The Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA)

 * Please take a moment and click here to thank your congressmen and senators for passing this legislation.

July 30, 2008 ANOTHER BIG STEP FORWARD The U.S. House of Representatives passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (HR 4137) this evening, and it includes all the provisions of the Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) with a few minor amendments! To all of you who endorsed HESA and reached out to your Representatives in the House, we sincerely thank you for your help. It definitely would not have passed the House without you. Our attention now turns to building support for HESA in the conference between the House and Senate to create the final higher education...

July 24, 2008 Update:The President signed S.3180 on June 30 which extended the existing Higher Education Act through July 31, 2008 to give the House and Senate conference committee more time to finish its work on the new higher education act. All indications are that the HESA provisions included in the House version of the higher education act will be included in the final conference bill. However, some feel the current act may be extended yet again, perhaps even pushing off passage until 2009.


HESA was reintroduced on September 24, 2007 in the U.S. House of Representatives as HR 3637 by Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rick Boucher (D-PA), and David Wu (D-OR). 

On November 9, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller unveiled the "College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007" (HR 4137) which reauthorizes the Higher Education Act. At the request of many of the 23 House co-sponsors of HESA, Chairman Miller included HESA in HR 4137. On February 8, the full House passed HR 4137, including the HESA provisions (although without a specific appropriations level).

On December 11, HESA was also introduced in the U.S. Senate as S 2444 by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), along with original co-sponsors Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and John Kerry (D-MA). Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Durbin (D-IL) have since joined the list of co-sponsors.

The House and Senate (which passed their new Higher Education act, S. 1642, back in August) are now conferring on the final bill that will reconcile the differences between the two bills. This conference will decide which of the 40+ new programs including the HESA program make it into the final higher education bill.

HESA amends the Higher Education Act to authorize a new $50 million grant program at the Department of Education that will annually support between 25 and 200 projects at higher education institutions and consortia/associations:

  • Higher education associations and consortia are eligible for funding to conduct faculty and administrator trainings; disseminate best practices, case studies, and educational guidelines; engage external stakeholders such as business, alumni, and accrediting agencies; and create analytical tools to assess institutional progress.
  • Individual institutions are eligible for funding to implement administrative and operations sustainability practices; establish multidisciplinary sustainability education, research, and outreach programs; conduct energy management, green building, waste and toxics management, green purchasing, transportation, and related initiatives; establish sustainability literacy as a requirement for degree programs; and integrate sustainability in all programs of instruction.

To download a more complete briefing on HESA, click here.

HESA has a very good chance of passing - if higher education institutions and associations clearly voice their support for the bill to Congress

Your help is vital. You can:

1. Convince your school, college, university or education organization to:

  • Co-sign a letter of support from the higher education community. Then send us an email stating that your institution wishes to endorse HESA and to co-sign the HESA support letter, and we’ll add it to the list.
  • Send letters to your Representative and Senators asking them to co-sponsor HESA. Please send us a copy so we can follow up if necessary, and email a copy as well to the Member’s Education Legislative Assistant. His or her name can be found by clicking here, finding your Member’s page, and then clicking on the red "Staff" button on the upper left of that page. Then call the Member’s office and ask for their email address.
  • Follow up this letter with a phone call to the Education Legislative Assistants. This is very important not only to make your case, answer questions, and get HESA on their radar, but also to enable you to get some sense of whether or not they are supportive. Talking points to help you with this call are available by clicking here.

2. Ask your colleagues at other institutions to do the same.

3. Contact CEL to join an email list to be kept updated.

Thank you!

Press Releases

2/8/08: Blumenauer's Higher Education Sustainability Act Passes House

12/11/07: Senator Murray Introduces HESA

9/25/07: Blumenauer Introduces the Higher Education Sustainability Act

9/24/07: Representative Ehlers Encourages Sustainability in Higher Education

The following Representatives are HESA Co-Sponsors:

  • Earl Blumenauer (OR-3)
  • Rick Boucher (VA-9)
  • G.K. Butterfield (VA-1)
  • Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
  • Susan Davis (CA-53)
  • Vernon J. Ehlers (MI-3)
  • Al Green (TX-9)
  • Ral M. Grijalva (AZ-7)
  • Rush D. Holt (NJ-12)
  • Michael M. Honda (CA-15)
  • Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-14)
  • John Sarbanes (MD-3)
  • Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1)
  • Mike Thompson (CA-1)
  • Lynn C. Woolsey (CA-6)
  • Albert R. Wynn (MD-4)
  • David Wu (OR-1)
  • Albert Russell Wynn (MD-4)
  • John Yarmuth (KY-3)

HESA Endorsers (223 as of April 23, 2008)

