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L&C Earns Top Ten Spot in Sustainable Campus Index

September 04, 2018

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has recognized Lewis & Clark College as a top performer in its 2018 Sustainable Campus Index, making L&C the only baccalaureate institution west of the Mississippi to make the top ten. Lewis & Clark placed ninth overall, second nationally in the category of Investment and Finance, and fifth in the Air and Climate category.

“AASHE’s sustainability tracking and reporting system is a key component of Lewis & Clark’s efforts to benchmark our progress and increase transparency around our sustainability efforts,” said Amy Dvorak, director of sustainability. “As the most rigorous reporting standard in our industry, we are honored to be included as one of the top overall performers.”

AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Data is then assessed across more than 60 questions from energy supply and water usage to curriculum, transportation, waste management, and institutional policies like fossil fuel divestment. STARS data is also often used by other entities like the Sierra Club and The Princeton Review to benchmark higher education efforts around sustainability.

Lewis & Clark has a wide range of campus sustainability initiatives, including the college’s renewable energy fee fund, campus-wide composting, bike-sharing, and alternative transportation offerings. The college has also installed charging stations throughout campus to promote the use of electric cars, and in a new effort to eliminate waste and reduce reliance on products containing fossil fuels, Lewis & Clark developed a campus-wide policy to reduce single-use plastic. These efforts have often been led by or in tandem with students, just like the Environmental Affairs Symposium (now in its 21st year) in which students plan panels, invite speakers, and present original research about topics related to the environment.

According to President Wim Wiewel, such on-campus involvement is a vital part of Lewis & Clark’s status as an environmental leader.

“When national politics are aggressively undermining U.S. commitments to fight climate change, it is up to local jurisdictions and institutions like ours to lead,” Wiewel said. “We are privileged to have a unique and important opportunity to educate our future leaders on climate issues while they are on our campus.”