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.

789 resources

Assessing Student Sustainability Knowledge

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

To improve sustainability knowledge of undergraduates, CSUN has added course offerings in sustainability in recent years. In order to assess the baseline knowledge of the general student population and the ...

Western's Water Management Program

  • Western University (ON)

Western University has over 90 buildings and most of them didn’t have a water meter. Only those buildings with a direct feed from the City had a meter. In ...

University of Minnesota, Morris student leads implementation of the Student Engagement Leadership Forum on Sustainability (SELFsustain) across the University of Minnesota-system

  • University of Minnesota, Crookston (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Rochester (MN)

The University of Minnesota (U of M) is leading the way in cultivating student-driven sustainability leadership across Minnesota -- from the prairies to Lake Superior. For five years, U of M ...

University of La Verne Sustainability Challenge 2016

  • University of La Verne (CA)

University of La Verne organized a Sustainability Challenge with the theme of electricity conservation in Spring of 2016 to promote sustainability for the campus community at large.

Encouraging a Culture of Laboratory Sustainability: A Case Study from the University of Texas at Austin

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

Labs comprise about 20% of the floor area at the University of Texas at Austin but account for an estimated 30% of the campus energy consumption. Furthermore, they generate large ...

CSUN's Approach to Water Conservation Through an Irrigation System Upgrade

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

California State University, Northridge is located in Southern California, an arid region that has been in a drought for several years. With the drought conditions continuing all Californians have been ...

Development of a Carbon Capital Methodology for use by the Higher Education Community

  • Ball State University (IN)

Over a multiyear period, Ball State University collaborated in the development and piloted the implementation of a new methodology by which colleges and universities can qualify their carbon reduction credits ...

Avoiding Chemical Flame Retardants on Campus

  • Harvard University (MA)

Harvard University’s Sustainability Plan, created in partnership with faculty, students, and staff, is rooted in a sustainable development vision focused on enhancing community and individual well-being within and across ...

Raise Your Voice: Environmental Justice at Capilano

  • Capilano University (BC)

The idea for this event was to have an open idea sharing and focusing event regarding sustainability and environmental justice on campus. It was a chance to bring students together ...

Sustainable Carolina Farm and Garden Hydroponics

  • University of South Carolina (SC)

Sustainable Carolina is a student run organization within the University of South Carolina, working to better our campus by making it more sustainable. We work with students, staff, professors, and ...

Sustainability Slam – My city is greener than yours

  • University of Saskatchewan (SK)

The purpose of the activity is to encourage creative and imaginative storytelling as well as interdisciplinary thinking using both art and science, in order to inspire greener innovations for our ...

Carbon Neutral ExpoSaludable Fair Event in Bolivia

  • Berea College (KY)

We calculated the carbon emissions released during the ExpoSaludable fair in Bolivia to offset our footprint by planting trees in Santa Cruz, the city where the event takes place. The ...

Sustainability Peer Educator Program - Simon Fraser University

  • Simon Fraser University (BC)

Program Vision: Students are confident, informed, and active sustainability leaders who have the skills and experience to advance sustainability at and beyond SFU.

The Sustainability Peer Education program empowers students ...

Serenity "Soul"-ar: A Campus-Community Collaboration in North Philadelphia

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Serenity Soular is a campus-community partnership between community leaders in North Philadelphia and a group of faculty and students at Swarthmore College. Committed to keeping the ‘soul’ in sustainability, our ...

Sustainable Fleet at Yale University

  • Yale University (CT)

At Yale University, transportation is vital to the University's operation. Fleet Management is a department that has gone to tremendous lengths to provide exceptional transit services for the entire ...

Unifying Campus Efforts in Pursuit of Green Restaurant Certification at UC Irvine's East Food Court

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

UC Irvine's East Food Court became a Certified Green Restaurant on November 5, 2015 and upgraded its certification from 2-Star to 3-Star on April 22, 2016 through significant interdepartmental ...

