Browse Campus Green Initiatives

Examples of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
at Private Colleges and Universities

The examples listed below highlight the growing number of green initiatives taking place at the nation's private colleges and universities. Each college listed has a website devoted to promoting environmental sustainability, including ways individuals can help to do their part.



Albion College (Albion, MI)

Albion's sustainability and environmental initiatives include a Sustainability Council, a new "green" science complex, and an active Environmental House where students live. Two Albion students have received fellowships from the National Wildlife Federation Campus Ecology program (the first time the program has awarded fellowships to multiple students from the same college at the same time) to study how to make Albion more sustainable and help to develop awareness of environmental issues on campus.

American University (Washington, DC)

AU has made its entire new student orientation process as green as possible. The college has reduced paper output, where possible, and otherwise uses 100 percent recycled paper in all cases. AU has reduced energy output from computers and classrooms, and launched a new program to help offices become eco-certified.


Babson College (Babson Park, MA)

Students and faculty at Babson have joined together to start Green@Babson (G@B) to promote energy efficiency, recycling, and other sustainable practices on campus. Students and the office of facilities also started the Babson Energy & Environmental Club to promote energy conservation.  The college's "Dark Dorm" competition measures residence halls for energy and water use and compares the results with the previous year. In the first four months, the competition saved the college more than $20,000. The groups' efforts have saved the school over $60,000 in energy and recycling costs. Babson became the first college within the greater Boston area to utilize wind power with an on-campus turbine installation.

Baldwin Wallace University (Berea, OH)

Baldwin Wallace University opened a green living center in August, 2012 which features rain collection, solar panels, a roof garden and other sustainable features.  The campus has reduced its paper consumption by 40%, increased its recycling content by 500% and has installed a composter to help reduce food waste.  Energy saving devices such as motion sensors have also been installed throughout campus.  Baldwin Wallace University uses "green" cleaning products for all campus buildings.

Baylor University (Waco, TX)

Baylor University signed a 10-year contract with Integrys Energy Services to provide wind-generated electricity on campus starting July 2008, allowing for wind-generated electricity to be brought to the Texas power grid, which Baylor draws off of. Baylor administrators expect to save about $2 million annually once the new contract takes effect. In recognition of the new contract, the university has received an Innovation Award from the National Association of College and University Business Officers for utilizing wind power and saving money at the same time. Baylor also started a major new recycling initiative.

Benedictine University (Lisle, IL)

Benedictine used a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for energy efficient upgrades to indoor lighting systems in three university buildings. The project yielded an approximate 67.5 kilowatt reduction in energy usage.

Berea College (Berea, KY)

The college has its own recycling department dedicated to increasing awareness and education about recycling and diverting recyclable material out of the waste stream and landfills. Berea's Green Purchasing Program aims to educate people about their waste output and the life cycles of their purchased products.

Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)

Soaring to Sustainability is BC's online resource for students to provide educational materials and news on how to reduce their carbon footprints. BC also participates in RecycleMania, an annual contest that compares recycling statistics of schools around the nation. The campus recently installed three new solar powered trash collectors, which are placed in areas with high volumes of trash.

Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME)

Bowdoin has recently started recycling used cooking oil from dining halls into the college's central heating plant, as well as burning biodeisel fuel in some off-campus buildings. The college also purchases wind-generated renewable energy credits. Students are involved in sustainability efforts as well, through the yearly Recyclemania competition, and by participating in food waste audits, trash audits, composting and waste reduction programs.

Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA)

Bucknell is sustained 100 percent by wind power, generating approximately 4 million kilowatt hours per year. The school also has established the Campus Greening Initiative to study the effects of the university's ecological footprint, and propose changes to make it smaller. The initiative has led to cost savings and improved ecological stability.

Butler University (Indianapolis, IN)

At Butler, the new addition to the pharmacy and health sciences building will be the university's first LEED certified building on campus, when it opens in fall 2009. Green components include classrooms with a combination of natural light and soft electric lights to reduce electricity use, waterless urinals in the men's room, and hand dryers rather than paper towels in all restrooms. Bicycle storage, changing rooms and showers also will be added for people who ride their bikes to work. Additionally, 5 percent of the building's parking lot is being reserved for hybrid vehicles.


California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)

With the development of its sustainability office, the California Institute of Technology has made a commitment to reduce its environmental footprint and work toward becoming a sustainable university. The university is installing solar panels and of motion sensors around campus, replacing existing air handling equipment with high-efficiency chillers, and participating in the city of Pasadena's energy-efficient appliance replacement program. Cal Tech has an ongoing program promoting conversion to drought tolerant landscaping across the campus. Many large lawn areas are being replaced with drought-tolerant grasses. Additionally, Cal Tech has invested in a computerized irrigation control system, which applies the least amount of water necessary for the current climatic conditions.

Central College (Pella, IA)

As part of its commitment to "greening" higher education, Central College is gradually moving to an all-electric/hybrid vehicle fleet and working to enhance the efficiency of its general motor pool fleet starting with the purchase of two 2007 Toyota Priuses with Hybrid Synergy Drive to replace existing high-mileage vehicles. President David Roe also drives a Toyota Prius. In addition, Central has incorporated a green-cleaning program, which uses non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning products. Inside buildings, carbon monoxide levels are monitored to ensure indoor environmental air quality. The use of a ventilation and humidification system helps maintain the human thermal comfort for all residents.

Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)

Students of the university's 2008 graduating class created Colgate's Environmental Sustainability Fund, which will help fund proposals to make the campus more sustainable. As of now, they include building a windmill near campus, expanding the campus' steam plant in an environmentally friendly way, and promoting bicycle usage on campus. The campus has its own environmentally friendly wood-fired boiler that satisfies 75 percent of Colgate's annual heat and hot water needs through a system of underground pipes. Unlike oil, the wood chips release a minimal sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere when burned. It is also fairly inexpensive: Colgate's energy engineer estimated that the university saved around $500,000 during the 2004-2005 school year by burning the wood instead of oil.

