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Kind Wine Competition Finds Its Winner!





Green NAU’s Kind Wine Competition (KWC) concluded Sunday (11/6/16) night with a list of winning wines and a room of smiling faces. The event’s mission was to improve the sustainability of wine packaging around the world. Although glass is an age old staple in the wine industry, it has a few environmental drawbacks that don’t make it ideal for transporting liquid. For example, it is very energy intensive to make glass, it’s very heavy so there are increased emissions associated with its transportation, it’s shaped in a way that is not conducive to shipping, and in Flagstaff it is not easily recycled nor is their a local glass recycling facility.

Wine in boxes, cans, or even kegs have been shown to have less than half to carbon impact of glass bottles. 

At the KWC, 15 select judges tasted 66 wines from boxes to bring attention to these issues.

This event helped to highlight sustainable packaged wine in many ways:

  • by calling wineries and asking them for their sustainably packaged wines we started a conversation around these issues. Hopefully more wineries will move in this direction and participate next year.
  • through advertising the event and through event attendance individuals became more aware of these issues.
  • attendees were also able to sample the 66 wines and find their favorites, removing the stigma of boxed wine and increasing the chances of them making more sustainable wine purchases moving forward.

Thanks to all those who came out and participated!

And the winners are!

Sweepstakes Winners:

Peter Vella Delicious Red

Fish Eye Moscato
Black Box Pinot Noir
Peter Vella Sangria

Peter Vella Moscato

A huge “thank you” to Sodexo and all our sponsoring partners!


KWC’s GOLD: Peter Vella Delicious Red

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Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” Rating Announces NAU as a National Leader in Sustainability!

Northern Arizona University’s Gold Sustainability Ranking
Gets it Listed on Sierra Club’s Cool School List

Student Sustainability Leaders

In 2015, student sustainability leaders Brandon Vanbibber, Dylan Lenzen and Jessica Lazor helped lead NAU to a huge year of sustainability accomplishments.

Sierra magazine, which is the official publication of the Sierra Club, released its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of the greenest higher education institutions in the nation. After assessing 100’s of schools that participate in an extensive sustainability survey created by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), NAU ranked 51st in the Nation! The magazine ranks universities based on their commitment to upholding high environmental standards and implementing projects and initiatives that demonstrate this commitment. Innovative research and development, renewable energy installations, educating students in the most advanced thinking on sustainability, and other innovative initiatives and projects gain institutions points and higher positions in the ranking.

2015 marked an important year for sustainability advancement at NAU. In recent years NAU has experienced a growth in student enrollment of 6,750 and an increase in facility square footage of 50% since 2002. Due to green building and aggressive energy efficiency upgrades the campus has an overall reduction of campus electricity consumption per square foot by 18% and its natural gas use per square foot by 33% since 2002. “We’re having even better successes with our water conservation efforts,” said Ellen Vaughan who manages NAU’s Office of Sustainability. “We recognize that NAU is a huge entity in this arid region and we’re quite proud to have actually reduced our total potable and reclaimed water use since 2002.” NAU has invested over 18 million dollars in retrofitting mechanical systems, light fixtures, faucets, shower heads, urinals, and HVAC systems to cut our consumption of water, natural gas, and electricity.

“The large efficiency retrofit is not the only reason NAU was able to decrease its environmental footprint,” said Vaughan. “Newly constructed buildings on campus are designed to LEED Gold standards where sustainability is at the forefront of design and construction consideration. A good example is the International Pavilion (IP) building that was constructed during the summer of 2015 and achieved a Platinum LEED certification.” NAU is measuring the IP this year to see if it will be their first net zero emissions building through a high efficiency design and solar PV installation on its roof.

NAU also seeks to engage faculty and staff through the Energy Mentors program in order to reduce electricity waste around the campus. “By training volunteer faculty and staff to engage peers on energy consumption habits, we are able to cultivate a sense of responsibility and culture of sustainability around the campus” said Avi Henn who helps run the program through the Office of Sustainability.

