Dream is Green

Sustainability Plan

Sustainability Policies

Sustainability Plan

Guiding the development and implementation of AU's first overarching Sustainability Plan

Introduction | Schedule | Working Groups | Current Policies


The Sustainability Project Team was convened in Fall 2011 with the purpose of working with the Office of Sustainability to develop AU's first-ever overarching sustainability plan. The team consists of multiple working groups whose goal it is to realize the Strategic Plan mandate that "life at AU will be marked by...an active pursuit of sustainability", through areas such as education and research, facilities and operations, and planning, administration, and engagement. For more information about the Sustainability Project Team, please visit their website.

Guided by the sustainability consulting group Marstel Day, the team is also working to solicit feedback from all major constituencies at the university - undergraduates, graduate students, staff, faculty, alumni, neighbors, and friends - so that the university community can form its own vision of what a sustainable AU will look like in the next decade and beyond.

Below is a schedule of the Project Team's work through 2013, when the Sustainability Plan is projected to begin implementation. This is followed by an overview of the working groups involved in the planning process. Additional resources are provided where applicable. 

Until the completion of the Sustainability Plan in late 2012, AU will continue to mandate sustainability through an array of existing policies, as well as our ambitious Climate Action Plan. To view these policies, as well as a Draft Sustainability Plan, please use the links on the right. If you would like to submit feedback concerning the plan, or would like to become involved with a working group, please e-mail sustainability@american.edu.

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Strategic Plan Transformational Goal #7:

Act On Our Values Through Social Responsibility and Service

"...Life at the university will be marked by rich opportunities for service, an active pursuit of sustainability, a steadfast sense of ethics, and a vigorous commitment to the city and people of Washington, D.C."



Date Activity Resources


October 18, 2011
Sustainability Planning Workshop


December 8, 2011
Focus Group - Student Feedback


January 24, 2012
Sustainability Project Team - Team Kick Off, Create Working Groups


Presentation, Minutes
February 28, 2012
Sustainability Project Team - Working Group Reports


Presentation, Minutes
March 27, 2012
Sustainability Project Team - Working Group Reports


April 17, 2012
Sustainability Project Team - Working Group Draft Plans Due


Summer 2012 - TBD
Office of Sustainability - Produce Draft Sustainability Plan


Fall 2012 - TBD
Sustainability Project Team - Review Draft Sustainability Plan


Fall 2012 - TBD
Sustainability Project Team - Finalize Draft, or Review Revised Draft, if needed


Fall 2012 - TBD Sustainability Project Team - Share Final Draft


Fall 2012 - TBD Submit Draft Sustainability Plan for Adoption


Spring 2013
Begin Plan Implementation

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Working Groups 

Outreach & Behavior Change
Meetings ongoing


Curriculum and Research
Meetings ongoing Members


Buildings Meetings ongoing Members, Green Building Policy


Purchasing & Auxiliary Services
Meetings ongoing Members, Sustainable Purchasing Policy


Grounds & Zero Waste
Meetings ongoing Members, Zero Waste Policy


Finance & Human Resources
Meetings ongoing Members

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Current Policies

Green Building - LEED Silver or better for all new construction, major renovation, and major repairs.

Green Cleaning - Aramark provides AU's cleaning services in conformance with LEED standards, including using Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals.

Sustainable Purchasing - In January 2010, the Sustainable Purchasing working group was formed to develop sustainable purchasing guidelines for campus buyers.

Zero Waste - The University is developing a plan for achieving a Zero Waste campus.

No Idling - The University prohibits engine idling for more than 3 minutes while the vehicle is parked, stopped, or standing.

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