Higher Education


Higher Education Sector Resources

- Education and Action for a Sustainable Future - National Trends and Resources

-Mission and Planning
- Curricula
- Research
- Purchasing and Operations
- Professional Development
- Student
- Community Outreach and Partnerships

 Scroll Down to see the full contents of this page.


Green and Sustainability Jobs and Career Resources - article published in Career Convergence magazine.


Sustainability Career Resources from HEASC, the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium, this resource is designed to be used by students, faculty and career advisors

Pre Canadian Protocol on Sustainability The World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) released a resolution on Climate Change and created a Sustainability Affinity Group. 

Education and Action for a Sustainable Future - National Trends and Resources

There are national trends to integrate sustainability into higher education institutions' mission and planning, curricula, research, student life, facilities, purchasing and operations. At least five major efforts have emerged in the higher education sector:

  • DANS - Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability
  • HEASC - Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium  
  • AASHE - Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • ACUPCC - American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment
  • Green Jobs - multiple resources,  Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technology
  • The SEED Center - curricular materials, competencies, innovative partnerships to build green job demand and sustainable communities and more.. 


DANS - the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability was formed after more than 20 academic disciplinary associations were convened to discuss each discipline's potential contributions to a more sustainable future. These meetings included national associations for psychology, sociology, philosophy, religion, biology, chemistry, engineering, anthropology, political science, math, broadcasting, architecture, women's studies, and others. Working committees are focusing on infusing sustainability into curricula, professional development, standards (including tenure, promotion, and accreditation criteria that value sustainability research and action), cross-disciplinary projects, informing legislation about sustainability, and ways to educate the public about how to create a sustainable future (participating associations are listed at http://dans.aashe.org/content/participating-associations/).


The Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium, or HEASC, was formed to advance sustainability in the mainstream higher education associations and in the system of higher education itself. HEASC members are the professional associations representing the U.S. college and university presidents; about half of all of the boards of trustees, and many, if not most, facilities directors, business officers, college and university planners; purchasers; and staffs of residential housing, student affairs, and campus activities (for a list of member associations, scroll down at http://www.aashe.org/heasc/about.php).


The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (http://www.aashe.org/) serves colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. It offers an extensive resource center of sustainability initiatives and policies, discussion lists, a biennial conference, and professional development opportunities. AASHE also publishes an electronic mail bulletin and an annual digest with campus sustainability news stories, resources, events, and job opportunities.


The ACUPCC, the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, (http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/ ) has now been signed by over 550 higher education presidents. By signing the commitment, these presidents are pledging to work toward clean energy, carbon-neutral campuses, and professional development initiatives on sustainability so higher education will both model and teach sustainability principles.


The recent emphasis on the potential growth for green jobs is creating a lot of environmental curricular interest in heretofore unrelated disciplines and degrees on campuses and also at national funding agencies.  For example, the National Science Foundation has funded a Consortium for Education in Renewable Energy Technology to help colleges and universities and remote students gain access to courses and online curricular materials in renewable energies, energy management, and sustainability (http://www.ceret.us/)

Copy of webinar "Education for the Green Economy: Opportunities, Resources and Models" (http://blog.careertech.org/?p=134 )

The SEED Center

Sustainability Education and Economic Development online resource center - resources for educators and sustainability advocates developed by the American Association of Community Colleges www.theseedcenter.org, including curricular materials (for solar, wind, energy efficiency, green building and sustainability education), competencies, innovative partnerships to build green job demand and sustainable communities and more...


This is just a taste of the resources and opportunities available. For more links, visit www.aashe.org/heasc/sustainablefuture.

Energy Literacy


The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN). On this site, you can explore a collection of educational resources and learn how to build your students' understanding of the core ideas in climate and energy science.