Higher Education Associations

  • American Academy of Religion (John R. Fitzmier, Executive Director)
  • American Association of Community Colleges (George R. Boggs, President)
  • American Association of State Colleges and Universities (Edward M. Elmendorf, Senior VP)
  • American College Personnel Association (Gregory Roberts, Executive Director)
    American Council on Education (Becky Timmons, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations)
  • American Dental Education Association (Richard W. Valachovic, Executive Director)
  • American Studies Association (John Stephens, Executive Director)
  • APPA (Association of Physical Plant Administrators) (Lander Medlin, Executive Vice President)
  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (Judy Walton, Ex. Director)
  • Association of American Colleges and Universities (Carol Geary Schneider, President)
  • Association of College & Research Libraries (Julie Todaro, President)
  • Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (Sallie Traxler, Ex. Director)
  • Association of College Unions International (Marsha Herman-Betzen, Executive Director)
  • Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (Richard D. Legon, President)
  • Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (Deborah Blom, Executive Director)
  • Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (Paul R. Corts, President)
  • Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (Bruce Coull, President)
  • Ecological Society of America (Katherine S. McCarter, Executive Director)
  • Evangelical Environmental Network (Jim Ball, President and Chief Executive Officer)
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (Antonio R. Flores, President & CEO)
  • National Association of Biology Teachers (Pat Waller, President)
  • National Association for Campus Activities (John Ogle, Director of Education and Research)
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers (Matthew Hamill, Senior VP)
  • National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (Karen Bach, Chief Operating Officer)
  • Society for College and University Planning (Jolene Knapp, Executive Director)

