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Catawba College's Equity, Diversity, Justice, & Inclusion Task Force Named as 2021 AASHE Sustainability Award Finalist

November 19, 2021

Category: Academics, Alumni, Staff, Students

Catawba College SealThe Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced Catawba College as a finalist for a 2021 AASHE Racial Equity and Sustainability Collaborations Award, recognizing outstanding progress in higher education sustainability.  

Catawba College was selected as a finalist due to its work on the Equity, Diversity, Justice and Inclusion (EDJI) Task Force. 

The AASHE Sustainability Awards provide global recognition to the individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement. With the help of volunteer judges, this program raises the visibility of high-impact projects, pioneering research, and student leadership that helps to disseminate innovations and inspire continued progress toward environmental, social and economic health. 

The outstanding individuals and institutions recognized as finalists were selected based on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement, clarity and other criteria specific to each award category. Winners will be celebrated during a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, December 9 at 11:45 a.m. EST.  

There were over 360 applications received by AASHE. This is the inaugural year for the Racial Equity and Sustainability Collaboration Award and the finalists include: Catawba College, University of Utah, University of California – Santa Cruz, Portland Community College, and the entire California State University System. 

Dr. ChaMarra Saner, EDJI Co-Chair, shares this about being a finalist, “It is an honor and pleasure to be a part of a group of individuals that works so hard to ensure that our students know they have someone to stand beside them, that they are heard and that we will fight for them. It is even more pleasing to know that the strides that we’ve taken on this initiative have been recognized by such a prestigious organization. As we work toward our ultimate goal of establishing an EDJI Office, we will continue to do the necessary work like leaders before us.” 

“The higher education sustainability community continues to show themselves as leaders in the global sustainability movement. This is never more evident than through the many entries received for the AASHE Sustainability Awards,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “I am proud to recognize the innovation and leadership demonstrated by this year’s finalists.” 

Dr. Mercedes Quesada-Embid, EDJI Founder and Co-Chair, states, “It is an incredible surprise for our small, liberal arts institution to be recognized internationally. I would like to thank all of the finalists who are doing this good work in the world. And, in particular, I would like to thank Catawba College for taking the work of the EDJI Task Force to heart, and believing in the importance of bringing the spirit of equity to the core of who Catawba is and what Catawba does. AASHE has indeed validated that EDJI is on the right journey towards positive change. I will be staying tuned to the December 9th announcement to hear the winning names…with fingers crossed for Catawba College!” 

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


About Catawba College
Founded in 1851, Catawba College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college conveniently located in Salisbury, N.C. Ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South, Catawba is a learning community providing students unique opportunities to discover their vocation, calling, passions, and purpose as they prepare to reach their highest potential. The College offers more than 70 undergraduate and three graduate programs allowing students to explore diverse interests and create their own academic pathway. Additional information is available at


AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world's future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter.

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