College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, ME)

College of the Atlantic is now the first college on the East Coast to offer a "green" business undergraduate program, which focuses on sustainability and socially responsible business As of fall 2008, six higher learning institutions in the United States offer similar programs to undergraduates. Working with current faculty who already teach a wide array of business and business-related classes, students can obtain the skills and experience to practice business using sound economic, social and ecological principles. The program will teach students to learn how to do well-financially-by doing good: ecologically and socially.

The College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA)

The College of the Holy Cross has adopted a green building policy, with the intent of seeking LEED certification and/or incorporating green building design into new construction/renovations. Campus light fixtures have been replaced with energy efficient lighting and sensors. Boiler controls in the central heating plant have been upgraded to reduce emissions and burn more efficiently. An active composting program (using leaves, hedge clippings, etc.) generates approximately 700 yards of compost for use in the college's flower/plant beds.

Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO)

A group of students, donors and staff at Colorado College collaborated to bring an institutional goal to fruition: the installation of solar panels before the college's commencement on May 19, 2008. The 25-kilowatt system produces enough energy to power the equivalent of one of the campus' language-theme residential houses. The college is also in the process of conducting a six-month long environmental inventory and sustainability management plan, which aims to collect quantitative and qualitative data on a full spectrum of campus activities and operations, from energy and transportation to procurement and curriculum

Concordia College (Moorhead, MN)

From campus-wide recycling to adding native trees and plants to the grounds and using energy efficient appliances in dining aervices, Concordia is making strides towards environmental sustainability. The college replaced the plant's air-cooled air conditioning units with more efficient water-cooled units, and also added a new low-pressure boiler, which will extend the length of which the college can run its more energy efficient low-pressure boilers in the fall and spring. In 2006 alone, Concordia recycled 199,545 pounds (nearly 100 tons) of materials - materials that otherwise would have gone into the landfill.

Connecticut College (New London, CT)

Since 1999, Connecticut College has worked with farmers in Costa Rica to plant enough fast growing trees to compensate for the 593 tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually by the campus's college center over the next 30 years. In 1999, solar panels were fitted to a residence hall to offset the power required by a boiler plant that was installed that same year. Savings from the combined reduction is approximately what one residence hall would use in an academic year. A light bulb exchange program allows students to exchange inefficient light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs. The old bulbs are then decorated and sold as art to fund the program.


DePaul University (Chicago, IL)

In an effort to cut down on energy spending and output from computer systems and servers, the IT department at DePaul switched to a technique called virtualization. Virtualization reduces the number of servers needed, saving money, and energy. As of early 2008, DePaul has saved about $400,000 on hardware that will never end up in a landfill, and reduced server energy consumption by 40 percent.

DePauw University (Greencastle, IN)

DePauw University's Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics was the first building in Indiana to earn a gold rating for energy efficiency and environmental design from the U.S. Green Building Council. Some of its environmentally features include: a white roof to reflect the sun, reducing demand for air conditioning; and awnings that admit the winter sun for passive heating and shade the building from the summer sun, minimizing energy requirements. Rooms are equipped with motion sensors that automatically turn off lighting in unused areas.

Duke University (Durham, NC)

In response to the severe drought facing North Carolina, Duke changed its operations to create a 70 percent reduction in water usage from August 2007 to February 2008. Two tanker trucks were purchased to transport non-potable water for irrigating campus trees and landscaping. The water comes from large rainwater cisterns being installed on campus and reclaimed water from the city of Durham's wastewater treatment plant. Storage tanks are also being added that will allow automatic irrigation systems to use the non-potable water. Low-flow showerheads were also installed in campus residences, and more showerheads were given away to students, faculty, and staff. As of June 2008, there are 20 Duke buildings that have received LEED certification or are in the process of being certified. The university also runs the Duke Bikes program provides a fleet of 130 bicycles that students can borrow a week at a time to cut down on driving, reduce emissions and get fit.


Elmhurst College (Elmhurst, IL)

For more than 30 years, Elmhurst has engaged in energy-saving and waste-minimizing practices, paying homage to the fact that the campus was originally established as an arboretum. Thanks to a recent grant from the college's county of residence, it will construct features for stormwater management, including a permeable parking lot and cisterns to capture and store rainwater for irrigation purposes. In May 2008, the college obtained a grant to help install solar panels on the roof of a building on campus. These panels are expected to reduce the water heating bills for the building by 30 to 40 percent.

Elon University (Elon, NC)

Elon has created the new faculty position of sustainability coordinator. In May 2008, Elon broke ground on a new 30,000 square-foot academic and faculty office building that will be the greenest building on campus. Seventy-five percent of construction waste will be recycled, much of the building will be made of steel and tile that contain recycled material, and photovoltaic solar power cells will help generate power on site. Elon has also started conducting course evaluations online to cut back on paper usage, and defaulted all the printers on campus to print on both sides.


Fairfield University (Fairfield, CT)

Early in 2008, Fairfield University's combined heat and power plant (CHP) became fully operational, and is significantly reducing the demand on the region's electric grid. The CHP is currently generating 90 percent of the total University electrical requirements. The university has also set aside a campus apartment for student environmentalists who will work on green initiatives during the 2008-09 academic year. The four students will create a sustainable living programs that can be replicated in university housing. This summer, construction of the environmentally friendly Fairfield Jesuit Community Center got underway. The center's design promotes sustainable principles and its 'green' elements include a sod roof, recycled construction materials, and a geo-thermal heating and cooling system.

