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

820
Total Resources
453
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.

820 resources

Valparaiso University Waste Audit: Reducing Plastic

  • Valparaiso University (IN)

The Office of Sustainability at Valparaiso University recently performed a comprehensive waste audit of all campus buildings to identify opportunities to save money, reduce waste, and to promote better waste ...

  • Posted Nov. 10, 2022
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Food Justice Fellowships - Rooted in Community

  • Saint Mary's College of California (CA)

Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to sufficient affordable and nutritious food. Food insecurity in the San Francisco Bay Area (and our state, country ...

  • Posted Sept. 20, 2022
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TRU Campus Tree Program: What We Learned From Year One

  • Thompson Rivers University (BC)

The TRU Sustainability Office started the new TRU Campus Tree Program in September 2021 as a one year pilot. The program was designed to allow members of the TRU community ...

  • Posted Sept. 1, 2022
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WMGIC: Expanding Student Involvement in Sustainable Development

  • College of William & Mary (VA)

The Global Innovation Challenge at William and Mary (WMGIC) encourages and facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and applied learning opportunities among students, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers by bringing innovative and sustainable perspectives ...


We Feed Aggie Animals

  • Texas A&M University (TX)
  • Chartwells Higher Education (NY)

Texas A&M Aggie Dining launched a new "We Feed Aggie Animals" food waste initiative to enhance goals of eliminating food waste while supporting the campus community. Starting in January 2022 ...


Root: Centering Social Identity and Environmental Justice in First-Year Orientation

  • Williams College (MA)

Root is one of 6 topical opt-in first-year orientation programs, called EphVentures, offered by Williams College. It runs for four days at the beginning of new student orientation and introduces ...


BU Wind

  • Boston University (MA)
  • Edison Energy (CA)
  • ENGIE (TX)

BU Wind is a clean energy project in South Dakota that the University enabled, fulfilling a key goal of the University’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). A central element of ...


Mapping Concordia’s Sustainability Ecosystem, a system mapping experiment

  • Concordia University (QC)

Tristan Harris, the founder of the Center for humane Technology, once said: "Our ability to meet the world's challenges depends on us making sense & coordinating together." It means ...


Improving Laboratory Water and Energy Efficiency at Tufts University

  • Tufts University (MA)

The Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Chemical and Biological Engineering (CHBE) Departments at Tufts University installed a small autoclave (a laboratory sanitation machine) to reduce energy and water consumption in our ...


Engaging with Indigenous Communities for Climate Action: The Bayano-McGill Reforestation Project

  • McGill University (QC)

The Bayano-McGill Reforestation Project is an initiative that is at the leading edge of carbon offsetting projects in higher education. The multi-faceted initiative, financed by the University, provides benefits to ...


EchoWorks: An Electronics Recycling College-Community Partnership

  • Western Dakota Technical College (SD)

There are more than a thousand toxic substances associated with electronic waste (e-waste), and improper disposal can lead to soil, water, food, and air contamination. E-waste is the fastest growing ...


UBC Sustainability Scholars Program

  • University of British Columbia (BC)

Since 2010, the creativity, skills and passion of close to 600 UBC graduate students in the Sustainability Scholars Program have made a positive impact on sustainability issues in the Vancouver ...


CSU Faculty Learning Community in Teaching Climate Change and Resilience

  • California Polytechnic State University (CA)
  • California State University, Chico (CA)
  • California State University, Monterey Bay (CA)
  • California State University, San Marcos (CA)
  • California State University, Stanislaus (CA)
  • Cal Poly Humboldt (CA)
  • Strategic Energy Innovations (CA)

In the Spring of 2022, 62 faculty from six different California State University campuses representing over 30 disciplines participated in the CSU Faculty Learning Community in Teaching Climate Change and ...


Establishing and sustaining Indiana’s first higher education chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby at Purdue University

  • Purdue University (IN)
  • Citizens' Climate Lobby (CA)

In an effort to learn how to meaningfully engage with my community on the issue of climate change, I joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization which advances ...


Climate Action Commitment Roadshow Series

  • Virginia Tech (VA)

Virginia Tech recently approved a revised version of the Climate Action Commitment. To educate the campus community about it, our Climate Action, Sustainability, and Energy (CASE) Office went on a ...


