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

724
Total Resources
420
Organizations
17
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.

724 resources

Student's Club Revolutionized the Meaning of Green at a Community College!

  • Cedar Valley College - DCCCD (TX)

There was a mayor change at Cedar Valley College’s (CVC) Sustainability Office this academic year. All the Sustainability Awareness events were developed and delivered by the Student’s Green ...


Greenspace Sustainability Design Town Halls and Make-A-Thon: A model for empowering campus communities to lead the design of sustainable spaces and places

  • University of Central Florida (FL)

A team of students at the University of Central Florida (UCF) (Orlando, Florida) led a partnership between UCF Student Government, the UCF Office of Sustainability Initiatives, and UCF Landscaping and ...


Herbicide-Free LMU

  • Loyola Marymount University (CA)
  • Herbicide Free Campus (CA)

The project represented in this case study is Herbicide-Free LMU, a campaign I started at LMU under Herbicide-Free Campus. With a slow beginning as the sole campaign leader, I worked ...


Committing UC Berkeley to the Strongest Plastic Ban in the Country

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)
  • CALPIRG Students (CA)

CALPIRG Students, a student-run public interest nonprofit, ran and won their campaign to commit UC Berkeley to eliminate all non-essential single-use plastic by 2030. This is the strongest plastic ban ...


Office of Sustainability Living Lab Case Study

  • Gonzaga University (WA)
  • Gonzaga Sustainable Energy (WA)

The Gonzaga University Office of Sustainability is the living lab for testing renewable energy technologies on Gonzaga’s campus. The purpose of this student initiative is to push for renewable ...


Creating a Digital Environmental Justice Toolkit

  • University of Connecticut (CT)

With the help of University of Connecticut (UConn) students, staff and faculty members, and local and national rights-based organizations, I created an environmental justice toolkit. This novel toolkit addresses what ...


Housing Sustainability Assistants - Compost Pilot

  • Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

Carnegie Mellon University’s Housing Sustainability Assistants team supported a 4-week composting pilot within on-campus housing to ensure successful composting implementation in the future. The student team was tasked with ...


Herbicide-Free Campus: UCSB

  • Herbicide Free Campus (CA)

This project sought to reduce synthetic herbicide use on the UC Santa Barbara Campus. There were three main aspects of this project: meeting with groundskeepers, passing resolutions in the student ...


Sustainable Food and Dining: Swat2Go 2019-2020 Final Report

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

The Swat2Go reusable container pilot program was developed to avoid and reduce waste through the implementation of this reusable container pilot program. Over the course of the last year, this ...


St. Lawrence University Green Café Farm To Table Course

  • St. Lawrence University (NY)

St. Lawrence University's student-run Green café class is a collaborative and multi-stakeholder venture with Dining Services, Seed to Table (student food justice club), undergraduates from across disciplines, and three ...


Expanding Sustainability: University of California, Santa Cruz’s Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program featuring the “Intersections Between Diversity & Environment” course

  • University of California, Santa Cruz (CA)

The UC Santa Cruz Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program (DICP) educates staff, faculty, and graduate students to undertake in-depth examinations of how we, through recognizing and understanding of our differences ...


Final Project Report: Crum Woods

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Purpose of the Project: To increase student, faculty, staff, and community member engagement and safety in Crum Woods, as well as continue to implement the 10-year Crum Woods Restoration and ...


Swarthmore President's Sustainability Research Fellowship - Increasing Opportunities for Involvement with the Office of Sustainability

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Purpose: To increase engagement with sustainability on campus by thinking about ways to improve existing internships, imagining new ways for students and student groups to get involved, and utilizing our ...


Engaging campus and beyond: The Aldo Leopold Distinguished Lecture Series

  • University of Northern Iowa (IA)

The Aldo Leopold Distinguished Lecture Series (ALDLS) was established in 2018 with the goal of engaging the University of Northern Iowa community, providing opportunities throughout the academic year to interact ...


STARS: A Student Reports for Duty

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Project Name: STARS Name: Jasmine Xie Project Mentors: Carr Everbach, Brenna Leary Project Board Members, Faculty Advisor, and Sustainability Sage: Jason Martin, Andy Feick, Pattie Kim-Keefer, Sibelan Forrester, Heather Hassel-Finnegan ...


Serve-Learn-Sustain's Affiliated Courses Program at Georgia Tech

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (GA)

The Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) Affiliated Courses Program is the centerpiece of sustainability education at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The program launched in Spring 2016 along with the opening of the ...


Priming the Sustainability Talent Pipeline: Indiana Sustainability Development Program

  • Indiana University Bloomington (IN)
  • Indiana University Kokomo (IN)
  • Indiana University South Bend (IN)
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) (IN)

The Indiana Sustainability Development Program (ISDP) is a privately funded sustainability workforce development initiative led by Sustain IU (the Office of Sustainability at Indiana University), which pairs students with organizations ...


Multi-Campus Collaboration Kickstarts Solar Project to Cut 100% of GHG Emissions from Electricity

  • Dickinson College (PA)
  • Lafayette College (PA)
  • Lehigh University (PA)
  • Muhlenberg College (PA)

Four independent colleges and universities in Pennsylvania collaborated to explore renewable energy solutions, develop a strategy, and implement a combination of onsite and large-scale offsite projects that will result in ...


Palo Alto College Community Garden

  • Palo Alto College (TX)

The Palo Alto Community Garden opened in October of 2019 as a space to grow food, cultivate community, and improve food security for the greater Palo Alto Community.


First Net Zero Carbon Building certification for a retrofit in Canada: Humber College NX building

  • Humber College (ON)

Located in the center of Humber’s North Campus in Toronto, Building NX has transformed from one of the campus’ most inefficient buildings, to an industry-leading example of zero carbon ...


