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
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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

Envisioning Sustainability: Implementing a Campus Community Food System at Virginia Tech

  • Virginia Tech (VA)

Virginia Tech, founded in 1872 as a land grant institution, has not lost its local roots. With a nationally recognized college of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the campus has its ...

  • Posted April 10, 2014
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Building a Campus Culture of Sustainability

  • Western Michigan University (MI)

Western Michigan University and its Office for Sustainability apply social learning to leverage behavior change and bridge the "gap" between people's stated aspirations for a sustainable world and their ...

  • Posted April 10, 2014
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Sustainability in Higher Education: A Case Study of Policy and Practice at Vancouver Island University

  • Vancouver Island University (BC)

In 2009, Vancouver Island University formally adopted a Sustainability Policy designed to guide environmental practices on campus. I envisaged that this would extend to more detailed strategies for dealing with ...

  • Posted April 9, 2014
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Rainwater Harvesting and Green Wall in LEED Gold building

  • Raritan Valley Community College (NJ)

RVCC has just built the Ray Bateman Center for Student Life and Leadership, which was built to LEED Gold Standards and opened in February 2014. It has a rainwater harvesting ...

  • Posted April 8, 2014
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Sustainability Reporting at Ball State University 2013

  • Ball State University (IN)

In 2013, a team of interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate students prepared Ball State University's fourth sustainability report. This report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting initiative (GRI ...

  • Posted April 7, 2014
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GRI Reporting for Academic Institutions

  • University of Texas at Arlington (TX)

The intended audience for this GRI report includes The University of Texas System and State of Texas; University administration, faculty, and staff; current and prospective students, and their families; alumni ...

  • Posted April 3, 2014
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Green Book: Creative Sustainable Action

  • Delta College (MI)

Green Book: Creative Sustainable Action is a joint venture of the Sustainability Office and Humanities Department. Focusing on the triple bottom line—people, planet, profit—the publication is a collection ...

  • Posted March 31, 2014
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A Unique Hawaiian Learning Approach to Sustainable Living, Island-wide

  • Kauai Community College (HI)

A three prong approach to providing students with campus and community-wide learning at the UH Kauai Community College encompasses and concurrently implements:

1) Curriculum review ongoing, applying the General Electric ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Creating a Living & Learning Laboratory for Applied Sustainability and Campus Farm Through Collaboration and Student Engagement

  • Southern Oregon University (OR)

Through a collaborative effort among the campus and local community, Southern Oregon University created a living and learning laboratory for applied research and projects in sustainability, The SOU Center for ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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The University of Texas at Austin's Building Energy Audit

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

The Building Energy Audit is a complete joining of both technical and behavioral energy conservation commitments designed to actively engage all aspects of the campus community to conserve energy and ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Turning the Desert Green: Residence Life's Coordinator of Sustainability Education

  • University of Arizona (AZ)

In 2007, the University of Arizona's (UA) Residence Life department created the Coordinator of Sustainability Education (CoSE) position to manage an expanding environmental program. One of the first of ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Sustainability@FIE ~ What can YOU do?' Holistic embedding and communication for maximum impact and engagement

  • Loyola Marymount University (CA)
  • FIE: Foundation for International Education (London)

Sustainability@FIE ~ What can YOU do?' - a holistic embedding and communication project, implemented in the 2013-2014 academic year in order to fully engage all Foundation for International Education (FIE) stakeholders ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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GreenHouse Food Buying Club

  • University of Vermont (VT)
  • Sodexo USA (MD)

A student initiated program that allows on-campus students from a specific Residential Learning Community (RLC) to use a portion of their mandated meal plans to purchase a "CSA". The "CSA ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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UCI Zero Waste Food Court Pilot Program

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

The University of California, Irvine launched a pilot program for post-consumer waste diversion in retail dining in 2013. The program achieved Zero Waste under the University of California Office of ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Green Networking Breakfast

  • University of South Carolina (SC)

In November 2013, the student organization Sustainable Carolina collaborated with the Green Quad Residence Hall at the University of South Carolina to host its first "Green Networking Breakfast." Students, faculty ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Green Leadership Program

  • University of South Carolina (SC)

Sustainable Carolina's Green Leadership Program allows students to graduate with Leadership Distinction in "Professional and Civic Engagement." This comprehensive, interdisciplinary program broadens students' understanding of leadership and sustainability. During ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Should Higher Ed. Go Carbon Neutral: A Look at Forest Carbon

  • Clarkson University (NY)

This project analyzes the benefits, barriers, and perceptions that institutions of higher education have for forest carbon offset projects. In particular the benefits of investing in certified offsets were weighed ...