SLU Energy Madness

  • Saint Louis University (MO)

SLU Energy Madness was a multi-month event involving all residence halls on SLU’s campus. While all residence halls were included, in order to participate each residence hall needed at ...

From in-vessel campus composting to sustainable urban farming: connecting science with education and community service

  • Kean University (NJ)

Kean University runs a food scrap composting program with a custom-designed in-vessel composter capable of composting up to 1000 pounds of food scraps per day. It diverts food scraps from ...

Stash It, Don’t Trash It Move-Out Reuse Initiative

  • College of Saint Benedict (MN)

As the semester nears its end, students from all over campus pitch their unwanted items to the curb. These items range from unopened soup cans to couches and mini fridges ...

Greeks Go Green: Promoting Student Sustainability via Social Media

  • University of Puget Sound (WA)

Greeks Go Green is an annual Instagram competition between our Greek houses where they post pictures of themselves performing sustainable actions throughout campus. The sustainable actions can be anything from ...

Grizz's Garage: Dorm Item Resale

  • University of Puget Sound (WA)

During Spring Move-Out, students donate their unwanted but still usable dorm items, such as shower caddies, rugs, and hangers, and then the items are re-sold to first-year students during Fall ...

The Sustainability Map

  • Maastricht University

Maastricht is a small city, a transit city, a city in which many things happen and yet everything stays the same – and Maastricht is home to many students who come ...

UC Cool Campus Challenge

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

In the fall of 2015, the Cool Campus Challenge (CCC) engaged nearly 20,000 staff, students and faculty at the University of California (UC) in an online pledge campaign aimed ...

Stanford Carbon Offsets to Reduce Emissions (SCORE)

  • Stanford University (CA)

The Stanford Athletic Department boasts 36 varsity sports teams and over 900 student-athletes. These teams travel all over the country to compete at the highest levels of collegiate competition, but ...

For the Planet Leadership Series: Building Sustainability Leadership in Higher Education

  • University of North Texas (TX)

The “For the Planet Leadership Series” is a five-week professional development course planned, researched, and taught by Senior Alyssa Wolverton at the University of North Texas. Her goal was to ...

The Green Action Fund at Kansas State University

  • Kansas State University (KS)

The Green Action Fund (GAF) at Kansas State University was initiated in 2013 as a joint project of the Office of Sustainability and the Student Governing Association (SGA). The GAF ...

Student Design Fund

  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville (TN)

The Student Design/Research Project Fund is a new and innovative sustainability project from the University of Tennessee. It created a pool of money to where applicants can apply for ...

One-Class-One-Project: Using service learning to engage students in sustainability

  • Florida Gulf Coast University (FL)

The University Colloquium is the sustainability capstone to the Florida Gulf Coast University experiences that utilizes service learning as a tool to engage students in experiential learning within the community ...

Boston University Zero Waste Commencement

  • Aramark (PA)

Boston University is a private research institution located in Boston, Massachusetts with approximately 33,000 undergradate and graduate students. During Commencement week, Boston University Dining Services/Aramark serves more than ...

Reusable water bottle for incoming freshmen

  • University of Michigan (MI)

Reusable water bottles are being provided to all incoming freshmen at the University of Michigan as a Planet Blue Sustainability initiative. The project was piloted for 3 years and is ...

UNT Community Garden

  • University of North Texas (TX)

University of North Texas' first on-campus community garden is in the final stages of planning, with construction begining this fall, in a vacant lot next to the Legends hall, just ...

Black Hills Food Hub

  • Black Hills State University (SD)

Black Hills State University (BHSU) and Spearfish community partners are seeking to create a culture that supports and values local food in order to expand the reach and depth of ...

UC Irvine Styrofoam Recycling Pilot Program

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

As UC Irvine strives to become a Zero Waste campus by 2020, the Facilities Management Sustainability Team of student workers has become more innovative in the ways to divert materials ...

