Sustainability on Campus

Even CU squirrels recycle on campus

The University of Colorado Boulder has a long history of global leadership in sustainability. From being the first university to establish a recycling program, to being the first university to rank “gold” through the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS). Partners on the campus include the Environmental Center, the Office of Campus Sustainability, Facilities Management, Housing & Dining Services, students, faculty, staff and community members.

CU-Boulder's Recycle CenterEnvironmental Center

Established in 1970, the student-powered Environmental Center (EC) catalyzes and facilitates sustainable culture and practices at CU-Boulder. Striving for environmental restoration, social justice and economic vitality, the Environmental Center’s purpose is to:

  • Innovate. The EC fosters new ideas for implementing sustainability.
  • Educate. The EC informs the campus and community.
  • Empower. The EC enables sustainability leadership.
  • Collaborate. The EC cultivates sustainability programs in coordination with campus and community partners.
  • Leverage. The EC adds significant financial resources and value.

The center provides direct services to the university community, including the recycling program, the student bus pass and bicycle programs, and energy conservation and renewable energy programs. The center engages in the community with sustainability training, environmental justice, earth education and educational events.

Campus sustainability tour mapCampus Sustainability Tour

  • Wolf Law: This building was one of the first LEED Gold certified buildings on campus. The building, compared with an average building of its size, has seen cost savings of up to $250,000 per year because of energy and water efficient technologies, building systems and controls. 
  • Center for Community (C4C): The Center for Community is LEED  Gold certified. The building includes LED lighting, low-flow bathroom fixtures, evaporative cooling, maximal use of natural lighting, regional materials, materials  made of recycled content or rapidly renewable materials, Energy Star rated kitchen equipment, a pulper used to capture food waste for composting. 83 percent of C4C construction waste was recycled.
  • Williams Village North: The Will Vill North residence hall - completed in 2011 - is the first LEED Platinum building on campus and one of the first LEED Platinum residence halls of its size in the nation. The building is home to two sustainability oriented residential academic  programs for students, and also boasts native landscaping, water re-use, and a solar panel carport.\

Chancellor plugging in his hybrid carCommuting and Getting Around Campus

CU-Boulder is listed as one of the BEST Workplaces for CommutersSM (Colleges and Universities) for our efforts in exploring and supporting environmentally-friendly commuting travel options.

Environmental Health & Safety

The Environmental Health and Safety department at the University of Colorado at Boulder provides comprehensive environmental, health and safety services to minimize health and safety impacts to the campus and the greater Boulder community. EH&S accomplishes this through training, consultation and partnership with members of the campus community as well as with local, state and federal agencies.

Dining Services

A variety of programs are in place to support this initiative in Housing & Dining Services and we continue to expand options each year. Below you can find out What We Do as well as finding out What You Can Do to assist in sustainability efforts.

Ralphie's Green Stampede

The Ralphie’s Green Stampede is a zero-waste and carbon-reduction program at Folsom Field, home of the Colorado Buffaloes Football Team. A collaboration between the Environmental Center and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the program goal is to move toward zero-waste at Folsom Field during the football season and invest in local carbon-reduction projects to match energy used to power the stadium, for team travel and other football-related energy use. 

Sustainable Purchasing Program

The purpose of the Sustainable Purchasing Program is to serve the university community by educating, advising and engaging students, faculty and staff in the application of ecological principles to achieve sustainable purchasing solutions.

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