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

651
Total Resources
386
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.

651 resources

Columbia University transitions to electric intercampus buses to reduce emissions by 70%

  • Columbia University (NY)
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) (NY)
  • New Flyer (MB)

In 2018, Columbia University introduced six new battery-electric transit-style buses to its intercampus shuttle network as a way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from campus operations, improve local air ...


Eating Green

  • Harvard University (MA)

I created a guide to plant-based eating for students on Harvard's campus. Unfolding over the course of several months, this pamphlet translated into 2,000 hard copies and a ...


UC Irvine’s Transition from a Bio-Diesel to Electric Transit Fleet

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is the first college campus in the nation to transition to a fully-electric bus fleet. The student-funded and student-operated Anteater Express campus shuttle service ...


Climate Change Escape Room

  • Harvard University (MA)

In April 2019, the Resource Efficiency Program (REP) constructed and staffed a climate change themed escape room. Each minute in the room equated to four years of climate change impacting ...


STARS Report as a Framework for Campus Sustainability.

  • The University of Texas at Dallas (TX)

The Eco Rep program at the University of Texas at Dallas expanded campus sustainability efforts by using AASHE STARS reporting as a framework for new student run initiatives and projects ...


Creating a Culture of Sustainability Through Energy Conservation at Abilene Christian University

  • Abilene Christian University (TX)

Abilene Christian University (ACU) is a diverse, welcoming, academically rigorous community redefining what it means to be a Christian university in the 21st century. Our faith-based education goes beyond academics ...


BCIT’s Sustainable Infrastructure Project wins Envision Gold

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BC)

The North Campus Infrastructure Project (NCIP) at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Burnaby, British Columbia, is an ambitious and forward-thinking initiative that leverages the opportunity of infrastructure ...


Generating Positive Community Energy with Millersville University's Zero Energy Lombardo Welcome Center

  • Millersville University (PA)

Millersville University leveraged the positive energy performance, utility rebates and cost savings associated with its new zero energy Lombardo Welcome Center to establish a fund that supports community engagement related ...


University of Houston Tree Inventory

  • University of Houston (TX)

There is an old saying that to plant a tree is the most optimistic act a person can do. This is because it takes so long for trees to grow ...


Recycled Water Innovation at San Jose State University

  • San Jose State University (CA)

San Jose State University has a central plant that provides utilities (electricity, steam, and chilled water) to its main campus. It has been a customer of South Bay Water Recyclers ...


Starting a Sustainable Revolution in Campus Laboratories

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL)

UAB Green Labs Program is an institution-wide, voluntary program designed to reduce the university’s environmental footprint while simultaneously reducing operating costs of research buildings. The program accomplishes its goals ...


Addressing Compost Contamination Through Systems Thinking

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

Discover UW-Madison’s compost collection journey! The UW-Madison (UW) began composting its food scraps at its agricultural research station just off campus in 2009. Since then, the UW has overcome ...


The WinterGreen Project

  • University of Manitoba (MB)

Wintergreen Project aims to develop technology needed to address the Northern Food Crisis by using hydroponic technologies to grow food in a shipping container


A High Performance Campus Building at Ozyegin University

  • Ozyegin University
  • University of Zaragoza
  • Bg Mi̇marlik Müşavi̇rli̇k Li̇mi̇ted Şi̇rketi̇ (BDesign)
  • Fiba Holding
  • Fundacion Circe Centro De Investigacion De Recursos Y Consumos Energeticos (CIRCE)
  • DIRCO S.R.L.
  • SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut Ab (SP)
  • Vue Sur Mons S.A (VSM)
  • D´appolonia Spa (Dappo)
  • Acciona Infraestructuras S.A. (Acciona)
  • Université de Mons
  • Imprima Costruzioni Srl (Imprima)
  • Derome Hus Ab (Derome)
  • M5
  • Ingenieria Y Control Electronico, S.A. (Ingecon)
  • Bureau D'architectes Format D2 Sprl (FD2)
  • Intesasanpaolo Eurodesk S.P.R.L. (ISPE)

This AASHE application is about a high-performance energy-efficient sustainable building of The School of Foreign Languages (SCOLA) at the Ozyegin University (OzU) Campus as a sustainability initiative OzU has constructed ...


Founder, Students on Sustainability

  • University of Calgary (AB)

I founded Students on Sustainability, a student society at the University of Calgary that educates grade school students on sustainability topics linked to climate change, and supports student action projects ...


