Sustainability & Social Justice Achievements

Antioch University New England (AUNE) educates environmental leaders, organizational managers, educators and therapists to create or work in organizations that are successful, effective, sustainable, humane, and socially and environmentally responsible.

Our Statement of Purpose emphasizes AUNE’s core commitment to providing “transformative education through scholarship, innovation, and community action for a just and sustainable society.” Our efforts at living within the scope of our mission has earned us leadership distinction in a number of areas:

Curriculum and Research
Student Training
Campus Operations
Administration and Finance
Awards and Recognition


Leadership in Curriculum and Research

Three of our five academic departments offer explicitly “green” degrees which is a testament to our commitment in providing transformative education “for a just and sustainable society.” In addition, AUNE faculty and students have engaged in literally hundreds of partnerships making the institution a leader in promoting environmental stewardship and addressing climate change. Our alumni who hold leadership positions in the Monadnock Region, nationally and internationally – and the more than one million hours of Antioch student service learning to promote environmental stewardship – are the best evidence of Antioch’s achievements in this arena. Curriculum development achievements and collaborative research efforts are highlighted below:

  • AUNE’s Department of Environmental Studies, the country’s first graduate-level environmental studies department, offers master’s and PhD programs in multiple disciplines including an award winning Collaborative Service Initiative (formerly the Advocacy Clinic) that is focused on social justice and sustainability.
  • AUNE’s Management Department offers a highly regarded MBA in Sustainability. In 2008, Net Impact reviewed sixty-three MBA programs nationwide and listed AUNE’s MBA in the top five, including two first-place rankings, in seven of thirteen categories.
  • AUNE’s Education Department offers the Educating for Sustainability MEd, the first and only graduate program in the country that explicitly links sustainability and education. This program trains in-service educators to apply sustainability at any grade level and every subject area.
  • The course, Principles of Sustainability, is an integral part of the curriculum for the programs in the Departments of Environmental Studies, Management, and Education.
  • The development of the City of Keene’s Climate Adaptation Plan is the first of its kind in the world.
  • The 10% Challenge is a faculty-supervised student project and a collaborative effort between AUNE and Keene’s Cities for Climate Protection Committee. It targets Keene businesses to voluntarily commit to reducing GHG emissions by 10%. The project assists businesses with an energy audit to identify their energy consumption and to develop an action plan. In June 2008, the NH Planners Association recognized the 10% Challenge with its Project of the Year Award.
  • Place-based education promotes community-based education programs and encourages partnerships between students, teachers, and community members that strengthen community vitality and build a healthy environment.
  • Cutting-edge applied research projects that address issues such as effective biodegradable packaging and adaptation measures to deal with increased stormwater run-off associated with climate change.
  • The development of programs such as first responders counseling in areas devastated by climate-change-associated flooding and enhancing recycling infrastructure in conflict zones.
  • AUNE’s sustainability and social justice research and public engagement initiatives include: Disaster Shakti, a disaster recovery outreach program which is a component of the school’s Multicultural Center for Research and Practice and provides counseling to first responders in areas devastated by climate-change-associated flooding and enhancing recycling infrastructure in conflict zones; a regional partnership called the Monadnock Ecological Research and Education Project (MERE) that engages area high school students in studying the evidence of climate change on Mt. Monadnock and provides information to the public about these research findings; and the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC).
  • AUNE is a member of the United Nations’ Academic Impact global initiative, whereby institutions of higher education actively promote UN goals in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution.
  • COOL MONADNOCK, a community engagement project that has worked to achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions in ; and to develop a regional CAP for ; the Monadnock Region.

Leadership in Student Training

All AUNE graduate programs (twenty-three master’s; three doctoral) are practice-oriented, requiring students to apply classroom-based learning to solve real-world problems through up to six hundred hours of community-based experiences related to their fields. Examples of this work:

      • Environmental Studies students helping local towns protect drinking water supplies
      • Psychologists in-training offering low-cost counseling services to all who seek them
      • In 2008, students organized an AUNE Power Vote initiative, gathering pledges from 45% of the AUNE community to make clean energy a priority in voting decisions and placing AUNE in the top five nationally of all participating colleges/universities.

