Oct, 3, 2019
Northern Arizona University was honored with a special 50th-anniversary award at the Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards late last month.
President Rita Cheng accepted the recognition for NAU, which was shared with our two sister institutions. It is an honor, she told the crowd at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, to be part of an organization and culture that is so focused on sustainability and conservation.
“At NAU, sustainability is about people,” Cheng said. “It is about understanding the world and shaping the information and practices that can improve life in Arizona, now and in the future.”
Since 1973, when NAU added an environmental studies degree to the curriculum, it has been a focus for the university. NAU researchers address complex issues in environmental variability and ecosystem science as well as forest restoration, land management and watershed protection. This work takes researchers into the field, both in and around the region and the Colorado Plateau and into more far-flung, diverse ecosystems in Africa, South America and both the North and South poles.
NAU administrators also consider sustainability when building facilities across campuses statewide, investing in efficient buildings and infrastructure and looking for options that reduce its environmental impact, including recycling, composting, installing solar panels and more.
“NAU students are extremely committed to sustainability, and that can be seen in the many efforts they support as they care for the Earth, but also in the sheer numbers who come to our classrooms to learn how to care for our forests, our water and our land,” Cheng said.
President Cheng was joined by Regent Bill Ridenour, JoElizabeth Ridenour, Tom Cheng, Diane Vosick, Geoff Bernard, Bruce Hungate and Jane Marks.
For 50 years, Arizona Forward has been bringing together business, civic and educational leaders to advocate for responsible land use, more environmentally friendly transportation options, improving air quality and conserving water. The annual awards recognize organizations and projects aimed at increasing sustainability in the state.