Georgia Southern University was one of six post-secondary schools nationwide to be recognized as a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee at a ceremony in Washington D.C., on Sept. 19. The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award is the highest honor given by the U.S. Department of Education for sustainability.

“It was a great honor to represent Georgia Southern as an award recipient at the ceremony in Washington D.C., and an inspiration to meet the other winners from around the country,” said Lissa Leege, Ph.D., Center for Sustainability director. “We came home with renewed energy and new ideas about how to further promote the three pillars of the award: reducing environmental impact and cost, promoting better health and ensuring environmental education.”

Forty-six schools and six districts were honored at the 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools ceremony for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health and ensure effective environmental education.

Georgia Southern received the award for its impressive environmental accomplishments, which include water conservation and energy efficiency measures, as well as working toward a culture of sustainability at Georgia Southern through education and action. Students had the vision to develop and vote for a student sustainability fee that has supported significant investment in innovative sustainability solutions on the Statesboro Campus. The fee funds an array of projects from electric vehicle charging stations and vertebrate biodiversity surveys to bioswale development and LED lighting upgrades.

With the help of the Division of Facilities Services, the University has offset approximately eight million kilowatt-hours of energy over the past five years, or enough to provide energy for 643 homes for one year. The University also utilizes reused water to irrigate parts of campus, saving up to 200,000 gallons of drinking water in a single day.

“Georgia Southern University is committed to both advancing sustainability education for its students and to putting into practice sustainability initiatives and standards,” said Kathryn Twining, associate vice president for Facilities Administration. This award is attributed to the hard work put in by so many at Georgia Southern, but especially by Tiffoni Buckle-McCartney and Lissa Leege. We look forward to continuing to advance the education and practices of sustainability across all of our campuses.”

Leege, Twinning, Environmental and Sustainability Manager Tiffoni Buckle-McCarthy and Environmental Health and Safety Director Kelly Close accepted the award on behalf of the University.

On hand for the ceremony to present each recipient with a sustainably crafted plaque were Assistant U.S. Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Education Director Louisa Koch, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy James L. Elder and Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council Anisa Heming.

The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 25 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 40 public schools, including two magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-five percent of the 2018 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.

For the full list of all 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools honorees, visit

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit 

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...