Colleges and Universities

  • Agnes Scott College, GA (Elizabeth Kiss, President)
  • Albion College, MI (Donna M. Randall, President)
  • Alfred University, NY (Charles M. Edmondson, President)
  • Allegheny College, PA (Richard Cook, President)
  • Alliant International University, CA (Geoffrey M. Cox, President)
  • Anna Maria College, MA (Jack P. Calareso, President)
  • Antioch University New England, NH (David A. Caruso, President)
  • Antioch University Santa Barbara, CA (Michael Mulnix, President)
  • Arizona State University, AZ (Michael M. Crow, President)
  • Ball State University, IN (Jo Ann Gora, President)
  • Bates College, ME (Elaine Tuttle Hansen, President)
  • Bellingham Technical College, WA (Thomas Eckert, President)
  • Berea College, KY (Larry D. Shinn, President)
  • Berry College, GA (Steve Briggs, President)
  • Black Hills State University, SD (Kay Schallenkamp, President)
  • Bowdoin College, ME (Barry Mills, President)
  • Bowie State University, MD (Mickey L. Burnim, President)
  • Bunker Hill Community College, MA (Mary L. Fifield, President)
  • California State University, Chico, CA (Paul Zingg, President)
  • California State University East Bay, CA (Mohammad H. Qayoumi, President)
  • California State University, Monterey Bay, CA (Dianne F. Harrison, President)
  • Cape Cod Community College, MA (Kathleen Schatzberg, President)
  • Carolinas College of Health Sciences, NC (Ellen Sheppard, President)
  • Cascadia Community College, WA (William Christopher, President)
  • Central College, IA (David H. Roe, President)
  • Central Connecticut State University, CT (John W. Miller, President)
  • Central Washington University, WA (Jerilyn S. McIntyre, President)
  • Centralia College, WA (James M. Walton, President)
  • Chatham University, PA (Esther Barazzone, President)
  • Colby-Sawyer College, NH (Thomas Galligan, President)
  • College of the Atlantic, ME (David Hales, President)
  • College of Saint Benedict, MN (MaryAnn Baenninger, President)
  • Dakota County Technical College, MN (Ronald Thomas, President)
  • Delta College, MI (Jean Goodnow, President)
  • Dickinson College, PA (William G. Durden, President)
  • Edmonds Community College, WA (Jack Oharah, President)
  • Fitchburg State College, MA (Sheila R. Sykes, VP for Finance and Administration)
  • Foothill College, CA (Judy C. Miner, President)
  • Franklin College, IN (James G. Moseley, President)
  • Franklin Pierce University, NH (George J. Hagerty, President)
  • Frostburg State University, MD (Jonathan Gibralter, President)
  • Furman University, SC (David E. Shi, President)
  • George Mason University, DC (Alan G. Merten, President)
  • Gettysburg College, PA (Katherine Haley Will, President)
  • Gordon College, MA (R Judson Carlberg, President)
  • Goshen College, IN (James E. Brenneman, President)
  • Goucher College , MD (Sanford J. Ungar, President)
  • Grand Valley State University, MI (Thomas J. Haas, President)
  • Harford Community College, MD (James F. LaCalle, President)
  • Harvard University, MA
  • Haywood Community College, NC (Rose Harrell Johnson, President)
  • Hocking College, OH (John Light, President)
  • Howard Community College, MD (Kate Hetherington, President)
  • Indiana State University, IN (Lloyd W. Benjamin III, President)
  • Interdenominational Theological Center, GA (Michael A. Battle, President)
  • Iowa Lakes Community College, IA (Harold Prior, President)
  • John Brown University, AR (Charles Pollard, President)
  • Juniata College, PA (Thomas Kepple, President)
  • Kalamazoo College, MI (Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, President)
  • Kankakee Community College, IL (Jerry Weber, President)
  • Kennesaw State University, GA (Daniel S. Papp, President)
  • Keystone College, PA (Edward G. Boehm, Jr, President)
  • Lane Community College, OR (Mary Spilde, President)
  • Lagrange College, GA (F. Stuart Gulley, President)
  • Lakeshore Technical College, WI (Michael A. Lanser, President)
  • Lee College, TX (Martha Ellis, President)
  • Life University, GA (Guy Riekeman, President)
  • Loyola Marymount University, CA (Robert B. Lawton, President)
  • Madison Area Technical College, WI (Bettsey Barhorst, President)
  • McLennan Community College, TX (Dennis Michaelis, President)
  • Michigan State University, MI (Terry Link, Director, Office of Campus Sustainability)
  • Mid-America Nazarene University, KS (Edward Robinson, President)
  • Middlebury College, VT (Ronald D. Liebowitz, President)
  • Montana State University, MT (Geoffrey Gamble, President)
  • Montgomery County Community College, PA (Karen A. Stout, President)
  • Mount Wachusett Community College, MA (Daniel M. Asquino, President)
  • Mount Union College, OH (Richard Giese, President)
  • New Hampshire Community Technical College, NH (Darlene G. Miller, President)
  • New York University, NY (Steve Heuer, Director, Federal Relations)
  • North Central Michigan College, MI (Cameron Brunet-Koch, President)
  • North Shore Community College, MA (Wayne M. Burton, President)
  • Ocean County College, NJ (Jon H. Larson, President)
  • Ohio University, OH (Roderick J. McDavis, President)
  • Olympic College, WA (David Mitchell, President)
  • Onondaga Community College, NY (Debbie L. Sydow, President)
  • Oregon State University, OR (Kate Cusack, Director of Federal Relations)
  • Park University, MD (Beverley Byers-Pevitts, President)
  • Paul Smith’s College, NY (John Mills, President)
  • Pine Manor College, MA (Gloria Nemerowicz, President)
  • Portland State University, OR (David Ervin, Coordinator of Academic Sustainability Programs)
  • Pratt Institute, NY (Tom Schutte, President)
  • Prescott College, AZ (Daniel E. Garvey, President)
  • Purchase College, State University of New York, NY (Thomas J. Schwarz, President)
  • Rider University, NJ (Mordechai Rozanski, President)
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, IN (Gerald S. Jakubowski, President)
  • Rosemont College, PA (Sharon Latchaw Hirsh, President)
  • Saint John’s University, MN (Dietrich Reinhart, OSB, President)
  • Saint Peter's College, NJ (Eugene J. Cornacchia, President)
  • San Francisco State University, CA (Robert A. Corrigan, President)
  • Shenandoah University, VA (James Davis, President)
  • Smith College, MA (Carol Christ, President)
