Recognition continues to roll in for California State University, Chico for its environmental practices and commitment to sustainability, with honors awarded recently from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and the Sierra Club.
AASHE recognized CSU, Chico for an overall commitment to sustainable practices in its 2018 Sustainability Campus Index (SCI). Using its Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), AASHE ranked CSU, Chico No. 8 on the Overall Top Performers list for master’s institutions.
Fletcher Alexander, who was the sustainability programs manager for the Institute for Sustainable Development at the time of the ranking, noted that CSU, Chico’s 2018 AASHE STARS Report emphasizes the continued institutionalization of sustainability efforts throughout the University.
“In particular, this report highlights interdisciplinary applied-research partnerships, like the Campus as a Living Lab program developed by the Institute for Sustainable Development, Facilities Management and Services, and courses throughout the GE Pathway in Sustainability,” he said.
The 2018 SCI also acknowledged CSU, Chico’s Resilient Cities Initiative (RCI) as one of three highlighted programs for best practices in sustainability research (the others were from Princeton University and Binghamton University). The RCI is an on-campus interdisciplinary applied research program that connects real-world sustainability projects with faculty expertise and student innovation.
CSU, Chico also fared well in coordination and planning, an individual category rewarding organization, implementation and publicizing sustainability initiatives. The University tied for No. 8 and was the top-placing master’s college in the category.
STARS’ robust rating system factors in academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation and leadership. Sacramento State was the only other CSU named to the SCI list, coming in at No. 10.
The other prominent sustainability recognition that came recently was the announcement that the Sierra Club placed CSU, Chico at No. 9 in its “Cool Schools 2018” list, the highest ranking of any CSU institution, and the first top-10 overall sustainability ranking nationwide for the University.
Sierra Club cites CSU, Chico as being one of 12 founding signatories of 2007’s American Colleges and Universities Climate Commitment. Among its reasons for ranking the University in the top 10, it also notes the University’s efforts in reducing “its emissions by more than a third (and) constructing seven (and counting) LEED-certified buildings” since 2007. Also cited were the RCI’s South Campus Neighborhood Project in partnership with the City of Chico Public Works-Engineering Department and North State research partnerships through the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative.
Among the criteria Sierra Club factored in were curriculum and research around sustainability, as well as campus and public engagement, waste, water, and coordination and planning. Read about its methodology here. Sacramento State was the only other CSU school in the top 50, at No. 49.