A university that’s leaner, smarter and stronger is better able to achieve its mission, and NC State’s enduring commitment to sustainability is helping accomplish exactly that.

As an institution of higher education and a land grant university, NC State University has a responsibility to teach the values of sustainability. By educating tomorrow’s leaders, practicing sustainable development of campus land and encouraging employees to consider the impact of their decisions on the surrounding community, NC State strives to incorporate the ideals of a sustainable institution into all aspects of campus life.

Institutional Memberships

NC State is a member of several sustainability-related organizations that extend benefits and discounts to the campus community.  If you would like to take advantage of these benefits please first try to register using your  ncsu.edu email address. If you  need additional information about the memberships listed below, please contact sustainability@ncsu.edu for access information.

Sustainability History at NC State

1975 NC State begins to sort recycling by hand.
1988 Campus curbside recycling program piloted. NC State University Solar Center founded.
1990 Residence hall recycling program piloted.
1991 Yard waste composting program began.
1998 Governor Hunt issues Executive Order 156, directing state agencies to reduce solid waste, procure environmentally preferable products and work toward environmental sustainability.
1999 NC State University Council approved the Commitment to Environmental Sustainability – Guiding Principles, publicly declaring a commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment through both education and management of the physical NC State campus. Chancellor Mary Anne Fox appointed Larry W. Tombaugh, Dean of the College of Natural Resources as the NCSU Sustainability Officer to lead the charge for our university.
2000 The Sustainability Officer created the University Environmental Sustainability Task Force which issued the Task Force Report containing five recommendations for the campus. The document included goals such as energy management, recycling, campus restoration, sustainability recognition and green purchasing.
2001 Although NC State has been recycling for more than 30 years, the official creation of the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling occurred in this time frame to house sustainability-related program development, education and outreach. Upon Tombaugh’s retirement, Chancellor Mary Anne Fox appointed Larry Nielsen, then Dean of the College of Natural Resources as the NC State Sustainability Officer.
2002 An advocacy group of students, staff and faculty formed the NC State Sustainability Coalition to further sustainability on campus. This group held monthly meetings and took on initiatives such as helping plan Earth Day.
2003 The Office of Energy Management was created to help create a culture dedicated to achieving environmental sustainability by supporting conservation objectives and recognizing and eliminating waste. The Campus Environmental Sustainability Team (CEST) was created to accomplish the goals of the Task Force Report. CEST determined that NC State should perform an environmental assessment of the campus in order to  establish baseline/benchmarks from which progress could be measured. First NC State Earth Day held on the Brickyard.
2004 The birth of Earthwise Awards recognizing a student, faculty and staff member who demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. Jack Colby, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Operations was appointed as Sustainability Officer when former Sustainability Officer Larry Nielsen was named Provost.
2006 Release of the NC State University Campus Environmental Sustainability Assessment Report
2007 SB 668 (SL 2007-546) becomes law, requiring conservation of energy and water use in state, university and community college buildings.
2008 Created the University Sustainability Office.
2009 Campus Environmental Sustainability Team named Administrative Advisory Council. Appointed Co-Chairs Jack Colby and William Winner and revamped CEST to include appointed members. Published the inaugural NC State University Greenhouse Gas Inventory
2010 Published the NC State University Climate Action Plan. Published the Strategic Energy Management Plan
2011 The first Sustainability Strategic Plan was accepted by the Chancellor. Dedicated NC State’s first LEED certified building. Received a grant from ARRA funding to hire 10 energy fellows to work across campus on energy and sustainability initiatives. Broke ground on a cogeneration facility at the Cates Steam Plant.
2012 Earthwise Awards renamed The Green Brick Awards. Cates Cogeneration Plant opens, enabling the university to create some of its own electricity for the first time.
2013 NC State Steward program launches. EcoVillage sustainability living and learning community opens in Bragaw Residence Hall. Poole College of Management starts its Sustainability Initiative.
2014 NC State Sustainability Fund awards its first campus grants. Sustainability policy and standard operating procedures adopted by the university.