Furman University (Greenville, SC)

Furman's Center for Sustainability (CFS) opened in the fall of 2008. One of the Center's primary goals is to continue integrating sustainability themes and topics into the curriculum and co-curriculum. Organically-grown herbs and vegetables from the new Furman Farm will be on the student dining hall tables this fall. Vegetable wastes from dining hall, primarily the salad bar, were collected and composted on campus. The compost is currently being utilized in the organic garden. The department of computing and information services has taken steps to power down computer stations and non-critical servers to dramatically reduce energy usage. Furman is collaborating with community members and public and private groups in a grassroots effort to convert the abandoned "Swamp Rabbit" rail line into a public recreational trail for hikers, runners, and cyclists. Furman has also provided multiple community workshops to promote energy auditing, organic gardening, rain gardens, and sustainability.


George Washington University (Washington, DC)

Each year, GW sponsors a Green Move-Out that lasts from the beginning of May until the end of semester. Students are encouraged to donate leftover food and unwanted clothing and electronics to be distributed to shelters, food banks, and other services around Washington DC. Students not only help out people in the community, but decrease waste as well.

Georgian Court University (Lakewood, NJ)

Georgian Court University’s Wellness Center and Complex is a state-of-the-art facility opening in Fall 2008. The building was designed to meet LEED certification, which the university has applied for. GCU is the first educational institution in New Jersey to purchase 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including 6.1 million kilowatts of windpower.

Goshen College (Goshen, IN)

Goshen College's Rieth Village, an ecological field station for environmental study at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, has received a platinum LEED certification. Merry is home to the college's new master's program in environmental education. Members of a student environmental club called EcoPax work to promote recycling on campus and river cleanup, and a group of four chemistry majors built a plant to convert used cooking grease from the dining hall into biodiesel to be used on campus in 2008.

Goucher College (Baltimore, MD)

Goucher participates in the Farm to Fork program, an initiative to buy food for campus dining from local merchants. Bon Appétit (Goucher's dining services provider) purchases seasonal, regional, and organic produce from local farmers and artisan producers within a 150-mile radius. These local products are served within 48 hours of harvest. In addition, Goucher's new centerpiece building, to be completed in fall 2009, will be Silver LEED certified. It will include a rain garden that controls the volume of storm water runoff and creates a natural filtration process of the soil, mulch, and plant life. There will also be a "green" roof to reduce heat gain and alleviate storm water runoff.

Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA)

At Grinnell, geothermal wells drilled 120 feet below the parking lot at the college's Conrad Environmental Research Area help heat and cool the buildings. Grinell's EcoCampus committee researches and distributes information about campus sustainability. Currently the committee pursues funding opportunities (e.g. food-waste composting), research, and provide recommendations for the wind energy feasibility committee; advise and promote green design in campus planning; and promote programs for recycling and solid waste reduction.


Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

The mission of the Harvard Green Campus Initiative is to make Harvard University a living laboratory and learning organization for the pursuit of campus sustainability. The business model of the initiative is fundamentally entrepreneurial in its approach as it continuously develops and sells new services to schools and departments that want to both save money and reduce their environmental impacts. Harvard's Environmental Economics Program is gathering students and professors from a wide variety of subject areas to study and research climate change and other environmental issues.

Hendrix College (Conway, AR)

In 2006, the college implemented geothermal heating systems for each of the six residence halls, as well as one office building. Hendrix uses low-temperature geothermal energy for both heating and cooling, which makes use of the stability of the earth's inner temperature. One of Hendrix's housing facilities, The Village, is a mixed-use site built in the New Urbanism style, with shops, restaurants, and movie theater all within easy walking distance of the college. The design of the new development will implicitly encourage walking and biking. The college and its developer, TNDP, are also working to construct "green" buildings to the maximum extent possible.


Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL)

IWU's GREENetwork is a group of volunteer students, staff, faculty, and administration that meets regularly to monitor the status of sustainability on campus. Its efforts have led to the school's food services provider moving to biodegradable containers and utensils at dining facilities, the installation of new copy machines across campus that have features to reduce paper use, and a campus-wide three-day sustainability workshop for IWU faculty, staff, and administration.

Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY)

Ithaca has begun a program called Partnerships in Sustainability Education, an academic collaboration between Ithaca College faculty and the EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI) residential community. This program sparked the development of six courses on sustainability for the environmental studies program, many of them developed and taught by EVI residents and educators. In the spring of 2008, Ithaca opened the Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, which serves as home to the Ithaca College School of Business. Upon certification, the Park Center will be the first facility for an undergraduate business program in the world to achieve platinum LEED designation. Ithaca plans to open its second platinum LEED facility in fall 2008.


John Brown University (Siloam Springs, AR)

John Brown University is the first Zero-Landfill campus in Arkansas.  Food wastes are diverted to a local hog farm.  Since 2000, John Brown University has decreased its electricity/gas costs by $.23 per square foot.

Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

The university continues to upgrade equipment, lighting, and appliances for energy efficiency benefits.  The Bloomberg School of Public Health has upgraded all fluorescent lighting from T-12s to T-8s, and more recently to "Super T-8s," reducing the overall lighting load by over 40 percent.  Similar lighting retrofits are underway at all other JHU campuses. Energy retrofits in certain buildings at the Homewood campus have resulted in energy gains of over 50 percent.



Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, MI)

Kalamazoo College’s green effort runs through its entire 60-acre, 1400-student campus and includes: a new student center that’s the first LEED-certified building in southwest Michigan; a new athletic field house with geothermal heating and cooling; an award-winning recycling department run by a grizzled veteran who insists on institutional production of zero waste; a legion of campus organizations dedicated to energy conservation, bike use, a trayless cafeteria, local foods, vermicomposting (worms!), and more; and classes, senior projects, and internships—as well as service-learning, social justice, and study abroad projects—that focus exclusively on the topic.

