Awards & Recognitions

University Sustainability Awards and Honors

  • For the TENTH YEAR IN A ROW, Grand Valley State University has been named one of the country's most environmentally responsible colleges by The Princeton Review (
  • For the SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW, Grand Valley was named one of the country’s MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE colleges by The Princeton Review in their 2015 “Guide to 353 Green Colleges.”
  • Grand Valley was named ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S GREENEST UNIVERSITIES by the Sierra Club for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW. It was the highest ranked Michigan institution on the list.
  • For the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW, Grand Valley received a GOLD RATING from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). We’re ONE OF 69 INSTITUTIONS NATIONALLY to achieve this certification, and the first in the state.
  • Grand Valley ranked second in the national Game Day Challenge for DIVERTING NEARLY 80 PERCENT OF WASTE at a football game.
  • Grand Valley has received additional sustainability awards and recognitions from KAPLAN COLLEGE GUIDE, SUSTAINABLE ENDOWMENTS INSTITUTE, AND U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL.
  • During GVSU’s 2010 reaffirmation of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (, officials noted: “The university’s AWARD-WINNING SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE serves the missions of education and outreach and PROVIDES NATIONAL LEADERSHIP.”
  • Peterson’s “Green Jobs for a New Economy: The Career Guide to Emerging Opportunities” listed Grand Valley and the University of Michigan as the two Michigan schools among what editors called “TOP 50 FOUR-YEAR SCHOOLS WITH GREAT GREEN PROGRAMS.” 
  • Mark A. Murray Living Center was given an ENERGY STAR DESIGNATION from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — THE FIRST UNIVERSITY STUDENT-HOUSING UNIT IN MICHIGAN to receive such a designation. 
  • Grand Valley ranked 24TH NATIONALLY among all colleges and universities in the recent annual Recyclemania competition.
  • President Emeritus Haas established Grand Valley’s DEDICATION TO PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT by signing The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. 
  • The City of Grand Rapids and Community Sustainability Partnership were designated the FIRST U.S. REGIONAL CENTER OF EXPERTISE IN EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
  • Grand Valley was featured by BEST COLLEGE RANKINGS on a list of colleges that are doing a GREAT JOB TEACHING SUSTAINABILITY and promoting it in their communities.
  • GVSU’s Facilities Services was the recipient of the Association of Energy Engineers Region III CORPORATE ENERGY MANAGEMENT AWARD

LEED Building Certification Awards

The Holton-Hooker Learning and Living Center on the Allendale Campus has recently been awarded LEED® Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, demonstrating Grand Valley's commitment to sustainable progress through innovative design and construction. 

Currently, Grand Valley has 1.9 million square feet of LEED-certified structures – 24 sites and structures in total.

Grand Valley has committed to designing and building to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification levels. LEED buildings use 30 percent less energy, 40 percent less water, and 75 percent less material than regular buildings. 

• 50% of GVSU facilities are at Gold Level
• 37% of GVSU facilities are at Silver Level
• 8% of GVSU facilities are at Platinum Level 
• 5% of GVSU facilities are at Certified Level

Click here for a full list of LEED certified buildings on the Allendale campus.

champion awards

champion awards

presentations at the champion awards

Student, Staff, and Community Awards

Norman Christopher has been inducted into West Michigan Sustainable Business Hall of Fame

Nichols Sustainability Scholarship 

This scholarship was created in 2006 to reward students who commit to making a difference when it comes to environmental, social and fiscal responsibility, and can demonstrate Nichols' commitment to sustainability.

 2019 Winners

  • Leah Anderson
  • Claire Cavarretta
  • Claire Gault
  • Alexis Greb

Dave Feenstra Scholarship 

The purpose of the fund is to honor Dave’s legacy by providing financial support for a “lead intern” at the Sustainable Agriculture Project who exemplifies Dave’s natural leadership and mentorship skills. 
2019 Winner:

  • Margaux Sellau

Sustainability Champions Award

Sustainability Champions are individuals who, by practice and belief, support the ideals of sustainable practice and using a triple bottom-line approach to problems and issues. The champions have demonstrated that they support both in word and deed, and can be looked to as leaders in sustainability.

Student Award Winners

  • Samuel Afoakwa
  • Briana Crist
  • Michael Dazy
  • Andrew Freiburger
  • Valerie Johnston
  • Chesley Kaminski
  • Ellen Lavigne
  • Heidi Marchi
  • Melona Markham
  • Margaux Sellau
  • Anna Szalay
  • Stephanie Torres

Faculty/ Staff award winners

  • Chad Frederick
  • Kristin Hedges
  • Libby Jawish
  • Amy McFarland
  • Erik Nordman
  • Priscilla Nyamai
  • Kelly Parker
  • Daniel Pellathy
  • Janel Vail
  • Heather Whitman
  • Melissa Wright
  • Colin Yonkers

Community Award Winners

  • Christine Burns
  • Angela Stanford-Butler
  • Dana Eardley
  • Brittany Goode
  • Karl Tucker

Project Awards

MLK Upcycling

  • Stitchtime
  • Community Action House
  • Samuel Afoakwa
  • Jennifer Jameslyn
  • Julia Mason

GVSU Coat Drive

  • Sharalle Arnold
  • Anita Benes
  • Karen Gipson
  • Giselle Guasso
  • Brian Hatzel
  • Jennifer Jameslyn
  • Elly Maheras
  • Iota Tau Alpha