UO professors honored nationally for innovative sustainability initiative

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- (Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012) -- Nico Larco and Marc Schlossberg, co-directors of the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative, have won a national award for an innovative program that pairs students and professors with local governments to complete important sustainability projects.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education honored Larco and Schlossberg with the Faculty Sustainability Leadership Award during the AASHE 2012 Conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The association recognized the Sustainable City Year Program, which allows students to work over an extended period of time in a local community to address real-world problems through a multi-disciplinary lens.

“The Sustainable Cities Initiative has tapped into a moment where there is a global realization that sustainability issues are critical and cannot be addressed by any single discipline alone,” Larco said. “At the University of Oregon, we have a strong track record of sustainability and a huge host of faculty and students committed to working across disciplines on real-world problems.”

In the three years since the program was launched, it has included 13 academic departments, 1,300 students and 200,000 hours of effort on more than 40 sustainability-related projects for three cities in Oregon.

“Many institutions do service or applied learning, but our model takes it to an unprecedented scale,” Schlossberg said. “Given that the Sustainable Cities Initiative also engages in interdisciplinary research and policy-related work, the scope across teaching, research, service and policy is extremely unusual.”

Paul Rowland, AASHE executive director, said: “Sustainability in higher education continues to gain momentum. Our award winners show us that higher education does make a difference in advancing sustainability and that it can lead the sustainability transformation.”

The association promotes sustainability in higher education by sharing ideas and practices across administrators, faculty, staff, students and businesses. For a list of the awards, visit Sustainability Leadership Awards.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cooper, UO media relations, 541-346-8875, mattc@uoregon.edu

SOURCE: Marc Schlossberg, co-director, Sustainable Cities Initiative, 541-346-2046, schlossb@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink capacity, and a radio studio with an ISDN phone line for broadcast-quality radio interviews.