History of Sustainability at UC

Since the 1990s students, faculty and staff have been working toward creating a sustainability culture at Ursinus.

In the beginning…there was ENV

Sustainability at Ursinus College got its start through projects and programs that originated in the Environmental Studies Department.  Through the hard work of faculty members Dr. Richard Wallace, Dr. Leah Joseph, and Dr. Patrick Hurley, and the dedication of many students, the College became the host to an organic garden (then farm), a naturalized stormwater basin, the Sustainable Move-Out program, watershed restoration, a trayless system in our dining hall, the Sustainable Move-In program, and more.  ENV students wrote the first greenhouse gas inventory and the first draft of a climate action plan for the College.

Creation of the OS

In 2010, the College hired two staff members to create what would become the Office of Sustainability (OS).  The OS pulled together various programs and housed them under one roof: those listed above as well as the Bikeshare program and a group of students who were working on a variety of programs.  This group of students and their projects eventually morphed into what is now our Sustainability Fellows program. 

Programs, Events, and Organizations

Since forming the OS, we have expanded to include programming in energy, water, food, a farm stand, communications, recyclemania. We have an annual Sustainability Week: a week-long, campus-wide celebration of sustainability to our annual programs.  We hold talks, collaborate with offices across campus on events, and work with campus constituents to implement sustainability initiatives like green commencement, green homecoming, organic dinners, and more. 

We completed and submitted the first finalized Climate and Sustainability Action Plan (CSAP) in June 2013.  This plan was signed by President Bobby Fong.

2014 saw the creation of our first campus-wide Sustainability Committee.  This group of representatives from all chapters of our CSAP is charged with implementing that plan and integrating sustainability across campus.

Not enough?  Check out the History of Sustainability at Ursinus list.