“Through NAU’s persistent commitment to sustainability, we recently received designation as a Tree Campus USA university”, said John Morris who is the Associate Vice President of Facility Services at NAU. “There are many passionate and dedicated people at NAU that help the university implement its sustainability goals” added Morris.

A key component to the success of NAU is the student participation in sustainable initiatives around campus. “The student led NAU Green Fund, which provides funding for projects that reduce NAU’s negative impact on the environment, has provided funding to many of the sustainability focused projects in 2015,” said Jessica Lazor who is a graduate student at the Climate Sciences and Solutions program and the chair of the Green Fund. “These projects included providing funding for the IP, construction of the gardner snake vivarium, the installation of water saving irrigation systems, and the award winning hot air heater installation on the Property Surplus building” added Lazor.

“These are only some of the things that make NAU a university that prioritizes sustainability,” concluded Vaughan. “We are always looking to the future and are seeking for ways to do our part in mitigating the effects of fossil fuel use and climate change. Green NAU is honored by this recognition and will continue to strive for sustainability accomplishments across campus and throughout the community.

For a full list of Green NAU’s accomplishments last year (including going retail plastic bag free, implementing a successful Students for a Better World Seminar Series, holding an inaugural sustainable wine competition, having NAU’s first home football “Green Game,” becoming EPA’s “Big Sky Conference” winner for their Green Power Partnership Challenge, multiple composting and food recovery projects, and much more) CLICK HERE.

Green Jacks at Grand Canyon

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Kind Wine Competition and Tasting

Sunday, November 6, 2016, 3-6pm

1899’s Grand Ballroom on NAU’s Flagstaff campus

NAU is hosting the first and only sustainable packaging wine competition in the world. Wineries are jumping on the bandwagon as the growing trend for premium or even super premium, appellation-specific, vintage dated, boxed wines increase in availability. You be the judge, and vote for your favorite “People’s Choice Award.” The public tasting follows the sustainable packaging wine competition which will have a panel of professional judges as well as student and alumni participants.  

The wine industry is becoming more involved in developing packaging systems that minimize carbon emissions, with recyclable, reusable, and compostable containers. Wines must come in boxes, tetra packs, cans, or kegs to qualify for the competition. Learn how sustainable packaging impacts our environment and how small changes you make will manifest into an enormous difference.  

The millennial factor demonstrates how the largest generation of consumers is influencing today’s packaging landscape. Stella Carr, an NAU student reflects this sentiment precisely, “I’m really excited for our campus to be leading the way by creating a sustainable packaging wine competition. College campuses should be on the frontline of sustainability and education of the public, both of which will be accomplished at this inaugural community wine tasting. Building interest for sustainably packaged wines will help to support this new movement where the industry is already headed. I’m glad I can be a part of something trailblazing like this.”

Tickets are $25 for the general public and $20 for students. You must be 21 to enter. Entry includes tasting of dozens of wines, a commemorative wine glass, appetizers, and there will be local crafts and merchandise at the silent auction.

Proceeds benefit NAU’s Office of Sustainability, dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship on campus and throughout the world.

For more info and to purchase tickets visit:

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Student and Academic Services Wins Two Awards from Interior Lighting Campaign

Photo credit: Kyle Zirkus Photography

Photo credit: Kyle Zirkus Photography

The Student and Academic Services (SAS) building won two awards from the US Department of Energy’s Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) in two categories: Best Use of Lighting Controls in a Single Building and Exemplary Higher Education Sector Site. The Interior Lighting Campaign is “a recognition and guidance program designed to help facility owners and managers take advantage of savings opportunities from high efficiency interior lighting solutions.”

All lighting in the building is LED technology and there are varying controls that make it even more energy efficient. In offices, occupancy sensors will automatically turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Building occupants also have the ability to dim the lights to their preference. Areas with natural daylighting from windows have light harvesting controls that automatically dim lights when there is ample light coming in from the outside.

