Awards & Recognition
Portland State's sustainability commitments, values, and culture translate to actual work on the ground in classrooms and labs; and in our buildings and communities. This work and the outcomes that come from it can be tracked, benchmarked, and reported. As a result of this, PSU has received and maintains a variety of awards and certifications. These span from one-time awards for an innovative project to long-standing rankings and campus-wide designations.
Every member of the PSU community plays a role in each sustainability-related award, certification, and designation that PSU receives. In addition to PSU receiving awards and recognitions, the Sustainability at PSU network also gives out awards and recognition. Every year, the Planning & Sustainability Office, Student Sustainability Center, and Institute for Sustainable Solutions take nominations for the Excellence in Sustainability Awards, which recognize students, faculty, and staff.
Campus-wide certifications and designations
On this page, you will find information and links to several campus-wide certifications and designations related to social innovation, sustainable campus operations, engaged research and learning, and the University as a testbed for climate action and resilience.
The Miller Gift
In 2008, PSU was awarded a $25 million challenge grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. The impacts and outcomes from this significant 10-year grant are still being realized at PSU and in the community. PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) was formed to oversee the grant. Today, ISS continues to support many of the initiatives launched with the grant's support.
In addition to the awards and ranking listed on this page, PSU has received other special awards based on specific initiatives and programs.
- As a result of collaborating with Miller Paint to expand their low-VOC paint product offerings, PSU received a Sustainable Purchasing Business Case Leadership Award from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) in 2018
- PSU was listed in the 2018 AASHE Sustainable Campus Index as a top performer in the Research category (tied for 3rd). PSU previously made this list in 2015.
US and global sustainability rankings & certifications
The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) is a comprehensive campus-wide sustainability assessment. Rated at the Gold level for several years, STARS highlights both strengths and opportunities for improvement across all sectors at PSU.
Drawing data from STARS data the Sierra Club ranks higher education sustainability efforts around coursework, campus food offerings, land use and energy policies, and more. PSU has consistently ranked in the top 50 coolest schools.
The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings recognize PSU's contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. PSU has been ranked 41st for Quality Education, 55th for Sustainable Cities and Communities, 70th for Clean Water and Sanitation, and 74th for Climate Action.
PSU has been included in the Princeton Review Guide to Green Colleges since 2010. Inclusion in the Guide is based on food purchasing, transit programs, green building practices, sustainability education, and more.
The League of American Cyclists has named PSU a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly University. This designation reflects PSU robust bike programs, from the PSU Bike Hub, to secure bike parking garages, and more.
Certifications grounded in sustainable land use pactices
Bee Campus USA
Creating habitat for pollinators
PSU's Bee Campus USA designation recognizes our commitment to making the world safer for pollinators. The Student Sustainability Center oversees PSU's Campus Apiary, created in 2016.
Tree Campus USA
Enhancing our urban forest
As a Tree Campus USA, PSU commits to maintaining and growing our urban forest and tree canopy while engaging staff and students in service events, research projects, and long-term tree care planning.
Salmon Safe campus
Connecting to river ecosystems
Being a Salmon Safe Certified campus means that PSU takes action on campus to protect water quality that ultimately supports downstream habitat for salmon. Stormwater management is central to this.
At Portland State University, sustainability is central to our institutional identity. But what does that really mean? It means that individuals across PSU are working to advance excellence in sustainability teaching and research. It means PSU staff have committed to campus operations that reflect our values and our desire to be responsible stewards of our ecosystem. And it means that students are creating change and inspiring others along the way.
The organizations behind Sustainability at PSU - the Planning & Sustainability Office, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, and the Student Sustainability Center, offer the Excellence in Sustainability Awards as a way to recognize individuals who are advancing sustainability on and off campus. Every spring, we invite anyone to submit nominations for the awards. We gather small scoring committees for each award consisting of past award winners and other campus representatives outside of the Sustainability at PSU departments. The award winners are typically announced in late May at the annual PSU Sustainability Celebration.
Recipients of the 2020 Excellence in Sustainability Awards
From urban resilience in the US and abroad to garden education on campus, student, faculty, and staff leaders inspire the campus community through their sustainability projects, teaching, and research. Learn about the 2020 recipients and their contributions to PSU, the community, and the world.
Past Award Winners
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Award: Jola Ajibade
- Excellence in Sustainability Teaching Award: co-teachers Clive Knights & Travis Bell
- Inspiring Student Award: Michelle Bates
- Inspiring Student Award: Laihha Moss-Novak
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Award: Mary Vance
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Award: Alida Cantor
- Excellence in Sustainability Teaching Award: Todd Ferry
- Inspiring Student Award: Bashar Al-Daomi
- Inspiring Student Award: Dustin Boomer
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Award: Aimee Shattuck
- Roy W. Koch Award for Sustainability Leadership: Linda George
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Award: Paul Loikith
- Excellence in Sustainability Teaching Award: Sybil Kelley
- Inspiring Student Award: Serena Dressel
- Outstanding Student Employee Award: Thea Kindschuh
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Award: Quinn Soifer
- Roy W. Koch Award for Sustainability Leadership Award: Vivek Shandas
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Award: Dr. Jenny Liu
- Excellence in Sustainability Teaching Award: Dr. Pedro Ferbel-Azcarate
- Inspiring Student Award: Tara Brown
- Outstanding Student Volunteer Award: Stefanie Steele
- Outstanding Student Employee Award: Jennifer Stefanick
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Award: Leslie Walters
- Sustainability Legacy Award: Molly Bressers
- Roy W. Koch Award for Sustainability Leadership: Dr. Jennifer Allen
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Faculty Award: Dr. Amy Lubitow
- Excellence in Teaching and Sustainability Faculty Award: Dr. Corey Griffin
- Inspiring Student Award: Adam Brunelle and Katie Selin
- Outstanding Student Volunteer Award: Kristen Purdy
- Outstanding Student Employee Award: Irene Bailey
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Staff Award: Tichelle Sorensen
- Outstanding Department Award: Planning, Construction & Real Estate Finance
- Sustainability Partner of the Year Award: Portland General Electric
- Roy W. Koch Award for Sustainability Leadership: Dr. Olyssa Starry
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Faculty Award: Dr. Heejun Chang
- Excellence in Teaching and Sustainability Faculty Award: Dr. Heather Burns
- Excellence in Sustainability Engagement Student Award: Bradley Melaugh and Alfredo Gonzalez
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Staff Award: John LaDu
- Alumni Award for Sustainability: Jill Kuehler and Nate Young
- Sustainability Partner of the Year Award: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Faculty Award: Dr. J. Alan Yeakley
- Excellence in Teaching and Sustainability Faculty Award: Dr. Kelly Gonzales
- Excellence in Sustainability Engagement Student Award: Elizabeth Hormann
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Staff Award: Ian Stude
- Alumni Award for Sustainability: Alando Simpson
- Sustainability Partner of the Year Award: Port of Portland
- Excellence in Sustainability Research Faculty Award: Dr. Dilafruz Williams
- Excellence in Teaching and Sustainability Faculty Award: Dr. Judy BlueHorse Skelton
- Excellence in Sustainability Engagement Student Award: Nichole Martin
- Excellence in Sustainability Engagement Student Award: Kirk Rea
- Excellence in Promoting Campus Sustainability Staff Award: Noel Mingo
- Alumni Award for Sustainability: Trudy Toliver
- Sustainability Partner of the Year Award: Lewis Elementary School
Submit nominations for the next awards
Check back here or follow us on social media to submit your nominations for the 2021 awards!