Smokey's Pantry: A FISH Hospitality Pantry

  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville (TN)

Erica Davis, a senior at the University of Tennessee, spearheaded a food recovery project called Smokey’s Pantry. This project provided groceries recovered from various sources and distributed them to ...

American Chestnut Partnership

  • Unity College (ME)

Unity College has partnered with the Maine Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation to help restore the iconic American Chestnut in Maine.

Art meets sustainability in new mural at Sheridan College

  • Sheridan College (Ontario) (ON)

On April 27, 2016 Sheridan College unveiled ‘Woven Stories’, a colourful, two-storey public art mural, on the western façade of the Rob Turner Building at its Davis Campus in Brampton ...

The Real Food Challenge at Lehigh University

  • Lehigh University (PA)

The Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a national student run campaign to encourage campuses to increase the ratio of food purchased from “conventional” to “real food”. At Lehigh, the Office ...

Building Sustainability: A holistic application of sustainable practices in UVA buildings

  • University of Virginia (VA)

Building Sustainability is a comprehensive model to building optimization that utilizes various programs based on the needs of each building. Utilizing the strengths of the Office for Sustainability’s retro-commissioning ...

Starting with small energy conservation projects leads to huge energy conservation success

  • University of Rochester (NY)

The University of Rochester has many competing demands for funding. In the early 2000’s energy projects were managed by individual facilities departments with typically less than $40,000 expended ...

Campus greenhouse for local and sustainable tropical food production and education at Bellairs Research Institute

  • McGill University (QC)

The Bellairs facility is located at Folkestone, Barbados. It hosts many students and scientists from McGill and around the world for field courses, workshops and research projects. This project's ...

Renewable Energy at Harvey Mudd: The Design, Construction and Life Cycle Analysis of a Solar-Powered ParaSOL

  • Harvey Mudd College (CA)

Colleges across the country are beginning to integrate renewable technologies on their campuses. Privately and publicly funded projects have brought large solar arrays to parking lots and rooftops, but have ...

Leading by Collaboration: Institutional composting on a non-residential campus

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

JCCC's composting initiatives have changed operational practices and enriched campus culture in many ways. Those directly involved in our composting work are passionate about reducing food waste, handling it ...

Solar Energy Justice in Portland

  • Lewis & Clark College (OR)

Project Description We are two Environmental Studies majors pursuing a project to put solar panels on affordable housing in Portland. We are working with Central City Concern (CCC) to put ...

The Sustainable Bookstore: Giving New Life to Discarded University Library Books

  • Appalachian State University (NC)

When the Appalachian State University library culled its stacks, close to 80,000 books were slated to be recycled. Many of these books, some dating back to the late 1800s ...

Student Sustainability Sculptures Contest

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

Beginning in 2011, Johnson County Community College art faculty member Mark Cowardin assigned his Sculpture II students a project requiring the design, proposal, planning, and installation of a public art ...

Gaucho Certified Farmers Market

  • University of California, Santa Barbara (CA)

In the Fall of 2014, myself and a group of 5 other faculty members founded the first ever successful farmers market on the UC Santa Barbara campus.

The project was ...

USF “Share-A-Bull” Bicycle-Share Program

  • University of South Florida (Tampa) (FL)

Deployed a smart bike-sharing program with 100 GPS enabled bikes, multiple bicycle parking stations, and a mobile phone app to facilitate locating, reserving and returning bikes. With this program, USF ...

SRU Earth Days 2016

  • Slippery Rock University (PA)

“Earth Days 2016” was Slippery Rock University’s annual Earth Day celebration involving fun and educational events aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge regarding sustainability, climate change, and preserving resources ...

UIC Heritage Garden

  • University of Illinois Chicago (IL)

The Heritage Garden at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is a hands-on learning project with an internship program where students work with faculty, staff, and community members to ...

NC State University Students Leverage Partnerships To Eliminate Plastic Bags on Campus

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

Over a three-year period, the NC State Stewards collaborated with the university’s Campus Enterprises division to move toward the elimination of single-use plastic bags in the most wasteful locations ...