this is a significant achievement for each of the campus and student winners.”

UNH was cited for a wide range of sustainability innovations across its curriculum, operations, research and engagement. Among them:

  • The University Office of Sustainability, founded in 1997, is the nation’s oldest endowed sustainability program in higher education.
  • UNH launched the nation’s first dual major in EcoGastronomy in 2008, integrating sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition.
  • Of the $99 million in external research dollars received by UNH (FY 08), more than 60% went to environmental research.
  • UNH joined AASHE in its first year of operation in 2006, and chief sustainability officer Tom Kelly is on AASHE’s advisory council. UNH is also one of the founding members of the Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium.

UNH’s complete award profile is here: http://www.aashe.org/resources/awards/2009/university-new-hampshire.

“While UNH has received a number of awards and distinctions for our sustainability leadership, it is particularly gratifying to receive this recognition from our peer group,” says Kelly. “This AASHE award reflects more than a decade of dedication to sustainability from students, faculty and staff throughout the university.”

Other 2009 Campus Sustainability Leadership Award winners are New York University, Furman University (S.C.) and Butte College (Calif.). In addition to the institutional awards, AASHE honors the work of students with two awards: the Student Sustainability Leadership Award went to Missy Orr, a senior at DePauw University, and a team of graduate students from Stanford University won the Student Research on Campus Sustainability Award. The winners of the campus and student sustainability leadership awards will be featured in the October issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada that are working to create a sustainable future. Its mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. AASHE does this by providing resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research.

For more information about sustainability at UNH, go to www.sustainableunh.unh.edu and discoversustainability.org.


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