Baylor Recognized Among Top Performing Universities in Sustainability

  • Go Green Go Baylor
  • Move In Recycling
    One of Baylor's many recycling initiatives happens during Move-in days, as student volunteers with the Office of Sustainability collect and break down recyclable materials, diverting them from the landfill. (Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
Oct. 19, 2015

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

Follow Lori on Twitter at @LoriBaylorU
Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (Oct. 19, 2015) – The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has recognized Baylor University as one of the top performing colleges and universities in the 2015 Sustainable Campus Index, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). The report also highlights best practices and sustainability innovations from more than 50 U.S., Canadian and Mexican institutions that have submitted a STARS report in the last 12 months.

Baylor received Silver designation for its sustainability efforts and was named among the Rising STARS for demonstrating significant commitment to advancing sustainability.

The university also received specific designation as a top performer for Coordination, Planning and Governance, one of 17 campus sustainability impact areas included in the report. This subcategory recognizes institutions that are dedicating resources to sustainability coordination, developing plans to move toward sustainability and engaging the campus community in governance.

“This recognition validates the ongoing efforts of our campus partners to create a more sustainable campus community,” said Pattie Orr, vice president for information technology and dean of University Libraries, who has championed Baylor’s sustainability efforts since 2007. “Their collective efforts along with administrative support from the highest levels of the university have made our past efforts a success and encourage us as we pursue our Sustainable 2020 goals.”

“To be recognized as one of the best in the country is a great honor that acknowledges Baylor’s commitment to fostering the development of the leaders of tomorrow and the judicious stewardship of our resources,” said Smith Getterman, assistant director of sustainability and special projects at Baylor.

“The institutions featured in this year’s publication are leading the way to a sustainable future,” said Meghan Fay Zahniser, AASHE’s executive director. “I hope the stories in this report will serve to inspire continued investment in sustainability among colleges and universities worldwide.”

In addition, under Diversity and Affordability, AASHE highlighted the Baylor Interdisciplinary Poverty Initiative (BIPI), which is designed to create a catalyst for social change around issues of poverty, social justice and human capability. BIPI is administered through the division of Student Life in partnership with a faculty director and advisory committee. The program focuses on discipline-based service and encourages faculty partnerships and civic research.

BIPI serves as the umbrella for several affiliate projects and initiatives, such as the Campus Kitchens Project at Baylor, the Open Table Movement, an interdisciplinary minor in Poverty and Social Justice, a community garden, an 8-10 week summer internship and fellowship program, issue specific immersion trips, and conferences and symposia.

Among the recent highlights of Baylor’s sustainability initiatives:

Recycling: In 2007, the university recycled 160 tons (6 percent diversion rate from landfill). In 2014, the university recycled 543 tons (26 percent diversion rate from landfill)

Move In: In August of 2015, the university recycled 42,600 pounds in 48 hours during Move In, our highest total for any event in the university’s history.

Cool School designation: Baylor was recently recognized by the Sierra Club as one of the greenest universities in the country (one of four schools from Texas, one of only two from the Big 12)

Sustainable 2020: Announced in April 2015, this five-year plan will drive Baylor forward in achieving new levels of success in the stewardship of resources in dining, waste, energy and water by 2020:

• 20 percent locally sourced food in residence hall cafeterias

• 30 percent diversion rate of university waste

• Greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 15 percent, from a 2010FY baseline, including growth

• University-wide water use reduction of 17 percent from a 2010FY baseline, including growth

In recent years, Baylor became a 100-percent Styrofoam-free campus, installed reusable water bottle drinking stations throughout campus and expanded recycling efforts outdoors with first outdoor recycling units.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SUSTAINABILITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION

AASHE is helping to create a brighter future of opportunity for all by advancing sustainability in higher education. By creating a diverse community engaged in sharing ideas and promising practices, AASHE provides administrators, faculty, staff and students, as well as the businesses that serve them, with: thought leadership and essential knowledge resources; outstanding opportunities for professional development; and a unique framework for demonstrating the value and competitive edge created by sustainability initiatives. For more information, visit www.aashe.org.

ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY TRACKING, ASSESSMENT AND RATING SYSTEM

Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. STARS is intended to engage and recognize the full spectrum of colleges and universities—from community colleges to research universities, and from institutions just starting their sustainability programs to long-time campus sustainability leaders. STARS encompasses long-term sustainability goals for already high-achieving institutions as well as entry points of recognition for institutions that are taking first steps toward sustainability.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?