Case Studies


AASHE’s case study library contains hundreds of detailed case studies on a wide variety of higher education sustainability initiatives from faculty development programs to whole campus energy retrofits to community partnerships. All case studies are entered in the annual AASHE Awards Program.

At a Glance

Total Resources
U.S. States & Territories
Canadian Provinces

Bars in graphs can be clicked to view resources that align with a particular category. Because a resource may be listed under multiple topics and disciplines, graph data may include higher total counts than what is indicated in total resources above.

881 resources

Composting at EMU Dining's Facilities

  • Chartwells Higher Education (NY)

Currently, three of EMU’s dining facilities are a part of a program that diverts pre and post consumer food waste from landfill. Our teams have a contract with a ...

  • Posted April 23, 2024
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University of Rochester’s Analysis of WexWindows

  • University of Rochester (NY)

A pilot study was conducted at the Medical Center G7011 area to evaluate the effectiveness of WexWindows as a potential retrofit solution for University of Rochester’s aging and underperforming ...

  • Posted Jan. 10, 2024
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BEACON® SaaS Makes Water Visible at UC Merced

  • University of California, Merced (CA)
  • Badger Meter (WI)

A group of staff and students form the University of California, Merced (UC Merced) in Central Valley California joined forces to dramatically cut water, energy and gas usage per student ...

  • Posted Jan. 10, 2024
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It’s Really Free! Patriot Packout Expands to Support George Mason University Community Members’ Basic Needs

  • George Mason University (VA)

This case study focuses on George Mason University’s sustainable move-out initiative, Patriot Packout (PPO) 2023. Existing in some form (unofficial and official) since 2003, the PPO initiative was expanded ...

Aligning with Place: A case study in xeriscaping at Gonzaga University's Office of Sustainability.

  • Gonzaga University (WA)

This project's goal was to xeriscape the front lawn of the Office of Sustainability, transforming it from a grass lawn into a lawn with mulch and drought-tolerant plants. The ...

  • Posted July 17, 2023
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Student Led Composting in Residence Halls

  • Drake University (IA)

In 2021, a student recognized the opportunity to reduce waste landfilled from residence halls. Working with Facilities, Residence Life, and Community Engaged Learning, a grant was applied for and received ...

Ohio State's Composting Expansion

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

Ohio State’s Compost Program Expansion led by Facilities, Operations, and Development (FOD), in collaboration with Student Life, Athletics, Wexner Medical Center, the Sustainability Institute, and many student groups, enabled ...

Kaié:ri Nikawerà:ke Indigenous Bridging Program

  • Concordia University (QC)

We are proud to offer the Kaié:ri Nikawerà:ke Indigenous Bridging Program as a pathway for eligible First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who don’t meet Concordia’s ...

FRESH to Table: A Homegrown Dining Initiative

  • Boston College (MA)

Boston College (BC) seeks to foster the ethical and personal formation of its students to prepare them for citizenship, service, and leadership in a global society. In addition, as a ...

Resilience Cohort, Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute

  • Indiana University Bloomington (IN)

The Resilience Cohort (RC) is a program of the Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) at Indiana University (IU) that helps Indiana city, town, and county governments to measure and reduce local ...

Boston University Center for Computing & Data Sciences

  • Boston University (MA)

Boston University’s Center for Computing & Data Sciences is the University’s largest [academic building] addition to the Charles River Campus in 50 years and its most sustainable building ...

OwlSwap– A Social Equity and Environmental Sustainability Textiles and Apparel Initiative at Kennesaw State University

  • Kennesaw State University (GA)

Clothing production is one of the most polluting, resource-intensive industrial processes on the planet. On average, over 80 lbs of textile waste per person ends up in landfills every year ...

The Community Action Center Project: Where Food Shelves Meet Carbon Offsets

  • Carleton College (MN)

In the city of Northfield, MN, uneaten food typically ends up as waste in the landfill. As this food decomposes, it releases methane—a greenhouse gas far more potent than ...

"Food Waste Prevention Week"

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The University of California, Merced's (UC Merced) Sustainable Food Programs is focused on and committed to surplus food recovery, food waste awareness and prevention, food security and more. UC ...

Sustainability into Action: Undergraduate Certificate Catalyzes Sustainability Progress

  • University of Saskatchewan (SK)

A generation of students faced with a sustainability crisis have the appetite to learn how to "do sustainability" and put their learning into action. We developed an innovative interdisciplinary program ...

