WINGATE – A case study performed by Catherine Wright and others involved with Wingate University’s Collaborative for the Common Good has been named among 28 finalists for 12 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education awards. 

The finalists were chosen from among more than 430 submissions.

“Cultivating a Collaborative Culture for Ensuring Sustainable Development Goals in Higher Education: An Integrative Case Study” by Wright,  Lacey Ritter and Caroline Wisse Gonzales was published in January in the journal Sustainability. It is a finalist for the AASHE award in the Campus Sustainability Research category. 

“In our paper, we offered the ‘why’ for creating an institute like the CCG on campus as well as the unique ways that we took codified, international Sustainable Development Goals and molded them to resonate our unique context,” Wright said. “Along with our efforts to make a difference in Union County, we tried to offer a blueprint for other universities to follow.” 

In addition to outlining the conceptual framework of the Collaborative for the Common Good , the paper offered data to illustrate how an intentionally collaborative infrastructure designed to target Sustainable Development Goals gave Wingate a chance to meet campus and community needs despite challenges exacerbated by COVID-19.

Four published articles based on their relationship to academics, engagement, operations or planning/administration will be named winners in this category. The Wingate research is among five submissions related to engagement.

Wright, an associate religion professor, is executive director of the CCG. Ritter, who now works at Mount Mercy University, partnered with her on the study while Ritter was a professor in Wingate’s sociology department. Gonzales, now an office manager for KaVo Dental Technologies, rounded out the team, providing graphics expertise in presenting the study data.

The AASHE Sustainability Awards are designed to provide global recognition to individuals and organizations leading the higher education sustainability movement. According to the association, the awards program raises the visibility of high-impact projects, pioneering research and student leadership, with a goal of inspiring continued progress toward environmental, social and economic health.

Wright’s project was selected based on overall impact, innovation, stakeholder involvement and clarity.

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