  • Posted March 28, 2014
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Engineering Innovation Building (EIB) | University of Arizona - Where Big Ideas Come to Life

  • University of Arizona (AZ)

A collective team process to clearly state and re-identify "the users" as the main idea behind University of Arizona's Iconic Engineering Building. The users in lieu of Flexibility, Collaboration ...

  • Posted March 20, 2014
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Strategic Sustainability Planning to Synergistic Results

  • Lake Superior College (MN)

The purpose of the project was to engage primary campus stakeholders in a community training based on the internationally recognized Natural Step framework. Locally, Sustainable Twin Ports has been leading ...

  • Posted March 18, 2014
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Moving towards waste-free Move-out

  • Knox College (IL)

At the end of the school year, Knox college students, faculty, and staff join forces to collect and divert the many streams of resources (formerly classified as waste) generated during ...

  • Posted March 17, 2014
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Students for Environmental Sustainability

  • Kennesaw State University (GA)

The project is a student lead initiative aimed at improving culinary sustainability education and practices among students in both universities and k-12 institutions. The project has three primary focuses on ...

  • Posted March 8, 2014
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Advanced Climate Action: Stanford Energy and Climate Plan

  • Stanford University (CA)

Stanford has historically done much to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts and in late 2007, the university set out to develop a formal action plan incorporating existing best practices in ...

Warren Wilson College Tree Inventory and Carbon Sequestration/Storage Analysis

  • Warren Wilson College (NC)

In a partnership with the North Carolina Forest Service Warren Wilson College Landscaping Crew students and staff conducted an assessment of the vegetation composition, function, and value of the urban ...

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point LEED Gold Residence Hall

  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (WI)

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point constructed the Suites @ 201 to further its efforts and dedication to sustainability. It is a model for green building standards and energy efficiency. It aligns ...

The University at Albany Liberty Terrace: Socially Conscious Building and Living

  • University at Albany (NY)

Liberty Terrace is the newest Residence Hall on the University's uptown campus with 500 apartment-style units. The building utilizes a ground source heat pump to provide 100% of its ...

Harnessing Seawater: An Innovative Thermal Exchange HVAC System

  • Southern Maine Community College (ME)
  • Harriman Architects and Engineers (ME)

The installation of a uniquely designed sea water heat exchange system in Casco Bay is an example of innovative technology recently implemented during the renovation of the Lighthouse Building at ...

Baylor University's Centralized Irrigation System

  • Baylor University (TX)

ARAMARK-Baylor Facility Services maintains all of the facilities and grounds on the Baylor University campus, including all irrigation systems. The former irrigation system for the campus of Baylor University was ...

Rutgers Solar Canopy Array

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

The project consists of installing an 8.01 MW solar Canopy array over 28 acres of parking lots on its Livingston Campus. This solar array provides 50% of the power ...

Social Learning for Sustainability

  • Western Michigan University (MI)

Western Michigan University and its Office for Sustainability apply social learning to leverage behavior change and bridge the "gap" between people's stated aspirations for a sustainable world and their ...

Innovative Water Reclamation Facility Comes to Emory

  • Emory University (GA)

The Southeastern United States and Atlanta in particular have a challenging water situation. With a rapidly growing population and a comparatively small watershed, measures are needed to better manage our ...

Saving Iowa's Remaining Natural Jewels - an ecological restoration and renewable energy partnership

  • University of Iowa (IA)

The University of Iowa (UI) will convert 40 percent of its energy portfolio to renewable energy by or before 2020. Central to this effort is developing regional and sustainable biomass ...

Dalhousie University's College of Sustainability: Transforming a campus for sustainability education

  • Dalhousie University (NS)

Over the past five years, Dalhousie University's College of Sustainability has developed and implemented an innovative model for sustainability education, which transforms university education to ensure all graduates have ...

Energy Matters- Comprehensive Energy Efficiency and Awareness at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI)

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) faced increasing student enrollment, space demands, utility costs, and energy needs. By 2008, UWM was 5% above its 2005 baseline, when it was proposed by ...

