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Campus Programs

A number of nonacademic campus programs provide core support functions for sustainability, including the Office of Sustainability and Outdoor Action. The unifying goal for these programs is to introduce all campus community members to the principles of sustainability and opportunities for action and engagement.

Goals & Progress

  1. Goal: Promote sustainable practices among University community members through education and by example.
    • One thousand Bisphenol A (BPA)-free and domestically produced water bottles were distributed to incoming freshmen in 2010, with a "Drink Local" logo and campus map printed on the bottle indicating locations of bottle filling stations.
    • In residence halls, almost 60 existing fountains and common room sinks were retrofitted with water bottle filling spouts during the summer of 2010.
    • Campus Green Tours were offered for the first time at Reunions 2010, led by Office of Sustainability staff and undergraduate students, with plans for expansion.
    • Since 2008, the Princeton Sustainability Committee has coordinated the awarding of grants from the High Meadows Foundation for 38 research, education and civic engagement projects.
    • The Office of Sustainability has partnered with other offices and groups to organize public events, such as the biennial Sustainability Open House planned for November 2010 for the campus and local community. Other meetings hosted include the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainabiilty (NJHEPS) meeting, the Ivy Plus Sustainability Committee meeting and the Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium meeting, which in 2008 attracted 150 campus sustainability professionals.
    • A pilot Sustainability Ambassador Program has been initiated by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with the Facilities Department to train staff members as advocates for sustainability in their home offices.
    • Office of Sustainability staff members in partnership with the Princeton Sustainability Committee have developed a new process for making policy recommendations to the University administration.
    • Sustainability staff members have worked to improve communication with the University community and the wider public (see Communication section).
    • Outdoor Action, the largest outdoor orientation program in the United States, enrolled 796 freshmen (60 percent of the class of 2014) from 40 countries in the pre-orientation program in 2010, which helps build environmental consciousness; 229 student trip leaders were trained in sustainability awareness
  1. Goal: Establish research apprenticeships and internships for students and postgraduates in the Office of Sustainability.
    • The Office of Sustainability has had more than 40 undergraduate interns over the past three years involved in projects including: Garden Project event coordination and publicity; serving as liaisons for interest areas such as campus energy and CO2, dining, landscaping, purchasing, transportation, water, waste minimization and recycling; updating the website, YouTube and Facebook pages, and developing the Sustainability Report; working with the U-Bikes and the CycLab bicycle cooperative; participating in the Student Environmental Communication Network; and serving as one of the Campus Ecology Representatives (Eco-Reps) or as a Green Campus Tour guide.
    • A new one-year full-time postgraduate fellowship funded by the High Meadows Foundation began in 2010 for a recent graduate interested in developing professional skills in the sustainability field prior to graduate school or other employment.

Forbes greenhouse

"Over the last four years, the garden project at Forbes College has been the product of wonderful collaboration between students, administration and facilities. Most recently, we've installed a new greenhouse, with the support of the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project and Grounds and Building Maintenance staff. The ties of our joint interest in seeing our garden flourish have grown stronger with each passing season."
—Patrick Caddeau, director of studies, Forbes College 

What's Next

  • Expand campus Green Tour options for visitors and the campus community.
  • Expand the Sustainability Ambassador Program into a campuswide endeavor to identify, appoint and train campus community members as environmental advocates and sustainability leaders for their home administrative departments.
  • Develop programs with the Office of Human Resources to begin to explore sustainability competencies as a component in performance evaluations and the learning and development curriculum.
  • Investigate the feasibility of a centrally located dedicated space for sustainability information and activities on campus, including relocation of the Office of Sustainability.

"My engagement with sustainability efforts at Princeton generated quite a lot of personal enjoyment and professional growth. I saw wonderful changes in food services, the school's purchasing program, its recycling efforts, its power plant and building plans — all headed by people who, remarkably, listened to our requests and said 'hm ... OK' instead of the much easier alternative. Not only did I finally find my niche of wonderful friends on campus, but I developed a host of professional skills. My experience with Greening Princeton actually helped me land a very exciting job right after school — as a science policy fellow in the government affairs office of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C."
—Barclay Satterfield GS'07

Combine in Kansas

Students on a Breakout Princeton civic engagement trip visited Greensburg, Kan., over the 2009 fall break to learn about how the small agricultural town is rebuilding sustainably after a devastating tornado. To learn more about the community, the Princeton students interacted with local residents in various settings and worked on a farm, where two of them  drove a combine. The Breakout Princeton program facilitates students learning about and taking action on issues of public significance in communities across the country.


Cindy Keith hydration station

Cindy Keith, a Sustainability Ambassador and mechanical quality assurance coordinator in Grounds and Building Maintenance, demonstrates how to use the new "hydration station" at the New South dance studios. In residence halls, almost 60 existing fountains and common room sinks were retrofitted with water bottle filling spouts during the summer of 2010.

Green tour

Shana Weber (in green jacket), manager of the Office of Sustainability, guided members of the class of 1985 through a new "green tour" of campus during Reunions. At this stop, Weber explained details about the Butler College green roof.