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National Award Honors Sustainability Leadership

November 04, 2008 11:30 AM
Keith Brannon kbrannon@tulane.edu

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has given Tulane University its Campus Sustainability Leadership Award for the university's efforts to help rebuild New Orleans as a healthier, more resilient and sustainable community.


An initiative by the Tulane University School of Medicine to provide community health clinics in New Orleans is one of the reasons Tulane received the Campus Sustainability Award. Dr. Chukwunmnso Dennar, above, is medical director and physician on board one of the school's mobile clinics. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

While the award recognizes Tulane's numerous “green” initiatives to conserve resources and protect the environment, judges were particularly impressed by the university's commitment to the social and economic dimensions of sustainability within its community.

Initiatives singled out include:

• The Tulane Center for Public Service, a division created post-Hurricane Katrina to implement new public service requirements added to the university's undergraduate curriculum.

• The Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, a think tank dedicated to revitalizing public education in New Orleans.

• The School of Medicine and its initiative to open community health clinics across the city to offer high-quality preventative care to the uninsured.

• The Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research and its efforts to help develop the Holy Cross Historic District and Lower Ninth Ward Sustainable Restoration Plan, a neighborhood recovery map that emphasizes energy efficiency and climate-neutral redevelopment.

“The number of Tulanians who have contributed to public service and environmental efforts in the last two years has been remarkable, and it's exciting to have this award recognize that,” said Liz Davey, program manager for Tulane's Office of Environmental Affairs. “It really recognizes the totality of Tulane's community service efforts.”

The association also praised the university's environmentally friendly efforts on campus. Tulane recently completed energy-efficiency improvements on its uptown campus that will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 percent, Davey said. Tulane President Scott Cowen also recently signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, the first step in developing a plan for Tulane to achieve climate neutrality.

The awards will be formally presented at the upcoming association's 2008 conference, Working Together for Sustainability: On Campus and Beyond, Nov. 9–11 in Raleigh, N.C. With more than 1,700 registrants, the conference will be the largest gathering focused on campus sustainability to date in North America.

With members including colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, the association works to create a sustainable future. It was founded in 2006 with a mission to promote sustainability in all sectors of higher education — from governance and operations to curriculum and outreach — through education, communication, research and professional development.