Remembering Amy Butler

Remembering MSU’s First Sustainability Director, Amy Butler 

Amy Butler, MSU Director of Sustainability, passed away on Saturday, January 8th, surrounded by family. Her endless enthusiasm for her sustainability work and her passion for improving our world for future generations will never be forgotten.  
Since Amy’s arrival in 2018 as MSU’s first sustainability director, Amy met with hundreds of students, faculty and staff to develop relationships and break down silos to transform how Spartans think and act in developing sustainable practices. She worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between operations and academics at MSU to provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to discover ways to use the university as a living lab for teaching and learning about sustainability while improving operational efficiency. Amy mentored teams of students to install solar lighting, pollinator gardens, and outdoor green walls at MSU. She led a small but mighty team that envisioned MSU being recognized as a driving force in global sustainability and climate change. 
Amy established a comprehensive sustainability framework for MSU based on four Cs: Campus, Curriculum, Community, and Culture. Under Amy's leadership, MSU has been recognized for its sustainability leadership, including a number of firsts for the institution: 

  • MSU's first Gold rating through the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS) report; 
  • MSU's first Gold designation as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists; 
  • MSU's first ranking in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, placing #1 in the U.S. and #4 globally for Sustainable Development Goal No. 2, "Zero Hunger"; and,
  • MSU's ranking in the Princeton Review's Top 50 Green Colleges for three years in a row. 
Her impact in the field of sustainability extended far beyond MSU. Amy served as co-chair of the Technical Steering Committee for AASHE STARS, and the Big 10 and Friends Sustainability Network. She was also an active board member of the Friends of the Red Cedar, the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, and the Detroit Region Market Leadership Advisory Board. 
The EVPA family is heartbroken over the loss of our friend and colleague. We will be establishing a commemorative tree at the university in Amy's honor so that future generations of Spartans can visit it and learn of her commitment to them, MSU, and the world.