GVSU again named top performer by national sustainability group

A photo of students walking near the Student Services Center.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

Grand Valley State University has again been named a top performer in the country by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), achieving high-ranking spots in the categories of waste minimization, and well-being and work.

The university is included in AASHE's 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication that highlights the performance of colleges and universities in 17 impact areas. Nationally, Grand Valley ranks fourth for waste minimization and 10th for well-being and work for master's level universities. 

"The progress along the Grand Valley sustainability journey is attributed to the hard work and efforts of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Council, which helps integrate sustainability on campus and in the community," said Norman Christopher, director of the Office of Sustainability Practices. "Health and wellness and waste minimization are several of those key focus areas where continual improvements can be seen year after year."

The rankings are based on data from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). The assessment gauges the progress of colleges and universities toward sustainability in all sectors, including education and research, operations, planning and administration. Grand Valley became the first Michigan university to receive gold status in 2013 and has maintained its gold status ever since. 

Yumi Jakobcic, campus sustainability coordinator, credits the recognition to numerous waste-minimizing efforts on campus, including the university's Surplus Store, Facilities Services office, and Green Team, a student organization that performs trash audits and educates the campus community about proper waste disposal.

Grand Valley is a member of the national initiative Partnership for a Healthier America and is designated as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. The university's Human Resources and Campus Recreation offices host wellness workshops and events, including a Farmers Market, to encourage healthy lifestyles for the Grand Valley community. 

View the university's STARS report at http://gvsu.edu/s/0sR and the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index here.

This is the latest recognition Grand Valley has received for its sustainability efforts. In August, the Sierra Club named Grand Valley one of the country's greenest universities. In April, Grand Valley was named among the top 10 universities in country in the recycling category of Recyclemania; more than one million pounds were recycled during the two-month competition. In September, Grand Valley was named one of the country's most environmentally responsible colleges by Princeton Review. 

For more information, contact the Office of Sustainability Practices at www.gvsu.edu/sustainability