We are pleased to have been recognized for the university’s sustainability efforts by a number of organizations that evaluate the performance of colleges and universities.


aashe gold

Since 2014, GW has held a Gold STARS Rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). 


GW has also made a set of internal commitments, goals, and targets around sustainability.  These commitments and the action plans to achieve them are detailed in a series of reports and publications. 

View Reports and Publications

Sustainable GW Award for Student Change Makers

Student energy and passion have always been key drivers of sustainability progress at GW.  Each spring, Sustainable GW recognizes a student or team of students who have made a significant impact on the University's institutional commitment to sustainability.  Nominations for this award may be submitted to [email protected] by April 1st each year. Winners are announced on Earth Day. 

Awarded to Sage Wylie and Izzy Moody for their efforts on the Food Experience Task Force.

Awarded to Jan Nowak for his efforts on composting in residence halls and the formation of the Green Student Coalition.



Awarded to Katherine Ruane and Jennifer Cuyuch for their advocacy on the elimination of single-use plastics from campus. 

As members of the GW Take Back the Tap student organization, which was established in partnership with the Food and Water Watch national organization, Katherine and Jennifer were part of a long-standing effort to encourage GW to move away from using bottled water on campus. They engaged GW leadership on the topic. In Fall 2020 GW Executive Vice President & CFO Mark Diaz issued a task force on single use plastics resulting in announcement in 2021 by GW President LeBlanc that GW is eliminating single-use plastics on campus. 

GW Faculty Award for Meritorious Contributions to Sustainable GW

Teaching and research on sustainability requires faculty to reach across disciplines and build new bridges within the academy. Their courage contributes to GW's impact on sustainable development, Sustainable GW recognizes faculty with significant meritorious contributions to the interdisciplinary field of sustainability who have played a key role in establishing GW's legacy as a leader in sustainability.

Awarded to Dean Lee Paddock for his work in the Environmental and Energy Law Program, and his contributions to the interdisciplinary efforts of sustainability at GW, and for his contributions to GW's legacy of sustainability including the initial Sustainability Task Force, Sustainability Minor, Sustainability Collaborative, and Sustainable GW. 




Awarded to Dr. Lisa Benton-Short for her longstanding commitment to academics in sustainability at GW and her groundbreaking leadership on the Sustainability Minor.

Dr. Lisa Benton-Short, a longstanding member of the Sustainable GW community, has been one of its most engaged champions. In 2012 Dr. Benton-Short launched the Sustainability Minor with its innovative interdisciplinary approach using both curricular and experiential learning to solve sustainability problems. She deftly brought together faculty from across the university for the Introduction to Sustainability course, and has since launched a signature course on Sustainable Cities with seven professors from six departments across GW. Dr. Benton-Short advised hundreds of GW students from different schools in the Sustainability Minor. Since then, she successfully obtained a charter for the GW Sustainability Institute that evolved into the Sustainability Collaborative for which she served as an advisor. Most recently, in her role as Chair of the Geography Department, Dr. Benton-Short oversaw the start of an undergraduate major in Environmental and Sustainability Science. She is considered a leader on campus and beyond in her research of urban sustainability.