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Greening Princeton
Promoting Environmental Sustainability at Princeton University



  • "Do It in the Dark" Energy-Saving Competitions: In fall 2008 and spring 2009, Greening Princeton collaborated with SURGE to host two week-long energy-saving competitions between the residential colleges - the first between Rocky and Mathey, and the second between Forbes and Whitman. During these weeks, energy usage was monitored in the buildings of both colleges and students were encouraged to take small steps to conserve more energy (such as turning off the lights when leaving the room, unplugging unused electronics, closing the windows when the heat was running, and more). Greening Princeton and SURGE also hosted energy-saving study breaks, in which students took an opportunity to turn off all the electronics and lights in their rooms and come to a study break to talk about more ways to conserve energy.
  • Sponsored a student-initiated seminar for Fall 2006 to investigate ways Princeton can substantially reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.  The class is being offered in the Environmental Studies Program and taught by Dr. Tom Kreutz of the Princeton Environmental Institute.  Look back for more announcements and their exciting conclusions!
  • Coordinated meeting between Princeton University faculty experts in climate change and engineering administrators to discuss long-term energy goals.
  • Educational campaign to promote purchase and use of electric carts instead of gas-powered carts for within-campus transportation, 2004-2005.  See the PEOC, linked here, website for a comparison of gas-powered and electric carts.  
  • Educational campaign on conserving energy by closing hood sashes on variable-flow fume hoods, 2004-2005.
  • Worked with administration to research alternative (wind/solar) energy options.
  • Meeting with Housing Department about Energy Star appliances in on-campus housing, fall 2004. They agreed to purchase Energy Star refrigerators for all graduate student apartments (Energy Star appliances were already being phased in for many cases, including laundry machines and rented MicroFridges).


  • "Trayless" Dining: In spring 2009, Greening Princeton advocated for Princeton Dining Services to remove trays from their dining halls. The group presented a study that demonstrated the substantial environmental and economic benefits that trayless dining can provide: 25 other colleges and universities across the country had reduced their food waste generation by 25-30% and saved up to $5,000 from reduced water and energy usage in their first year of removing trays from their dining halls. Greening Princeton helped Dining Services conduct two pilot trayless dining nights at Forbes College, in which Dining Services monitored changes in food waste, water, and energy usage and Greening Princeton members manned a table at the dining hall entrance to educate students on the benefits of trayless dining and took a survey to gauge student support for the initiative. Once students were informed of the impressive benefits of trayless dining, 81% said that they supported the switch. Greening Princeton conducted a campus-wide publicity campaign to inform the student body of these benefits and help Dining Services make a smooth transition to removing trays. As of summer 2011, all campus dining halls will be "trayless".
  • Sponsored a student-initiated seminar offered by the Program in Environmental Studies entitled "Farm to Fork: The State of America's Food System Today." It was taught in Spring 2007 by Professor Deborah Popper.
  • Purchasing changes in Dining Services that include serving more

    Specific examples include:
    • focus on purchasing local seasonal produce
    • changes to more than 20 seafood items
    • switching to organic spring salad mix
    • switching to organic tofu
    • switching from bleached to unbleached white flour
    • adding two organic cereals
    • adding two loaves of organic bread
    • and serving Fair Trade coffee

    in ALL dining halls. See Dining Services' Environmental Impact website for more details.
  • Assisted with establishing Princeton Dining Services as a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Partner (starting in 2006).
  • Vendors now submit bids on organic and local products weekly to Dining Services, indicating the high level of institutional interest in these products.
  • Annual distribution of reusable mugs to all freshmen to help reduce container waste. 
  • Campus-wide beverage discount for reusable mug use at all Dining Services locations, starting fall 2003.  Reusable mugs were used in beverage purchases on campus more than 3,000 times from September, 2005 to March, 2006.  
  • Educational table tents in dining halls on the benefits of organic food and eco-friendly seafood.
  • Educational campaigns on eco-friendly food in the dining halls associated with Special Dinners highlighting sustainable items.  Special Dinners highlighted organic food in winter 2003 and antibiotic-free meat in winter 2005.
  • Meetings with representatives from several vendors to discuss environmentally-friendly food, including:
    • Seaburst Farms/Aquaculture Systems to discuss local, chemical-free, grain-fed, sustainably farmed tilapia, winter 2006.  
    • Bell & Evans Chicken to discuss antibiotic-free meat, winter 2005.  
    • M. Slavin & Sons (the largest seafood vendor on the east coast) to discuss and provide educational material on environmental and health issues related to seafood, winter 2003.
    • General Mills’ organic division and their main institutional representative.
    • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey to discuss University options for purchasing from local producers, winter 2003.
  • Submitted dining report on antibiotic-free meat, organic food, sustainable seafood, local food, and fair-trade coffee to the Priorities Committee in spring 2003 (in collaboration with Dining Services).