Sustainable Lab Community Engagement Campaign

  • McGill University (QC)

McGill University is working toward two ambitious sustainability targets: to become zero-waste by 2035 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. As one of the top research universities in Canada ...

Duke University Climate Commitment

  • Duke University (NC)

As Duke University enters its second century, President Vincent Price has directed the University to marshal its collective resources and capabilities to address the climate crisis. Stemming from President Price ...

Food Waste to Energy: From Pilot Scale Biogas to Grid Tied CHP on a Campus Farm

  • Dickinson College (PA)

The Dickinson College Farm is culminating a multi-year project to convert campus food waste to sustainable energy through a grid-connected biogas system. Biogas is a carbon neutral, renewable alternative to ...

USC’s Single-use Plastics Elimination – Beverage Bottles Policy

  • University of Southern California (CA)

The University of Southern California (USC) established the Single-use Plastics Elimination – Beverage Bottles Policy in July 2022, prohibiting the purchase or use of single-use plastic beverage products across the university ...

Earth Fest

  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls (WI)

Earth Fest, a free and inclusive community celebration of the past, present, and future sustainability efforts in River Falls and the surrounding area. This family friendly event was held for ...

Brandeis University’s Year of Climate Action

  • Brandeis University (MA)

In 2019, a task force set out to write a new climate action plan for the university. Among its recommendations was to dedicate an entire year to catalyzing and deepening ...

Addressing Climate Anxiety through Resilience and Community Building

  • Portland Community College (OR)

Sustainability and climate work require resilience to fend off burnout and avoidance. While our college does good work promoting sustainability through our Climate Action Plan and curricular and co-curricular environmental ...

University of Cincinnati Utilities Water Reclamation Project

  • University of Cincinnati (OH)

This is a water reclamation project from the on campus utility plant. Wastewater collection piping was installed running through the power plant, a catch basin for the collected water including ...

"Improv to Improve the Earth"

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The University of California, Merced (UC Merced) in partnership with Quarantine Improv (QI) hosted its second annual Earth Day event, "Improv to Improve the Earth". The goal was to bring ...

Bottle Filling Stations at UCI 2023

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

UCI Facilities Management in collaboration with the Campus as a Living Lab class brought together interns to embark on the revitalization of the bottle filling stations program. The pandemic halted ...

Equity and Justice Working Group- Tufts Eco Reps

  • Tufts University (MA)

I implemented an Equity and Justice Working Group (EJWG) within the Tufts Eco Rep program Fall 2022 with the goal to integrate DEIJ principles into the core of the Eco ...

Yale Undergrad Confronts the Emanating Climate Threat of Refrigerant Leaks through the Yale Refrigerants Initiative (YRI)

  • Yale University (CT)

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many (if not all) universities’ sustainability offices had to reimagine what engaging with their communities looked like and how they’d meet campus ...

Waste Management Education and Procedural Improvements at a Residential Dining Facility

  • Wake Forest University (NC)
  • Harvest Table Culinary Group (PA)

Sustainability features are only as effective as their operators. While the second largest dining facility at Wake Forest hosts several sustainability features, the compost program was lacking in strength due ...

WSU Office of Campus Sustainability

  • Wayne State University (MI)

The Office of Campus Sustainability holds around 25 engagement events throughout the year and reaches around 350 students and countless community members. Each of the student leaders within the Office ...

Cities Need Trees

  • Boston University (MA)

Over the past year, I have dedicated myself to promoting sustainability in Boston, Massachusetts by advocating for an increased urban forest to combat climate change and rising summer temperatures. The ...

Marquette Career Closet

  • Marquette University (WI)

Marquette Career Closet is a student-founded, university-adopted, service that provides access to professional clothes to students on campus to encourage them to pursue their career aspirations. This is done by ...

Student-Led Organic Pilot Project at Emory University

  • Emory University (GA)
  • Re:wild Your Campus (TX)

Emory University, in partnership with Re:wild Your Campus, launched an organic pilot program to transition the campus away from synthetic weed-killers and towards organic land management. The Emory student ...

Eco Film and Media Arts Festival

  • University of Southern California (CA)

The inaugural Eco Film and Media Arts Festival was designed to bring together student filmmakers and artists engaged in climate storytelling and activism. The festival featured 11 student films that ...