CLEAN Community and Collection! Join the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network to be a part of the climate and energy education discussion and activity with other scientists, educators, policy makers, community leaders, students and engaged citizens at http://cleanet.org/clean/community/index.html and also explore the CLEAN Collection of educational resources (http://cleanet.org/clean/educational_resources/index.html) which includes nearly 600 educational resources for grades 6-16 which are all scientifically sound and pedagogically effective thanks to a careful review process.

CLEAN Teaching Climate and Energy Science (http://cleanet.org/clean/literacy/index.html) provides a guide for educators built off the original climate and energy literacy frameworks. Educators can find summaries of each principle, possible challenges when teaching the principle, suggested pedagogic approaches for each grade level for grades 6-16, and relevant teaching materials from the CLEAN reviewed collection. Look for connections to the Next Generation Science Standards coming soon! 


Energy Literacy 2.0 with updated energy data will be available soon. Please visit the Energy Literacy website (http://eere.energy.gov/education/energy_literacy.html) for a downloadable version of the Energy Literacy Framework, to request hard copies, download the Energy Literacy Alignment Tool and find many other energy education resources. Be sure to Like Energy Literacy and Pin it too! If you or your organization are providing professional development for educators, you can request more copies by sending an email with the information about your event, number of copies needed, address and phone number to EnergyLiteracy@ee.doe.gov

The Energy 101 Undergraduate Course Framework for Teaching the Fundamentals of Energy is available at http://eere.energy.gov/education/energy_101.html   If you are involved with higher education, have developed or would like to develop courses to teach about energy, and would like to get more involved with the Energy 101 Initiative, please contact Dr. Matthew Garcia at matthew.garcia@ee.doe.gov



*The U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development has over 300 partner organizations helping to catalyze and communicate about sustainability in the education, business, communities, faith, and youth sectors of society.


Mission and Planning

Agenda for a Sustainable America, John C. Dernbach, Ed., Environmental Law Institute, 2009.  This new book assesses trends in 28 areas of American life - including education; forestry; transportation; oceans and estuaries; religion; and governance - and makes incisive recommendations in each area for achieving a sustainable America.

"The new administration would be wise to use this as a guide book for its policies." - The Honorable Timothy E. Wirth, President, United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund.

Download the chapter Higher Education: More and More Laboratories for Inventing a Sustainable Future, by Wynn Calder and Julian Dautremont-Smith, here.   

Click here to order Agenda For A Sustainable America. 

_The Talloires Declaration is a declaration of sustainability that university presidents can sign. The declaration has already been signed by over three hundred presidents.

_The Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future has resources available to help enable schools and universities follow through with implementation plans after making and/or signing declarations.

_ The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) established in 1965, is the an association focused on the promotion, advancement, and application of effective planning in higher education.

_The Peer Campus Sustainability Final Report, May 2005 compared environmental sustainability programs and recommended improvements. See how these reports and improvements can help your institution.

_Illinois Wesleyan University is one example of many higher education institutions that include commitments to social justice and environmental sustainability. View the IWU Mission Statement



_The participating organizations in the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability have declared their commitment to education for a sustainable future. They recognize that the engagement of the academic disciplines is critical to advancing the broad goals of sustainable development and seek to help higher education exert strong leadership in making education, research, and practice for a sustainable society a reality. DANS members include over twenty national disciplinary associations. Monthly conference calls focus on sustainability in curricula, professional development, standards, cross disciplinary projects, legislation, and efforts to educate the public.

_The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is a network which includes resources for syllabi and profiles of institutions which are infusing sustainability in education.

_ Lesson plans for multiple disiciplines created by Miami Dade faculty as a result of their professional development in ESD.

_The University Leaders for a Sustainable Future database also contains links related to curricula, sample syllabi and listservs.

_ULSF Sustainable Degrees are examples of Sustainability Related Degree Programs.

U.S. Green Building Council's Educator Resource Center

USGBC is committed to supporting educators in using the built environment as the context for learning. USGBC promotes the reorientation of K-12 and higher education programs toward sustainability and green building  as a tool for preparing students to enter the green marketplace.

