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

733
Total Resources
419
Organizations
18
Countries
47
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.

733 resources

Infusing Sustainability into the Curriculum at Swarthmore College

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Note that the full final report for this project is attached as a file at the end of this report. Please view for full in depth explanation of the project ...


Building campus capacity for the SDGs: a case study of the SDG Summit conference

  • University of Calgary (AB)

The SDG Summit is an annual training conference at the University of Calgary that is focused on engaging youth with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through immersive opportunities for learning ...


Swarthmore College Sustainability Research: Equitable Zero Waste

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

A year long research project developed by students to help and develop an equitable zero waste mindset and framework of thinking.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN K-12 SCHOOLS: A CASE STUDY IN FLORIDA

  • Florida Institute of Technology (FL)

Buildings are one of the largest energy consumers in the United States. K-12 schools are responsible for nearly 8% of energy consumption by commercial buildings which is equivalent to 1 ...


Emory University’s Virtual Earth Month Outreach Campaign

  • Emory University (GA)

Traditionally, Emory University’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) kicks off Earth Month by bringing together both on and off-campus organizations that are dedicated to sustainability for a one-day Earth ...


BCIT Wood-Waste-to-Energy Project

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BC)

In pursuit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, showcasing environmentally-sustainable projects for widespread use, and incorporating sustainability more broadly in curriculum, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has created a closed-loop ...


TAMU Urban Farm United (TUFU) Campus Food Forest Serves Aggies in Need

  • Texas A&M University (TX)

The TAMU Urban Farm, TUFU for short, is a new concept organization on the campus of Texas A&M University (TAMU), whose mission is “Grow to Serve”. The project was made ...


One Million Trees

  • Pepperdine University (CA)
  • Santa Monica College (CA)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (CA)
  • University of Southern California (CA)

This project started in 2015 and the goal was to plant one million trees by 2020 in partnership with the National Forest Foundation. Our team came up with the idea ...


Campaign on Creating Sustainable Futures: Bring Your Own Container

  • DE LA SALLE LIPA (BATANGAS)

In Academic Year 2016-2017, DE LA SALLE LIPA (DLSL) re-aligned its institutional thrusts to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In pursuit of its third Strategic Direction, Creating ...


Grand Valley State University - Water Sustainability

  • Grand Valley State University (MI)

Abstract - Grand Valley State University - Water Sustainability
Having success in reducing energy consumption and costs, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) located in the state of Michigan, looked at other areas ...


Kent State University Textile Reuse and Recycling Programs Divert 441,610 pounds (221 tons) From Landfill to Benefit Community and Campus Over Past 5 Years

  • Kent State University (OH)

Kent State University has reduced the amount of materials sent to landfills while providing benefits to the local community, campus, and our students. For the past 5 academic years, 2014-2015 ...


Gold Tree Solar Farm - Innovatively Advancing the Academic Mission

  • California Polytechnic State University (CA)

Cal Poly's 4.5 MW Gold Tree Solar Farm demonstrates how collaboration between Facilities and academics can transform campus buildings and infrastructure into more impactful academic assets. In addition ...


Addressing Food Insecurity on Campus

  • Colorado State University (CO)

Approximately 10% of students at Colorado State University experience food insecurity. In the past five years, CSU has been aggressively tackling food insecurity through the creation of innovative programs under ...


Energy Waste Reduction Program

  • Suffolk County Community College (NY)

Since its inception in August of 2014, Suffolk County Community College’s Energy Waste Reduction Program has saved over 4.9 million dollars in unnecessary utility expenditure. We would like ...


The Working Farms Fund: Partnership to Build a Sustainable Local Food System

  • Emory University (GA)

Emory University and The Conservation Fund have formed a new partnership to support next-generation farmers in Georgia and help build the local food supply across metro Atlanta with a first-of-its-kind ...


University of Vermont Eco-Reps Coping with Crises Case Study 2019-2020

  • University of Vermont (VT)

Originally this campaign was going to focus solely on coping with climate change, however, in being interrupted by COVID-19, we decided to expand the campaign’s scope to address coping ...


Don't Dump! Donate!

  • South Dakota State University (SD)

Don’t Dump! Donate! takes place during move-out week and keeps reusable material out of the landfill. It provides the opportunity for students to donate unwanted but good quality items ...


