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

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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.

658 resources

Learning Outcomes and Assessment for Undergraduate Students

  • James Madison University (VA)

James Madison University (JMU) developed student learning outcomes and a corresponding assessment instrument to measure the change in undergraduate students’ environmental stewardship reasoning and knowledge over time. In consultation with ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Cedar Valley College a Center of Excellence of Sustainability in South Dallas, TX.

  • Cedar Valley College - DCCCD (TX)

The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) consists of seven campuses enrolling 85,000 students from Dallas County and beyond. Cedar Valley College (CVC), one of the seven DCCCD campuses ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Brown's- A California Cafe

  • University of California, Berkeley (CA)

This August, Cal Dining opened brown’s- a california café. By design, over 80% of the ingredients used are sourced locally from within 250 miles of the UC Berkeley campus ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Institutional Framework for Student-Led Sustainability Initiatives

  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln (NE)

The Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) is a self-sustaining committee within the Association for Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN), otherwise known as UNL’s Student Government. The framework of ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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UTRGV Campus Tree Care Report: Proposal for sustaining a healthy and vibrant campus community forest

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (TX)

The benefits the forest will provide are myriad. Large trees give us a sense of place and belonging by ensuring landmarks for the future, and add aesthetic beauty to the ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Restructuring our Sustainability Advisory Committee to Increase Stakeholder Engagement and Advance Sustainability

  • Missouri State University (MO)

In support of the University’s Sustainability Vision Statement, the Sustainability Advisory Committee created four new subcommittees, corresponding to the major STARS categories: Academics, Engagement, Operations and Planning and Administration ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Fully Online MA in Sustainable Design Program

  • Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MN)

MCAD’s online Master of Arts in Sustainable Design (MASD) program was developed for busy working professionals and offers small classes, peer-to-peer interaction and engagement with renowned faculty. The program ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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UBC Okanagan Whole Systems Infrastructure Plan - Aspiring toward Regenerative Sustainability

  • University of British Columbia (BC)

This case study describes how UBC Okanagan created and leveraged an opportunity to develop an innovative, holistic campus sustainability plan that responds to UBC’s regenerative aspirations; what the Plan ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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The Learning Garden at Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Virginia Commonwealth University (VA)

Virginia Commonwealth University's Office of Sustainability has created a new, urban, Learning Garden that produces fruits and vegetables exclusively for donation. The garden was created in response to a ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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UMass Amherst Goes Solar All Over

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)

In early 2016, UMass Amherst became the first campus in the UMass System to install a solar parking lot canopy system on its campus. The project, located at the Robsham ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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Project Sin Fronteras

  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (TX)

Project Sin Fronteras is a project without borders, crossing institutional boundaries, and transforming sustainability concepts and practices into enriched curriculum and research. It provides a two-pronged approach to education for ...

  • Posted June 10, 2016
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The Virginia Tech Green RFP Program

  • Virginia Tech (VA)

Student engagement is an important factor in advancing sustainability at Virginia Tech. The University created the “Request for Proposal for Sustainability Initiatives from Student Organizations Program (Green RFP Program)” to ...

CPS Café – Sustainable Food Service Operation

  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (WI)

The CPS Café is an eatery operated mainly by students across campus and is a unique food service business open to the public. It is a program within the College ...

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Bike Share Program

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

In 2014 a student group researched transportation alternatives on campus and recommended a community bike share program. In 2015, another student group further developed the bike share option by conducting ...

Social Impact Solar

  • California State University, East Bay (CA)

Poverty, inequality, and environmental sustainability are the biggest issues facing humanity today. Located in the richest state in the nation, with the nation’s most aggressive renewable energy programs, Cal ...

Implementing Sustainability in the Classroom at Université Laval

  • Universite Laval (QC)

Université Laval has embraced a global approach to sustainability education. Although sustainability has been addressed in the classroom by individuals in the past, it is now being articulated with a ...

Ohio University Move-Out Sustainability Project

  • Ohio University (OH)

Each year during student Move Out week, Ohio University's Department of Recycling and Zero Waste partners with the City of Athens, Athens Hocking Recycling Center, local businesses, community non-profit ...

Lowell Canal Bridges TIGER Grant: Campus-Community Partnerships Leveraging Transformative Change

  • University of Massachusetts Lowell (MA)

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) is a fast growing university nestled within our host community of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts. Lowell enjoys an authentic urban character structured ...

Assessing Student Sustainability Knowledge

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

To improve sustainability knowledge of undergraduates, CSUN has added course offerings in sustainability in recent years. In order to assess the baseline knowledge of the general student population and the ...

