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
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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.

806 resources

The U-Challenge at Texas A&M

  • Texas A&M University (TX)
  • Johnson Controls, Inc (WI)
  • Siemens Industry, Inc. (IL)

The U-Challenge is a semester-long research competition for students that has evolved over the past two years to encompass both graduate and undergraduate teams from all majors. Student teams of ...

Food Lab Compost Project

  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania (PA)

This project aims to reduce food waste produced by the West Chester University Food Lab. First, food scraps from the the Food Lab are collected in a sealed bin. Then ...

Renewable Energy for Campus Facilites Services

  • Black Hills State University (SD)

Demonstrating the effectiveness of the use of renewable energy at low costs in campus facilities services vehicles will help Black Hills State University reach its carbon and waste reduction goals ...

UC Merced's 1st Annual Earth Month Celebration

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

Earth Month was an opportunity for UC Merced organizations and departments as well as Merced Community members to come together in an effort to increase student engagement with our campus ...

Dismantling a local School to Prison Pipeline with Education for Sustainable Development

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (TX)

UTRGV’s collaboration with an alternative school and its subsequent integration of education for sustainable development has been transformative for the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized youth.

Armed guards ...

Northwestern University Comprehensive Building Energy Data Audit

  • Northwestern University (IL)

Northwestern University is committed to fostering environmental and ethical stewardship. The University’s Strategic Sustainability Plan establishes a vision for reducing environmental impacts. In terms of the University’s built ...

The ripple effect: Hydo-Aeorponics growing on campus

  • Missouri Southern State University (MO)
  • Chartwells Higher Education (NY)

In August of 2016 Missouri State University brought 2 zip grow towers( a Hydo-Aeorponics vertical grow tower system) to campus in partnership to display a hyper-local growing option for produce ...

Implementation of a Green Labs Program in Campus Laboratories

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL)

UAB Green Labs Program is an institution-wide, voluntary program designed to reduce the university’s carbon output while simultaneously reducing operation costs of research buildings. The program accomplishes its goals ...

First Application of UN-Toolkit to a Collegiate Climate Action Plan

  • San Diego State University (CA)

The United Nations Guiding Principles for Climate Action Planning Toolkit: City-Level Reviews was re-engineered to allow for the applicability and utilization towards university-level climate action plans. Through tailoring the eight ...

Solarizing UC Santa Barbara

  • University of California, Santa Barbara (CA)

In 2017 UCSB increased its onsite renewable energy generating capacity tenfold through a multi-site Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). UCSB now has over 5.3 megawatts (MW) of on-site solar capacity ...

Michigan Tech Sustainability Demonstration House

  • Michigan Technological University (MI)

The goal of Sustainability Demonstration House (SDH) project is to retrofit the former University President’s residence, built in 1953, titled the Kettle-Gundlach Building into a sustainability demonstration house. The ...

The Razorback Food Recovery

  • University of Arkansas (AR)

Food recovery – the practice of preventing surplus foodstuffs from being dumped in the trash – takes numerous forms and provides a variety of social, economic, and environmental benefits. According to the ...

Enable by House by Northwestern - a 2017 U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon Team

  • Northwestern University (IL)

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon showcases innovative solar powered houses that are designed, built, and operated by collegiate teams. It is a collegiate competition of 10 contests ...

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Upgrade Project

  • Northwestern University (IL)

Northwestern University is committed to fostering environmental and ethical stewardship. The University’s Strategic Sustainability Plan establishes a vision for reducing the University’s environmental impacts. In the area of ...

Adding Recycling into Individual Offices

  • South Dakota State University (SD)

2017-2018 has been the year of recycling for South Dakota State University. We looked at recycling levels and determined there was room for improvement. It was determined that availability of ...

Fashion Institute of Technology Energy Master Plan

  • Fashion Institute of Technology (NY)
  • NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability (NY)

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a leading art and design school in New York City, has made impressive strides to reduce its energy and carbon footprints. By implementing an ...

Emory Pollinator Protection Program

  • Emory University (GA)

Concerned about the plight of bees and other pollinators, which are essential for two-thirds of the food crops we eat every day, Emory University developed a comprehensive Pollinator Protection Commitment ...

Composting for a Greener Campus: the Texas State University Bobcat Blend program

  • Texas State University, San Marcos (TX)

Bobcat Blend is a faculty managed, student-run and grant-supported research and teaching-oriented waste management campus composting program at Texas State University. The goals of the organization are to teach students ...