British Columbia (BC) Cool Campus Challenge

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BC)
  • University of British Columbia (BC)
  • Selkirk College (BC)
  • Thompson Rivers University (BC)
  • Simon Fraser University (BC)
  • University of British Columbia Okanagan (BC)

The BC Cool Campus Challenge (the Challenge) was launched in 2019 as a province-wide energy conservation challenge led by five post-secondary institutions in British Columbia, Canada. This was the first ...


Healthy Beverage Initiative: UBC Drinks Tap Water

  • University of British Columbia (BC)
  • University of British Columbia Okanagan (BC)

Bottled beverages are packaged in single-use plastic & often loaded with sugar. They're harmful to both our environment and our health.

UBC launched a Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) to ...


San Bernardino Community College’s Journey to sustainability and achieving Zero Net Energy

  • Arup (NY)
  • San Bernardino Community College District (CA)

In San Bernardino Community College District (SBCC) pursuit to lead the journey in sustainability, SBCC committed itself back in 2010 to a “Sustainability Plan”. This commitment started at its Crafton ...


Mail and Courier Sustainability Project

  • University of Rochester (NY)

Patricia Van Valkenburgh, University of Rochester Class of 2019, developed, implemented, and completed an initiative to reduce gas emissions from the University Mail Services (UMS) mail fleet, which had recently ...


Integrating Sustainability into Regional Accreditation Processes

  • Johnson County Community College (KS)

As part of its regional reaccreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission, Johnson County Community College has for the past several years participated in the Academic Quality Improvement Program, or ...


Seattle University’s Decision to Divest from Fossil Fuels

  • Seattle University (WA)

One of Seattle University’s largest accomplishments in sustainability leadership has been the university’s recent decision to divest from fossil fuels. In September 2018, after six arduous years of ...


University of Pittsburgh Student Office of Sustainability

  • University of Pittsburgh (PA)

The student office of sustainability was created in 2015, before the university of Pittsbugh had a campus wide sustainability office, which opened in 2018. Not only was the student office ...


UMCycle Bike Kiosk and Cycle Plaza

  • University of Manitoba (MB)

The UMCycle Bike Kiosk offers a four-season community bike shop where University students, faculty, staff and surrounding community can come together to get their bikes serviced; connect with other cycle ...


The Carleton Utility Master Plan: Transitioning a 100-year Legacy of Campus Steam to 21st Century Geothermal

  • Carleton College (MN)

The last time Carleton College made a major shift in its campus utilities was over 100 years ago with construction of the central plant in 1910. Before that, each building ...


Making the Most of Meals

  • Harvard University (MA)

Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) established a food donation program in 2014, which includes bulk donation of nutritious foods from residential dining buffets (approximately 27,000 pounds in 2017), as ...


Carpool Program

  • Santa Rosa Junior College (CA)

This carpool program was created to lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce traffic and single-occupancy driving, and increase parking availability in our overcrowded parking lots on campus. A pilot program was ...


Student Engagement in Sustainability at Northern Illinois University

  • Northern Illinois University (IL)

The Environmental Studies department and student community at Northern Illinois University have been engaged in a variety of sustainability initiatives. However, even with this focus on sustainability NIU does not ...


Styrofoam Densifying and Waste Diversion

  • Georgia State University (GA)

Styrofoam, one of the most unwieldy and uncooperative forms of waste, came to the forefront of Georgia State University’s sustainability concerns upon evaluating its large volume in the University ...

  • Posted April 29, 2019
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How Can Wolves & Ag Co-Exist? (Earth Day Event)

  • Feather River College (CA)

Feather River College's Sustainability Action Team hosts a Spring Sustainability Series. This year it culminated with an event called "How Can Wolves and Ag Co-Exist" in partnership with the ...

  • Posted April 29, 2019
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Tarrant County College Southeast Campus Aquaponics Cultivation Center and Wildlife Development

  • Tarrant County College Southeast (TX)

This is a massive, on-going project that we have been developing as a committee over the past 2 years. Right now, I am in the process of developing 2 miles ...

  • Posted April 29, 2019
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UW-Madison Reusable To Go Containers- Ticket to Take Out!

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (WI)

Beginning in Fall 2018, all University Housing Dining Markets moved exclusively to a reusable to-go container program for all carry-out food. The goal of this program, named Ticket to Take ...

  • Posted April 29, 2019
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Growing Sustainable Communities Together Through Leadership in Higher Education

  • Governors State University (IL)
  • Joliet Junior College (IL)
  • Lewis University (IL)
  • Moraine Valley Community College (IL)
  • Prairie State College (IL)
  • University of St. Francis (IL)

The South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC) is a unique partnership of 10 higher education institutions in the south metropolitan area of Chicago extending west to Joliet, south to Kankakee ...

