The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Honored for Sustainability Efforts

The University received the prestigious Trailblazer Award from the Connecticut Green Building Council in recognition of its ongoing green initiatives, which include energy conservation, composting, and educating the community about protecting the environment.

November 9, 2020

By Laura Miller, Director of Energy and Sustainability

Image of Laura Miller and Jovan Bloise.
Laura Miller and Jovan Bloise of Sodexo hosted a composting education event for students on campus last year.

The University of New Haven has long had a focus on sustainability by constructing buildings that reduce the environmental impact and on operating buildings efficiently to maximize the use of resources.

I joined the University in 2018 as director of energy and sustainability to launch new campus sustainability initiatives. Over the past two years, I have introduced efforts such as pre-consumer composting, a campus pantry and career closet, donating food to the local community via Haven’s Harvest, a local food redistribution organization, and hosting a number academic projects focused on maximizing our resources. These projects have seen an increasing number of students get involved.

Each year in an effort to recognize the best practices that organizations are adopting, the Connecticut Green Building Council bestows the “Trailblazer Award” on a deserving organization. The award recognizes efforts to transform or promote strategies and methodologies that encourage intelligent stewardship of our resources – not just for the immediate future, but in a manner that serves future generations.

I am proud to share that during a virtual ceremony late last month, the University received the 2020 Trailblazer Award from the Connecticut Green Building Council. I am excited to keep moving toward the collective goal of continuing current efforts, as well as championing new ones that focus on sustainability and energy conservation.

Image of Juan Dominguez and Laura Miller.
Juan Dominguez, food services general manager, and Laura Miller preparing food last year to be donated to Haven’s Harvest.

One of our biggest accomplishments that aligns with this award has been the University’s completion of the national assessment for sustainability offered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Earning a bronze rating on the AASHE assessment helps to provide the campus with an excellent benchmark that guides the direction of future sustainability initiatives.

When we look at campus sustainability, we consider a variety of perspectives including environmental, economic, and social impacts. Then we see how these aspects align with the needs and wants of the faculty, staff, and student populations and how future projects can enhance our culture of sustainability.

We anticipate conducting the University’s next sustainability assessment for AASHE in 2021. The goal is to show continued improvement and, more importantly, to measure the community’s culture change as the University continues to advance toward becoming a leader in sustainability.

I’d like to thank everyone at the University for their support and for their commitment to helping us reduce our impact on the environment.