Permaculture and Community at WCSU

  • Western Connecticut State University (CT)

The Jane Goodall Center for Excellence in Environmental Studies is a unique partnership between Western Connecticut State University and The Jane Goodall Institute, a private non-profit organization dedicated to wildlife ...

Progress toward 90% waste diversion goal

  • Olds College (AB)
  • Bow Valley College (AB)

Bow Valley College has come a long way in terms of waste management in the past four years. In 2014, our waste diversion rate was 19%. In 2018, our diversion ...

  • Posted April 25, 2018
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University of Vermont Eco-Reps "Curb Your Consumerism" Campaign

  • University of Vermont (VT)

While the consumption of goods and services is a crucial component of modern economic systems, the culture of consumerism contributes to waste, resource depletion, pollution, and social and economic inequities ...

  • Posted April 23, 2018
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Promoting Sustainability Science on Campus: Renewable Energy Workshops Hosted at Kean University in New Jersey

  • Kean University (NJ)

The project provides workshops for high school/college students and educators to learn the basics, application, and impacts of renewable energy through hands-on activities and software tools. The workshops cover ...

  • Posted April 3, 2018
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The Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program

  • University of Michigan (MI)

The Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program (SCIP) is a multi-year effort designed to measure and track the culture of sustainability at the University of Michigan (U-M). It is intended to inform ...

  • Posted April 3, 2018
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Putting “Reduce” to Work: Getting Rid of Plastic Bags on Michigan State University’s Campus

  • Michigan State University (MI)

In order to mitigate the effects of plastic bags on the environment and to fulfill Michigan State University's commitment to sustainability, we pioneered a two part initiative to reduce ...

  • Posted March 19, 2018
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University of Vermont Eco-Reps Composting Campaign

  • University of Vermont (VT)

At the University of Vermont (UVM), the Recycling and Waste Management program and the UVM Eco-Reps have identified a lack of understanding of composting within on-campus residential halls. Although composting ...

  • Posted March 5, 2018
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University of Vermont Eco-Reps "EcoWare, Everywhere!" Campaign

  • University of Vermont (VT)

The University of Vermont (UVM) implemented reusable EcoWare to-go containers in retail locations 2011. Data collected from the past 4 years has shown that EcoWare uses became concentrated in residential ...

  • Posted March 5, 2018
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Engaging Chemeketa Community College through Collaborative Community Art with an International Focus

  • Chemeketa Community College (OR)

For the 2017 Earth Day event, Chemeketa created a collaborative Earth Day Art Installation based on the story of Sadako Sasaki and the 1,000 paper cranes. Sustainability, the Associated ...

  • Posted March 5, 2018
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Recovery and Reuse; On-Campus and Off

  • Rochester Institute of Technology (NY)

Many of the challenges sustainability seeks to address can be challenging to visualize. Moreover, the scale of these challenges can stifle the motivation to act before one even begins. These ...

  • Posted March 5, 2018
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University of Regina's Print Optimization Program

  • University of Regina (SK)

The Print Optimization Program originally started as the University's attempt to manage the number of print devices that we had on campus. Almost every faculty and staff member had ...

  • Posted Feb. 28, 2018
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Point Loma Nazarene University's Food Recovery Network

  • Point Loma Nazarene University (CA)

Point Loma Nazarene University’s Food Recovery Network was started by a student as a means of reducing food waste on campus as well as supporting the local community. With ...

  • Posted Feb. 28, 2018
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Creating a Healthy, Environmentally Responsible and Socially Just Campus Food System

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

Description In 2016, a year-long study release by the California State University (CSU) found that 24 percent of our system's 460,000 students were food insecure. To address this ...

  • Posted Feb. 28, 2018
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Arizona State University Urban Forestry and Carbon Offsets Pilot

  • Arizona State University (AZ)

In 2017, the University Sustainability Practices (USP) office at Arizona State University (ASU) piloted a new urban forestry program to explore the viability of generating carbon offsets through local tree ...

  • Posted Feb. 15, 2018
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In-Vessel Composting Trials – Ingeo Compostable Products

  • Arizona State University (AZ)

Arizona State University's University Sustainability Practices office partnered with a variety of ASU departments, NatureWorks, LLC, the City of Tempe, and DTEnvironmental to test the compostability of compostable serviceware ...