The SAS building, which opened in January, is anticipated to be certified LEED gold. In addition to the energy efficient LED lighting throughout the building it has many sustainability features including water efficient fixtures, reclaimed water usage, energy efficient building construction, and green cleaning.

More information about the Interior Lighting Campaign can be found on its website.

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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. 

GJ vert hor

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.  

EC Logo

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.

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NAU Removes All Retail Plastic Bags from its Operations!

Reusable Bag Student

Students across campus are using reusable bags more and more

NAU is excited to announce that no retail store on campus will be giving out plastic bags!

NAU’s Bookstore (operated by Follett) is the latest concessionaire to stop handing out plastic bags for retail operations. Instead, they will be opting for a more environmentally friendly paper bag. The new bags are made from 100% Forestry Sustainability Council (FSC) Recycled material and are themselves, recyclable. 95% of the recycled content comes from post consumer waste. To further reduce their environmental impact customers can request to not receive a bag with their purchase. “The NAU Bookstore team is proud to join the Northern Arizona University community in discontinuing the use of plastic bags. Since launching our “skip the bag” program in 2009, we’ve found that many customers are happy to pass on plastic bags for their purchase. Discontinuing plastic bags at the store reinforces our encouragement to all NAU Bookstore customers to either carry their purchased items or place them in a reusable bag. Together, the NAU community can make a big difference,” said Diana White, Store Manager for the NAU Bookstore.

Among its many sustainable initiatives, NAU’s Campus Dining (operated by Sodexo) decided to stop using bags back in 2010. “At first, it seemed like a huge endeavor,” explains Casey Fisher, Sodexo’s director of Strategic Planning and Marketing “we have 29 Restaurants and convenience stores across campus. But Sodexo has a strong commitment to sustainability and we were excited to work with NAU on a project that was pretty innovative at the time. Six years later, we’re happy to report we’re keeping approximately 33,000 plastic bags a year out of circulation. The whole endeavor was definitely a success, there was never really much negative push back at all” Fisher concludes.

In Flagstaff, plastic bags can be recycled at grocery stores that participate in Bag Central Station – Where Bags Belong. They are not recyclable through the residential recycling system. Going plastic bag free is the latest in the bookstore’s “green” initiatives. The NAU Bookstore also recycles books at the end of the fall semester and continually recycles electronics from the computer store.

Ban the Bag

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Northern Arizona University, Sodexo composting food scraps for a greener campus

Composting Green Fund Picture

A new student-lead collaboration between Northern Arizona University (NAU) and food service company Sodexo is leading to high-volume recycling of the school’s food waste.

The program kicked into gear with the acquisition of machines that grind and dehydrate food waste from the school’s dining services into an easily compostable form. Through a waste audit, students discovered that the school’s dining halls and other food service facilities generate up to 1,500 pounds of food waste each day. Once those scraps have been composted, school landscaping crews add it to the on-campus landscaping.

“The new system is an exciting venture for NAU and Sodexo as we work together to continually strive for advances in the sustainability of our dining operations,” NAU Executive Director of Campus Services and Activities Thomas Eberly said. “We hope that this system will pave the way for further waste reduction initiatives by working with students to create solutions that help meet university goals. And, if in the process, we can provide a case study for other universities looking to invest in similar systems, we’ve accomplished significant progress in our journey toward creating a culture of sustainability at NAU and beyond.”

The school also diverts and tracks its organic waste through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge and helps move food to food banks through the Food Recovery Network.

NAU’s Green Fund contributed $60,000 to help make this project a reality.

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NAU brightens sustainable outlook with major solar panel agreement!

Rooftop Solar Dedication

Jessica Lazor, Fletcher Wilkinson, John Morris, NAU President Rita Cheng and Brandon Vanbibber at the ceremony Tuesday.

Northern Arizona University took its latest step toward long-term sustainable operations today by announcing that the university will host a large solar panel system on campus.

NAU President Rita Cheng signed documents at a ceremony on campus to mark the project’s launch. Student representatives and officials from Arizona Public Service also attended.