  • Posted April 29, 2019
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Connecting Academic and Administrative Units through Sustainability Professional Development

  • University of California, Santa Cruz (CA)

The Sustainability Certificate program was developed in 2017-18 to foster meaningful dialog and empower leadership in sustainability among campus employees. The program connects a diversity of departments and initiatives engaged ...

  • Posted April 29, 2019
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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Zero Waste Program

  • University of Southern California (CA)

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has influenced generations across the world through events such as the Olympics, World Series, and Super Bowls as well as community events like papal and ...

  • Posted March 15, 2019
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Greening to campus Landscape

  • Pennsylvania State University (PA)

Convert the campus landscape maintenance equipment from gas electric

  • Posted March 6, 2019
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Harvard's Challenge: Institutional Green Power

  • Harvard University (MA)

This case study examines the options that Harvard University has for complying with one aspect of its Climate Action Plan, which was announced in February 2018. It specifically focuses on ...

  • Posted March 1, 2019
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Regional Centers of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development

  • Brookhaven College - DCCCD (TX)
  • Cedar Valley College - DCCCD (TX)
  • Mountain View College - DCCCD (TX)
  • Richland College - DCCCD (TX)
  • University of Texas at Arlington (TX)
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (TX)
  • The University of Texas at Dallas (TX)

Why UT Arlington Deserves the Excellence in Sustainability Award

Under the leadership of Office of Sustainability at the University of Texas at Arlington, North Texas was recognized on Feb 7 ...

  • Posted March 1, 2019
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PCC, Sustain Me! A Higher Education Sustainability & Environmental Justice Podcast

  • Portland Community College (OR)

This has been an ongoing project that has blossomed from a local/regional production and has now been promoted, recognized, listened to, and presentations have been given nationally and internationally ...

  • Posted Feb. 26, 2019
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Sustainability Competition and Interactive Map

  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)

This project was developed to accomplish grant deliverables focusing on campus education surrounding sustainability initiatives and upgrades to Illinois electrical infrastructure. The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Office of ...

  • Posted Dec. 11, 2018
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Global academic conferencing: A semi-virtual approach

  • University of Graz

Scholars and their institutions contribute significantly to global warming by flying to conferences. An intercontinental return flight in economy class can be compared with burning a ton of fossil carbon ...

  • Posted Sept. 12, 2018
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Water Audit: Campus Housing Residence Halls Restrooms

  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)

This project was set to evaluate the student residence restrooms of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) East and West campuses and to provide viable solutions to any problems ...

  • Posted Aug. 29, 2018
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Carbon Neutral Campus: Solar Research

  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)

This project was set out to analyze two UIC buildings, the Student Services Building and the Pharmacognosy Field Station, in order to determine their potential for solar energy along with ...

  • Posted Aug. 10, 2018
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Food Recovery At UIC

  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)

At the University of Illinois at Chicago's (UIC) dining facilities, there is much food that is prepared but not eaten. It goes to the landfill, but it could be ...

  • Posted Aug. 10, 2018
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UIC Campus Bike Rack Inventory

  • University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)

In the summer of 2018, this project was undertaken to inventory all bike racks at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Knowing for certain the capacities and locations of the ...

  • Posted Aug. 10, 2018
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University of Vermont Eco-Reps Greenride Bikeshare Campaign Case Study

  • University of Vermont (VT)

In early April of 2018, Burlington, Vermont, and the University of Vermont campus welcomed Greenride, a pilot regional bikeshare. Though long in the works, there was little student awareness of ...

  • Posted June 28, 2018
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Initiating STARS at Soka University of America

  • Soka University of America (CA)

In the Spring of 2016, our group of four Sustainability Committee student representatives came together and decided that our primary goal was to succeed in getting our university’s first ...


Walking the Talk: Applying Fair Trade Learning Principles to Alternative Breaks

  • Oregon State University (OR)

Alternative Breaks at Oregon State University: We integrate sustainability education and leadership via fair trade learning into our community-engaged learning/service-learning program.

Break away from apathy. Break away from the ...


Project Delta

  • University of Texas at El Paso (TX)
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World (CO)

Project Delta was created by ESW-UTEP to evaluate and enhance The University of Texas at El Paso's (UTEP's) current recycling system. This project is expected to be finalized ...


Creating a Composting Culture at Colorado State University

  • Colorado State University (CO)

As Colorado State University (CSU) students, many of us were drawn to this school because of its unique ability to institutionalize sustainability. However, during our time here, we have often ...


Project Juarez

  • University of Texas at El Paso (TX)
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World (CO)

When our phones are no longer aesthetically pleasing, we tend to either disregard or throw away our phones. The question is why? Essentially, we are throwing away a small computer ...