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We're Gold!

Santa Clara University earns gold seal for its sustainability efforts across campus

Santa Clara University is earning high praise and a jump in ratings for its commitment to sustainability. SCU just received a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS).

“Sustainability is becoming ingrained in our culture at Santa Clara and we’re honored our efforts are being recognized,” says Lindsey Kalkbrenner, director of SCU’s Center for Sustainability. “From the reclaimed water we use to take care of our beautiful campus to fruits and veggies harvested from our organic Forge Garden to courses integrated with sustainable lessons, folks across the University make an impact every day.”

Universities self-report data on more than a dozen different categories including curriculum, research, campus engagement, dining services, waste, water, and innovation. SCU was rated silver in 2011, but has made big strides since then by incorporating more sustainability themes into curriculum as well as influencing the community on and off campus. One program called Living Off Campus And Living Sustainably or LOCALS, encourages students to change their behavior at home and for a lifetime.

“Students in LOCALS learn everything from how to compost with worms to how to throw sustainable dinner parties. It’s incredible to watch these liaisons not only learn important behaviors that will last a lifetime, but get really excited to teach their roommates, family, friends—anyone who will listen!” says Sustainability Coordinator Cara Uy.

Santa Clara University’s faculty has incorporated sustainability into more than 700 courses and encourages every student to think about sustainability and social justice. A few examples include Sustainability Marketing, Climate Change Law, a philosophy course called Ethical Issues and the Environment, and numerous engineering courses including Design and Fabrication of PV (photovoltaic) Cells.

Santa Clara also scored points in the innovation category for several programs including the Global Social Benefit Institute, which encourages innovation-based entrepreneurs for humanity, the Frugal Innovation Lab dedicated to bringing affordable technology to emerging markets, and the Contemplative Leadership and Sustainability Program (CLASP) to encourage future business leaders to guide sustainable development.

SCU was also recently awarded the Acterra Award for Sustainability and is holding its first ever bottled water-free undergraduate commencement June 14.

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