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Research, Education & Civic Engagement


Princeton is uniquely positioned to advance research and public discourse on environmental, ecological, social and economic sustainability on campus, in the local community and across the nation. Faculty research and teaching — including initiatives that engage the campus as a laboratory for new ideas — will reap exponential environmental benefits. Investments in research and education are arguably the most effective way that Princeton can use its resources to make a global impact. By engaging students in sustainability research and other environmental initiatives, the University aims to prepare them for lives of leadership and active civic engagement in a time when such commitment is critical to achieving a sustainable future. Princeton also aims to promote sustainable practices among all University and community members through education and communication and by example.

Freshman seminar
Craig Arnold (center), an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, leads a freshman seminar, "Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future," in which students learn about opportunities and challenges related to the development of sustainable technologies.

The strategies employed to reach the goals are included in the following four priority areas:

  • Research & Education: Broaden and increase interdisciplinary academic and research opportunities in sustainability in graduate and undergraduate education; instill awareness in students regarding their responsibilities as global citizens through international study, research and service; support research endeavors that use the campus as a laboratory, linking operational and academic departments.
  • Student Initiatives: Facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration among environment- and sustainability-focused student clubs and through the Princeton Environmental Network (PEN); foster student-run residential college initiatives in sustainability; encourage diverse student-generated sustainability services, outreach and events, and maintain a dedicated calendar for those activities.  
  • Campus Programs: Raise sustainability awareness through outreach, events and campus tours; develop and facilitate a Universitywide "Drink Local" initiative to encourage tap water consumption across campus; coordinate the awarding of sustainability grants from the High Meadows Foundation; develop and facilitate a staff Sustainability Ambassador Program; establish research apprenticeships and employment opportunities for students and postgraduates in the Office of Sustainability; build environmental consciousness among incoming students through the Outdoor Action and Community Action programs. 
  • Communication: Publicize campus sustainability news and events through the offices of Sustainability and Communications; create opportunities for members of the campus and broader community to share knowledge and engage with Princeton sustainability initiatives; participate in core higher education leadership groups to share knowledge on successful sustainability strategies; facilitate the Student Environmental Communication Network.