Indeed, AUNE students completed 129,300 community service hours in 2008.  The Carnegie Foundation awarded AUNE its community engagement classification for Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships for “demonstrated excellent alignment between mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”


Leadership in Campus Operations

The AUNE campus in Keene, NH is a converted furniture factory and brownfield that was developed deliberately to embrace the institution’s core values.


      • The site selection was based on a commitment to smart growth  reducing materials and energy use and maintaining a walk-able/bike-able downtown location via Keene’s Downtown Cheshire Branch Trail.
      • Renovated abandoned furniture factory to serve as main campus; building outfitted with skylights, non-VOC carpets and paint, energy-efficient lighting and salvaged hardwood flooring.
      • Built gender-neutral, family-friendly restroom facility and dedicated space for nursing mothers
      • Installed grant-funded demonstration sites for rain garden and impervious pavement, designed to reduce stormwater run-off and sand/salt usage for snow/ice removal.
      • Pioneered innovative course delivery model that allows five academic departments to share one 85,000-square-foot building, yielding significant energy savings and efficiencies per FTE student.


      • Built new bike shelter with locally sourced and salvaged materials to accommodate our Green Bikes fleet and other bikes; more than 60 campus and Keene-area community members contributed their time, talent and resources to build this structure, which is part of AUNE’s Climate Action Plan.
      • Launched Antioch Commuter Transportation (ACT) initiative to encourage and support campus community members’ engagement with healthy, money-saving, community-building and greenhouse gas-reducing transportation choices.
      • Worked with city to create Keene’s bike path, a rail-to-trail project bordering campus. Continue to actively support the enhancement of Keene’s bicycle pathways system.
      • Launched Green Bikes program to reduce car trips from and to campus.  Roughly 5% of campus employees and students participated in the program’s first year.
      • Host online ride-share board.
      • Established transportation coordinator to support and enhance active transportation and ride sharing by AUNE community members.

Energy Use

    • Reduced campus electricity usage by 68% cumulatively over a seven-year period (FY07-13). This translates to 362 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions avoided and an estimated cost savings to AUNE of $90,000 in electricity bills.
    • Introduced PIN-protected print accounts, thereby reducing printing on campus in the student computer resource room by 85% from 632,513 to 94,241 from peak 2007-08 fiscal year usage to 2010-11 fiscal year usage.
    • Implemented energy-saving measures, including restroom light occupancy sensors and vending machine removal. (Inspired our bookstore vendor, EFollett, to eliminate one of its two beverage coolers.)
    • Launched Carbon Counts: You Can Too education and outreach campaign, established in 2006, which includes the “Please Flip Me Off” light-switch signage, e-alerts, and community-building speaker series featuring faculty, student and alumni expertise.  Campaign raises awareness about dimensions of climate change and what actions individuals and institutions can take to reduce emissions and adapt to climate-change impacts.
    • Established Green Guru Office Energy-Efficiency Audit program to help employees reduce emissions through computer-setting adjustments, installation and use of power strips and other low-tech solutions.  One hundred percent of AUNE employees have participated in the audit initiative.
    • IT switching out CRTs with LCDs and contracts with vendor for “green” removal of e-waste.


      • Transitioned to non-toxic Green Seal-certified cleaning and restroom products, 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper in AUNE’s copiers and printers, and 100 percent recycled paper products in restrooms.
      • Purchase “green” office supplies.

Paper Usage

      • Communications department uses 100 percent post-consumer Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper and has reduced the size and quantity of publications.  For example, they have reduced paper usage for AUNE’s Viewbook by 95 percent.
      • Introduced PIN-protected print accounts, thereby reducing printing on campus in the student computer resource room by 65 percent from 342,507 to 120,613 pages for the first six months of operation. This saved 444 reams of paper (500 sheets of paper/ream), 5,366,639 BTUs of energy, and 699 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, and avoided the creation of 2,875 gallons of wastewater.
      • Converted student and employee handbooks and range of institutional forms to electronic form to reduce paper usage.


      • Robust Responsible Purchasing Policy that includes environmental and social justice criteria and that is supported through active, ongoing research.
      • Campus-wide purchasing practice of locally sourcing used office furniture.