Kenyon College (Gambier, OH)

Kenyon is a national leader in identifying and fully utilizing fresh foods produced on local farms. This brings fresher and higher-quality vegetables, fruit, and meats to students; lessens environmental pollutants; and makes a positive impact on the local economy. About 30 percent of the food used in Kenyon cafeterias is locally produced. Kenyon has also invested in a flash-freezing unit and expanded its freezer storage space so the college can buy local produce during the summer and early fall and serve it throughout the year. Recent dining hall improvements have also brought to Kenyon a mechanized composting system that will grind organic waste, extract moisture, and bag material for deposit at a composting site on the campus.


Lawrence University (Appleton, WI)

Since 2004, Lawrence University students have been maintaining an on-campus garden. Known as SLUG - Sustainable Lawrence University Garden - the quarter-acre plot features heirloom vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, spinach, radishes, beets, beans, lots of herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives), potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Rhubarb and raspberries were added this year.  All of the vegetables are grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides. The "waste" from the university dining hall kitchens is collected, composted and used in the garden.

Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA)

More than 70 percent of Loyola Marymount's sprinklers are controlled by a central irrigation system that responds automatically to local weather conditions. It also reduces water waste by using low-water consuming toilets and washers throughout the campus. LMU also has the largest solar roof system of any university in the world. Panels totalling 81,000 square feet generate enough electricity to eliminate annual carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to driving a car more than 2 million miles. By using on-site solar generation, LMU has been able to effectively integrate solar electricity into its energy mix, thereby lowering operating costs and reducing purchases of expensive peak electricity. In addition to generating electricity, the solar roof system provides thermal insulation and protects the roof from weather and UV radiation, resulting in decreased heating and cooling energy costs and extended roof life. On average, the solar roof system saves the university more than $150,000 a year.

Lynn University (Boca Raton, FL)

Lynn University is taking steps to cut back on the number of vehicles on the road by increasing university-sponsored shuttle service to local Palm Tran train stations, creating commuter locker space for students, staff and faculty choosing to ride bikes/motorbikes to campus rather than cars, and contracting with Zip Car for two vehicles to be used this academic year by students without cars who need occasional transportation.


Mercyhurst College (Erie, PA)

Mercyhurst Green seeks to improve environmental awareness by integrating environmental issues into the classroom. With projects devoted to recycling, composting, waste reduction, energy efficiency, and pollution control, Mercyhurst Green strives to instill a sense of ecological responsibility in members of the campus community.

Messiah College (Grantham, PA)

Messiah College runs a community garden, which provides fresh, organic produce to dining services as well as nine other shareholders. The garden is tended to by a group of students. Organic waste from the cafeteria is composted and used in the garden as well. Other sustainability efforts on campus include the consistent use of post-consumer recycled paper and the use of non-toxic inks. Campus offices strive to save paper by doing more work online and eliminating the use of paper cups.

Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT)

Middlebury College students pushed the board of trustees to approve a plan to make the school carbon-neutral by 2016. Middlebury will replace more than 1 million gallons of fuel oil with wood chips when its new biomass plant comes on line this fall. Middlebury also offers numerous resources to help students have a greener study abroad experience including: study abroad grants for research on sustainability issues, a carbon offset program to help students reduce the impact of their energy use while abroad, and a list of sustainable travel resources including a sustainable travel checklist.

Mills College (Oakland, CA)

Mills College's new natural sciences building is 90 percent more energy-efficient than most Bay Area laboratories. The college sent letters to prospective students with information about the building, and soon saw an increase in applications of students interested in enviroment and science studies. Mills also employs environmentally friendly fire management techniques throughout campus, selectively removing undergrowth, to reduce fire danger and encourage the growth of native habitat. Grounds crews leave clippings in place to promote fertilization and reducing waste. No new traditional lawns will be developed, opting for more native alternatives to landscaping. In October 2007, Mills received the Alameda County Waste Management Award for diverting over 60 percent of its waste away from landfills; composting in the food service and residence halls; recycling building materials, paper, cans, and bottles; using biodegradable utensils and dishware made from corn and potatoes; and purchasing and using recycled materials when possible.

Monmouth University (West Long Branch, NJ)

Thanks to a grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Monmouth was able to install the largest number of solar panels east of the Mississippi. One year after installation, MU had an energy savings of more than $144,000 and eliminated 309 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being put into the air. Monmouth has taken other steps toward creating a green campus, such as installing air hand dryers to reduce paper towel usage, installing high efficiency film on windows, creating more advanced irrigation controls to use less water, and installing energy efficient light bulbs around campus. Monmouth started its Urban Coast Institute in 2004 to bring policy makers, developers, and environmentalists together on a host of coastal policy issues. Monmouth's president, Paul G. Gaffney II, is the Vice-Chairman of the national advisory committee Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP), where he makes presentations on various aspects of climate change.

Mount Ida College (Newton, MA)

Mount Ida College has instituted a comprehensive and highly effective recycling program to reduce the amount of college waste. All of the college's trash is sent to an outside recycling company that sorts out the recyclable material. Mound Ida is also finishing construction of a new residence hall that is expected to be LEED Silver Certified. The building has a variety of energy efficient features, including the use of recyclable materials, the use of solar panels to produce solar hot water, and energy-efficient lighting with intelligent controls that reduce energy use. Several of Mount Ida's printed publications display the Forest Stewardship Council logo, signifying that the paper comes from a well-managed forest that is committed to preserving the natural ecosystems and reducing water pollution. All of the College's publications use soy-based color inks as well.

Mount Mary College (Milwaukee, WI)

In July 2008 Mount Mary College started the Renew-Replace-Refresh campaign. Mount Mary College is currently working to improve space usage, drainage issues and installing energy efficient materials in older buildings. The campus also has a rain garden, which gathers water to be used on the grounds, as well as an organic community garden which provides produce for Milwaukee's Hunger Task Force.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Mount Vernon, OH)

MVNU has found ways to put the university's waste products to good use. Instead of disposing of vegetable oil, the waste is recycled by a machine that converts the oil into biodiesel. The machine cost $4,100; those funds could easily be returned within two years by a $2 per gallon savings in fuel. MVNU's biodiesel is currently powering a bus, a dump truck, all lawn/snow removal equipment, and diesel generators. An inexpensive way to kill weeds using vinegar and orange oil was also developed by the facilities management department at the university.


