CAS Releases Standards for Sustainability Programs

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) is pleased to announce the release of a new set of standards for Sustainability Programs. CAS, a consortium composed of 41 collaborating professional associations representing over 115,000 professionals in higher education, has developed standards for 47 functional areas and 3 cross-functional teams, and rooted them in the scholarship and work conducted within their respective fields. These new standards delineate expectations for practitioners and educators in related functional areas and complement the recent release of the 10th edition of CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education. 

The proposal for a new set of CAS functional area standards for Sustainability Programs was written by Heather Spalding, Coordinator of the Student Sustainability Center at Portland State University. In her proposal Spalding wrote: “Thousands of students participate in co-curricular sustainability programs each year. CAS standards have the potential to support both emerging and existing programs by providing a research-based foundation for programming and activities. As a result, student affairs will be more prepared to provide valuable opportunities for emerging sustainability leaders.”

MJ Raleigh, Executive Director of Counseling Services at High Point University and a CAS Representative from the American College Counseling Association (ACCA), served as the chair of the committee that developed the Sustainability Programs standards. Raleigh commented on the significance of this new set of standards, noting that “This is the first time we have elevated a specific issue that is beyond the boundaries of campus, sustainability, to a higher education standard. Sustainability programs need a high degree of collaboration between multiple departments to achieve the larger goal of a more healthy and sustainable world.”

CAS partnered closely with experts from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in the development of these standards. Significant contributors to the development of the standards include MJ Raleigh (High Point University), Heather Spalding (Portland State University), Shea Avery (Arizona State University), Jon Wheeler (Gonzaga University), and Julian Dautremont-Smith (AASHE). CAS is grateful to these experts for sharing their knowledge and expertise about sustainability programs and how they play a role in creating sustainable institutions of higher education and advancing student learning, development, and success.

CAS is proud to release this new set of standards for an important and evolving functional area in higher education.

The new standards for Sustainability Programs are now available at

An accompanying Self-Assessment Guide (SAG) is available at

Please direct all questions and inquiries about the new standards to CAS Interim Executive Director Dr. Deborah Garrett (