University of New Hampshire Earns AASHE’s Top Sustainability Ranking

Lisa Markowski, ERS, for Zondits

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) has bolstered its long-standing reputation as a sustainability leader by earning the highest possible rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE was founded in 2005 to foster global sustainability within higher education institutions, leading to an “ecologically healthy world.”

UNH has long been recognized as a leader in energy efficiency and environmental consciousness, with energy conservation and environmental awareness efforts beginning in the 1970s. Its campus-wide sustainability program, the country’s first, was established through an alumnus’ endowment in 1997. The university was one of just three to achieve AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) Platinum rating in 2017.

UNH’s main campus is powered entirely by renewable energy, and recycled landfill gas provides 85% of the energy used throughout the entire campus. The school also composts its dining hall waste – approximately 25,000 pounds per month. The full STARS report can be viewed on the UNH website.

Sustainability course and degree offerings are increasing at US colleges in general. The University of Pittsburgh added a Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering major and professional degree before the start of the 2017‒18 academic year. In 2016 Binghamton University launched the State University of New York system’s first sustainability graduate program, for both Master of Arts and Master of Science. Yale University recently added an executive MBA program in sustainability, and Antioch University New England in Keene, NH, has offered an MBA in sustainability since 2007.