Case Studies

Introduction

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

788
Total Resources
443
Organizations
18
Countries
48
U.S. States & Territories
7
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.

788 resources

SCECon 21: Our World, Our Time, Our Voices

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

SCECon 2021: Our World, Our Time, Our Voices aims to recenter the environmental narrative around environmental justice by giving intentional space for students to learn about unique and intersectional environmental ...


SDG Undergraduate Research Group

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Launched Fall 2020, SURG (SDG Undergraduate Research Group) is an undergraduate research group affiliated with the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability and guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We ...


Inclusive Sustainability: Collaborative Approaches through UC Santa Cruz’s People of Color Sustainability Collective

  • University of California, Santa Cruz (CA)

The People of Color Sustainability Collective (PoCSC) works to make the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) a leader in sustainability and environmental justice, in recognition of our changing demographics ...


Redefining Environmental Aesthetics at Emory University

  • Emory University (GA)
  • Herbicide Free Campus (CA)

Emory defines sustainability as relating to the quality of life, emphasizing the necessity of community health, wellbeing, and happiness. In approaching sustainability, Emory has created a comprehensive strategy to foster ...


Minnesota Student Sustainability Leadership Network

  • St. Catherine University (MN)
  • University of St. Thomas (MN)

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, students created theMinnesota Student Sustainability Leadership Network to bring together student leaders involved in sustainability from colleges and universities across the state of ...


The Inclusive Sustainability Initiative at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM)

  • California State University, San Marcos (CA)

The Inclusive Sustainability Initiative (ISI) at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is an example of innovation and investment connecting inclusive excellence and sustainability. The term inclusive sustainability whether applied ...


Prairie Grass Restoration Project

  • Grinnell College (IA)
  • Herbicide Free Campus (CA)

Located in central Iowa, Grinnell College, once a prairie itself, is now indistinguishable from any other college, its land covered in swaths of fresh cut, herbicide-coated sprawling green lawns. In ...


CALPIRG Students Break Free From Plastics campaign

  • California Student Public Interest Research Group (CA)

The CALPIRG Students Break Free From Plastics campaign aimed to address the problem of plastic pollution at the source by phasing out single-use plastic items both at our university campuses ...


California State University System-wide Climate Justice and Intersectional Sustainability Speaker Series

  • California Polytechnic State University (CA)
  • California State University, Channel Islands (CA)
  • California State University, East Bay (CA)
  • California State University, Chancellor's Office (CA)
  • California State University, Chico (CA)
  • California State University, Fullerton (CA)
  • California State University, Long Beach (CA)
  • California State University, Los Angeles (CA)
  • California State University, Northridge (CA)
  • California State University, Sacramento (CA)
  • California State University, San Marcos (CA)
  • Humboldt State University (CA)
  • San Diego State University (CA)
  • California State University Stanislaus (CA)

During the 2020-21 academic year, Sustainability Officers from across the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system, the largest public university system in the U.S., joined forces to coordinate a ...


Global Innovation Challenge (WMGIC)

  • College of William & Mary (VA)

WMGIC is the premier intercollegiate hack-a-thon style international and sustainable development case competition aimed at encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration to create innovative solutions to current global issues.


Integrating racial equity, social justice, and sustainability through general education learning outcome assessment

  • University of Utah (UT)

In 2014, the University of Utah administration received a poignant letter from a group of passionate students suggesting that granting an undergraduate degree to any student without ensuring that they ...


International Climate Engagement

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Project Name: International Climate Engagement Name: Alfi Muhamad Project Mentor: Carr Everbach Faculty Advisor: Carol Nackenoff Project board members: Joy Charlton, Melissa Tier, Kyle Richmond-Crosset, Elizabeth Drake, Clare Hyre, Chris ...


Infusing Sustainability into the Curriculum

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Name: Colin Donahue Project Mentors: Carr Everbach Project board Members: Carr Everbach, Aurora Winslade, Joy Charlton, Betsy Bolton, James Padilioni, Jason Martin

The climate crisis represents one of the greatest ...


New Ways to Love Trees

  • Hope College (MI)

As urbanization rapidly replaces natural forest cover, urban forests are becoming increasingly important because of the ecosystem services they provide. Through the development of the TreeSap app and corresponding educational ...


Virtual Energy Treasure Hunt Event

  • Suffolk County Community College (NY)

In April 2021, Suffolk County Community College hosted our first US Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Treasure Hunt Event. The DOE describes the Treasure Hunt as “One of the best ...