_Read about the inclusion of sustainability learning outcomes into the core requirements of undergraduate programs. View the PDF.

Open-source textbooks on sustainability:

Education for Sustainability: Guides for Teaching and Learning
In an effort to provide a framework for enhancing teaching and learning in sustainability, the Sustainability Team at the University of Gloucestershire (UK) has released two installments of its Education for Sustainability (EfS): Guides for Teaching and Learning series. A Guide for University Managers on Needs and Opportunities explores strategic needs, benefits and the potential for EfS in the curriculum and in partnership with external organizations. A Guide for Educators on Teaching and Learning Approaches provides orientation on the aims and principles of EfS to inform curriculum development work.



_Read these articles and journals on sustainability in higher education. Also visit the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability.

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

Journal of Education for Sustainable Development (Sage)

The Climate Change Resource Center


Purchasing and Operations

_American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), is a high-visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate.

_Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is a professional, membership-based association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada whose mission is to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education - from governance and operations to curriculum and outreach - through education, communication, research and professional development. AASHE produces a free weekly e-bulletin - an e-newsletter of green campus news, events, and opportunities. Click here to subscribe.

_AASHE's resource center includes AASHE bulletin archives, and annual AASHE digest, and articles and on-line resources on funding mechanisms for campus sustainability programs; assessment tools, reports and indicators; books, journals, and articles; discussion lists and electronic newsletters; calendar of campus sustainability events; strategic and master college and university plans that include sustainability; an environmental policy "bank"; directory, job descriptions, and salary survey for campus sustainability officers; a campus sustainability website listing; listing of academic sustainability programs; course descriptions for campus sustainability courses; resources for campus environmental operations, i.e. energy and climate change, green buildings, food and dining, grounds and landscaping, purchasing, recycling, transportation, etc.

_The Association of Higher Education Facilities Offices is dedicated to the maintenance, protection, and promotion of quality educational facilities. At this site, put in the search word "Sustainable".

_Campus Ecology Program is a program of the National Wildlife Federation which supports and promotes positive and practical conservation projects on campus and beyond. Campus Ecology's website provides access to an annual yearbook of successful green campus programs, information on student fellowships, and profiles of campus programs in the areas of assessment, building design, dining services, energy, environmental literacy, habitat restoration, management systems, purchasing, transportation, waster reduction, and water. A variety of training opportunities are provided including on-line seminars.

_Clean Air Cool Planet (CACP) is an organization which partners with businesses, communities, campuses, and science centers to identify and promote solutions to climate change. CACP's Campuses for Climate Action program provides a campus climate action toolkit which includes a free downloadable Campus Carbon Calculator.

_College and University Recycling Council is a network of campus-based recycling professionals, sponsored by the National Recycling Council. Sponsors a e-mail discussion list for campus recycling coordinators and holds annual national conferences.

_Green Power Partnership ia a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program provides advice and resources to prospective green power purchasers and publicity to green power leaders.

_Green School List hosted by Brown University is for the exchange of ideas, support, and technical information between people who are working on institutional change to improve the environmental performance of schools.

_HEEPP Green Listserv serves as a forum for event announcements, questions, and the sharing of information and resources related to green purchasing.

_Higher Education Associations for Sustainability Consortium (HEASC) is a network of higher education associations with a commitment to advancing education for a sustainable future, both within their constituencies as national higher education associations and within the system of higher education itself. Members include:

_ HEASC resource center contains links to the sustainability website pages of the members, articles, and webinar materials.

_ Higher Education Climate Action Project is designed to engage higher education institutions across the United States in reducing climate disruptions by limiting greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a sustainable future.

_The Solid Waste Policy Group at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey has created an Enviro-Purchasing guide to help you learn about enviro-purchasing policy, determine your role in enviro-purchasing policy, and investigate environmentally preferable products and services.

Sustainable Consumption and Production - a lengthy list of publications compiled by UNEP's  Division of Technology, Industry, and Economics..


