Sustainability in Higher Education: A Tremendous Opportunity

The sustainability movement in higher education comes as no surprise: a recent study showed that 64% of prospective college students felt that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college.1 Thus, many colleges across the country are making sustainability a priority in their teaching, research, student life, and campus operations.

To date, over 600 colleges and universities have committed through the Second Nature organization to take action on climate and to prepare students to solve the challenges of the 21st century. Also, over 600 institutions are members of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Institutions are recognizing that not only will sustainability initiatives protect our natural resources, they will also save money and enhance reputations.

With over 4,500 institutions of higher learning in the U.S. that are, quite simply, massive consumers of resources, there is a great opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the environment while educating students and improving workplace satisfaction.

Our in-depth experience working in the higher education sector uniquely situates us to help colleges and universities identify and implement sustainable solutions that will result in energy and water cost reductions, improved waste management and recycling, higher levels of active transportation to and from campus, and more engaged students who are better prepared for the future. 


Our Higher Education Clients

Over the last nine years, we have built great expertise in the higher education sector through working with institutions of varying size and complexity. The logos below represent a sampling of our higher education clients. 


Our higher education services include:

  • Sustainability Master Planning
  • Climate Resilience Assessment & Planning
  • Sustainability Engagement Survey & Assessment
  • Active Transportation Program Development
  • GHG Inventory Validation & Verification
  • Waste Reduction & Recycling Advising
  • Behavior Change Campaign Creation
  • STARS Benchmarking
  • Dining Services Advising
  • Sustainable Grounds Care Advising


More on Key Services

Sustainability Master Planning

Many clients come to us because they know they want to improve their sustainability efforts, but don’t know where to start, how to prioritize efforts or how to allocate resources. Our custom, in-depth planning process will get you to a place where your entire campus will feel energized about achievable new goals. We will help you recognize past successes, set benchmarks, identify key indicators that work for your campus, set new goals that capture the spirit of your institution, develop realistic and prioritized strategies to meet those goals, and finally deliver a complete Sustainability Master Plan that will guide your campus’s efforts for the next 10-15 years and beyond.

Climate Resiliency Planning

Forward-looking institutions know that they need to be prepared to weather future climate impacts. Our climate resiliency planning service invites your regional partners to engage in a process to identify climate change risks and vulnerabilities, create a campus/community resilience assessment, and make plans to ensure that your campus and community continue to thrive well into the 21st century.

Active Transportation Planning

Most campuses experience pain points around parking. Creating and implementing a program that increases the percentage of your campus community to use active transportation modes (bus, bike, walk or ride share) can result in enormous cost avoidances at delaying or preventing the construction of new parking infrastructure. And it can also improve student, faculty and staff satisfaction. We have a proven track record of helping our clients achieve measurable results in getting people out of their lonely cars— which happens to have health benefits, too.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

For many institutions, waste reduction and recycling is the highest area of need in their sustainability program. Waste management is much more complex than it may seem, and diverting materials so that they are recycled, re-used or composted comes with a huge set of challenges for any institution. We have helped dozens of clients work through their waste challenges successfully and put them on the path toward achieving their waste reduction goals.

We can help your college or university to become sustainable and resilient in a time of dynamic change. Contact us: Kim Morrow, Senior Associate, 402-405-9425.


1Princeton Review 2017 College Hopes & Worries Survey Report, Princeton Review, 2017.

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