Campus Energy-Efficiency Project (CEEP)

  • University of Utah (UT)

$30M project on the Health Science Campus of the University of Utah, to use energy-efficiency to avoid the need for an expensive chilled water (CHW) plant expansion.


Brown University's Thermal Efficiency Project

  • Brown University (RI)

Brown University is a 6.5 million sq. ft. research university campus founded in 1764 in Providence, Rhode Island. Its annual energy bill is $20 million. It serves 7,000 ...


Incorporating Social Equity and Climate Justice into Climate Action Planning in Higher Education

  • Portland Community College (OR)

Portland Community College’s 2021 Climate Action Plan: Resiliency, Equity and Education for a Just Transition (the CAP) centers people at the heart of creating benefits and solutions to the ...


MaryPIRG Student Climate Action Coalition (MSCAC)

  • University of Maryland, College Park (MD)

The FUTURE Act is a piece of legislation which aims to commit all of Maryland’s Public Universities to carbon neutrality by 2035 or sooner. The legislation was introduced by ...


President's Sustainability Research Fellowship 20-21: Climate Community

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

The 2020-2021 President's Sustainability Research Fellowship Climate Community project was conducted by Martin Tomlinson '23 and Maya Tipton '23 over the 2020-2021 Academic Year. The purpose of Climate Community ...


Auraria Campus Sustainable Development Handbook

  • Auraria Higher Education Center (CO)

Auraria Campus Sustainable Development Handbook Maintenance, Design, & Construction Guidelines for Campus Operations & Planning

The Sustainable Development Handbook for Auraria Campus synthesizes the existing sustainability goals of Auraria Campus ...


President's Sustainability Research Fellowship 20-21: Sustainable Space Utilization

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

The 2020-2021 President's Sustainability Research Fellowship Sustainable Space Utilization project was conducted by Alex Flowers '21 over the 2020-2021 Academic Year. The purpose of the Sustainable Space Management project ...


President's Sustainability Research Fellowship 20-21: ChesterSemesters

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

The 2020-2021 President's Sustainability Research Fellowship ChesterSemester project was conducted by Ananya Bhattacharya '21 over the 2020-2021 Academic Year. The purpose of the project was to support the the ...


UIUC Solar Farm 2.0: Ultra-Sustainable on-campus solar array

  • University of Illinois University Administration (IL)
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (IL)

Referred to as “Solar Farm 2.0,” a new 54-acre, 12.32 megawatt (MWdc) utility-scale array is located on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) campus, north of Curtis Road ...


President's Sustainability Research Fellowship 20-21: Carbon Offsets

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

The 2020-2021 President's Sustainability Research Fellowship Carbon Offsets project was conducted by Olivia Stoetzer '23 over the 2020-2021 Academic Year. The purpose of the project was to help Swarthmore ...


Reducing Scope Three Carbon Emissions Through Behavior Change & Menu Labeling

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

In October 2020, UC Berkeley’s Cal Dining implemented carbon emission labels to better inform customers about the carbon impact of the recipes served in the dining hall. Student researchers ...


FY20 Energy-Efficiency Initiatives Project

  • University of Utah (UT)

The first phase of a series of campus-wide projects to target carbon reductions.

The FY20 Energy-Efficiency Initiatives project targeted industry proven low-cost, fast-payback measures focusing on carbon neutrality and energy-efficiency ...


20 MW Solar Energy Purchase

  • University of Utah (UT)

The University of Utah has made a PPA of 20 MW of off-site solar energy in Huntington, UT, set to begin delivery in early 2022. The University of Utah’s ...


20MW Geothermal Power Purchase

  • University of Utah (UT)

The University of Utah, through a partnership with Cyrq Energy and Rocky Mountain Power, has made a groundbreaking geothermal energy purchase. This contract will supply the University of Utah with ...


Equity, Diversity, Justice, Inclusion Task Force, Catawba College

  • Catawba College (NC)

The Equity, Diversity, Justice, and Inclusion (EDJI) Task Force at Catawba College aims to build a campus community where all members thrive by working to cultivate critical conversations and practices ...


Cascadia Cornucopia Food Forest as a prototype for food permaculture areas on campuses

  • Cascadia College (WA)

The Cascadia Food Forest is an example of an integrated learning project at Cascadia College. It was designed to facilitate learning opportunities outside the classroom. The food forest is a ...


Climate Action Plan Sustainability Ambassador Course

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (IL)

The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) ambassador course was piloted in the spring 2021 semester as an opportunity for students to have a direct role in assessing and recommending building-level ...


