Sustainability in Higher Education

Sustainability in Higher Education focuses on the actions college's and universities around the United States are taking to become more sustainable. Going "green" is one way to descirbe the efforts of promoting sustainability in higher education. Many colleges and Universities are taking the first steps in an attempt to reduce their Ecological footprint and become more sustainable campuses. "Going "green" means more than turning down thermostats in unused classrooms and recycling old plastic bottles. As a small but growing cadre of colleges are discovering, it often requires a fundamental rethinking of how campuses are laid out and how new buildings are designed (and existing ones refurbished). Going "green" also requires fresh approaches to issues like parking, transportation, and even how students get and dispose of their dining-hall food." Higher education is one of the most significant, but largely overlooked, leverage points for creating a just and sustainable society.
Higher Education is one of the most significan, but largely overlooked, leverage points for creating a just and sustainable society. Institutions of higher education contribute to the health and well being of society through the creation and dissemination of knowledge and values. They prepare the professionals who develop, manage, teach in and influence society’s public, private and non-governmental institutions. Higher education is in the unique position of having both the freedom to engage in bold experimentation and the visionary thinkers who can develop a new intellectual and conceptual framework to help redirect society toward a just and sustainable path. —The Call for a Higher Education Network for Sustainability and the Environment (HENSE)

Campuses Practicing Sustainability
Berea College
Berea College is taking a three-pronged approach to becoming a sustainable campus with changes to its physical plant, operations, and curriculum. All three tracks are integrated to maximize experiential learning opportunities during planning and implementation, and afterwards as students, staff and faculty live and work in a sustainable community.
Sustainable Lifestyle Practices
*Campus wide recycling program
*Dining Services:*About 200 pounds of food per day is collected and given to college farm for use as composting material *6 tons of aluminum cans and 10 tons of cardboard are recyled each year
Sustainable Building Design
*2006 AASHE Campus Sustainability Leadership Award winner
*Lincoln Hall 1st certified LEEDS building in Kentucky
*Ecovillage:*Stack ventilation *Natural lighting by way of solar light tubes *Water efficiency by way of front loading washers in every appartment *Energy efficient by way of compact flourecent lights and ceiling fans *Gardens throughout community
*Child Development Laboratory:*Built using recyclable materials *Controlled air circulation *Exterior built using "green" building materials *Roof consists of structural insulated panels *Natural lighting by way of large windows *Educational curriculum incoorporates gardening, recycling, and composting
*Sustainability and Environmental Studies House:*combines the use of modern day solar power technology with simplistic living *solar generated heating *solar water heating *1500 watt photovoltaic array *Rain water is collected to suppliment water use for gardening *Utilize a greywater treatment system *Sun-Mar composting toilet
*Various campus renovations to decrease energy use(under Catagory Eco-renovations)

Cornell College
Cornell is not an environmentally-focused school, but neither is sustainability a purely
“environmental” concept. In fact, the basic framework for making a commitment to
sustainability is already present at Cornell College. While it is not stated explicitly at present,
sustainability is an easy continuation of the college mission statement, as well as the 5 points of
pride and strategic goals. Cornell has many other assets, too, which will be able to enhance and
facilitate the initiation of a sustainability program. These include small size; present interests of
faculty, staff, and students; timing; and a history of making rapid and significant wholesale
changes to the institution.[]
Sustainable Lifestyle Practices
*dorm showers and faucets have low water flow
*campuswide year around recycling program that is run through work-study
*some college departments use 30% post consumer content paper
*campus wide transition from incandescent light bulbs to florecent ones to conserve energy
*provide vegetarian food option in food service
Sustainable Building Design
*planning on implementing green building techniques

UMass Boston
Education for Sustainability at UMass Boston is driven by the vision of sustainable economic and social development expressed in the 1987 United Nations' Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future -- development that "meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." In this spirit, we envision three interrelated strands of sustainability: 1. a sustainable economy ensuring that members of future generations have equivalent -- or enhanced -- capacity for living, being healthy, making a livelihood, gaining environmental services, and harnessing natural resources. 2. just and equitable governance -- decision-making procedures and institutions that do not permit one group's access to resources to be ensured at the expense of others.(Equity is linked with sustainability because, if we are concerned not to degrade the conditions for people in future generations, it makes sense to be concerned with improving the conditions of other people with degraded conditions in the present. Movement towards a sustainable, equitable society impels us to resist any growth of the gap among the capacities of different groups.) 3. an engaged populace, one in which people's commitment to sustainability and equity motivates them to understand linked social and environmental processes, to transform practices that makes those processes unsustainable and inequitable, and to cross boundaries and collaborate with others in the pursuit of understanding and transformation.
Alternative Transportation
*campus uses hybrid, and low sulfur diesel fuels for buses/shuttles
*utilize carpooling, vanpooling, and bikes are encouraged
Sustainable Lifestyle Practices
*"award winning" water and energy efficient retrofits
*purchase biodegradeable bags for compost
*anything that can be recycled is i.e. plastic bottles, cardboard, cans, paper, food for composting, furniture, bulk goods, etc.
*campus has diverted over 3 million lbs of recyclable items from ending up in landfills or incenorators
*Have styro-foam free outlets like cafes
*Won Sustainable University award in 2004
Sustainable Building Design
*building created utilizing "green" building techniques
*purchase environmentally preferrable paints, carpets, lighting and other furnishings