“There are many people to thank for making this day possible,” Cheng said. “They include a group of dedicated staff in Facilities Services, the student leaders of NAU Green Fund and our friends at Arizona Public Service. Today’s signing honors our collective commitment to sustainability and the university’s mission to use all resources responsibly. This solar project symbolizes what can be achieved by working together toward a common goal.”

The project features a 704-kilowatt system that will be built atop the San Francisco Parking Garage under an agreement with BriteStreet Energy Group. NAU will purchase the electricity generated by the system from BriteStreet for a period of 20 years.

“We are excited to be working with NAU,” said Tim Kubes, vice president of Commercial Development for BriteStreet. “The team at NAU is outstanding and we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this project.”

A separate 20-year agreement with Arizona Public Service provides an incentive of 6 cents per kilowatt hour produced by the system.

In addition, the student-funded NAU Green Fund will contribute $100,000 a year for the first 10 years to offset the cost of purchasing the generated electricity. Both the APS incentives and student funding ensured the economic feasibility of the project by reducing the cost of electricity.

Sky Construction and Engineering will install the system. Construction will begin in June with final completion scheduled for September.

The NAU Green Fund was created in 2010 when students voted to support a fee of $5 per student per semester that would go toward making campus more sustainable.

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NAU Designated Conference Champion in EPA’S College & University Green Power Challenge!


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized NAU as an Individual Conference Champion of the 2015-16 College & University Green Power Challenge for using more green power than any other school in the Big Sky Conference.

Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power use within the program. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that uses the most green power in a qualifying conference.

NAU beat its conference rivals by using more than 8 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 13 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage last year. NAU has recently revisited its purchases and is now buying 15% of its electricity through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from wind.

In addition, Northern Arizona University is generating green power from an on-site renewable energy system using solar and wind resources. This demonstrates a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.

According to the U.S. EPA, Northern Arizona University’s green power use of more than 8 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity use of more than 700 average American homes annually.

Learn more about NAU’s RECs purchases here.

In the 2015-16 challenge, the 41 collegiate conferences and 94 schools competing collectively used nearly 2.5 billion kWh of green power. EPA’s Green Power Challenge is open to any collegiate athletic conference in the United States. In order to qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least one school that qualifies as a Green Power Partner, and the conference must collectively use at least 10 million kWh of green power. EPA will restart the 11th season of the College & University Green Power Challenge in the fall of 2016 and conclude in the spring of 2017. For more information, visit:

Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, eligible biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. Using green power helps accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints.

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Sustainability Leadership Awards 2016

Each year the Environmental Caucus (EC) hosts the Sustainability Leadership Awards. These awards are presented to students, faculty, and staff who have been nominated by their peers for going above and beyond in enhancing our Culture of Sustainability at NAU or in the community. This year the Environmental Caucus received over 30 nominations covering their six different categories. The award ceremony began with a presentation from Dr. Rita Cheng, the President of NAU, and continued with award presentations from Jennus Burton, NAU’s VP of Finance and Dr. Jim Coleman, NAU’s Provost. Preceding the main event the Caucus held presentations from Green Fund Project Managers, which included John Morris, NAU’s AVP of Facility Services.

Congratulations to all of the winners and a special thank you to all Administration members who attended. Also, thank you to Caitlyn Burford, the EC Chair, and Jessica Lazor, the EC Graduate Assistant for hosting and organizing such an important event!


NAU Undergraduate Student

Undergraduate 1st Place Winner, Cassandra Leone with presenter Jennus Burton, VP of Finance

Undergraduate 1st Place Winner, Cassandra Leone with presenter Jennus Burton, NAU VP of Finance.

