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Our green Union

Union is staunchly committed to promoting an ecologically friendly campus and reducing the college's carbon footprint. In everything from the living environment to academics to the daily operation of buildings and facilities, we're continually taking steps to make the campus more sustainable.

President Ainlay underscored the college's commitment to sustainability when he signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007. Through the ACUPCC, Union promises to provide critical research and education that will help eliminate global warming and to develop a comprehensive long-term plan to cut emissions.

On campus, the U-Sustain Committee  (Garnet Goes Green), made up of about 70 environmentally and socially-concerned students, faculty and staff, oversees sustainability initiatives and educates the campus community about ways to live, work and enjoy Union in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible.

If you have a specific question or are looking for resources in a particular area that does not appear below, please don’t hesitate to contact Alexander Lykins, Sustainability Coordinator.

Green Grant Program

This innovative program, started by President Ainlay, provides eight grants each year to fund grassroots sustainability projects. Grants have been awarded for projects ranging from an innovative way to clean car exhaust to an expanded community garden.


The College recycles aluminum, plastic, glass, paper, batteries, cardboard, food scraps and reusable items. Every year, container recycling helps to collect more than 150,000 containers and several tons of aluminum, plastic and glass. In addition, more than 40 tons of paper alone are recycled each year.


Reducing our energy consumption is critical to achieving our carbon neutrality goals. The college tackles energy conservation projects each year – like the upgrade of Achilles Rink lighting to LEDs. Additionally, students, faculty and staff are emboldened to reduce electricity consumption during the annual campus-wide "Do it in the Darkcompetition sponsored by U-Sustain.


There is an organic garden, marketplace and organic café on campus. Dining services also has increased its use of fair trade, organic and local foods and has instituted an impressive composting program.


Union's Facilities Services has undertaken a number of innovative projects to support sustainability, including purchasing Segways and electric vehicles for use around campus. Union's newest academic building, the Peter Irving Wold Center for Science and Engineering, is a LEED Gold certified building.

Ozone House

Ozone House, one of Union’s 13 theme houses, promotes environmental awareness while serving as an example of sustainable living. Residents work together to create a sustainable and fun atmosphere. The house founded the Ozone Café, and members work closely with various campus departments to offer sustainable options for Union.