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.

820 resources

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 ...

Creating Tree Ambassadors: Fostering a campus culture of sustainbility through urban trees

  • University of Kentucky (KY)

Urban trees contribute substantially to ecological, economic, and social sustainability, but are often overlooked both as a method to achieve greater sustainability and as a vehicle for engagement in sustainability ...

IT’S YOUR NATURE: The Art of Sustainability

  • University of Dayton (OH)

IT'S YOUR NATURE: The Art of Sustainability was a year-long initiative using the arts to connect our campus with new ways of thinking about the environment and sustainability. Utilizing ...

UMass New2U Reuse Collection and Tag Sale

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)

New2U is a student-led program that is in its 3rd year of operation. New2U collects unwanted items from across campus each spring during move-out and resells these collected item each ...

Community Garden 2.0 – transcending silos on campus and in the community

  • Northern Kentucky University (KY)

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) has joined forces with local stakeholders to create a network of community gardens on campus and within the surrounding community. The network is comprised of fifty ...

Compact Advanced Facility for Conversion of Waste Cooking Oil to Biodiesel to power the University Bus system

  • University of South Florida (Tampa) (FL)

The University Bus system is powered by a Biodiesel mixture. The project investigated feasibility of generating its own Biodiesel from the waste cooking oil generated by the dining facilities and ...

NC State University Facilities, Academic Affairs Collaborate For Summer Energy Savings

  • North Carolina State University (NC)

A hot, humid North Carolina summer isn’t when you might expect NC State University to save nearly $900 a day in avoided energy costs. But thanks to a new ...

Warriors Don’t Waste: Improving the Waste Stream at Eastern Connecticut State University.

  • Eastern Connecticut State University (CT)

In early 2015 Eastern’s Green Campus Committee started to tackle the major initiative of improving the campus waste stream. In taking on this project the committee knew that there ...

Sustainability by Participation

  • Central Connecticut State University (CT)

Central Connecticut State University wss an early signee to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. CCSU has been working to make the issue more visible to our campus ...

Implementing sustainability education with undergraduate business courses, A case study

  • Alfred State College (NY)

The purpose of this submission is to discuss experiential learning related to strategic management and environmental sustainability. The paper outlines one case of implementing project-based sustainability education within the BUAD ...

University of Redlands Proposal for Expanded Composting

  • University of Redlands (CA)

We are currently living in a time with inequity, economic instability and environmental degradation. The University of Redlands campus claims to be sustainable, however, we lack many forms of renewable ...

Carbon On-Setting: Community Impact through Home Weatherization in Greenville, SC

  • Furman University (SC)

The Community Conservation Corps (CCC), a program of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability at Furman University, provides free home weatherization to low-income homeowners in the greater Greenville, South ...

Zygmunt, the electric car

  • Universidad de Monterrey

Monterrey is the third largest city in Mexico, and there is about 2 million cars. This amount of vehicles creates traffic jams, pollute the air and chaos. According to the ...

Lights Out Starter Kit

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

In April 2013, a student energy conservation organization, Longhorn Lights Out, began on the UT Austin campus. This organization, sponsored by UT's Energy and Water Conservation Program, encouraged students ...

Sustainable Development Goals

  • State University of New York at Fredonia (NY)

For this project, my objective was to initially get my campus to adopt the United Nation's Sustainable Development goals. I didn't have any expectations as to how the ... Project

  • Johns Hopkins University (MD)

RISING-SEAS.ORG is an online alliance of passionate individuals dedicated to bridging climate awareness and action from all angles. It features visual advocacy campaigns to visualize the communities most endangered ...

  • Posted April 20, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

North D Compost Pilot

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA)

After conducting a waste audit of the North Apartment Residential Complex in October of 2014, it was found that approximately 27% of the trash stream consisted of food waste and ...

  • Posted April 6, 2016
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Making a large-scale campus rummage sale happen in 17 days!

  • University of Missouri (MO)

Since 2007, MU has been perfecting a process for reducing residence hall waste at the end of the school year move out. Items collected are organized for a rummage sale ...

  • Posted June 23, 2015
  • Case Studies
  • View more

Biogas systems with anaerobic digestion for sustainability education and and research renewable energy production

  • University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (WI)

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Biogas program consists of three anaerobic digestion facilities that divert organic wastes from landfills, destroy methane gas, generate electrical and thermal energy, and produce quality ...

  • Posted June 19, 2015
  • Case Studies
  • View more

The University of Iowa Dedicated Energy Crop Project - Applying The Triple Bottom Line To Biomass Fuel Production

  • University of Iowa (IA)

The University of Iowa (UI) has adopted an institutional goal to convert 40 percent of its energy portfolio to renewable energy by or before 2020. Central to this effort is ...

  • Posted June 19, 2015
  • Case Studies
  • View more