Take Action on Waste: A Community Based Social Marketing Project in Student Residences

  • University of Alberta (AB)

Take Action on Waste began in 2010 as a project at the University of Alberta that aims to improve waste diversion behaviours in residences. Challenges with infrastructure and education at ...

Food Scraps Recovery at Kean University

  • Kean University (NJ)

Kean University began a comprehensive on-campus food scraps composting project in January 2010. Food scraps are processed in an in-vessel composting system that requires just five days to convert them ...

Energy Efficiency at Valencia College: A Case Study of Retrofits and Building Automation, Green Construction, and Behavioral Savings

  • Valencia College (FL)

Valencia College constructed 66 buildings between 1971 and 2012. Six buildings, 25% of total the college's 2.1 million square feet, were built to LEED Gold standards with energy ...

Visioning and Operationalizing a System-Wide $1 Billion Energy Campaign at the University of North Carolina.

  • Appalachian State University (NC)
  • University of North Carolina System Office (NC)

The Appalachian Energy Summit (AES) is the annual gathering of the University of North Carolina Energy Leadership Challenge. Through this initiative, campus leaders from across higher education in North Carolina ...

The BCIT Factor Four Project

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BC)

The goal of Factor Four at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is to reduce energy and material throughput by a factor of four (75%) in an area of ...

Sustainable Urban Eco-Garden at St. Louis Community College

  • St. Louis Community College (MO)

St. Louis Community College, Florissant Valley campus, has created an educational, sustainable eco-garden that provides opportunities for participants to engage in raising food as well as providing native habitat for ...

Sustainable Packaging at the University of Florida

  • University of Florida (FL)

Gator Dining Services-ARAMARK at the University of Florida eliminated foam containers from campus dining operations, making UF the only ARAMARK foam- free dining operation in the south region. Foam products ...

Solar power, horticulture and culinary arts integration project

  • Metropolitan Community College (NE)

Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Neb., is committed to being a center of sustainable education. MCC's approach to sustainability is comprehensive: we work on campus, in classrooms and in ...

Planning and launch of campus-wide, undergraduate major in sustainability

  • The Ohio State University (OH)

A campus-wide, undergraduate sustainability major was launched in Autumn semester 2012. Since then it has become one of the fastest growing majors on campus having enrolled over 70 students. A ...

Foothill College Sustainable Learning Community

  • Foothill College (CA)

As part of the President's Climate Commitment, the incorporation of sustainability into the general curriculum was identified as a campus goal. The Sustainable Learning Community project is not only ...

Implementation of a Student Sustainability Fund at Missouri State University

  • Missouri State University (MO)

The purpose of the Student Sustainability Fund (hereafter referred to as the SustainaFund) is to provide the means to implement student-initiated projects on the Missouri State University-Springfield campus that focus ...

Transitioning from Sustainability Planning to Meaningful Implementation

  • Ohio University (OH)

With the formal adoption of the Sustainability Plan occurring in Summer 2011 and the Climate Action Plan in Winter 2012, Ohio University is in its first year of transitioning from ...

Incorporating Sustainability Across the Entire Curricula

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BC)

In 2011, BCIT required all new and existing educational curricula to incorporate sustainability. This was achieved through a combination of changes in educational program development and review policies; capacity development ...

Communicating Carbon: Visualizing Energy Inputs, Activities, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • University of Oregon (OR)

Sustainability decision-making requires both accurate and informative data, and effective stakeholder communication. Higher education sustainability professionals must not only estimate energy inputs, activities, and greenhouse gas emissions data, they must ...

  • Posted April 30, 2013
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University of California, Santa Barbara Water Action Plan

  • University of California, Santa Barbara (CA)

The UCSB Water Action Plan (WAP) has three major project goals: determine historical and current campus water use in order to understand water use trends over time, identify and assess ...

  • Posted April 17, 2013
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Jones County Junior College Energy Conservation Program

  • Jones County Junior College (MS)

We have implemented a campus wide behavior based program along with the addition of electrical sub-metering and water/sewer irrigation advanced controls. We have also teamed with the U.S ...

BYU-Idaho Recycling Center Program

  • Brigham Young University, Idaho (ID)

The point of this project was to use the recycling facilities that have been established at BYU-Idaho to partner with the City of Rexburg and expand the recycling program to ...

  • Posted Nov. 19, 2012
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