Western's Water Management Program

  • Western University (ON)

Western University has over 90 buildings and most of them didn’t have a water meter. Only those buildings with a direct feed from the City had a meter. In ...

University of Minnesota, Morris student leads implementation of the Student Engagement Leadership Forum on Sustainability (SELFsustain) across the University of Minnesota-system

  • University of Minnesota, Crookston (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (MN)
  • University of Minnesota, Rochester (MN)

The University of Minnesota (U of M) is leading the way in cultivating student-driven sustainability leadership across Minnesota -- from the prairies to Lake Superior. For five years, U of M ...

University of La Verne Sustainability Challenge 2016

  • University of La Verne (CA)

University of La Verne organized a Sustainability Challenge with the theme of electricity conservation in Spring of 2016 to promote sustainability for the campus community at large.

Encouraging a Culture of Laboratory Sustainability: A Case Study from the University of Texas at Austin

  • University of Texas at Austin (TX)

Labs comprise about 20% of the floor area at the University of Texas at Austin but account for an estimated 30% of the campus energy consumption. Furthermore, they generate large ...

CSUN's Approach to Water Conservation Through an Irrigation System Upgrade

  • California State University, Northridge (CA)

California State University, Northridge is located in Southern California, an arid region that has been in a drought for several years. With the drought conditions continuing all Californians have been ...

Development of a Carbon Capital Methodology for use by the Higher Education Community

  • Ball State University (IN)

Over a multiyear period, Ball State University collaborated in the development and piloted the implementation of a new methodology by which colleges and universities can qualify their carbon reduction credits ...

Avoiding Chemical Flame Retardants on Campus

  • Harvard University (MA)

Harvard University’s Sustainability Plan, created in partnership with faculty, students, and staff, is rooted in a sustainable development vision focused on enhancing community and individual well-being within and across ...

Raise Your Voice: Environmental Justice at Capilano

  • Capilano University (BC)

The idea for this event was to have an open idea sharing and focusing event regarding sustainability and environmental justice on campus. It was a chance to bring students together ...

Sustainable Carolina Farm and Garden Hydroponics

  • University of South Carolina (SC)

Sustainable Carolina is a student run organization within the University of South Carolina, working to better our campus by making it more sustainable. We work with students, staff, professors, and ...

Sustainability Slam – My city is greener than yours

  • University of Saskatchewan (SK)

The purpose of the activity is to encourage creative and imaginative storytelling as well as interdisciplinary thinking using both art and science, in order to inspire greener innovations for our ...

Carbon Neutral ExpoSaludable Fair Event in Bolivia

  • Berea College (KY)

We calculated the carbon emissions released during the ExpoSaludable fair in Bolivia to offset our footprint by planting trees in Santa Cruz, the city where the event takes place. The ...

Sustainability Peer Educator Program - Simon Fraser University

  • Simon Fraser University (BC)

Program Vision: Students are confident, informed, and active sustainability leaders who have the skills and experience to advance sustainability at and beyond SFU.

The Sustainability Peer Education program empowers students ...

Serenity "Soul"-ar: A Campus-Community Collaboration in North Philadelphia

  • Swarthmore College (PA)

Serenity Soular is a campus-community partnership between community leaders in North Philadelphia and a group of faculty and students at Swarthmore College. Committed to keeping the ‘soul’ in sustainability, our ...

Sustainable Fleet at Yale University

  • Yale University (CT)

At Yale University, transportation is vital to the University's operation. Fleet Management is a department that has gone to tremendous lengths to provide exceptional transit services for the entire ...

Unifying Campus Efforts in Pursuit of Green Restaurant Certification at UC Irvine's East Food Court

  • University of California, Irvine (CA)

UC Irvine's East Food Court became a Certified Green Restaurant on November 5, 2015 and upgraded its certification from 2-Star to 3-Star on April 22, 2016 through significant interdepartmental ...

SLU Energy Madness

  • Saint Louis University (MO)

SLU Energy Madness was a multi-month event involving all residence halls on SLU’s campus. While all residence halls were included, in order to participate each residence hall needed at ...

From in-vessel campus composting to sustainable urban farming: connecting science with education and community service

  • Kean University (NJ)

Kean University runs a food scrap composting program with a custom-designed in-vessel composter capable of composting up to 1000 pounds of food scraps per day. It diverts food scraps from ...

Stash It, Don’t Trash It Move-Out Reuse Initiative

  • College of Saint Benedict (MN)

As the semester nears its end, students from all over campus pitch their unwanted items to the curb. These items range from unopened soup cans to couches and mini fridges ...

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 Higher Education (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 ...