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Chico State

International Organization AASHE Once Again Honors Chico State for Excellence in Sustainability

A printing machine puts an Earth Day logo on a reusable bag
Matt Bates / University Photographer

Once again, Chico State has been recognized for its excellence in sustainability by a prestigious international organization.

In its 2023 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI), the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) honored Chico State for its environmental practices and commitment to sustainability, listing it as No. 3 on its Master’s Institutions category—the University’s sixth consecutive year in the top 10 and its third straight year in the top 5.

The Sustainable Campus Index highlights the most sustainable colleges and universities globally in 17 impact areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). As one of the top performing colleges and universities in the Master’s Institutions category, Chico State was the top US higher education institution—Thompson Rivers University from Kamloops, British Columbia and The American College of Greece in Athens, Greece took the top two slots.

Additionally, the CSU took five of the top seven spots in AASHE’s rankings—CSUN at No. 4; Cal Poly Humboldt at No. 5; San José State at No. 6; and Cal State LA at No. 7.

As Chico State’s commitment to sustainability features prominently in its Strategic Plan—prioritizing resilient and sustainable practices across campus—Interim Vice President of the Office of Business and Finance Jamie Clyde said that recognitions like AASHE’s are a testament to the University’s dedication.

“Chico State is committed to the environment and sustainable practices, and it takes the action of our 14,000 students and 2,000 employees to make it work,” she said. “Our students and employees embody what it means to be an environmental steward on our campus and that fills me with pride.”

Using data from its Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System, AASHE recognizes top-performing colleges and universities from around the world. It also included top performers according to the impact area, from buildings and transportation to waste and air and climate—and Chico State performed well in one of these categories, too.

Chico State is tied for eighth in the water category (one of only two CSU campuses listed—Cal State Fullerton being the other CSU), which focuses on water conservation and reuse, as well as effective rainwater management practices.

From an academic standpoint, a faculty-learning community helped implement better sustainability and resilience in the curriculum among more than 80 courses at six CSU campuses thanks to a faculty learning community led by geography and planning professor Mark Stemen. In fact, thanks to Stemen’s efforts, the CSU received the 2023 Excellence and Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development in the Comprehensive category from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

To date, over 75 classes spanning all fields of study have been redesigned to include greater engagement in climate change and resilience. With support from the CSU’s Innovative Teaching and Learning Programs​, the learning community will be expanded and made available to 230 faculty members across the 23-university system in spring 2024.