Professional Development

There are several opportunities for professional development.

For more information, contact Debra Rowe, Ph.D. dgrowe@oaklandcc.edu


Student Life

_United Students for Fair Trade is a national network of student organizations advocating around Fair Trade products, policies, and principles.

_Take the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility. Students at over one hundred institutions of higher learning have already pledged "to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work."

_Harvard's Campus Green Teams - The question guiding this manual is: How can we create frameworks to ignite, resource, organize and focus students and staff to achieve campus sustainability? Two programs developed by the Harvard Green Campus Initiative (HGCI) to address this question are described on this website. They are the Green Living Program (GLP) and Student Internship Program (SIP).

_Visit the sustainability web pages of College Student Educators International that includes sustainability learning outcomes, campus activities list for sustainability, sustainability living campaigns, and more.


Community Outreach and Partnerships

_The Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future has resources to link you to local community and regional outreach and services.

_The Council of Environmental Deans and Directors are representatives that come together to improve the quality, stature, and effectiveness of academic environmental programs at U.S. universities and colleges. Facilitated by the National Council for Science and the Environment.

_The Peer Campus Sustainability Final Report, May 2005 established connections between active individuals and institutions. See their report and compare how your institution fits in.

_The University of New Hampshire Office of Sustainability Programs has links to current projects in culture and sustainability, education, food and society, and more.

ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership have been working on principles and tools to help associations and their members be socially responsible. See case studies, principles, checklists and resources.

Learn and Serve America

Learn and Serve America supports and encourages service-learning throughout the United States, and enables over one million students to make meaningful contributions to their community while building their academic and civic skills.

Learn and Serve America provides direct and indirect support to K-12 schools, community groups and higher education institutions to facilitate service-learning projects by:

  • Providing grant support for school-community partnerships and higher education institutions;
  • Providing training and technical assistance resources to teachers, administrators, parents, schools and community groups; and
  • Collecting and disseminating research, effective practices, curricula, and program models.

Sustainable Living Education National Network
Efforts are underway to link sustainable living educators through a
Sustainable Living Education National Network of natural resource and
extension professionals, who will investigate, educate, and model
sustainable living practices to individuals, families, institutions,
businesses, camps, and schools. Sustainable living embodies a thoughtful
approach to leading fulfilling, productive, and environmentally
responsible lives. Successful sustainable living balances economic,
social, and environmental needs while meeting the needs of the present
generation without compromising the needs of future generations. 

_See the resources of the Community Sector Team of the U.S. Partnership.

 United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Program.

Academic Impact is a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in actively supporting 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution. Academic Impact also asks each participating college or university to actively demonstrate support of at least one of those principles each year. We encourage our campus members to visit the UNAI website to see if their campus might commit to the initiative and join more than 1,000 institutions around the world that have done so.

NEW! The Northwest Earth Institute is excited to share  the Quarterly Sustainability Salon Series.
What is the Salon Series?:  A simple electronic PDF that includes article excerpts and accompanying discussion questions on a variety of sustainability topics.  Excerpts are from NWEI course books and provide you with a short, informal resource for starting sustainability-focused discussions on your campus.
Ways you can use this tool:

  • In the classroom with students - as a way to engage students in one session of discussion and critical thinking on complex sustainability topics
  • In residence halls with students or student leaders - as a way to engage participants in dialogue on sustainability topics
  • During New Student Orientations – as a way to spark conversation and introduce key concepts of sustainability
  • As a discussion starter amongst faculty or staff during sustainability-focused meetings
  • As a tool for curriculum trainings and workshops around how to integrate sustainability into the curriculum
  • We hope this tool will serve to further sustainability dialogue and action on your campus!

Download the Spring/Summer 2011 Sustainability Salon Series tool here
NWEI’s innovative discussion courses have been used successfully by more than 150 campuses around the country. To learn more about NWEI's sustainability curricula and order NWEI course books, click here.