University of Vermont Eco-Reps Waste Campaign Case Study

  • University of Vermont (VT)

The University of Vermont has improved its waste infrastructure, from expanding composting facilities beyond dining halls to implementing waste reduction programs like EcoWare and a straw-upon-request policy. UVM Eco-Reps’ work ...


Trex Plastic Film Challenge

  • Texas A&M University (TX)

In November 2018, the Department of Residence Life at Texas A&M University began the Trex Plastic Film Challenge in partnership with a Virginia-based company, Trex. Trex is a national company ...


Building Climate Resilience at Arizona State University: Second Nature’s Climate Commitment

  • Arizona State University (AZ)

In 2016, Arizona State University’s President, Michael Crow, signed the Second Nature Climate Commitment, which not only reaffirmed ASU’s commitment to climate neutrality but also set a course ...


From Weather Wizard to Cloud Man: Sustainability Education & Outreach with a Fun Approach

  • Cornell University (NY)
  • American Meteorological Society (DC)

The goal of this project is to educate young students about sustainability and create a passion for the environment. Frequently, schools wait until middle school to introduce environmental topics. My ...


Utilizing Freezers for Compost Collection at Holy Cross’ Student Apartments

  • College of the Holy Cross (MA)

The College of the Holy Cross added compost collection for student food waste in two college-owned apartments, William Hall and Figge Hall. Instead of traditional indoor collection bins, small freezers ...


Building a Resilient Recycling Operation Against Market Forces, Financial Pressures, & Contamination Developments

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI)

Recycling rates had plateaued. By 2016, even with the best of internal marketing and operational changes, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was left to the devices of a decentralized collection and ...


On-site Energy Manager Program

  • SUNY Jefferson Community College (NY)
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) (NY)

In February of 2019 Jefferson Community College began a one-year commitment to provide a one-half time FTE On-site Energy Manager position in partnership with NYSERDA under project code OsEM17-C, (PON ...


“Box to Farm to Compost”: A Paradigm Shift from an Extractive Culture to Regenerative Culture

  • Iowa State University (IA)

As a land grant university with a student population of over 30,000 students and about 6000 faculty and staff, there are enormous packaging items that make its way to ...


University of Vermont Eco-Reps “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” Transportation Campaign Case Study

  • University of Vermont (VT)

For UVM Eco-Reps’ first campaign of the 2019-20 academic year, we tackled issues related to how we move around. Whether it’s getting to class, work, or a friend’s ...


Pay As You Throw: Testing a New Waste Reduction Strategy at Yale University

  • Yale University (CT)

In the spring of 2019, Yale launched a Pay As You Throw (PAYT) pilot program, the first of its kind among American institutions of higher education. From inception to development ...

  • Posted April 17, 2020
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UVM's Food Values Campaign

  • University of Vermont (VT)

The UVM Eco-Reps program consists of 20 students that are divided up into five community teams, with each team assigned to a specified residential area on campus. Each semester, Eco-Reps ...

  • Posted Feb. 27, 2020
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Bike Friendly University

  • University of Cincinnati (OH)

The Bicycle Friendly University program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors. The Bicycle Friendly University program evaluates university ...

  • Posted Feb. 27, 2020
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Sequestering Carbon: Using Campus Wood to Make Carbon-Capturing Furniture and Items

  • Western Michigan University (MI)

The Living Woodshop, run by the Office for Sustainability at Western Michigan University, has been designed as a partnership with the Facilities Management department to reuse lumber on campus. Wood ...


Frederickson Court Trial Compost System

  • Iowa State University (IA)

With a campus compost facility already in operation, Iowa State University’s Compost Team sought to utilize the facility in more places around campus. The team identified Frederickson (Freddy) Court ...


University of Vermont Eco-Reps Points of Intervention Campaign Case Study

  • University of Vermont (VT)

Every Spring semester, the UVM Eco-Reps carry out a campaign related to the main theme of Earth Week. This year, that theme was ‘Points of Intervention’ (POI). Points of Intervention ...

  • Posted Sept. 24, 2019
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University of Vermont Eco-Reps Food Campaign Case Study

  • University of Vermont (VT)

The 2018-2019 professional development offering for the UVM Eco-Reps was a symposium centered around food concerns entitled Taking Root Student Symposium. Having been introduced to a wide variety of food-related ...

