Reflecting on our Accomplishments: Green NAU 2015-2016 Academic Year

Green NAU becomes stronger each day, consistently reaching the lengths of campus and into the community of Flagstaff with our Culture of Sustainability. The collaboration between faculty, staff, students, and administration has been phenomenal and we have made great progress that will step us closer to our sustainable goals. It is with the support of our student body that we are able to make such tremendous strides towards campus wide sustainability. 


President Rita Cheng at the Sustainable Leadership Awards
NAU President, Dr. Rita Cheng at the Sustainable Leadership Awards
Assistant Vice President, John Morris at the Sustainable Leadership Awards
Facility Services, AVP, John Morris at the Sustainable Leadership Awards
Vice President, Jennus Burton at the Sustainable Leadership Awards
Finance and Administration, VP, Jennus Burton at the Sustainable Leadership Awards
Provost, Jim Coleman at the Sustainable Leadership Awards
Provost, Jim Coleman at the Sustainable Leadership Awards

Green NAU


During the academic year of 2015-2016, Green NAU was very busy! They assisted in reaching a solar agreement that will put solar panels on top of the San Francisco Parking Garage. In a joint effort with everyone, Green NAU is extremely proud of that agreement. They hired two Communications Interns that worked to enhance Green NAU’s social media platforms as well as organize and plan Earth Month. They worked to keep Green NAU’s calendar up to date with the latest events and speakers and increased Green NAU’s Facebook by 150+ likes, while simultaneously revitalizing Green NAU’s Instagram account. Our Communications Interns also worked to advertise the Better World Film Series and NAU’s first Green Game. Green NAU also sponsored the Earth Day speaker, Chad Pregracke.

Green NAU rolled out new digital graphic elements for a handful of its branches and formed the Green Groups who meet with the president every semester to develop communication between sustainability initiatives and administration. There were general updates to the Green NAU website, which included new sustainability initiative pages and an orientation video for new employees, in an effort to communicate our Culture of Sustainability at NAU. Green NAU supported Lights Out Flagstaff and was present at the City of Flagstaff Earth Day as well as the Open Air Markets on campus. Green NAU hosted an Inaugural Wine Competition at Vino Loco in an attempt to decrease bottled wine and increase the use of more sustainable boxed and canned wines at NAU tailgating events. Along with Green NAU’s general conservation efforts, the Energy Mentor program increased participation across campus.

Green NAU received the Coconino County Sustainable Building Award, Arizona Forward’s 35th Annual Environmental Excellence Award for Energy and Technology Innovation for their solar hot air heating technology on the Property Surplus building, EPA’s “Big Sky Conference” winner for their Green Power Partnership Challenge, USGBC LEED Platinum Certification for the Native American Cultural Center, and applied for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Award. Green NAU continues to recycle at all tailgating events, continues to meet quarterly with sustainability leaders in the City and County, and support and participate in campus garden growth. 

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Green Jacks


The Green Jacks have spent most of their academic year organizing and executing a Green Fund Fee Campaign to increase the Green Fee to $25. This increase in the fee will allow Green NAU to continue to install renewable technologies and move us forward to becoming carbon neutral. They completed their first, very successful, year of their Better World Seminar Series by bringing in outside speakers and collaborating with other student groups on campus. They have more than doubled their membership, continue to host events, such as Earth Jam, and continue to assist with Earth Week events and planning. The Green Jacks continue to foster communication with the President of NAU and they were awarded NAU Organization at the Sustainable Leadership Awards. 

CoCoSus: Coordinating Committee for Campus Sustainability


CoCoSus has been working diligently and are involved at the administrative level. They completed a drafted revision of the climate neutrality plan and collected and organized Sustainable Action Plan accomplishments for each department. The Chair of CoCoSus, John Morris, gave a State of Sustainability Address at the Environmental Caucus’ Earth Month meeting. They were involved with the Green Fund Fee Campaign and sent the proposal directly to the President. They also submitted a maco-budget request, which included a plethora of sustainability requests. Lastly, they underwent a small restructure and re-evaluated their mission and vision.  

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Environmental Caucus (EC)


The Environmental Caucus has spent a lot of time during this academic year raising awareness of sustainable efforts on campus. They have increased their Green NAU Newsletter list-serve to 2,000+ subscribers and they continue to add new subscribers every day. The Green NAU Newsletter went through a complete re-design and is better than ever. They hosted a great deal of events during the year including Careers With Impact, Fall Social, State of Sustainability Address by CoCoSus, and outside community members at various EC monthly meetings. The EC funded reusable water bottles for the President’s Cabinet to help reduce plastic water bottles in Babbitt Administration’s conference room. They also partnered with the Academic Sustainability Steering Committee to create a position description for the Academic Sustainability Coordinator and to spearhead the Sustainable Citizen Program. Finally, the EC had overwhelming success at their annual Sustainable Leadership Awards by having appearances by President Cheng, Finance and Admin VP Jennus Burton, Provost Jim Coleman, and Facility Services AVP President John Morris. 

