Princeton University, with its distinguished faculty and dedicated staff, strives to integrate the principles of sustainability across all campus systems, from operations to academics, and to lead by accelerating implementation of sustainable solutions locally and globally. By engaging the campus as a living laboratory for sustainability, students are actively engaged with the local ecological, social and economic environment — a microcosm of global challenges and possible solutions — enhancing their educational experience and leadership potential.
To further these efforts, Princeton adopted a comprehensive Sustainability Plan in 2008, which grew out of collaborative efforts between the Princeton Sustainability Committee and the Office of Sustainability. In 2013, a renewed visioning and goal-setting process was launched based on recommendations endorsed by the Board of Trustees. An updated Sustainability Plan is anticipated for launch in 2015.
The Sustainability Plan identifies three priority areas — greenhouse gas emissions reduction; resource conservation; and research, education and leadership. As a key feature, Princeton has committed to reducing its absolute local greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 without the purchase of market offsets, and while expanding the campus population and square footage.
In 2013, Princeton published its fifth sustainability progress report. This report highlights improved and often award-winning operational performance trends in a number of key areas including carbon dioxide emissions, local and sustainable food purchases, waste reduction, alternative transportation incentives, integrated landscape and storm water management, and water usage. Academically, progress includes increasing development of and enrollment in sustainability-related courses, increased national and international sustainability internship participation, increasing numbers of students graduating with environment and sustainability-related certificates, and a newly launched Campus as Lab Innovation Fund for academic research.