Cassandra Leone, 1st Place

Cassandra Leone has been dedicated to creating a culture of sustainability since the ripe age of 7. In elementary school, she raised awareness for Earth Day by organizing school-wide trash pick-ups and participating in informational plays, which she wrote. Cassandra has gained even more momentum as an Environmental Studies student at NAU. She continues to show her leadership skills through countless Green initiatives on campus. You can always catch her at the open-air market or volunteering for the Food Recovery Network. She works for Campus Dining as the Student Sustainability Coordinator and serves as Vice Chair of the Green Fund. She was also an intern for AZ Green Living Magazine. Cassandra has attended the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) conference twice- in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, she represented NAU by presenting her work on two separate subjects: waste reduction strategies and interdepartmental success due to partnership between Campus Dining and Health Promotions. She has also presented at the Undergraduate Symposium.  Cassandra wrote a successful Green Fund proposal for her current project, a podcast called At Its Roots.

2nd place: Stella Carr

3rd place: Sara Tilford


NAU Graduate Student

Graduate 1st Place winner Dara Marks-Marino with presenter Jennus Burton, NAU VP of Finance.

Graduate 1st Place winner Dara Marks-Marino with presenter Jennus Burton, NAU VP of Finance.

Dara Marks-Marino, 1st Place

Dara is completing her graduate degree in the Climate Science and Solutions program and she continues to seek ways to help NAU identify realistic waste reduction strategies.  Dara is a part of the Waste Minimization Action Team and has been an important part of ensuring that recycling at tailgates happened on campus. Dara was also a key organizer for the Zero Waste Hallow-Green Game this year. Dara’s passion and high level of engagement for the Green Game made her a catalyst for the long list of action items that needed to be completed before the Oct. 31st game. Without her leadership and enthusiasm, the Green Game would not have been the success that it was. On top of the Green Game and tailgating events, she also attends many of the Environmental Caucus Energy Action Team meetings, Green Team meetings, and the Waste Minimization Team Meetings. Dara has also volunteered to do a project assessing the potential for NAU to develop a waste-incineration plant. She is also an active sustainability leader in the community and is now part of the City’s Sustainability Commission.

2nd Place: Karina Gonzales

3rd Place: Leann Leiter

NAU Leadership

Kendra Petersen

Kendra Peterson received multiple nominations and is this year’s winner for the NAU Leadership Award.  Kendra wrote a thorough, well-researched proposal for the College Health Education and Food Sustainability (CHEFS) Garden for Green Fund consideration. Kendra was determined in her desire to write a proposal for an on-campus garden that would grow food that followed the Sodexo garden guidelines, allowing NAU Sodexo to purchase and use food grown right here on campus. Over a period of multiple months, Kendra revised her proposal to ensure that she had the legalities and support needed to make the CHEFS Garden a reality. Kendra’s proposal covers all the necessary logistical, legal and personnel aspects for such a garden and demonstrates that such a garden can be started for the nominal amount of just over $10,000. Kendra not only worked with Sodexo employees to navigate through the necessary Sodexo regulations and legal issues, she also gained their monetary support, found a faculty sponsor, many faculty supporters who pledged their assistance, as well as graduate student and Action Learning Team support. Kendra found classes that committed to writing business plans, research and education tools, vegetable planting guidelines, logo design, and a marketing plan. She identified a matching grant that would allow the study of industrial food reduction as a result of implementation. In addition, Kendra found supporters off campus including the Flagstaff Master Gardeners, Flagstaff EcoRanch, and the Flagstaff CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

NAU Faulty/Staff

Rosemary Logan with presenter Dr. Jim Coleman, NAU Provost

Rosemary Logan with presenter Dr. Jim Coleman, NAU Provost

Rosemary Logan

Rosemary Logan formed the Integrative Food Systems Initiative this fall to bring together faculty and staff from across departments and fields to collaborate curriculums focusing on food system sustainability at NAU. Food sustainability is taught through several curriculums and this collaboration was the first time that faculty and staff were able to come together to learn about each course’s syllabus and campus events that all compliment one another’s learning objectives. Through Rosemary’s drive, a core group of faculty and staff focusing the various areas of the sustainable food movement came together to weave their many perceptives on the subject to create a unique learning opportunity. The Integrative Food Systems Initiative is an exciting new development that will have lasting impact to increase sustainability on campus. It’s a clear example, if not the next level, of the Global Learning Initiative created here at NAU with the help of the Environmental Caucus. Beyond this work, Rosemary’s own teaching for the First Seminars and support for the Kilip Elementary garden program speak volumes to her positive impact as an educator and Flagstaff community member to increase awareness and action for sustainability on campus and in the community.