Unity College
Unity’s Sustainability Committee was formed in 2001 to oversee and coordinate the College’s various efforts at improving sustainability, to identify areas where improvement is needed, and to make recommendations. The committee is a group of students, faculty, and staff who meet throughout each semester and work with various members of the Unity community to improve the physical sustainability of the campus.
Sustainable Lifestyle Practices
*Promotes undergraduate program that focuses on environmental and natural resources
*Student developed food plan:*college supports buying locally grown food for the cafeteria
*Purchases all of its electrical power from renewable resources
Sustainable Building Design
*Current home of the "Jimmy Carter" Presidential Solar Panels
*Student built wind turbine:*.200-1.0 killowatts per hour at wind conditions of 12-100 mph
*Constructing two new LEED certifiable buildings
Alternative Energy Production/Monitoring
*Conducts annual campus CO2 audit

Furman University
Furman adopted a new strategic plan in 1997, in which sustainability was a major emphasis. In February 2001 the Board of Trustees unanimously agreed “to strengthen our commitment to the environment by promoting sustainability through educational programs, campus operations/construction practices and public awareness initiatives.” As they freshened and expanded the strategic plan in 2004, sustainability remained an essential commitment, as one of four overarching strategic goals. And the university has garnered national recognition for the scope and creativity of its sustainability initiatives, which involve scientific research, public policy analysis, university practices and community awareness.
Alternative Transportation
*Trail network provides campus and community with alternate commuting possibilities
Sustainable Lifestyle Practices
*Utilizes environmentally-friendly landscaping practices
*Introducing more native and pest-resistant plants to landscape
*Water from university's lake irrigates about 45% of campus
Sustainable Building Design
*Herman N. Hipp Hall:*Wrapped in heat-reflective tinfoil *Solar green glazing *Carbon-dioxide sensors that can detect the presence of humans *1st LEED building in South Carolina[]
*Commitment to continue to use LEED design in farther renovations and construction
*Eco-Cottage:*low flow shower heads *energy efficient appliances *water monitoring systems *solar paneling *Used 70% less energy than their control group neighbors
Alternative Energy Production/Monitoring
*Student environmental club:*Creating ways to make kitchen grease into diesel fuel *Goal is to produce 50% of Universities physical plant fuel *Able to produce this product for sixty cents a gallon

Warren Wilson College
Warren Wilson demonstrates its strong commitment to environmental responsibility through these commitments: 1. strive within the limits of practical considerations to conserve energy and resources, reduce waste, purchase environmentally friendly products, and minimize our adverse impact on the surrounding environment. 2. recognize and promote efforts to increase a deep, aesthetic, spiritually based awareness of our connection to the environment among the member of this and the larger community. 3. promote sound institutional practices, which balance environmental concerns with the long-term well being of the college.
Alternative Transportation
*Use of B80 and B50 Bio-diesel
*3500 kWh solar array to power golf cart fleet
*Ethanol duel-fuel vans
*Low-emitting propane lawn mowers
*Community bike shop
Sustainable Lifestyle Practices
*Sustainable cuisine
*Use of Farm's anitbiotic-free, grass-fed pork and beef
*Gardeners are commited to organic practices
*Recycling, composting, and solid waste programs in place
*Free Store
*Wellness Program's sustainable lifestyle teachings
Sustainable Building Design
*Orr Cottage (LEED-Gold certified)
*EcoDorm Residence Hall with sustainable features and life-style commitments
*New Dorms (designed for LEED-silver certification)
*Reclaimed materials buildings (Recycling Center, Blacksmith Shop, Natural Resources Crew, Meditation Hut)
Alternate Energy Production/Monitoring
*Monitor Energy use in all buildings
*Solar photovoltaic panels
*Geothermal wells
*Passive solar hot water heaters
*Passive solar design
*Solar walkway lights and street lights

External Sites/Resources



4. (See GeneralRecyclingFacts.pdf)

5. (See LincolnFacts.pdf)

6. (See Apartment Poster)

7. (See Child Development Lab Poster)

8. (See SENS House Poster)

9. (See Eco-renovations)
















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