Making A Difference
AU's Green Eagles make a positive difference in sustainability in residence halls and across campus.
Green Eagles are employees of the Office of Sustainability paid to learn and conduct outreach to educate the American University community about sustainability on campus. Students learn about green transportation; zero waste; sustainability labeling and products; energy efficiency and carbon neutrality; water and conservation; local, organic, and fair trade food; and many other topics throughout the school year.
One to two Resident Green Eagles are hired to staff each residence hall and work on engaging and educating their peers about sustainability. Click here to find out which Green Eagles live in your residence hall, and ask what you can do to help!
Five Campus Green Eagles work with the greater campus community to promote sustainability and build awareness in academic and administrative buildings, including assisting faculty and staff participating in the Green Office (GO!) program.
Some Green Eagles choose to engage in personal projects to address a sustainability problem they've identified and want to solve or do research about potential sustainability projects. Tangible change has come out of Green Eagle projects in the past including the addition of bicycle repair stations on campus and the inclusion of reusable "to go" containers in the Terrace Dining Room.
This mission statement was developed by the Green Eagles in February 2014.
The mission of the American University Green Eagles is:
- To educate ourselves and our peers about sustainable behaviors that benefit our lives, our communities, and the environment;
- To encourage mindful behaviors in the ways of resource and waste management, energy efficiency, and other topics related to sustainability;
- To engage students, faculty, and staff of American University, and collaborate with greater sustainability movements in order to form a environmentally-friendly institution and promote responsible citizenship.
Each month Green Eagles focus on a different sustainability topic and work on engaging their peers in a month-long campaign to build awareness and change behavior. 2014-2015 school year topics are:
- September - Greener Ways to Get Around
- October - Consumption and Purchasing
- November & December - Energy Conservation and Efficiency
- January & February - Zero Waste
- March - Food and Water
- April - Earth Month
Each month the Green Eagles go through Doug McKenzie-Mohr's Community Based Social Marketing strategy for fostering sustainable behavior change. This framework allows the Green Eagles to determine the most effective strategy for engaging the campus community that will produce the greatest and longest-lasting impact.
- Week 1: Sustainability staff educates Green Eagles about the issue, providing a high-level view of the topic before refocusing on what our campus can do. Green Eagles jointly choose 1-3 behaviors to focus on for the month. Their assignment for the week is to identify barriers and benefits of participating in that behavior.
- Week 2: Green Eagles come prepared to share the barriers and benefits they've identified by surveying, conducting focus groups, and/or observing their peers. Sometimes the real reasons people state for participating in or avoiding a sustainability behavior is not obvious. The group jointly develops strategies to be implemented to promote the sustainable behavior and begins their outreach and programming.
- Week 3: Students share the materials they've created and report back about progress in implementing. The strategies are refined as needed and students spend another week on broad-scale implementation.
- Week 4: Green Eagles report on all the activities they've carried out during the month and evaluate their impact. This could be based on number of people reached, events held, electricity or water saved, pounds of waste diverted from landfill, or other metrics.
The Green Eagles planned and hosted the first-ever conference for student environmental peer educators, the Student Environmental Educators Discussion (SEED).