Toxic Art: Sustainable Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage for Pigment Production

  • Ohio University (OH)
  • Rural Action (OH)

This exemplary sustainability project utilizes an Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)-to-Paint Pigment treatment technology developed by Guy Riefler and John Sabraw at Ohio University to simultaneously benefit the environment, the ...


Brown University's Thermal Efficiency Project

  • Brown University (RI)
  • Ecosystem Energy Services (MA)

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.

The campus undertook the ...


The Free Store: A centre for re-use & recycling at the University of Ottawa

  • University of Ottawa (ON)

The University of Ottawa’s Residences had a problem with waste. Large dumpsters would fill with valuable and reusable items every spring and fall when students moved out. These items ...


Building Trust and Community: The Transformative Experience of the Green Revolving Fund at Agnes Scott College

  • Agnes Scott College (GA)
  • Sustainable Endowments Institute (MA)
  • Second Nature (MA)
  • City of Decatur (GA)

Agnes Scott College initiated the college’s Green Revolving Fund (GRF) in 2011 as a practical solution to a common challenge shared by colleges and universities that have committed to ...


Pitt Hydroponics

  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)

Pitt Hydroponics is a student group that is dedicated to the education of Pitt students in hydroponic practices, the outreach to local communities, and the research and creation of small-scale ...


Access MIT: A sustainable free ride

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA)

In 2016, MIT set out to reduce parking demand on campus by 10 percent over two years with the launch of Access MIT. The program represented a first-of-its-kind, research-based approach ...


“Converting Miami University’s Goggin Ice Center from Steam to Heating Hot Water & HP Chiller: Reduced Energy Use, Carbon Emissions and Utility Costs

  • Miami University (OH)

We recognize that this innovative large scale project is replicable only at other universities that have ice arenas. Ice arenas tend to be very energy intensive. We show that converting ...


The James Madison University Student Assessment Initiative

  • James Madison University (VA)

Between 2009 and 2020, JMU implemented a comprehensive collection of student assessments and used the results to significantly advance sustainability efforts. Three question sets were, and continue to be, administered ...


“#ACGGoesPlasticFree Campaign: ACG Cares for a plastic-free future!”

  • The American College of Greece (Aghia Paraskevi)

The #ACGGoesPlasticFree Campaign is an ongoing project that was launched in July 2018 by the ACG Center of Excellence for Sustainability (CES) which operates under the Office of Public Affairs ...


EchoWorks: An Electronics Recycling Community Partnership

  • Western Dakota Technical Institute (SD)

EchoWorks is a social enterprise that recycles electronic waste and employs people with disabilities. Located on the campus of Western Dakota Tech, a community college in Rapid City, South Dakota ...


Pop-Up People's Pantry- Feeding those in need in response to COVID-19

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

The Pop-Up People's Pantry at the 18th St. People's Garden popped up in response to COVID-19 to feed our food insecure community healthy and nutritious food, predominantly fresh ...


No Food Left Behind: A free text service to reduce food insecurity and food waste

  • University of California, Merced (CA)

No Food Left Behind is a free text messaging service that connects students, staff and faculty at the University of California, Merced to events that might have food leftover. People ...


Loyola University Chicago's Student-run Biodiesel Lab

  • Loyola University Chicago (IL)

The Searle Biodiesel Lab is a student-run initiative within Loyola University Chicago’s Institute for Environmental Sustainability (IES). Since 2007, the lab has produced biodiesel and BioSoap(Loyola’s all-natural ...


How to Start a Green Greeks Club on Any Campus

  • Arizona State University (AZ)
  • Arizona State University at the Polytechnic Campus (AZ)

Historically, Greek Life and Sustainability Organizations have been disconnected from each other on college campuses. This is the odd reality despite the fact that the two groups share many of ...


Sustainability Activation Program at the University of Dayton

  • University of Dayton (OH)

The Sustainability Activation Program (SAP) is a peer-to-peer education program which takes a holistic and human rights oriented approach to sustainability education on campus and in the community. It began ...


Vision 2020 Climate & Sustainability Action Plan (2017-2020)

  • McGill University (QC)

Vision 2020: Climate & Sustainability Action Plan 2017-2020 (hereinafter ‘Vision 2020’ or the ‘Action Plan’)—McGill’s second sustainability strategy and the first to incorporate climate action—institutionalized concrete initiatives ...


SDG Week

  • University of British Columbia (BC)

SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Week [https://sustain.ubc.ca/sdg] was a week-long occasion at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus that consisted of ten multidisciplinary events—six ...


UVA’s Equity & Environment Fund: Catalyzing student-driven, intersectional projects that connect and advance the work of community leaders

  • University of Virginia (VA)

Historically, many UVA student-led projects focused on the environmental issues of sustainability, without much connection or thought to how these projects connect or address social or equity issues. To help ...


PSRF Final Project Report: Climate Community

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Mission

The Climate Community President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship (PSRF) project is dedicated to generating an engaged and purposeful climate community at Swarthmore College. This means breaking the mold of ...


Transportation Project Final Report

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Project Name: Transportation Project Project Mentors: Anthony Coschignano and Greg Brown Project board members, faculty advisor, and sustainability sage: Anthony Coschignano, Greg Brown, Chris Kane, Alice Turbiville, Brenna Leary, Rachel ...


Diversity Food Services: Leading the Way on Socially and Environmentally responsible Campus Dining in Canada

  • University of Winnipeg (MB)

The University of Winnipeg Campus Sustainability Office would like to nominate Diversity Food Services for an AASHE Campus Sustainability Achievement Award.

Diversity Food Services is a joint venture of the ...


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

  • Earth Day Network (DC)

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 ...