  • Posted Feb. 15, 2018
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SCORE! A free-cycling event at the University of Alberta – Augustana Campus

  • University of Alberta (AB)

SCORE! is… A pop-up swap. A store where everything is free. A community marketplace of reciprocity. A redistribution of goods. Alternative economics. A party!! SCORE! is all of the above ...

  • Posted Jan. 25, 2018
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Talking Truth: Finding Your Voice Around the Climate Crisis

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)

Talking Truth was initiated in fall 2015 to support and build on understanding of climate disruption. Our experiential events employ storytelling, film screenings, art making, author talks, and reflective writing ...

Implementing a Sustainability Internship Program at Siena Heights University

  • Siena Heights University (MI)

Michigan is experiencing numerous environmental health threats, and the SHU Sustainability Internship Program was created to engage students to address environmental challenges. Using the AASHE Guide to Creating & Managing ...

Kauai Community College Tiny House Hydro Electric Micro Grid Project

  • Kauai Community College (HI)

During the Summer of 2016 a free Tiny House building course was offered free to the community of Kauai. The course ran for five days and focused on building the ...

Swarthmore Carbon Charge Program

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Swarthmore’s Carbon Charge seeks to systematically incorporate the unfelt global impacts of our emissions into our decision-making, both individually and as a college.

The scope of the work necessary ...

University of California, Irvine's Pump2Plug Electric Vehicle Adoption Program

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

The UCI Pump2Plug Electric Vehicle (EV) Adoption Program is widely recognized as the first university incentive programs for EV adoption through the replacement of gas-powered vehicles with electric vehicles. With ...

Building as a Living Laboratory: The Integrated Technology Center

  • Western Technical College (WI)

When you enter an academic building on a college campus, you expect that learning takes place there. Desks and labs, offices and hallways, students and faculty—all are standard. But ...

University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point Designated as the 40th Fair Trade University in the U.S.

  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (WI)

The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, part of a national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage college/university students in issues of global poverty, officially received designation as ...

Modern Sustainability

  • Kauai Community College (HI)


  • Beach Cleanup Caddy (complete - STEM grant award pending - awaiting field testing) - Assembled a cart system specifically designed for beach cleanups, outfitted with a detachable metal waste bin, wheel ...

Natural Herbicides Project

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (GA)
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World (CO)

The Natural Herbicides Project focuses on addressing the issue of the usage of chemical herbicides with detrimental health and environmental impacts on- and off-campus. Our team developed an effective natural ...

Penstemon 2.0

  • Santa Clara University (CA)

From the outset, our goal has been to foster a culture of sustainability at the University by focusing on our curriculum as an interdisciplinary community of scholars. SCU has used ...

Art as the Catalyst for Critical Sustainability Conversations

  • University at Albany (NY)

The University at Albany is proud to submit an application that illustrates our use of art as the catalyst for critical sustainability conversations. This was accomplished via two main projects ...

Students Contribute Record-Breaking $6 Million to Student Green Energy Fund

  • University of South Florida (Tampa) (FL)

The purpose of the Student Green Energy Fund is to provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to present formal proposals to a governing Fund Council with the goal ...

Report of the Smith College Study Group on Climate Change

  • Smith College (MA)

In this report, the Study Group on Climate Change (SGCC) presents its recommendations for climate action by Smith College. By implementing these recommendations, the college will coherently integrate climate action ...

McGill University’s Fairtrade Campus Commitment: Roddick Roast Coffee

  • McGill University (QC)
  • Fairtrade Canada (ON)
  • The Canadian Fair Trade Network (BC)

In June 2013, McGill University was given the designation of Fair Trade Campus by the Canadian Fair Trade Network (CFTN). This means that 100% of coffee sold on campus is ...

Branding our Waste: Creating College-Specific Recycling Signage through Collaboration

  • Red River College Polytechnic (MB)

In an ongoing effort to improve the effectiveness of our waste and recycling programs, Red River College set about redesigning our hallway waste and recycling signage (Pitch In signs) in ...

Sustainability Weekend Conference, Carnegie Mellon University

  • Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

‘Sustainability Weekend’ is a student-initiative held on Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Pittsburgh, PA, with the goal to promote inter-disciplinary conversations to raise awareness about the many sustainability issues surrounding ...