The Excellence in Innovations in Sustainability award recognizes campuses that solve environmental challenges through innovative and sustainable practices or creative partnerships. The award is designed to encourage and reward a campus on the leading edge of facilities trends through its production and application of sustainability outcomes.

2020 Recipient

The 2020 Excellence in Innovations in Sustainability recipient is Borderlands Produce Rescue at Arizona State University. This student-led initiative creates a university-wide culture that empowers students to apply their passion, knowledge, and expertise to create innovative solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Through a partnership focused on bridging the gap between food waste and food insecurity, student volunteers gain a better understanding of how their food fits within the larger food waste system, identify societal obstacles, and implement personal solutions to help address issues related to excess food waste. Since its inception in 2016, the partnership with Borderlands Food Bank has diverted over 360,000 pounds of food from landfill and connected more than 47,000 people to fresh produce.

Borderlands Produce Rescue
Past Recipients
  • 2019: Give + Go Green – Temple University
  • 2018: Eco Social Justice – Portland Community College
  • 2017: The Recirculating Farms Club Aquaponics Exhibit – North Carolina State University
  • 2016: USC&A Green Strategies – Virginia Commonwealth University
  • 2015: Compost Happens – California State University–Long Beach 
  • 2014: South Terrace – University of Arkansas
  • 2012: Bike Project – University of Oregon
  • 2011: Soltrain Project – Pomona College
  • 2010: Biodiesel Project – University of Rochester
  • 2009: Dudley H. Davis Center – University of Vermont
  • 2008: De-construction of the Ohio Union – The Ohio State University


The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. Due to the wide variety of projects that can be considered, a project does not need to meet every criterion. The program must:

  • Demonstrate the use of practices that exemplify outstanding creativity or introduce new approaches beyond what is standard.
  • Be environmentally and economically feasible.
  • Improve, protect, or make a contribution to the sustainable use of natural resources or provides a better quality of life in balance with the natural environment.


All ACUI member institutions are eligible to apply for this award. For collaborative initiatives or partnerships, all institutions must be ACUI members. Eligible programs must:

  • Have taken place since the beginning of the previous academic year.
  • Serve as a model to other campuses for replication.
  • Achieve its stated program outcomes and objectives, with evaluation tools in place.
  • Agree to allow a summary of their accomplishments to be published.


Submission materials must include the following:

  1. Name, institution, and contact information of the primary contact for the program.
  2. Title of the program.
  3. A summary, up to two pages, of the program, addressing:
    • Description of the program, including goals and intended outcomes.
    • Description and inclusion of the evaluation methods in place for the program, including brief rationale for choosing stated methods.
    • Evidence that the program meets the criteria identified for this specific award.
  4. And one compiled packet of additional supporting documentation for the program, which could include photos, marketing samples, course materials, budget information, testimonials, etc. No page limit exists, but only the first 15 pages will be considered by the review committee.

The deadline to apply is December 11.

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Electronic notification will be sent to confirm submissions have been received. A confidential Campus Awards Committee, appointed annually by the ACUI president, will review materials to make the selection. One recipient will be chosen, unless otherwise noted for the specific award. One physical award will be given to the recipient, who will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.