  • Southern Connecticut State University, CT (Cheryl Joy Norton, President)
  • Southern New Hampshire University, NH (Paul J. LeBlanc, President)
  • Southern Polytechnic State University, GA (Lisa A. Rossbacher, President)
  • Southwestern College, KS (W. Richard Merriman, Jr., President)
  • St. Clair County Community College, MI (Rose B. Bellanca, President)
  • St. Lawrence University, NY (Daniel F. Sullivan, President)
  • State University of New York Cortland, NY (Erik J. Bitterbaum, President)
  • State University of New York at Oswego, NY (Deborah F. Stanley, President)
  • Stony Brook University, NY (Shirley Strum Kenny, President)
  • Syracuse University, NY(Nancy Cantor, Chancellor)
  • Tacoma Community College, WA (Pamela Transue, President)
    The City College of New York, NY (Gregory H. Williams, President)
  • The College of New Jersey: President's Climate Commitment Committee (Michael Horst, Curt Heuring)
  • The Evergreen State College, WA (Thomas L. Purce, President)
  • The University of the South, TN (Joel Cunningham, President)
  • Toccoa Falls College, GA (Wayne Gardner, President)
  • Towson University, MD (Robert L. Caret, President)
  • Trinity University, TX (John R. Brazil, President)
  • Unity College, ME (Mitchell Thomashow, President)
    University of Alaska Anchorage, AL (Frances Ulmer, Interim Chancellor)
  • University of Arkansas, AK (John White, Chancellor)
  • University at Buffalo; State University of New York, NY (John B. Simpson, President)
  • University of California, CA (Robert C. Dynes. President)
  • University of California, San Diego, CA (Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor)
  • University of Central Florida, FL (John C. Hitt, President)
  • University of Central Missouri, MO (Aaron Podolefsky, President)
  • University of Cincinnati, OH (Nancy L. Zimpher, President)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, CO (G. P. Peterson, Chancellor)
  • University of Florida, FL (Office of Sustainability)
  • University of Hawai'i at Manoa, HI (Denise Eby Konan, Interim Chancellor)
  • University of Idaho, ID (Timothy P. White, President)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, IL (Sylvia Manning, President)
  • University of Maine at Farmington, ME (Theodora J. Kalikow, President)
  • University of Maine at Fort Kent, ME (Richard W. Cost, President)
  • University of Maine at Machias. ME (Cynthia E. Huggins, President)
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle, ME (Donald Norman Zillman, President)
  • University of Memphis, TN (Shirley C. Raines, President)
  • University of Michigan, MI (Jonathan Bulkley, Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Systems)
  • University of Minnesota Morris, MN (Jacqueline Johnson, Chancellor)
  • University of Montana, MT (George M. Dennison, President)
  • University of New Hampshire, NH (Mark W. Huddleston, President)
  • University of North Texas, TX (Gretchen M. Bataille, President)
  • University of Oregon, OR (Dave Frohnmayer, President)
  • University of Puget Sound, WA (Ronald R. Thomas, President)
  • University of Rhode Island, RI (Robert L. Carothers, President)
  • University of St. Francis, IL (Michael Vinciguerra, President)
  • University of Tennessee, TN (Jan F. Simek, Interim Chancellor)
  • University of Washington, WA (Mark A. Emmert, President)
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, WI (Brian Levin-Stankevich, Chancellor)
  • University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, WI (Richard H. Wells, Chancellor)
  • University of Wisconsin - River Falls, WI (Don Betz, Chancellor)
  • University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point, WI (Linda Bunnell, Chancellor)
  • University of Wisconsin- Superior, WI (Julius E. Erlenbach, Chancellor)
  • University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, WI (Richard Telfer, Interim Chancellor)
  • Ursinus College, PA (John Strassburger, President)
  • Villanova University, PA (Peter M. Donohue, President)
  • Virginia Wesleyan College, VA (Billy Greer, President)
  • Warren Wilson College, NC (William Sanborn Pfeiffer, President)
  • Washington and Lee University, VA (Kenneth P. Ruscio, President)
  • Washington State University, WA (Elson S. Floyd, President)
  • Weber State University, UT (Ann Millner, President)
  • Western Michigan University, MI (Gregory Rosine, Senior Vice President)
  • Western Technical College, WI (Mike Pieper, VP - Finance and Operations)
  • Western Washington University, WA (Karen W. Morse, President)
  • Westfield State College, MA (Evan S. Dobelle. President)
  • Westminster College, UT (Michael Bassis, President)
  • Whatcom Community College, WA (Kathi Hiyane-Brown, President)
  • Whittier College, CA (Sharon D. Herzberger, President)
  • William Paterson University, NJ (Arnold Speert, President)
  • Wilson College, PA (Lorna Duphiney Edmundson, President)
  • Winona State University, MN (Judith Ramaley, President)
  • Worcester State College, MA (Janelle C. Ashley, President)


  • American Institute of Architects (Andrew Goldberg, Senior Director of Federal Affairs)
  • Au Sable Institute (Ed Johnson, President)
  • Campaign for Environmental Literacy (James L. Elder, Director)
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Don Baugh, Vice President for Education)
  • Comprehensive US Sustainable Population (Alan Kuper, President)
  • Clean Air-Cool Planet (Adam Markham, Executive Director)
  • Environmental Education Association of Washington (Abby Ruskey, Executive Director)
  • Earth Day Network (Kathleen Rogers, President)
  • Massachusetts Audubon Society (Laura Johnson, President)
  • National Council for Science and the Environment (Peter Saundry, Executive Director)
  • National Wildlife Federation (Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education)
  • New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability (John L. Cusack, Executive Director)
  • North American Association for Environmental Education (Brian Day, Executive Director)
  • Ocean Project (Bill Mott, Director)
  • Second Nature (Anthony Cortese, President)
  • U.S. Green Building Council (S. Richard Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chairman)


  • Mary Kay, Inc. (Richard C. Bartlett, Vice Chair)
  • Nike (Brad Figel, Director, Global Government Affairs)