Association releases review of higher-education sustainability

Green building efforts on college and university campuses are stronger than ever, according to a recently released review of sustainability efforts in higher education.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s 2011 Higher Education Sustainability Review has found skyrocketing support for green jobs training and programs; an increased focus on higher-education access, affordability and success; and growing campus and community engagement with food security initiatives.

"This year we were especially pleased to see the growth in accessibility and affordability efforts, as well as green jobs training and creating food-secure communities,” says Judy Walton, AASHE's Director of Resources and Publications.

In a news release, the association has highlighted several of the findings from the review.

The 2011 analysis shows the number of AASHE Bulletin stories dealing with higher education access and affordability increased from three in 2009 and four in 2010 to 36 in 2011. Nearly 60 percent of all new programs or training opportunities were focused on training students for renewable energy and green careers.

With 191 stories about environmentally friendly buildings, the 2011 AASHE Bulletin found evidence of more green building efforts on campus than any previous year.

AASHE also reported a 28 percent increase in 2011 in the number of energy-related initiatives compared with the previous year. The 284 projects in 2011 included 97 new or planned solar installations.

Food security efforts on college and university campuses made up the largest percentage of the Bulletin's “Public Engagement” (33 percent) and “Dining Services” (64 percent) categories. Together with “Funding” and “Grounds” categories, these four categories yielded 79 food security initiatives.

Community colleges and their local communities increased their efforts in 2011 to address access to an affordable college education that results in strong job prospects and low student debt, the analysis says.

With 191 environmentally friendly building stories, there were more green building efforts on campus reported in the AASHE Bulletin in 2011 than ever before.

Solar energy research projects were the most widely reported item in the Bulletin's “Research” category, with nearly $1.8 million in total investment.

Find more information about the AASHE Sustainability Review.

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