Flowers, sunshine, art and science blend together seamlessly on a warm spring day at COA.Flowers, sunshine, art and science blend together seamlessly on a warm spring day at COA.

And here’s some good news.

Over the past few decades, more and more American colleges and universities are starting to walk the talk, integrating environmental stewardship into their dining halls, dorm buildings, student clubs, and most importantly – classrooms. This trend is significant because institutions of higher education are at the forefront of innovation and social change.

Sustainable colleges who both teach and implement sustainability are powerful influencers. They play a role in the shaping and development their student’s social values and awareness. Giving undergrads – the emerging leaders of our world – education and experience in the environmental field is vital to the sustainable future we know we need to build.

Although there are many to choose from, below are a few leaders in collegiate sustainability that we think are demonstrate models that we all can learn from.


1. College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Maine)

Sustainability is ingrained within the very foundation of the College of the Atlantic (COA). Indeed, “in 1969, COA’s founder’s intentions were clear: COA would be the first college in the U.S to have, as its primary focus, the relationship between humans and the environment”. The realization of this vision is evident throughout COA today, especially within their academic program, as human ecology is the sole major offered at this small institution of only 350 students…

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