A farmers market in front of the Campus Center last week brought farmers, and local produce, onto campus. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)
ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 24, 2016) — Last Thursday, more than 350 people on campus took a bite into a locally-grown apple at precisely 12:30 p.m.
It was fun – and delicious – and it made a larger point about the benefits of eating locally. A farmers market around the small fountain at the Campus Center did the same, offering the campus a chance to meet local farmers and sample their produce.
The Campus Crunch was one of many events hosted recently by the Office of Sustainability, coming a couple of days after the annual Farm to Table Dinner and in the middle of the 10-week Energy Campaign that’s pushing for a 10 percent campus-wide reduction in electrical usage.
The University was honored today for its work involving the campus community in sustainability — programs that encourage recycling and composting, energy reduction and alternative methods of transportation, and eating local foods. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education named UAlbany a leader in the field of campus engagement for its programs that challenge students, faculty and staff toward responsible stewardship. The University was also recognized for its methodology — the University’s submission to AASHE was third-party reviewed by seven sustainability colleagues within the SUNY system.
The Office of Sustainability was honored for campus-wide engagement in sustainability issues.
“We are extremely pleased to be highlighted in AASHE’s Sustainable Campus Index and recognized for our efforts in campus engagement and assessment of our activities,” said Director of Sustainability Mary Ellen Mallia. “We have worked hard to provide a wide array of environmentally responsible choices for our students including energy conservation programs, increasing local food in our dining halls, providing free bus and bike services, and programs responding to increased student interest in sustainable lifestyles. To be acknowledged by our national professional organization is a great honor.”
The AASHE’s 2016 Sustainable Campus Index highlights ways the University integrates sustainability into all aspects of residential student life. The organization credits the Office of Sustainability for working with Residential Life to create a committee of residential directors from each living area on campus, which meet every other week to discuss programs and communication efforts focused on changing student behavior.
“Recent successful initiatives include the Energy Campaign, RecycleMania and the Give and Go,” the AASHE report said.
AASHE’s 2016 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing colleges and universities on 17 different aspects of sustainability, including curriculum, research, purchasing, energy food and dining and public engagement.
“Engaging in sustainability through co-curricular activities allows students to deepen and apply their understandings of sustainability principals,” the AASHE report says. “Equipping faculty and staff with the tools, knowledge and motivation to adopt behavior changed that promote sustainability is also an essential activity of a sustainable campus.”
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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.