Naropa University (Boulder, CO)

Naropa is fueled by 100 percent wind power. The university composts all plant material, uses products that are biodegradable and/or organic and is actively working to improve water conservation by upgrading and modifying existing irrigation systems (saved $5,000 in water use in the first half of the last fiscal year). At Naropa's May 2007 graduation, more than two thousand people attended and only one small bag of trash was produced.

Nebraska Wesleyan University (Lincoln, NE)

In March 2008, Nebraska Wesleyan implemented "Trayless Tuesdays" into its dining halls to reduce the amount of water and energy used to wash items.

New York University (New York, NY)

NYU has been the largest university purchaser of wind energy in the U.S. for the past two years. The benefit of the university's use of wind power is equal to removing 12,000 cars from the road or planting 72,000 trees. NYUGreen is the university's effort to integrate environmental awareness as a core value of its academic mission.


Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)

Oberlin has made significant sustainability efforts in many areas, including carbon neutrality, food, recycling, and energy. Oberlin's dining services partnered with its food provider to supply nutritious meals with products from in nearby farms, dairies, ranches, and aquaculture operations. The campus gets much of its energy from solar panels located on a parking pavilion, as well as from an estimated 13,000 megawatts in green attributes purchased from nearby Oberlin Municipal Light and Power. Professors and researchers are also exploring whether to build a wind turbine near campus.


Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA)

Pacific Lutheran has committed to build all new construction to at least silver-level certification in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. It has also committed to recycle 80 percent of campus waste by 2010; reduce water consumption 20 percent by 2011; reduce energy consumption 25 percent by 2011; and become carbon neutral by 2020. The university participated in a pilot industrial composting program for dining halls from September 2007 to February 2008. The program diverted nearly 70 percent of the dining hall's waste from the landfill. All food and paper waste is composted.

Park University (Parkville, MO)

Construction has begun on a new LEED certified residence hall, as well as the completion of a sustainability action plan.

Pomona College (Claremont, CA)

Pomona has made a lot of improvements is a number of areas on campus to make it more sustainable. One of the major projects was building a LEED Silver Certified building on campus. The result is a building that exceeds California energy-related design codes by 25 percent, yielding an estimated $75,000 per year in energy savings. Some of its features include an electric vehicle station, waterless urinals and double flush toilets, an efficient lighting system with daylighting and occupancy controls, efficient fixtures, and operable windows to give occupants control and to provide fresh air.

Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)

As part of campus-wide sustainability efforts to maximize water conservation, Princeton is converting older, less efficient water fixtures (such as showerheads and faucets) to low-flow and water-free models. For a number of years, Princeton's dining services has prioritized efforts to enhance the sustainability of its operations, seeking to increase recycling and reduce material and food waste. A software system allows dining services to track food use and waste in the dining halls, decreasing the amount of materials discarded. Since 1993, food waste has been sent to a local company that processes the scraps for pig feed. Students also collect excess food from dining halls three days a week and bring it to a local food kitchen.


Ripon College (Ripon, WI)

Ripon College is offering freshmen free mountain bikes, helmets and locks if they agree not to bring a car to campus. The $300-per-student cost is funded by private donations. The college's president, David Joyce, says the project was meant to avoid building a parking garage, but its side effects are beneficial: less pollution, more exercise, and savings on gas. 

Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)

RIT has created the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, which is currently developing one of the world's first doctoral programs in sustainability. The institute also conducts significant research in sustainable production, alternative energy and pollution prevention. This includes projects designed to enhance the use of alternative fuel vehicles in RIT operations, as well as the possible use of waste from fryer grease used in RIT dining halls for biodiesel production.


Saint John's University (Collegeville, MN)

Saint John's University is breaking ground in July 2008 on a LEED-certified community center building. The university's arboretum is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as a green forestry operation, meaning that Saint John's harvests timber on a rotating basis to promote forest diversity and the natural beauty of the land. A bus system connects Saint John's to its academic partner, the College of Saint Benedict, providing public transportation to students and staff and reducing automobile emissions. During the 2006-07 academic year, 884,364 riders were transported between the two campuses totaling 180,706 miles.

Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)

Santa Clara's sustainability web site offers tips and tricks to help students reduce their environmental impact. For example, each month the office of sustainability compiles a list of 4 R's- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Respect. The campus is also in the process of switching over to an electronic time recording system. All employees will record their time electronically, and successful implementation of this project will reduce paper consumption by over 6,000 sheets each month.

Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, NY)

Sarah Lawrence's first green residence will open this fall, having been converted over the summer to include high-efficiency additions. These additions include a re-insulation of the entire building with a cellulose material to increase the building's heating efficiency by 50 percent, a solar domestic hot water system, a high-efficiency boiler, and a conversion of the surrounding lawn into a community garden space. A group of students was the driving force behind the conversion. The students established principles residents must adhere to: shopping and cooking together to save energy, buying local foods, composting, and air-drying clothes.

Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY)

For the past two years, Skidmore has participated in "Give and Go," at the end of the traditional academic year. The program encourages students to donate their no-longer-needed items (such as unopened food, small appliances, clean clothing, etc.) for use by a local non-profit. This year, 15 vanloads of unwanted materials were saved from the local landfill and used by the local Salvation Army, which netted $4,000 at its summer garage sale. The college will launch a greenhouse gas inventory in fall 2008. Greenhouse gas emissions will be measured (and verified by an outside firm) to create a baseline guide. The college will then develop strategies to focus on reduction of greenhouse emissions. The college has a long-standing commitment to energy conservation through the use of geothermal heating and cooling. Currently 11 buildings on campus are serviced with geothermal heating and cooling; the 12th such building is scheduled to open late next year.

Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX)

Southwestern's custodial staff is phasing in the use of all-green cleaning products. The school is also in the process of negotiating with its energy provider to buy wind energy.  Southwestern has installed an energy management system that digitally controls HVAC in many of the buildings. The grounds department has also begun a new program that involves recycling all landscape waste into mulch. For summer 2008, Southwestern moved to a four-day work week in order help emloyees save money on gas, and to improve the campus' energy conservation efforts.

Stetson University (DeLand, FL)

A $4.2 million chilled-water loop system at Stetson University reduces energy consumption by providing air-conditioning to more than 30 university buildings, eliminating the need for individual cooling systems by disbursing cold water from a centralized system. The plant eliminated more than 60 compressors, 50 pumps, 80 condenser fans and two cooling towers. Stetson also sponsors a Green Bikes program. Donated bikes are repaired and painted Stetson green, and then are made available free-of-charge to students on a weekly loan basis. The university's Climate Commitment Task Force mapped out a proposed timeline for reducing carbon emissions, and surveyed the university's carbon footprint through a special Environmental Science class that provided experiential learning opportunities for students and introduced them to the use of sustainability indices.

Syracuse Univeristy (Syracuse, NY)

The school's Green Universecity is dedicated to discovering and implementing sound, sustainable practices to better the campus and greater Syracuse community. The university purchases 20 percent of its energy from wind and hydraulic facilities in the area, and is constantly working to update its buildings to make them more sustainable.


Tabor College (Hillsboro, KS)

Recently, Tabor College was given a grant by the Creation Care Movement, an organization helping campuses in the beginning stages of their sustainability initiatives, and has started their own Creation Care task force on campus. The student led group will help organize efforts including increased recycling on campus and in the cafeteria and a Creation Care week to raise environmental awareness

Taylor University (Upland, IN)

In May 2010 Taylor University opened the Euler Science Complex, the institution's largest building project designed to LEED specifications. The building has many sustainable features including: a heliostat atrium, a geothermal heating and cooling system, wind turbines, solar panels, and a "green" rooftop teaching terrace. The complex is used as a living laboratory and provides resources for the math and science programs.

Teachers College, Columbia University (New York, NY)

In an effort to increase campus-wide sustainability, Teachers College has taken measures to increase efficiency and lower their carbon footprint. They have begun to switch over to Energy-Saving light bulbs and light sensors, started revamping their water fountains and using water saving techniques and since 2009 have increased their recycling efforts.

Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)

Texas Christian actively participates in making their college environmentally sustainable and is one of three institutions that have received the Cleaning Industry Management Standard certification for their sustainability efforts. These efforts include LEED certified buildings and other simple environmental renovations by the Physical Plant program have saved approximately 1.66 million dollars in utility costs. Other TCU efficiency programs are in place to help reduce the carbon footprint, greenhouse gas and vehicle emissions by encouraging the use of public transportation and implementing bike and vehicle rental programs. With four LEED-certified architects and engineers, many buildings on campus are on their way to becoming LEED certified buildings. TCU also participates in numerous recycling programs and encourages students not only to simply recycle, but to reuse or donate old supplies.

Thomas M. Cooley Law School (Lansing, MI)

In 2008, the Cooley Law School began a project attempt for LEED certification of their Auburn Hills campus that was completed in 2009. The campus sustainability efforts include a vegetated roof surface, reflective roof surfaces, recycled building materials, water-efficient landscaping, computer-controlled heating and cooling systems, low-wattage light systems, and a recycling center.

Transylvania University (Lexington, KY)

Transylvania University's has an energy policy that requires buildings to be set at certain temperatures throughout the year in order to lower energy use. It also mentions the use of Energy Star utilities throughout campus and declares that all future buildings will be built to satisfy a LEED silver standard minimum. Transylvania also has a recycling program and different student organizations that actively participate in sustainability issues on campus.

Trevecca Nazarene University (Nashville, TN)

Trevecca Nazarene holds their annual Campus Sustainability Awareness day on October 22. The day, hosted by the student-led Environmental Sustainable Association, is used to promote sustainable living efforts on campus, recycling, social justice and environmental education.

Trine University (Angola, IN)

Trine students recently developed the concept of a "green" bicycle frame, the seniors found that they could build a bicycle frame out of bamboo and recycled aluminum. Assistant professor Thomas DeAgostino said, "They feel the frame could be mass produced at a lower cost than what's out there now." The team plans to market their design in order to promote environmental awareness.

Trinity College (Hartford, CT)

In the fall of 2007, Trinity's president signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, promising to take concrete steps to achieve climate neutrality by adopting green standards for buildings, requiring Energy Star products and encouraging public transportation. The institution also takes active measures in sustainability through their recycling programs, composting and Green Thumb projects and numerous student-led groups. In the spring of 2008, a Green Building Policy was drafted that required all new construction and renovations to meet LEED Silver Standards.

Trinity University (San Antonio, TX)

Trinity's president signed the Presidents Climate Commitment, ensuring that the university would work towards carbon neutrality. Since then, Trinity's recycling groups earned two first-place finishes in a competition among Texas colleges.

Tufts University (Medford, MA)

The construction of Sophia Gordon Hall, the newest residential building, was completed in August 2006 and has received Gold certification from LEED. In addition to this residential hall, over 70% of buildings at Tufts have energy retrofits to make them more energy efficient. Tufts promotes public transportation, recycling and composting - the class of 2015 learned to compost during their first few days at the university. Tufts also takes actions to reduce the amount of energy used through energy conservation projects including, student and faculty research, steam trap installation, condensing boilers and temperature policies.

Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)

In November 2008, Tulane received the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Campus Sustainability Leadership Award for their efforts to rebuild New Orleans. They helped rebuild while emphasizing energy efficiency and climate-neutral redevelopment. The AASHE also noted the university's eco-friendly efforts on campus; Tulane recently reduced their own greenhouse gas emissions and, like other schools, signed the President's Climate Commitment to achieve climate neutrality.