Environmental Caucus Action Teams


Energy Action Team


The Energy Action Team worked on the Request For Proposals for the solar project on San Francisco Parking Garage. Fletcher Wilkinson, Climate Science and Solutions graduate, presented his analysis of our electrical demand charges and analyzed how a micro-grid could contribute to the reduction of demand charges on NAU’s campus. The Energy Action Team will be working with the CSS department to have a student continue to run these types of analysis regularly to keep updated on the technology and determine if and when it will be cost effective. Megan Burke, Sustainable Building Intern, reviewed her work to get our first LEED Operations and Maintenance building certified. She has been working for over a year to collect data and ensure that Cline Library is operating and being maintained in the most sustainable way possible. Dara Marks-Marino presented her independent study on the potential for NAU to utilize a local waste to energy plant. Lastly, the Energy Action Team created a new renewable energy project on the new Construction Management Laboratory. The Green Fund provided funding to install solar PV and solar thermal in a way that will be viewable by students and easy to integrate into the curriculum.

Sustainable Landscaping Action Team


The Sustainable Landscaping Action Team has been hard at work to ensure removal of herbicides being used on large grassy fields. Eventually, they would like to completely eliminate the use of harmful herbicides on campus. They applied for and received a Tree Campus USA designation for NAU. They have submitted designs for sustainable landscaping signage across campus that will explain our sustainable landscaping practices, water conservation efforts, and composting practices. Two initiatives that the Sustainable Landscaping Action Team will continue to work on are becoming a Bee Campus USA and being able to use some of the produce grown on campus in our campus dining establishments.

Communications Action Team


The Communications Action Team became fully formed within the past year. They have added a member from Marketing to assist in creating signage and digital media to help general promotions. They assisted in advertisement and awareness of Earth Week and ZimRide. The Action Team looks forward to continue gaining traction looking into the coming year. 

Transportation Action Team


The Transportation Action Team has been consistently working to ensure that all campus transportations are safe. They received money from the Environmental Caucus and Parking and Shuttle Services to install pedestrian safety signs on the Big Belly recycling bins across campus. They looked for ways to increase awareness of the rideshare program called ZimRide and they helped to identify and implement safety measures for the bike path on the San Francisco hill. They contributed to Earth Week by tabling and encouraging bike registrations and they continued to improve communication and collaboration with Facility Services by identifying areas for improvement around campus. They provided updates and feedback to the Transportation Section of the Sustainability Action Plan and they began discussing bringing a transit consultant to campus to increase the safety of everyone moving around campus. Lastly, the Transportation Action Team submitted their Bike Friendly University renewal application. 

Waste Minimization Action Team


The Waste Minimization Action Team has continued to increase recycling efforts across campus and educate students, faculty, staff, and administration what can and cannot be recycled. They assist in the tailgate recycling events and they hired a Waste Minimization Intern to help coordinate and execute these recycling events. They created new waste and recycling technology standards and look forward to continuing their education efforts as we move into the new academic year. 

Sustainable Dining


NAU’s Sustainable Dining program has gained tremendous traction throughout the year. They held Open Air Markets on the Union Pedway where they had 35 varieties of Arizona grown produce and sold 1,611 pounds of food during their time. They also continued their Food Recovery Network where they donated 7,400 pounds of food during the fall and spring semesters to the Flagstaff Family Food Center and Sunshine Rescue Mission. NAU was also a regional EPA Award winner for the Food Recovery Network. Lastly, NAU Sustainable Dining has a Composting Program where 200,000 pounds of organic food waste from campus kitchens, NAU coffee shops, and NAU landscaping materials are composted on the NAU campus. There is staff support for seven academic courses relating to sustainable food systems and sustainable dining. 

Housing and Residence Life/Eco-Reps


Housing and Residence Life are equipped with 21 Eco-reps who assist in educating students on how to live sustainably. Eco-Reps partnered with Parking and Shuttle Services to provide free bike registration events in the fall where 117 students participated. Housing and Residence Life planned and hosted the 4th annual Eco Fashion Show for Earth Week with over 200 people in attendance. Over the course of the year, they had the highest number of No Impact Jack participants since the start of the program with 463 participants. Housing and Residence Life provided training and education about sustainability to all new RA and Residence Hall Directors. They also coordinated with Custodial Services to establish a more consistent and accessible recycling program in the central Housing and Residence Life Office. Finally, throughout the fall semester only, they had almost 2,000 reported student interactions and 38 programs were provided in the halls. As always, the “Leave Green” efforts to divert waste during move in and move out have continued. During the most recent move out event, they were able to divert 20,447 pounds of clothing, 10,750 pounds of miscellaneous products, 138 pieces of furniture, 1,059 pounds of cleaning supplies, and 6,320 pounds of food from the landfills. In total, they diverted 38,576 pounds of stuff from the landfills.

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Green Fund


The Green Fund has had a very strong year and have approved 10 projects during the 2015/2016 academic year. They were present at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference where they collaborated with other universities and shared insights on sustainable practices. The largest accomplishment for the Green Fund was the signing for the installment of a solar array for the top of the San Francisco Parking Garage. They hired three new members that will start at the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester and they increased their involvement with the community by presenting and making appearances at communal events. They co-sponsored the Earth Day speaker and helped participate in the City’s Earth Day cleanup. A full list of Green Fund projects can be found here. Finally, the Green Fund partnered with a Climate Science and Solutions graduate student who studied all Green Fund projects and created a second emissions report.