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Sustainability at AU

American University is committed to acting on our values through social responsibility, service, and an active pursuit of sustainability.

Culture of Sustainability

American University is proud to be a leader in sustainability. Sustainability is a culture that's visible the moment you step onto campus. Green buildings incorporate energy efficient technologies and a focus on human health. Environmentally conscious grounds management means we plant local and adaptive species. We use solar energy, strive for zero waste, and work with community partners to offer sustainable transportation. The culture of sustainability is evident through faculty research efforts, student involvement, and staff practices. These are just some of the elements that contribute to American University's commitment to having a small footprint. 

Learn more about these and other factors that contribute to the greening of AU and learn how you can engage in sustainability on campus by exploring our website. 

AU Eliminates Public Fossil Fuel Investments from Endowment

For more than a decade, AU has been on a campus-wide sustainability journey— something that’s not just part of our mission, but our DNA as changemakers. 

– President Sylvia M. Burwell 

Campus Initiatives

Student signing waste reduction pledge

Single-Use Plastic Reduction Campaign

Over 500 Students, faculty, and staff pledged to use reusable utensils. 

Learn More

Landfill and Truck

Environmental Justice Toolkit

Discover connections between climate justice, racial justice, and sustainability.

Access Resources

Screenshot of Sustainability Tour Map

Take a Virtual Sustainability Tour

Explore sustainable features of AU’s campus through our online story map.

View the Map

Fast Facts

AU's electricity comes from 100% renewable sources. 21% less electricity used per sq. ft. since 2005. 6 LEED certified buildings. 7 solar panel installations on site.
AU's carbon offsets. Efficient cookstoves in Kenya offset study-abroad air travel.  Planting trees in DC helps offset commuting. Sustainable trucking operations offset university travel.  Landfill methane projects offset natural gas use & landfill waste.
84% AU students commute sustainably. 100% AU shuttle buses run on biodiesel. Au is a bicycle friendly university. >1 million u-Pass rides taken in the first year.