Contactless Food Box Deliveries: Driving Down Food Insecurity

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The University of California, Merced (UC Merced) launched the Contactless Food Box Delivery Program in December 2020 which continues to this day. 5-10 boxes are delivered every week to those ...


Climate Impact Offset Charge (CLIO) for University of Pennsylvania Air Travel

  • University of Pennsylvania (PA)

As of July, 2021, the University of Pennsylvania enacted a University-wide travel sustainability policy that created the Climate Impact Offset (CLIO) charge to pay for projects that offset the carbon ...


A Student-led Approach to Campus Sustainability: Environmental Sustainability Report

  • University of Delaware (DE)

The Environmental Sustainability Report (Fall 2021) was established using a bottom-up approach led by students and involved collaboration between multiple stakeholders, on- and off-campus. This Report was driven by a ...


Campus Clothing Swap

  • Florida International University (FL)

This project was produced by my club Society for Sustainable Souls at Florida International Universities (FIU) campus. It was created to encourage sustainability as well as community on FIU's ...


Hornet Reuse App

  • California State University, Sacramento (CA)

As a way of reducing waste, creating a circular economy and creating a sense of community between students, faculty and staff at Sacramento State, Hornet Reuse was born. Hornet Reuse ...


Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue (ICAD): Community conversations for a sustainable and equitable future

  • James Madison University (VA)

With a mission to “inspire dialogue and deliberation that shapes engaged and inclusive communities and informs sound policies,” the Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue (ICAD) at James Madison University ...


Stanford University Scope 3 Emissions Program

  • Stanford University (CA)

Over the past decade, Stanford University has reduced its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and is on track to eliminate 100%. In June 2020, the Board ...


Nebraska State Fair Sustainability Pavilion

  • Central Community College (NE)

In partnership with the Nebraska State Fair, students are invited to develop sustainability projects and present them at the Sustainability Pavilion. 2021 student projects include a kayak made from mushroom ...


Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice

  • University of Oregon (OR)

The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Just Futures Institute is a transformational regional platform for racial and climate justice funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We hold collaborations among the University ...


Creating Effective Waste Bin Signage

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

A University of Texas at Austin Zero Waste Working Group used a comprehensive process including signage studies, waste composition data, and a progression of testing to design a new campus-wide ...

  • Posted March 10, 2022
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Williams College Reusable To-Go Ware Case Study

  • Williams College (MA)

This reusable container program was rolled out when students returned to campus in the Fall of 2020 and was proposed with both sustainability and cost savings in mind. What differentiates ...


Saving the Campus Farm: One Approach to Leveraging Institutional Support for a Campus Farm Space

  • Butler University (IN)

Although there has been a dramatic increase in the number of campus farms in the past thirty year, most farms serve as co-curricular resources or have limited use in formal ...

  • Posted Jan. 13, 2022
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Diverting Materials from University Waste-stream - Centre for Creative Reuse

  • Concordia University (QC)

Concordia University’s Center for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) is dedicated to diverting materials from inside Concordia’s waste-stream and offering them to the general community free of cost. In 2017 ...


Launching the Emerging Environmental Leaders (EELs) Program in Minnesota

  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)

University of Minnesota campuses (Twin Cities and Morris) collaborated with the State of Minnesota to launch the Emerging Environmental Leaders (EELs) program in the spring of 2021. The program brought ...


Place Setting: Enhancing sustainable approaches to food security & community engagement through design of space

  • University of Kentucky (KY)

The Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky (CKUK) is a student-led service organization that is a partner agency of God’s Pantry Food Bank within the Feeding America’s ...


The First TRUE Zero Waste Certified Academic Building: A Case Study

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

Throughout the two years of working toward zero waste at Chou Hall at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the Chou Hall Zero Waste Initiative team has learned a ...

  • Posted Nov. 16, 2021
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Zero waste policy evaluation of college campus. A case study of University of Florida

  • University of Florida (FL)

Waste generation and disposal of that waste is as big of an issue as climate change. Different factors come into play in developed and developing world. In developing countries litter ...

  • Posted Sept. 23, 2021
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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)
  • California State University, Stanislaus (CA)
  • Cal Poly Humboldt (CA)
  • San Diego State University (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-2

  • 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 ...