JMU environmental stewardship efforts earn more praise

by Eric Gorton


JMU's university-wide commitment to environmental stewardship continues to gain recognition.

The latest recognitions came this month from the governor's office, the Virginia Recycling Association, the League of American Bicyclists and the Princeton Review.

JMU received a bronze level Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award on April 10 at the 2013 Environment Virginia Symposium. The awards recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in two categories: sustainability and land conservation. They are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations and government agencies.  JMU’s Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World Education and Research Committee was recognized for its learning outcomes and assessment work.

While greening internal operations is viewed as essential, JMU believes that higher education institutions have the additional and primary obligation of educating students. The university’s assessment and outcomes project challenges all graduates to think critically about their role in environmental stewardship and to integrate environmental stewardship into JMU’s culture. The project also affects the greatest change by potentially changing the behavior of every graduate. The learning outcomes and assessment project measures the educational impact of university undergraduate environmental literacy efforts and will contribute to behavior change over time.

The Virginia Recycling Association recognized JMU April 11 with an Outstanding University Award for Excellence.  Since 2009, JMU has had a commitment to environmental stewardship that is visible across campus in places such as buildings, dining halls, UREC and residence halls. In 2012, JMU diverted approximately 64 percent of campus waste from the landfill via recycling, incineration and composting. Highlights of JMU’s cross-divisional waste initiatives include recycling a wider variety of materials, donating food, expanding recycling/waste minimization education, utilizing sustainable materials and implementing a large-scale composting program.

On April 16 the League of American Bicyclists announced the designation of 14 new "Bicycle Friendly Universities," expanding the select group of universities to 58 colleges in 30 states across America. JMU was one of the universities recognized this year and was awarded a bronze designation.

Also, on April 16 JMU was named in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition."  Published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools, the guide is the only free, comprehensive guide that focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment and to sustainability.  Of the 806 schools Princeton Review reported Green Rating scores for in 2012, the 322 schools chosen for this guide earned scores of 83 or higher.

All divisions of JMU are charged with a responsibility for environmental stewardship via JMU’s 18th defining characteristic that was adopted in 2009: "The University will be an environmentally literate community whose members think critically and act, individually and collectively, as model stewards of the natural world."  JMU has been included in the two previous Princeton Review green guides and has previously received two governor’s awards—one gold and one honorable mention.

Published April 22, 2013

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Published: Monday, April 22, 2013

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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