Ameresco leads partnership in establishing Colorado’s largest of its kind battery energy storage system complex at Colorado Mountain College

  • Colorado Mountain College (CO)
  • Ameresco, Inc. (MA)

As the largest installation of its kind in Colorado, completed in September 2022, the combined solar and battery work furthers HCE’s goal of increasing the clean energy sources it ...

Addressing the Social Pillar of Sustainability by Enhancing Racial Equity of Minorities in STEM Higher Education through the CREaTE Pathway

  • El Paso Community College (TX)
  • University of Texas at El Paso (TX)

The Center for Research in Engineering and Technology Education (CREaTE) is a national center for research in engineering, science, and technology education at The University of Texas at El Paso ...

Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST+) Lives Here for Urban Health

  • University of Cincinnati (OH)

The University of Cincinnati’s Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research committed $12 million to grow inclusive excellence by leveraging diverse perspectives to advance ...

USC Trojan Shop Local Initiative

  • University of Southern California (CA)

Certainly, since the murder of George Floyd in 2020, and the pandemic years through recent months, the focus upon opportunities to close racial economic wealth gaps has heightened throughout Los ...

Supplier Diversification program: Increasing procurement spending with diverse businesses

  • Seattle University (WA)

Seattle University wants to lead a paradigm shift in how local, large institutions do business. The university specifically intends to address the gap between businesses in the local Black community ...

Unanue Scholars Program: Improving College Access for Local Latina Students

  • Catawba College (NC)

The Unanue Scholars Program serves junior Latina students from public high schools in Rowan County, North Carolina. Recipients of the scholarship are provided with a cost-free course at Catawba College ...

USC Urban Trees Initiative

  • University of Southern California (CA)

The USC Urban Trees Initiative (USC Trees) brings together faculty, staff, and student researchers at the University of Southern California to help the City of Los Angeles and local nonprofits ...

Choose to Reuse

  • Boston University (MA)
  • ARAMARK at Boston University

Boston University’s Choose to Reuse program, offered at seven retail dining concepts in the George Sherman Union, provides students staff, and faculty the choice between ordering their meal on ...

Air Travel Offset Program

  • University of Pennsylvania (PA)

In July 2021, the University of Pennsylvania enacted a University-wide travel sustainability policy that created the Climate Impact Offset (CLIO) charge to pay for projects that offset the carbon impacts ...

Energy and carbon reduction - A total holistic approach by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

  • Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has been actively implementing various energy reduction efforts to promote sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint. The university recognizes the importance of energy conservation and has ...

The Working Farms Fund: Partnership to Build a Sustainable Local Food System and Support a Diverse New Generation of Farmers

  • Emory University (GA)
  • The Conservation Fund (GA)

Emory University has partnering with the national non-profit The Conservation Fund (TCF) to support a diverse new generation of farmers in rural Georgia and help build the local food supply ...

Tiffany Jurge plans Soup and Substance collaboration with SCITC

  • Central Michigan University (MI)
  • Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College (MI)

Central Michigan University (CMU) presents Soup and Substance events through the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (OIDEI) for students, faculty, staff and community members. Soup and Substance events ...

Soup and Substance: Anishinaabek Food Sovereignty

  • Central Michigan University (MI)
  • Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College (MI)

Central Michigan University (CMU) presents Soup and Substance events through the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (OIDEI) for students, faculty, staff and community members. Soup and Substance events ...

Meghan VanDamme leads composting initiative at CMU

  • Central Michigan University (MI)

Meghan VanDamme and Central Sustainability collaborated with Facilities Management and CMU Residence Life to erect a compost drop-off at Northwest Apartments. The drop-off promotes sustainability by offering an opportunity for ...

Ava Brewer uses student-athletes as sustainability advocates for CMU

  • Central Michigan University (MI)

Central Sustainability coordinator Ava Brewer created a video promoting sustainability at CMU using student-athletes as sustainability advocates. The video will play at football, men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling ...

Central Sustainability, CMU Professor Hope May and Cora di Brazza Foundation lead Peace Flag Raising at CMU

  • Central Michigan University (MI)

On April 21, 2023, Central Sustainability, Central Michigan University Professor Hope May and the Cora di Brazza Foundation collaborated to present CMU’s annual Peace Flag Raising ceremony. This year ...

Diverting Food Waste and Educating the Campus Community with Solar Powered Compost Kiosks at Illinois State University

  • Illinois State University (IL)

The Illinois State University Compost Kiosks provide a model for other institutions in diverting food waste and reducing single-use plastic while educating and engaging the campus community in the act ...