American University (Washington, DC)
American University knows that “the American Dream is Green” — and is taking serious steps to bring that dream to campus. AU is taking a series of practical steps to make sure that its students are green-equipped all the way from the classroom to Congress. A signatory of both ACUPCC and the Talloires Declaration, and a STARS Charter Participant, the university has established a Green Teaching Certification Program to reward professors for incorporating sustainability content into the curriculum and has a climate plan that targets neutrality by 2020. Three full-time and twenty part-time sustainability staff oversee efforts to integrate sustainability across all campus activities, including the implementation of zero-waste, sustainable purchasing, and green building policies. More than twenty-five buildings on campus are participating in a LEED Volume Existing Building certification project. These twenty-five buildings are part AU's Office of Sustainability's more impressive goal: to get the majority of existing campus buildings LEED-certified. As part of that effort, AU installed more than 2,150 solar photovoltaic panels on six American University buildings resulting in the largest solar power system in the District of Columbia. In addition, 174 solar thermal energy panels were added to four campus buildings, providing hot showers to more than 2,000 students living on campus and hot water to the university's largest dining hall. In the past year AU also started composting paper towels, an act estimated to divert about 13 percent of the total campus waste from the landfill. AU has an “incredibly active and successful” environmental group called Eco-Sense that has been in place for ten years. Eco-Sense works hand-in-hand with departments across campus to implement sustainability initiatives.