NAU Organization

Brandon VanBibber and Dylan Lenzen, Green Jacks Co-Chairs with presenter Jessica Lazor, Environmental Caucus Graduate Assistant.

Brandon VanBibber and Dylan Lenzen, Green Jacks Co-Chairs with presenter Jessica Lazor, Environmental Caucus Graduate Assistant.

Green Jacks

The Green Jacks are a crucial organization for the student voices of sustainability on campus. The Green Jacks have been involved in a variety of events on campus. The first of the many is the Better World Film Series. The Green Jacks assist the Office of Sustainability and the Better World Film Series Intern to advertise, organize, and host a monthly film series on a variety of environmental topics, creating interactive discussions after each film, and increasing student participation and attendance this year. The Better World Seminar Series is another series of monthly events almost exclusively organized by the Green Jacks. They have worked to advertise and promote a monthly seminar series, having nearly 100 students in attendance at each event thus far. In addition to monthly events, the Green Jacks have also been crucial in sustainability efforts in conjunction with athletics, working with promoting the Green Game and Tailgate Recycling at home athletic events. The club is solely responsible for the work that goes into Earth Jam, an important and memorable event for students, especially those not typically involved in environmental programs and projects on campus. Lastly, the Green Jacks have been a central player in organizing and advocating for solar on the San Francisco Parking Garage as well as the Green Fund Fee Increase Campaign.

Flagstaff Community Project/Organization

Shawn Newell, Citizen's Climate Lobby, with presenter Ellen Vaughan, Manager of NAU Office of Sustainability.

Shawn Newell, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, with presenter Ellen Vaughan, Manager of NAU Office of Sustainability.

Citizen’s Climate Lobby

Shawn and the other members of CCL have shown tremendous leadership and growth over the last year. Through their tireless efforts to grow this grassroots movement towards national legislation on climate change they have: significantly increased membership; garnered hundreds of petitions; lead the organization of the hugely successful week of climate events paralleling the Paris Climate Talks. The week culminated in the Flagstaff Climate March that got over 100 people to rally in front of City Hall. Citizen’s Climate Lobby also wrote numerous letters to the editor; provided ENV internships for four NAU students; had a strong presence at the Flagstaff Farmers Market; brought a resolution to the City’s Sustainability Commission to support CCL legislation, and brought the resolution to the City Council. CCL has gotten out across the community and has presented to City Council, churches, clubs, organizations, and NAU groups like the Environmental Caucus and the Green Jacks – educating all these groups about the danger of climate change and this grassroots solution.

Environmental Caucus Special Recognition

Cat Sullivan, Campus Dining, with presenter Caitlyn Burford, Environmental Caucus Chair.

Cat Sullivan, Campus Dining, with presenter Caitlyn Burford, Environmental Caucus Chair.

Cat Sullivan

Cat goes above and beyond in her work, working with Campus Dining through Sodexo. She is rarely in her office for more than a few hours a day because she meets with countless students each week and is extremely active in her role. If a student is even slightly interested in campus dining, Cat makes time for them between meetings, managing the hydroponics system, visiting composting heaps, and participating in panels. Cat is consistently coming up with new ideas and ways of implementation for sustainable dining. She was also involved in a post-consumer composting project that allows easy composting in the Hot Spot instead of consumer food waste. Cat inspires many students with her passion and enthusiasm and is an incredibly important asset to NAU’s sustainable dining. She stands out to the students she works with as both a role model and a mentor and is an incredible important asset to our Culture of Sustainability.







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