Tusculum College (Greeneville, TN)

Tusculum's dining services are taking actions to "go green" by distributing mugs that can be refilled instead of paper cups. They have also switched to recycled napkins, made plans for an "Organic Night" where only local foods are served, and they have teamed with Synergy Biofuels to donate their cooking oil to aid in biofuel efforts. As a whole, the college has an event on Earth Day where they expand the college's community garden and focus on environmental education and sustainability.


University of Portland (Portland, OR)

The University of Portland hosted an event in January focused on educating people on the importance of climate change. More than 3,000 people attended the event, held on the UP campus. The university is also in the process of purchasing a biodiesel generator to convert food services grease waste into bio-diesel fuel to operate campus vehicles and buildings. The university anticipates a weekly fuel yield of 40 gallons during the academic year. UP is investing in double-sided printers, and has furnished an extensive array of recycling bins throughout campus.

University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA)

Since 2005, every student, staff, and faculty member at the university has received a reusable mug displaying sustainability messaging and program logo. Messaging around campus and in campus publications encourages everyone to reuse the mugs as well as reusable dishware instead of paper products. People using their own cups receive a 10-cent discount at all campus dining facilities. UPS also participates in a food waste disposal program known as vermiculture, a sustainable way to turn food waste into a useful, environmentally friendly product. The university works with a local worm farm to do this. The program will pay for itself in only three years, and will provide educational opportunities to students and faculty.

University of Richmond (Richmond, VA)

The University of Richmond is providing free local transit bus passes to all employees and has made it a permanent fringe benefit of employment. The idea is to reduce the amount of local driving, thus reducing automobile pollution. The school has installed parking spaces with recharging stations for electric cars, and has reserved parking spaces in most lots on campus for hybrid vehicles. The university is committed to building all new structures to LEED standards when possible and the university strives to print all campus publications on recycled paper. University dining services buys food from local farmers and encourages diners to not waste food.

University of St. Francis (Fort Wayne, IN)

Initiatives at the University of St. Francis include a campus-wide recycling program, a switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, and the use of more recycled products (paper towels, paper, and tables made from recycled water bottles) around campus. Campus landscapers use environmentally friendly products whenever possible, and the campus tries to purchase electric equipment instead of gas, diesel, or kerosene powered appliances. The campus also provides a bicycle lending program to reduce carbon emissions, and is working on a campus wetlands project.

University of San Diego (San Diego, CA)

The University of San Diego started a “green” coffee program by installing an on-site roaster in its coffee shop capable of roasting 250 pounds of coffee beans per day.  Coffee is no longer purchased in metalized polyester tube bags; instead, beans are purchased in burlap bags, which are recycled for transport use.  Nearly 8,620 pounds of coffee compost will flow from the campus cafés, which will eventually be recycled into campus gardens.


Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, IN )

Valparaiso installed a synthetic surface on the football field that uses rubber from discarded tires. The synthetic surface reduces maintenance costs (no more chemicals, fertilizer, mowing, watering) while allowing increased use of the field for other intercollegiate sports such as soccer and for recreational use. A few other campuses have this kind of field as well, and have found that it is just as safe and durable as grass or AstroTurf. VU has also uses rubberized asphalt (ground up tires) to paving streets and parking lots on campus. VU implements LEED standards in construction of new buildings even though certification may not be sought. For example, in a new student union opening in January, a pulper/extraction system will reduce kitchen waste and save water; refrigeration equipment will share compressors; high efficiency exhaust hoods will reduce the loss of heated/cooled air to the outside; and the roof is painted white for greater reflectivity.


Warren Wilson College (Asheville, NC)

Warren Wilson was the first college or university in the Southeast to offset all of its energy use with renewable energy credits, or "green" power. It also was the first North Carolina higher education institution to have a Gold Certified Building under the LEED rating system. WWC has added a second Gold Certified building, a dormitory that was built with extensive input from students. It has also instituted a compost program in the cafeteria, is using campus-harvested and milled lumber, and implemented a campus-wide recycling program.

Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA)

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA have started to install solar panels that will produce approximately 450 Kilowatts of electricity.  That is enough electricity to power 44 homes.  The panels will be installed by the end of 2011.

Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)

Washington University in St. Louis' U-Pass program provides benefits-eligible employees, full-time students, and employees of qualified service providers with a complimentary pass for unlimited use of St. Louis Metro buses and MetroLink commuter trains as an alternative method of transportation to and from campus. This benefit will keep hundreds of cars off the roads daily, saving gas, reducing carbon emissions, and freeing up more space for parking on campus. During the program's first year, more than 15,000 members of the campus community signed up for the passes.

Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA)

Wellesley has its own cogeneration plant. The plant uses heat from the exhaust of an engine to produce up to 11,100 pounds of steam to be used for heating elsewhere on campus. Wellesley's grounds department recycles all yard waste including brush, leaves, clippings, wood, and stumps. Composted debris mixed with soil amendments provides for all routine loam needs. The woody debris is ground to create mulch for use in the college's landscape. This takes care of the need to haul yard waste off campus or to purchase and haul loam and mulch to campus.

Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA)

Westminster started its Energy Conservation Competition in spring 2008. The competition, which kicks off with "Do It in the Dark" Energy Conservation Week, challenges residence halls to see which one can conserve the most energy over the course of the semester. Meter readings were recorded every Friday and compiled into a chart comparing usage of the dorms. The residence hall that had decreased their electricity consumption the most (compared to the average of the last three years) was awarded the Ozone Award Plaque, as well as $500 in cash to spend on anything the residents desired.

