Butler University’s first campus-wide sustainability assessment has earned a bronze-level ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), which measures efforts in areas such as operations, curriculum, campus, and public engagement to make the University more environmentally friendly.
The University earned strong marks for offering courses and immersive experiences related to sustainability, and for using campus as a living laboratory. Butler also was noted for outreach campaigns, intercampus collaborations, and community partnerships.
The full report is available here.
“Our bronze ranking confirms Butler’s commitment to campus sustainability,” says Julia Angstmann, Director of Butler’s Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability. “And now that we have compiled this report, we have a baseline to know where we stand, which is important for the institution as we work to improve our sustainability efforts.”
The AASHE rankings—which range from no ranking to platinum—are determined by information that colleges and universities self-report. In October, the University submitted a more than 200-page report delineating all of its sustainability efforts. AASHE took that information from Butler and other participating schools and gave scores in each category.
Butler was noted for offering majors and minors that incorporate sustainability concepts and courses that are sustainability-related or sustainability-focused. It also received high marks for study-abroad programs related to sustainability that are offered in Australia (Sustainability and Environmental Action), Ecuador (Comparative Ecology and Conservation), Iceland and Greenland (Climate Change in the Arctic), and Germany (Environmental Studies and Sustainability).
Under the heading of “using campus as a living laboratory,” AASHE noted the number of courses that use the Campus Farm as a resource, the inventory taken of trees on campus, and the efforts made to prevent birds from crashing into windows in campus buildings.
AASHE scores also noted operations efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, reduce energy consumption and food waste, and add green buildings to campus.
In addition, Butler received innovation points for its collaboration with Ball State to create a mobile greenhouse, a composting project with IUPUI, and the completion of the Sunset Avenue Gateway project, a green infrastructure project that introduced bike lanes and enhances walkability through the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.
Angstmann said the AASHE rankings reveal that Butler is on the right track.
“There’s been a lot of interest from the campus community now that we know where we stand,” she says. “So this is an exciting time for sustainability at Butler.”