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

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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.

794 resources

Sustainability Assessment Report for Philadelphia University by using AASHE STARS Credit System

  • Philadelphia University (PA)

This project is a thesis research on sustainability at Philadelphia University. The University is known regionally for its sustainability initiatives and education. The university has won several awards and recognitions ...

Transforming Campus Food Service with Anytime Dining

  • University of Maryland, College Park (MD)

The Department of Dining Services at University of Maryland (UMD) set a goal to change the student culture and experience on campus through the Anytime Dining residential dining program. The ...

The New Eco-Rep Model: Unifying Campus Audiences in Co-Curricular Sustainability Programming

  • Dickinson College (PA)

Dickinson College has innovatively reformed its Eco-Rep model into a combined student and employee peer-to-peer sustainability education program that creates co-curricular learning experiences aimed at unifying campus stakeholders while increasing ...

Solar Garden Partnership: A Renewable Energy Innovation

  • Grand Valley State University (MI)
  • Consumers Energy

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) began a renewable energy project in partnership with its local utility, Consumers Energy, after the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a Solar Garden program. This ...

Stanford University's R&DE Creatively Responds to the California Drought

  • Stanford University (CA)

Sustainability is a core value to Stanford University's Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE). R&DE is responsible for about 1/3 of Stanford's campus, housing over 13,000 residents ...

McGill University's Sustainability Projects Fund

  • McGill University (QC)

The Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) is a crown jewel of McGill University’s sustainability efforts and a best-practice model for universities. The SPF’s main goal is to build a ...

McGill Students Lobby to Create Climate Officer Position

  • McGill University (QC)

In Spring 2016, Management PhD student Amir Nosrat, and other colleagues at the Post-Graduate Students' Society of McGill University, came up with the idea to create a Climate Officer position ...

Cowbell Cleanup

  • Mississippi State University (MS)

Cowbell Cleanup is an initiative that was started by the Office of Sustainability on Mississippi State University's campus. The University faces a large influx of guests during home football ...

The Campus Sustainability Plan: A Community Building Momentum

  • University of Saskatchewan (SK)

Progress on campus wide sustainability is not easy. It takes both planning and implementation to realize results. The University of Saskatchewan is realizing results from its Campus Sustainability Plan, developed ...

Community Engaged Scholarship and Learning in Urban Forestry helps UTRGV earn Tree Campus USA Designation

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (TX)

In 2014, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (through its legacy institution UTPA), one of the largest Hispanic Serving Institutions in the country, proposed and offered three iterations of ...

Portland State University - All Gender Restroom Policy

  • Portland State University (OR)

In late 2015 Portland State University (PSU) administration officially adopted an all gender restroom policy (also sometimes referred to as gender-neutral, unisex, or universal) for the PSU campus. The all ...

Stanford achieves dramatic greenhouse gas emissions reductions to surpass state, national, and international climate targets

  • Stanford University (CA)

Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) is a new campus energy system powered by renewables, designed to meet the current and future energy needs of Stanford University in an environmentally, socially ...

Johnson County Community College Student Sustainability Committee

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

As a broadly effective, innovative, engaging, and replicable project, Johnson County Community College’s Student Sustainability Committee [the SSC, the Committee] is a compelling and powerful tool for developing student ...

KMRB Energy Reduction Project

  • University of Rochester (NY)

The University of Rochester’s Medical Center operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week in a 5.4 million square foot complex. Facilities Operations is responsible for providing conditioned ...

NC State University Achieves 95 Percent Diversion With Building Deconstruction

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

Harrelson Hall, the first round classroom building constructed on a university campus, was deconstructed in 2016 and NC State University exceeded its waste diversion goal, diverting 95 percent of non-hazardous ...

American University in Cairo 2017 Carbon Footprint Report

  • American University in Cairo (Cairo)

The first step of reducing a university’s carbon footprint is measuring its current size. The 2017 Carbon Footprint Report is the 4th in the American University in Cairo’s ...

Project Green Step 2030: Catawba College Campus Solar Energy Installation

  • Catawba College (NC)

Catawba College completed a solar energy project in 2016 that is projected to produce more solar electricity than all the other North Carolina colleges and universities combined. This was the ...

Watershed UGA: A living laboratory transforming campus and community through teaching, research and service

  • University of Georgia (GA)

Watershed UGA created a vision and framework for using the campus as a living laboratory to advance sustainability through teaching, research, public service and outreach, and university operations. We are ...

