NYU Sustainability 2016 #YearinReview

Here are some of NYU Sustainability’s major accomplishments in 2016!

unplugged2016Residence Halls Conserve Energy for NYUnplugged
In February, 17 Residence Halls competed in the NYUnplugged energy reduction challenge. Lipton Hall not only saved the most energy but also brought the most awareness to energy conservation through events and social media, securing their spot in first place!

Student, Faculty & Staff Collaborate
In March members of the Sustainability Task Force (STF) submitted a proposal to Governor Cuomo’s REV Campus Challenge, which called for New York State colleges and universities to develop clean energy plans for a chance to win $1 million for support in implementation. NYU was nationally recognized as a competition “Leader” and a “First Mover” for joining the competition in its first 6 months. The effort brought together a diverse group of individuals, who developed a proposal for an anaerobic digester at NYU. Additionally, throughout the Fall, an STF working group collaborated on a Sustainability Indicator Survey to question the NYU community on their attitudes towards sustainability. The survey is in queue for release.  

Earth Day Swept the CampusEarth Day!
Throughout April, NYU Sustainability and friends painted the campus green. Students of EarthMatters hosted their annual Fair Food Fest, inviting a panel of experts to speak about urban agriculture and food policy. On Earth Day, NYU partnered with universities, organizations and elected officials to promote a “Car Free Day” in New York City, encouraging biking, walking and public transit as alternatives to cars. Additionally, EarthMatters brought NYU departments and community partners out to LaGuardia Place for their Earth Day Street Fair. At the end of the month, documentary filmmaker, Josh Fox joined the NYU community at the IFC theater for a free screening and discussion of his latest film, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.

Summer of SustainabilityDaylight Hour
In May, the Office of Sustainability bid farewell to our graduating student employees and welcomed 15 new students to lead many of our campus sustainability efforts from installing LED light bulbs in buildings to engaging students through school wide initiatives and events. Five students of NYU’s Real Food Challenge joined the team for the summer months to assess the food sourcing of NYU Dining Services. In June, our staff joined offices all over New York City in participating in Daylight Hour by shutting off our lights and working by sunlight for an hour of our day.

Sustainability Shines During Welcome WeekWelcome Week Sustainability tour
During NYU Welcome Week, new students had the opportunity to tour the campus and see all of its sustainable features and green spaces.

More Bikes. More Power.
Just in time for the Fall Semester, 30 new bikes were integrated into our diverse bike fleet. Now NYU community members have new options and new rides to take around town. Resolve to bike more in the new year by registering for the Bike Share program.new fleet of bikes

Naomi Klein Kicks Off the Educating for Sustainability Lecture Series
In September, the Office of Sustainability, EarthMatters and seven NYU departmental sponsors welcomed award-winning journalist, columnist and international bestselling author, Naomi Klein, to NYU. Klein spoke about her latest book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate,” that addresses the harmful role capitalism plays in the global climate crisis. After the event, there was a book signing and a special roundtable for environmental student leaders to meet with Klein in an informal and more intimate setting.

ECO Reps Take to Residence HallsEco Reps
In October, 85 student environmental warriors joined the NYU ECO Reps to educate their residence halls on sustainable living. The mighty ECO Reps ran hall programs, toured environmental sites in New York City and spread sustainability throughout the campus.

Office Staff Bound for Baltimore
In October, members of the NYU Sustainability team attended the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Through programs, panels, workshops and poster presentations, the team returned from the conference with new ideas and vision for the future of sustainability at NYU.

Zero Waste Week ChallengersStudents Carry their Waste
In November, students, faculty, and staff participated in Zero Waste Week, which included events and activities all centered on issues of waste in the environment. The cornerstone of the week was the Zero Waste Challenge where 50 participants carried around all of their landfill-bound trash for the whole week to feel the true weight of their waste.

Green Grants Fund Sustainable Ideas
In 2016, Green Grants funded 9 projects. Grants were awarded to RISE, a platform to facilitate partnerships so that waste from one manufacturer can serve as raw material for another; Green Generation Feed, which uses brewing waste to make livestock feed; a week of vegan education and events called Go Green Week Shanghai; a new bike share at NYU Washington DC; NYU Impact Investing Fund, a student led investment fund; NYU Shanghai Urban Farm, a new green space for the Shanghai campus; Measuring Human Rights Performance, a workshop and summit on human rights; SEED – Sustainable Energy Efficient Designs, a research team focused on creating a toilet made from recycled content that can clean itself; and Reefill, an app which links students to water refilling stations on and around the Washington Square campus. We also have some exciting projects that will be launching early next year, including a youth environmental advocacy program, classes to teach NYU students how to cook sustainably and affordably, and a three-day film and panel symposium on all things sustainable.

In 2017, NYU will continue to work towards becoming the greenest urban campus in the nation. We look forward to working with members of our community to make that happen. So join us! And be part of our next #YearInReview.


  1. Henrique says:

    Congratulations on your achievements! I’m sure it demanded a lot of hard work and dedication from everyone. I wish we had this kind of engagement in Brazilian universities. I miss the US! 🙁

    • Sophie says:

      Thanks! It does take a lot of work and participation from our community members, but we’re very proud of our achievements at NYU and have seen some significant strides in advancing sustainability throughout the years.

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