Thursday, September 12, 2019

CGCC Wins 2019 AASHE Sustainability Award

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s Food Waste Recycling Project as the recipient of the 2019 AASHE Sustainability Awards in the Associate/Two-year Institutions category for outstanding achievements in sustainability. 

This year, AASHE received 350+ entries that resulted in 11 winners in four categories. Winners will be recognized during the Opening Ceremony at the annual AASHE Conference & Expo in Spokane, Washington on Oct. 27. Entries were judged on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement, clarity and other criteria specific to each category.

“We are honored to win the 2019 AASHE Sustainability Award. Our Food Waste Recycling Project not only exemplifies our commitment to sustainability, it also showcases our emphasis on collaboration across disciplines,” said CGCC President Dr. Greg Peterson. “An outstanding team of students, faculty and staff brought this project to fruition, and the entire Chandler-Gilbert community will benefit from their dedication to the Food Waste Recycling Project.”

The CGCC Food Waste Recycling Project is a grant-funded campus-wide ongoing collaborative project that offers deep, cross-disciplinary, experiential student learning via an innovative solution for CGCC’s food and green waste. With the support of campus facilities, this program has established a receptacle system that facilitates separation of food waste generated on campus. A collaborative group of biology and engineering students, with guidance from faculty, have designed a unique organic waste digester machine that will recycle food and green waste into a nutrient-rich liquid fertilizer, which will be used to maintain campus grounds.

Through collaborative biology, art, English, and communications projects, students have begun a marketing campaign that promotes a “sustainability mindset” by changing the behavior of how the campus community handles their waste through increasing awareness of what happens to our food after we dispose of it. CGCC students play an integral role throughout this project, which offers a unique opportunity to practice translational science, bringing innovative ideas to the public while fostering critical thinking and confidence in their innovative potential.

“The Food Waste Recycling Project highlights both the research and implementation strategies and methods at Chandler-Gilbert and addresses the global need for sustainable waste management,” said CGCC Dean of Instruction Gabriela Rosu. “Winning the 2019 AASHE Sustainability Award is a huge honor and will help raise awareness for this innovative solution to one of the world’s most significant challenges.”

“The 2019 award winners demonstrate an inspiring passion for solving some of the world’s most complex challenges. They are truly pioneering the campus sustainability movement,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. 

To learn more about AASHE’s Sustainability Awards programs, please visit

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