  • Creating a forum for undergrads, grad students, faculty, administrators, and alumni to work together as one group towards common goals.
  • Helped the Princeton Environmental Institute plan, produce, publicize and execute the first Bert G. Kerstetter '66 Environmental Lecture Series entitled "Food, Ethics, and the Environment" on November 16th and 17th, 2006. The Conference was very well attended and featured Michael Pollan, Peter Singer, Marion Nestle, Eric Schlosser, Gary Nabhan, and other notable speakers in two days dedicated to an ethical and environmentally responsible food system. This conference was sponsored by the PEI, the University Center for Human Values, and the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. Click here to see the posters: (corn, pigs, fish, farmer) Click here for the write-up about it in the Princeton Environmental Institute's Newsletter.
  • On the eve of the conference, Princeton University students were treated to a preview screening of Fast Food Nation (based on the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser '81) at the James M. Stewart '32 Theater at the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. The audience of Princeton University students then stayed for a question and answer session conducted by Professor Peter Singer with Eric Schlosser '81 and Film Director, Rick Linklater.
  • Worked with university, especially the PEOC, to create a Sustainability Manager position at Princeton in 2006.  Shana Weber started in June!  Check out the press release.
  • Helped start EcoReps - student employees of the Facilities Department who educate their peers on green living and keep track of recycling performance.  Click here for the 2006-2007 job announcement.
  • We had a table at "Open Doors" at John Witherspoon School about sustainable food on Princetonís campus on Saturday afternoon, 10/14/2006.  (Picture below).  It was a great opportunity to get Bent Spoon ice cream, treats from Mediterra, meet the local food community, and enjoy a sunny fall afternoon.
  • Ali Kelley, Peter Ryan, and Katy Andersen went to Riverside on 9/25/2006 to teach 350 elementary school students about recycling. (Picture below)  Pete dressed up in a trash bag replete with trash glued all over it and the got message across. We will be going to different classrooms there in the near future for some more in depth recycling/environmental discussions. See more:

  • Manned a Sustainability Table at the fall 2006 move in, handing out Guides to Living Green at Princeton, green candy, and Monterey Bay Sustainable Seafood Selectors as students arrived to get their keys and parking permits.  All told, we distributed 2300 green guides and 7 lbs of candy.  Freshmen also got reusable mugs from Dining Services, for which they get a $0.25 discount on beverages around campus.  We stuffed those mugs with Seafood Selectors and fliers.
  • Sponsored panel discussion on "Future Directions for Environmentalism at Princeton" held Friday, June 2nd.   Panelists included Bill Andersen (’81, founder of the Phoenixville Farmers' Market and the Charlestown Farm Center), Darcy Copeland (’06, student Recyclemania coordinator), Marty Johnson (’81, president of Isles, Inc.), and Prof. Steve Pacala (EEB, director of the Princeton Environmental Institute).  
  • Co-sponsored (with the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Pace Center) a panel discussion on "In Whose Backyard?  A conversation about environmental justices problems at home and abroad, and what we can do about them" held February 23, 2006.
  • Sponsored panel discussion on "Environmentalism at Princeton and Beyond" held during Reunions, May 27th, 2005.  Panelists including George Hawkins ('83, faculty at the Woodrow Wilson School), Becky Goldburg ('80, senior scientist at Environmental Defense), Chris Kim ('95, faculty in Physical Sciences at Chapman University), Steph Tatham ('04, Project '55 fellow for Environmental Defense), Ilya Fischhoff (GS), and Christina Harris ('05) .  
  • Co-sponsored a panel discussion on “Consumer Choice and the Environment” held April 3, 2003.
  • Annual educational outreach for Earth Day & Communiversity.
  • Educational campaign with fliers posted in bathroom stalls on water use, energy use, and recycling on campus.

  • Visit our downloads page for educational fliers and posters.