The Advisory Board on Environmental Sustainability (ABES)

The Advisory Board on Environmental Sustainability creates a bridge between the different members of the AUP community – students, faculty, and staff – in matters related to environmental sustainability and campus greening projects.   


Designed by Pamela Posada ’22, winner of the 2021-2022 ABES logo competition

For several decades, we have had clear evidence of anthropogenic impacts on the earth’s climate. Now, we are experiencing an acceleration of global warming, degradation of biodiversity, wildfires, floods, droughts, deforestation, pollution, and warming seas. Never has the climate changed so quickly and radically for Earth’s inhabitants. We are burdened with higher temperatures and rising sea levels, which is in turn leading to increased social injustice and inequality.

The Advisory Board believes that AUP’s global outlook and liberal arts tradition can and should be leveraged in working towards a shared future of sustainability and social justice. We invite all AUP community members to participate in this global movement to keep the Earth habitable. Whether you are a prospective or current undergraduate or graduate student, a faculty member, or staff member, we encourage your active participation.

A Mission-Driven Approach

The Advisory Board on Environmental Sustainability assumes a two-fold mission:

  • To centralize information and ideas about environmental sustainability, both on and off the AUP campus

  • To organize and support campus projects and events related to environmental sustainability

By including members of all campus communities – students, faculty, and staff – the Board aims to represent and unite efforts to reduce AUP’s carbon footprint and to educate our community about broader environmental issues.  

Co-Curricular Opportunities

As a board within a liberal arts institution, ABES encourages sustainability and community service projects that both enrich the classroom experience, as well as provide experiential learning opportunities. The faculty-led research center in environmental science, and student projects undertaken both inside and outside the classroom are important components of AUP’s academic culture. In addition, the development of curriculum which integrates themes of sustainability across disciplines is critical to a twenty-first century liberal arts education.

To explore events, initiatives, and student projects, please see our Engage page, which we update regularly.

Campus Sustainability FAQs

What is AUP doing to cut down on its energy consumption?

As a decentralized urban campus with very diverse buildings, AUP has taken many steps towards monitoring and reducing its energy consumption throughout our facilities. For example, to reduce energy used on heating, our gas boilers are configured to lower their temperature overnight in the Combes and Quai d’Orsay buildings. In the Grenelle building (which is equipped with electrical heaters) we are installing new programmable thermostats so we can reduce consumption during the night.   

From 2014 to 2021, we renovated almost all of our buildings in compliance with energy efficiency standards, for instance through significantly improved insulation. In all of our buildings, we use energy-efficient LED lighting. In addition, and consistent with practices across France, AUP uses only limited air-conditioning in our buildings.   

Does AUP recycle? What does the recycling program look like?

Developed as part of a student-led initiative, AUP’s robust recycling program designates separate receptacles—using the same guidelines as the city of Paris—across campus to encourage proper disposal of waste. Helping to facilitate responsible waste management, there has been a campus- wide recycling education initiative since 2020.   

In addition to aligning with city-wide guidelines, paper recycling is a key initiative. Not only is AUP implementing an additional receptacle for this separate waste stream, but in December of 2021, AUP implemented the use of recycled printing paper in all of our printers.

Is there composting at AUP?

Yes! Another student-led initiative, composting at AUP is conducted in partnership with Les Alchimistes, an Ile-Saint-Denis based company specialized in composting and bio-waste management. Twice a week, Les Alchimistes picks up and processes bio-waste from the campus café, the AMEX. The resulting composted soil—from AUP and other organic waste producers across Paris—can be purchased by organizations or individuals, for example in Franprix supermarkets throughout the city.  

Does AUP have its own green roofs or gardens?

As part of our campus-wide greening initiative, the 70 m² (750 sq. ft.) green façade above the atrium reading room in our Learning Commons provides a practical, beautiful, and important garden. Consistent with the Paris-wide effort to become the world’s leading green city, AUP is striving to develop our outdoor spaces and become a more inclusive ecosystem for all the organisms we share our space and air with.  

In addition to this façade, our roofs—on the Combes, Quai d’Orsay, La Tour-Maubourg, and Grenelle buildings—have green components, as well. Though our buildings (which were built between the 18th century and the 1980s) were not designed to support roof gardens, several measures have been taken to add infrastructure-appropriate plants to our technical roof terraces.  

What does ABES see as the biggest challenges to the greening of AUP’s campus?

As an international campus, ABES recognizes that our students and faculty fly frequently. We acknowledge that air travel is one of the most fuel-intensive and carbon-emitting forms of transportation, and we need to envision greener alternatives. Over the long term, this will require rethinking work-related travel and modes of transportation, while incorporating more virtual alternatives where possible.

In addition, we recognize that in an urban environment, problems such as air pollution, concentration of energy and resource consumption, and loss of green spaces have an impact on our health and wellbeing. Conscious of our contribution to these problems in our own urban environment, we aim to integrate our campus-wide efforts with the exciting efforts going on across the city of Paris. For example, AUP might consider expanding upon the wider Parisian efforts to support honeybee pollination. Closer to home, students have proposed hydroponic gardens, window boxes with native plants, and hiking and gardening clubs.

Finally, AUP has not committed formal organizational budget to an Office of Sustainability. While there are certainly challenges inherent to a decentralized, urban, international campus, we fully believe that the campus’ current and future challenges will be best addressed through the thoughtful allocation of institutional resources. The ABES board’s formal recommendation is for the creation of such an office, with appropriate fiscal resources allocated to campus and community sustainability efforts.

How can AUP community members get involved?

Looking to get involved? Please visit our Engage page for further information.  Additional information on groups and co-curricular learning opportunities can also be found on Engage.

I have an idea for a project: whom should I contact?

If you would like to get in touch with the ABES board directly, please email:

If you would like to get involved with another sustainability group on campus, please consult Engage for more information.

If you have a question, concern or comment about environmental projects on campus; a suggestion for a campus-wide event related to the environment; or an idea for making AUP a more sustainable place, please reach out to the Advisory Board at