As a major university with a distinguished faculty committed to studying and finding solutions to the global climate problem and environmental degradation, Princeton is seeking to shape the national sustainability agenda and to promote environmental leadership on its campus. Moreover, the University has a goal of preparing its students to do their part to protect the planet’s natural resources for future generations.
To further these efforts, Princeton adopted a Sustainability Plan in 2008, which envisions the campus as both a model for advanced sustainability practices and as a laboratory for students and faculty to test new ideas and approaches. The Sustainability Plan grew out of collaborative efforts between the Princeton Sustainability Committee, established in 2002 by President Tilghman, and the Office of Sustainability, established in 2006.
The Sustainability Plan identifies three priority areas—greenhouse gas emissions reduction; resource conservation; and research, education, and civic engagement. In 2009, Princeton published its first sustainability progress report. Some of the accomplishments reported include: decreasing campus carbon dioxide emissions without the purchase of offsets; increasing membership in carpool and vanpool incentive programs; adoption of a campus electric vehicle policy; conversion of most campus residential dining facilities to tray-free; reduction in overall campus water usage and campus waste; and increased local food and sustainable food purchases.
In the areas of teaching and research, progress includes increasing connections between faculty/graduate research and undergraduate education related to sustainability, a major increase in enrollment in the environmental studies certificate program, more than 50 courses addressing sustainability, and domestic and international internships in sustainability.
Sustainability education, research, and civic engagement are also among the target areas of the University’s current fundraising campaign. Recent gifts include a four-year funding commitment for new initiatives from the High Meadows Foundation and a $100 million gift to establish the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment within the School of Engineering and Applied Science.