  • Posted Sept. 24, 2019
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From the Classroom to the COP: Equipping Emory Students to Become Climate Policy Leaders

  • Emory University (GA)

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took effect in 1994, and its main objective is to lessen the impact of human interference that threatens the Earth’s ...


Student Sustainability Leadership Award

  • California State University Maritime Academy (CA)

California State University Maritime Academy in its continued effort to becoming most sustainable campus, engaging staff, faculty, and students, explored and identified water saving opportunities for the campus. The project ...


Campus Sustainability Achievement

  • California State University Maritime Academy (CA)

California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime) participated in the Arbor Day Foundation program, managed by a non-profit conservation and education organization founded in 1972, and applied for the Tree ...


Hope and Empowerment: Navigating Grief, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Through Train-the-Trainer Workshops

  • Portland Community College (OR)
  • Portland State University (OR)
  • Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN) (OR)

In these times of accelerating change, environmental crises, and social injustices, we are bombarded with negative news that can numb and overwhelm the spirit. How can we build hope and ...


Connecting Artists and Sustainability with the Arts of the Earth Festival at Bemidji State University

  • Bemidji State University (MN)

The Arts of the Earth Festival is a fun event to "Celebrate Art, Honor Mother Earth, and Inspire Community". This year's festival was held on Saturday, April 27th and ...


The Pyramid of Action: A Multifaceted Approach For Deeper Engagement

  • California State University, Chico (CA)

With many environmental issues overwhelming students today, it can be paralyzing. So, AS Sustainability utilized the “Pyramid of Action” strategy in semester-long campaigns, leading students from awareness, behavior change, education ...


Aggie Green Fund

  • Texas A&M University (TX)

Aggie Green Fund (AGF) is a funds granting program under the Office of Sustainability that invites sustainability ideas from all members of the University community (students, faculty, and staff) to ...


CU Boulder Animal Bedding Compost

  • University of Colorado Boulder (CO)

Animal vivariums on college campuses generate a significant amount of animal bedding waste every day. CU Boulder houses only small animal vivariums (mice, rats, etc.). The animal bedding generated at ...


The Searle Biodiesel Lab - Loyola University Chicago's Student-Run Biodiesel Program

  • Loyola University Chicago (IL)

The Biodiesel Lab is a student-run biodiesel production facility within Loyola University’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. Starting from a single student’s idea over a decade ago, nearly 100 ...


Leveraging student leadership to build campus capacity for Sustainable Development Goals implementation: a case study on the University of Calgary’s Sustainable Development Goals Alliance.

  • University of Calgary (AB)

The Sustainable Development Goals Alliance (SDGA) is a student-led organization at the University of Calgary which seeks to improve campus and community collaboration towards the implementation of the seventeen Sustainable ...


Central College Tree Campus

  • Central College (IA)
  • Arbor Day Foundation (NE)

Central College is a leader in sustainability education, both in Iowa and the Midwest. For more than a century, Central students and staff have helped plant and care for trees ...


Central College Bee Campus

  • Central College (IA)
  • Bee City USA (NC)

Central College is a leader in sustainability education, both in Iowa and the Midwest. For more than a century, Central students and staff have prioritized sustainability at the college. After ...


WU January Hall Renovation: Journey from no certification to designed to achieve LEED v4 Platinum and beyond

  • Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

Constructed in 1922, Grace Valle January Hall housed the School of Law from the mid-1920s until the completion of the Seeley Mudd Law Building in the early 1970s. January Hall ...


Coalition building to create university-wide change

  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Camden Campus (NJ)
  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick Campus (NJ)
  • Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Newark Campus (NJ)

Two years ago, we formed the Rutgers Sustainability Coalition, a student-led group of representatives from about 20 student organizations working together to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We ...


Students for Sustainability

  • University of Central Oklahoma (OK)

Students for Sustainability was established in 2016 as the University of Central Oklahoma's first and only sustainability oriented organization. The group was founded not only as an outlet for ...


Composting at Northwestern University Norris Center

  • Northwestern University (IL)
  • Real Food Challenge (MA)
  • Compass Group (NC)

The project consists of the successful implementation of a front-of-the-house composting program in Northwestern University's Norris Center food court dining area and the coordination of a series of experiments ...


UC Sustainable Procurement Program and Policy Overhaul

  • University of California, Office of the President (CA)

Purchasing departments, such as those of the University of California campuses, have embraced the responsibility and opportunity to leverage their purchasing power as a force for good. But assessing and ...