Wheaton College (Norton, MA)

The college installed special software on all Windows computers on campus that automatically put the machines into a low-power state when not in use. Early estimates indicate that this effort will reduce the college's electrical consumption by over 268,000 KWHs annually, reducing greenhouse emissions by 462,000 pounds annually with an energy savings of nearly $30,000.

Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA)

In spring 2008, Whitman College created a $100,000 revolving "green loan fund" to support student, staff, and faculty sustainability initiatives on campus. Students created the Whitman Organic Garden in 1997, which is now thriving. Students, staff, and faculty are invited to pick the produce over the summer (and other times as well). Whitman students raised more than $13,000 over the last two years to go toward renewable energy sources. Last year they directed funds to the Pacific Power Blue Sky wind energy program to help increase the college to 36 percent participation in the program. This participation made Whitman an Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Partner. This year, students are providing matching funds for a $140,000 grant to install solar panels on the roof of the science building and a residence hall.

Willamette University (Salem, OR)

Whenever possible, foodstuffs (including both meat and vegetables) are purchased from local organic farms using just labor practices. Dining halls have eliminated plastic clamshell "to go" containers and plasticware and adopted biodegradable and compostable products made from beet derivatives and corn-based "earthware."

Wilson College (Chambersburg, PA)

In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Wilson College makes its own biofuel, using it in unmodified Dodge trucks, Volkswagen and Mercedes cars, a John Deere tractor, and a Deutz irrigation motor. BP Solar donated photovoltaic modules for a sustainability educational project. In summer 2008, the school went to a four-day work week for about 50 employees.

Wingate University (Wingate, NC)

Wingate University has greatly expanded on its sustainability efforts through the years. In 2011 Wingate celebrated the construction of The Levine College of Health Sciences building, the second LEED certified building in its county. In addition to gaining LEED certification, WU offers students service programs and special events focused on promoting sustainable practices. Students can participate in the Environmental Task Force, a student-run program that encourages green initiatives on campus, or partake in events such as "Don't Dump, Donate", an event that urged students to donate their used goods instead of dumping them out.

Wisconsin Lutheran College (Milwuakee, WI)

The Environmental Studies Program at Wisconsin Lutheran College spearheads the school's green initiatives. In addition to providing students with stellar resources and hands-on learning techniques of practicing sustainability, Dr. Angela Ebeling advises the Environmental Club, and has created a rain garden and educational composting site. Students, faculty, and staff are all welcome to volunteer their time towards the bettering of the garden and composting programs.

Wittenberg University (Springfield, OH)

In 2009 a group of environmentally conscious students and faculty founded The Wittenberg Eco-House. This small residence hall provides lodging to five students who have pledged to live an earth-friendly lifestyle. In addition to this program, the Student Senate created a Green Senator seat to permanently serve beginning in 2012. Wittenberg University also has an advanced recycling program, gives an annual environmental sustainability award, consciously lowers its water usage, and has a $125,000 revolving loan fund to promote sustainability projects on campus.

Wofford College (Spartanburg, SC)

Wofford College was chosen as one of Princeton Review's 286 Green Colleges in 2010. WC created the Office of Community Sustainability in an effort to incorporate eco-friendly practices into all tenets of the campus, including residence halls, special events, transportation options, and dining services. Wofford College also features a LEED-certified building, a two-year lecture series focused on sustainability, and a fellowship program to encourage students' environmental consciousness.

Woodbury University (Burbank, CA)

Woodbury University has a newly renovated building, The Design Center, which has environmentally-conscious features, including a circulating air system and electric heating system. Also, the design programs used by the visual arts students promote the use of recyclable and/or used materials. The fashion students are directed to use fabrics that are treated using sustainable practices. Faculty and staff encourage all students to live and learn with consideration for the environment.

Worchester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute was also chosen as Princeton Review's top 286 colleges in 2010, and has a deep commitment to practicing sustainability. The school currently has four LEED-certified structures, a newly established Green Energy Center, a Recyclemania team, and a partnership with ZipCar. Additionally, 25% of the food budget was spent on local/organic food, and WPI's scholar and fellowship programs foster environmental-living amongst students.

Wright Institute (Berkeley, CA)

The Wright Institute's premier education facility underwent major renovations in 2000, and now boasts "environmentally sound electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning systems."


Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

Xavier university of Louisana has implemented green building practices, including energy-efficient windows, a central utility plant, florescent light bulbs, and energy management systems, all of which reduce energy usage and costs. In addition to these smaller adjustments, Xavier's current capital campaign is the construction of two LEED-certified learning centers.


Yale University (New Haven, CT)

In 2009 Yale University declared its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy, pledging to be 43% below the 2005 levels for greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. Their commitment to sustainability is steadfast, and for that, Princeton Review chose them as one of the Top Green Colleges of 2010. Yale showcases six LEED certified buildings, a 20% waste diversion rate, 40% organic and local food, a formal sustainability committee, and numerous service programs offered to students. By 2013 Yale University aims to reduce paper consumption by over 25%.

Yeshiva Gedolah Rabbinical College (Miami Beach, FL)

The Yeshiva Gedolah Rabbinical College used eco-friendly construction methods when expanding its Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Center. These renovations reduced water consumption by 50%. The school also teaches traditions that oppose waste, and hosts events that feature vegan and vegetarian fare, locally-grown produce, bio-compostable cutlery, and reusable tablecloths.

Yeshiva University (New York, NY)

Yeshiva University has created an Office of Energy and Sustainability to help promote their commitment to eco-friendly living. The office is currently working on executing three dominant policies: Sustainability, Environmental Preferable Procurement, and Energy Conservation. Yeshiva University also hosts programs to students such as Recyclemania, where in 2012 students recycled 141,164 pounds of product over the course of eight weeks.

York College of Pennsylvania (York, PA)

York College of Pennsylvania created the Sustainability and Environmental Studies minor in 2010. The students and faculty involved in this minor often host speakers, workshops, and other events to help promote their belief in conservation and practicing sustainability.

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