Universities have an educational responsibility to address the important issues of the times and sustainability is one of the most important issues facing humanity, with Rose Armour, the Head of Sustainability at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), saying: “It is essential that we educate the future workforce to understand and solve the social, environmental, and economic challenges of sustainability.”
AUS has worked hard for 10 years in reducing its energy consumption and, following a variety of initiatives on campus in 2018, it was awarded a Bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). “This was very exciting, as we were the first university in the MENA region, and only the third outside of North America, to be rated in the STARS system at that time,” Rose said.
Other notable successes include:
- 24% energy reduction on campus (2009-2014)
- 72% of AUS students take a class in sustainability before they graduate
- In 2018, AUS recycled 41 tons of paper, plastic, cardboard, and glass
- January 2019 to April 2019, AUS recycled 15 tons of paper, cardboard, and plastic
- A collaboration between AUS Community Service and students collected 15,000+ single-use plastics that were used to construct a greenhouse
“We are continually working to create an environment on campus where it is the norm to turn out the lights when you leave a room, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and put your recycling in the correct bin,” Rose continues. “We have the opportunity to create this new norm in the four years that AUS students are here on campus and then hopefully they take these habits with them into their workplace and beyond after graduation.”
Rose Armour is the Head of Sustainability at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), with degrees in Natural Resource Management and Community Planning.