Central Sustainability

  • Central Michigan University (MI)

Prior to 2020, Central Michigan University (CMU) lacked an Office of Sustainability, or any structures which ensured the pursuit of sustainability initiatives on campus and in the community. Two student ...


University of St. Thomas Stewardship Garden

  • University of St. Thomas (MN)

The Stewardship Garden (SG) at the University of St. Thomas (MN) is an innovative urban agriculture project that combines undergraduate-driven research, teaching, and community engagement. Established in 2010, the SG ...


The People’s Fridge- A Community Fridge to Reduce Food Insecurity and Food Waste

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The People’s Fridge is a community fridge in Merced, California at a local community garden which also holds a free food distribution every Saturday called the Pop-Up People’s ...


Glass Recycling at a Rural Georgia College Campus

  • Georgia College & State University (GA)

Glass has quickly become a hard to recycle material in many places in the U.S. and around the world. This is especially true for geographically rural areas with an ...


Glass Recycling at a Rural Georgia College Campus

  • Georgia College & State University (GA)

Glass has quickly become a hard to recycle material in many places in the U.S. and around the world. This is especially true for geographically rural areas with an ...


Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC) Common Agenda

  • University of Michigan (MI)

Establishing a Common Agenda as a significant first step under a Collective Impact Framework for rapidly improving social justice and environmental sustainability conditions on campus; using the drafting process not ...


Durham Tech Break Free From Plastics

  • Durham Technical Community College (NC)
  • The Student PIRGs (OR)

Student leaders at Durham Tech Community College, worked with the Student PIRGs in NC to run and win a campus campaign to Break Free From Plastics in order to protect ...


Addressing Food and Housing Security among NC State University Students

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

Since February 2018, when a report on student hunger and homelessness on NC State University's campus was released, the campus community has generated increased resources for students, conducted ongoing ...


Energy Efficiency Strategy

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Project Name: Energy Efficiency Strategy Name: Christian Stone Project Mentors: Elizabeth Drake, Domenic Porrini Project Board Members: Greg Brown, Jim Adams, Janet Semler, Andy Feick, Roderick Wolfson, Aurora Winslade Faculty ...


Crum Woods ROW Restoration

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Project Name: Crum Woods Sewer Line Right of Way (ROW) Restoration Name: Chelsea Semper Project Mentors: Jeff Jabco and Lars Rasmussen Project Board Members: Jake Grossman, Sue MacQueen, Chloe Klaus ...


Indigenous Interconnections

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Project Name: Indigenous Interconnections Student Name: Daniel Torres Balauro Project Mentors: Aurora Winslade and Carr Everbach Project Board Members: Aurora Winslade, Director of Sustainability, Office of Sustainability Carr Everbach, Professor ...


How Brandeis reduced our food carbon footprint over 20% in its first sustainable dining program

  • Brandeis University (MA)

This case study reviews how Brandeis harnessed the RFP and contracting process for a new dining vendor in 2019-2021 to make huge and first-ever strides in sustainability in our dining ...


The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design – A Certified Living Building

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (GA)

In September 2015, the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology received a commitment for $30 million from The Kendeda Fund to building what the partners expected to become the most environmentally ...


Planting the Pond

  • Western Dakota Technical College (SD)

For this project, Western Dakota Tech formed an interdisciplinary team comprised of Environmental Engineering, Controlled Environment Agriculture, Electrical Trades, Computer-Aided Design, and Farm and Ranch Management students to design and ...


Project Reach, Reclaim, Revive

  • Seneca College (ON)

Guided by academic advisors and business experts, student leaders of Enactus Canada create and implement community empowerment projects and business ventures in their communities. This experiential learning platform helps students ...


Uniting for Organizational Change - Merging the Sustainability Office and Office of Inclusive Excellence

  • California State University, Monterey Bay (CA)

In July, 2020 the Sustainability Office and the Office of Inclusive Excellence merged to form the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Sustainability.

The fields of sustainability, inclusion and social justice ...


Energy Efficiency Strategy

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Project Overview

We began by providing a platform for all key stakeholders, including faculty, facilities and capital planning managers, and administrations, to have their perspectives considered through the interviewing process ...


A Bottom-up, Collaborative Approach to Campus Sustainability Planning

  • University of Delaware (DE)

The last Sustainability/Climate Report published by the University of Delaware was in 2009, following a commitment in 2008 to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050. The Environmental Sustainability Report (2021) was ...