Second Nature’s 9th Climate Leadership Awards recognize innovation and leadership in climate action, including mitigation and resilience at signatory campuses of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments. They do so based on demonstrated advances in climate innovation, cross-sectoral collaboration, and student preparedness.

Overall winners will be presented to one 2-year institution and one 4-year institution. To better accommodate the number and incredible diversity of applications received, and in an effort to further recognize outstanding institutions at different stages of their trajectory, we are expanding the Awards program to include three new categories: Student Preparedness, Climate Innovation, and Cross-Sector Collaboration. By showcasing winners in these individual categories, more campuses have a chance to be recognized and celebrated for their contributions.

Also new this year, signatories will have the opportunity to be featured on our “Top-5 Universities and Colleges to Watch in Climate Leadership 2019” list that will be publicized to the Network and our partners in January 2019. The list will consist of institutions that have promising projects that deserve to be shared with our community.



  • Applications are now being accepted from current signatories of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments (Carbon Commitment, Resilience Commitment or Climate Commitment). Applications are due October 31, 2018 by 11:59 pm PT. Read the Q&A’s for guidance on the new application.
  • Finalists will be announced by mid November.
  • Winners will be announced in December.
  • Award winners will be recognized at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, February 10-12 in Tempe, AZ.

You will also have the opportunity to provide videos and photographs to support your application. By submitting these materials you give consent to Second Nature and USGBC to use for the  promotion of your performance in the Climate Leadership Awards program and on our “Top 5 Colleges and Universities to Watch in Climate Leadership 2019” list. To submit additional materials, please contact [email protected]

Second Nature offers these awards in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Terms and conditions

Winners in both the 2-year and 4-year category will receive two complimentary registrations to the Summit to encourage participation by the president and another campus representative. If selected as a winner, you will need to confirm the attendance of a representative from your institution to the Summit within one week of being contacted. If you cannot confirm within that time, the spot will be offered to the runner up.

Take a look at the Q&A’s for guidance on the new application. For further questions please contact [email protected]

More information on the awards:

Nomination Criteria

Current active signatories of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Network may be nominated, (annual report(s) and dues must be submitted) To check the status of your institution, please email [email protected].

Applications will be evaluated based on demonstrated climate leadership as evidenced by Student Preparedness, Climate Innovation, and Cross-Sector Collaboration. The questions listed under each category below are illustrative. Applicants are not required to address each illustrative question, but they are required to submit an answer for the three overall sections (Student Preparedness, Climate Innovation and Cross-Sector Collaboration).



Here are last year’s winners and honorable mentions:

Two-Year Institution Winner:

Portland Community College

Honorable Mention:

Bristol Community College


Four-Year Institution Winner:

Loyola University Chicago

Honorable Mention:

Georgia Southern University

Award winners were recognized as part of the 2017 USGBC Leadership Awards Luncheon at the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Boston, Mass.