The Ohio State University Sustainability Goals Development Project

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

In November 2015, The Ohio State University announced the establishment of sustainability goals to guide the university as it develops durable solutions to the challenges of sustainability and in evolving ...

Fix It Friday

  • Illinois State University (IL)

Fix It Friday is a program in which fashion students set up sewing machines in various places within the Illinois State University campus and the surrounding Bloomington-Normal community and offer ...

UTA CARES: Open Education and Open Pedagogy for Sustainable Future and Resource Conservation

  • University of Texas at Arlington (TX)

Reducing the cost of a college education is a frequent topic in higher education circles. Some colleges and universities such as UT Arlington have been trying to find other ways ...

GreenApps Eco-Reps Sustainability Leadership and Engagement Course

  • Appalachian State University (NC)

The GreenApps: Eco-Reps Program was developed in order to recruit on-campus students to join the Office of Sustainability team to assist with education and promotion of campus sustainability through a ...

Zero Waste Guide and the Good Food Festival Case Study

  • University of Illinois Chicago (IL)

Throughout the semester, Joe Iosbaker, UIC's Recycling Coordinator and Office of Sustainability (OS) staff member, and Ula Renetskis, Office of Sustainability Intern and author, have been working with Bright ...

Oregon State U Fully Transitions to Reusable Food To Go Containers

  • Oregon State University (OR)

The "Eco2Go" food container program at Oregon State University (OSU) Housing & Dining Services (UHDS) has eliminated all but a few specialized uses of disposable take-out containers within dining services ...

Linking Sustainability with Study Abroad

  • Delta College (MI)

This project describes the planning, development, and implementation of integrating sustainability into study abroad in existing travel and through establishing new destinations. It also constructs a model that includes a ...

PowerZee – Sustainable Change through User Engagement

  • Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
  • ENGIE (CA)

PowerZee (formerly PowerZ) is a smartphone application (‘app’) developed by NTU, along with industry partner ENGIE, for energy conservation and sustainability through user engagement. The application fosters knowledge and nudges ...

NC State University Creates Make-a-thon To Inspire Sustainability Ideas

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

Imagine. It's a Saturday night and dozens of students are packed in your school's library. They're crowded around 3D printers, circuit boards and laptops translating 3D AutoCAD ...

Temple Tiny House

  • Temple University (PA)

The Temple University Tiny House project is a student designed and student constructed sustainable building located at Temple Community Garden on main campus. Completed in spring 2017, the 175 square ...

LEED® Platinum - University of Miami Frost School of Music Studios

  • University of Miami (FL)

The Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music is one of the largest and best music schools located in a private university in the U.S., and one of the ...

Simon Fraser University’s Zero Waste Initiative

  • Simon Fraser University (BC)

SFU was one of the first universities to implement a standardized, 4-stream Zero Waste system (including composting) uniformly across all three of its campuses, each of which lies in a ...

Case Study: Oregon State University Becomes the First University to Accept Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) at University Run Grocery Store

  • Oregon State University (OR)

In January 2016, OSU began accepting SNAP at a campus grocery store, allowing individuals with SNAP to access these funds while on campus. OSU is the first to have a ...

The Urban Agriculture Community-based Research Experience (U-ACRE) Project

  • California State University, Fullerton (CA)
  • Fullerton College (CA)
  • Santa Ana College (CA)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (CA)

In Orange County, 36% of low-income households experience hunger at least once a day and well over 1/3 are children. Engaging students in experiential learning that addresses sustainability in ...

Sustainability Marketing, Messaging and Design for Good at Chemeketa Community College

  • Chemeketa Community College (OR)

Chemeketa Sustainability served as a client to the college's Visual Communications program to create cohesive marketing for use in future sustainability campaigns and promotions.

San Jose State University Chiller Plant Improvements

  • San Jose State University (CA)

The Chilled Water Plant underwent a major retrofit which was completed in 2012, which included the replacement of two electric chillers and the re-piping of the plant to allow the ...

SJSU Student Health and Wellness Center

  • San Jose State University (CA)

The Student Health and Counseling facility was constructed to enhance access for students living on campus while balancing convenient care for the growing residential population through both location and features ...

  • Posted April 26, 2017
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Boiler Feed Recycled Water Conversion Project

  • San Jose State University (CA)

The Central Plant facilities at San Jose State University (SJSU) campus currently uses approximately 23,000 CCF annually of potable water at the boiler make-up water feed system. In order ...

  • Posted April 26, 2017
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INhouse : a design|build project focused on collaboration, student engagement, and situational design

  • California Polytechnic State University (CA)

INhouse was a net-zero residence designed by a collaborative Cal Poly San Luis Obispo team in response to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015.

The Solar Decathlon ...

  • Posted April 24, 2017
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Seattle University On-Site Composting Facility

  • Seattle University (WA)

In 2002 Seattle University (SU) built a state-of-the-art, on-campus composting facility. The composting facility is a unique, sustainable, closed-loop system that processes pre-consumer food and yard waste that is produced ...

  • Posted April 20, 2017
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Carbon Tax

  • Whitman College (WA)

The Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC) Sustainability Committee passed a self-imposed carbon tax on February 7, 2016. The tax is designed to raise money for the Green Fund, a ...

  • Posted March 13, 2017
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SAVE Sustainable Actions Visible Effects

  • Pomona College (CA)

Project Overview Pomona-College is excited to present their innovative partnership with MelRok, “The Streaming Energy Innovator”. This partnership is the foundation of Pomona’s SAVE, Sustainable Actions Visible Effects initiative ...

  • Posted March 9, 2017
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Icebox Detox Challenge

  • Arizona State University (AZ)

The Icebox Detox Challenge addresses environmental stewardship activities by promoting an environment where laboratories have an accurate inventory of all biological samples at ASU. This innovative approach allows researchers to ...

  • Posted July 27, 2016
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UT Farm Stand

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

UT Farm Stand is a student-led project that provides local and organic fresh foods to the University of Texas at Austin students, faculty, and staff. Our mission is focused on ...

  • Posted June 16, 2016
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Ohio State University Sustainability Goals Project and Campus As A Living Laboratory Digital Archive

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

Undergraduates in the Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability (EEDS) major at The Ohio State University (OSU) complete a capstone course where student research teams analyze specific action priorities of the ...

  • Posted June 16, 2016
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Atlanta People's Climate March and Climate Summits

  • Georgia State University (GA)

Sustainable Energy Tribe (SET), the largest student environmental group on Georgia State University's campus, worked to make climate change and environmental justice major themes for the year. These efforts ...

  • Posted June 16, 2016
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Net Impact Energy Efficiency Project

  • Saint Joseph's University (PA)
  • Net Impact (CA)
  • The Saint Joseph's University Net Impact Undergraduate chapter has been collaborating with R World Energy Solutions—a sustainable energy consultant to business—over the past year in order to ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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UCSC Climate & Energy Strategy- A Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality by 2025

  • University of California, Santa Cruz (CA)

Over the past 18 months, UCSC has been implementing a process to develop a comprehensive Climate and Energy Strategy (CES) to support its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2025 ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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Sustainabiliy Impact Fund

  • Northwestern University (IL)

This project is a student-led initiative to allow Northwestern alumni to donate to supporting sustainability initiatives on our campus. Titled the Sustainability Impact Fund, this initiative includes directed fundraising efforts ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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ReCycle Bikes

  • Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TX)

ReCycle Bikes is a bike rental program designed to allow students, who demonstrate a need, access to free, eco-friendly transportation in exchange for sustainability project-related volunteer hours and peer-to-peer education ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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Rescued Food Feast

  • Arizona State University (AZ)
  • Aramark (PA)

The Rescued Food Feast was an event held at Arizona State University and was a collaboration between the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Aramark Higher Education, Sprouts Farmers ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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The Big Ten Prospectus: Aligning Sustainability with Collective Mission Level Priorities

  • Purdue University (IN)
  • Pennsylvania State University (PA)
  • University of Maryland, College Park (MD)
  • University of Iowa (IA)
  • University of Michigan (MI)
  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Central Office (NJ)
  • University of Illinois Chicago (IL)
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)
  • Indiana University Bloomington (IN)
  • Northwestern University (IL)
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln (NE)
  • Michigan State University (MI)
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (IL)
  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)
  • The Ohio State University (OH)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

With higher education facing ongoing budget cuts, top to bottom reviews of programs and policies, and critical questions regarding the value of a college education, we—as sustainability professionals—must ...

  • Posted June 11, 2016
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