      • Celebrated twentieth anniversary of AUNE’s recycling program (plastics, glass, cans and paper) in 2009 by establishing “Resource Recovery Stations” to enhance recycling, reduce waste toxicity, and educate users about where solid waste goes.
      • Established Re-Use center for clothes, household items and office supplies; open to all AUNE employees and students and community social service agencies.

Solid Waste

      • Use biodegradable food service items for campus events.
      • Increased on-campus composting by more than 900 percent from November 2008 to September 2009 through enhanced infrastructure and outreach.

Food and Landscaping

      • Switched out conventional, commercial vending machines and worked with a local green business to install an energy-efficient machine offering healthy, locally sourced, and organic snacks & beverages at AUNE;  also helped this business connect with Keene’s hospital and high school to bring these healthy, energy-efficient offerings online at those institutions.
      • Created organic campus vegetable/herb garden to provide food for AUNE café & Keene Community Kitchen.
      • Added edible plants to campus landscaping and removed non-native invasives.
      • AUNE’s café serves organic, fair trade coffee and local, organic produce; operated by Monadnock Developmental Services, a service agency for developmentally disabled adults.


Leadership in Administration and Finance

Policy and decision-making at AUNE is guided by sustainability and social justice principles:

      • Designed and conducted ground-breaking “whole systems” Sustainability and Social Justice Audit to assess and enhance AUNE’s performance.
      • Now implementing a subsequent Sustainability and Social Justice Action Plan.
      • Established campus-wide Sustainability and Social Justice Committee of staff, students, administrators, and faculty to guide initiatives.
      • Formed a Diversity & Inclusion Task Force that has presented recommendations to our campus president for a comprehensive organizational change process focused on diversity and inclusion as well as what immediate action steps the campus can take in 2011-2012.
      • Formed Energy & Climate Action Task Force, which examined AUNE’s GHG emissions and set an institutional goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. In 2009, a 30-plus member  Carbon Neutrality Task Force comprised of alumni, faculty, staff, students, administrators and external experts completed AUNE’s 10-year Climate Action Plan, which is now in the implementation phase.
      • Created a new President’s Cabinet-level position of Assistant to the President for Sustainability and Social Justice to coordinate campus initiatives and incorporate perspectives into senior-level administrative decision-making.
      • Established campus-wide student government to amplify and incorporate student interests and perspectives in campus decision-making.
      • Have robust Responsible Purchasing Policy that incorporates sustainability and social justice dimensions.
      • Instituted AUNE-supported Employee Engagement in Community Service initiative.
      • AUNE President David Caruso signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
      • Signed Climate Change Action Partnership Agreement with Clean Air-Cool Planet , committing AUNE to measuring and making plans to reduce our GHG emissions.
      • Joined Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
      • Became a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Partner.
      • Institutionalized energy-use and GHG emissions tracking via Accounts Payable office; generate quarterly reports for Cabinet review.
      • 75% of AUNE students receive financial aid.  AUNE offers a variety of awards and tuition reduction to increase affordability of its programs, including to African, Latin, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) and international students of color, women over forty, single parents, veterans and those members of underserved groups.
      • Coordinate robust Americorps engagement by an average of twenty master’s and PsyD candidates annually.
      • Instituted livable wage policy in 2004.
      • Established a sexual harassment policy for employees and students (1972).
      • Diversity Committee and student-led environmental justice workgroup formed (in the nineties); AUNE added diversity training for employees and new classes in environmental justice.
      • Established Multicultural Center for Research and Practice , which promotes multiculturalism within a social justice orientation; students founded AUNE’s support group for ethnic and racial diversity.
      • Students formed, with faculty support, an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) and Allies group to provide support, conduct advocacy and share resources around issues of sexual identity.
      • Created formal student Earth Day coordinator position; serves as primary organizer for Keene’s annual Earth Day celebration.
      • Hold Black History Month “Gallery Walk” guided tours of permanent display of posters celebrating African-American achievement.
      • Hold campus-wide annual events to report out on sustainability and social justice achievements and initiatives.


Awards and Recognition

Recognition of AUNE’s sustainability and social justice leadership includes these awards and rankings: