2019 Sustainability Report
NC State’s sustainability impact in fiscal year 2019
This Year’s Highlights
From data and cost savings to program results and student perspectives, this year’s Sustainability Report reflects the latest progress toward the university’s 2017-2022 Sustainability Strategic Plan. You will also find examples of sustainability impact in research, teaching, outreach, campus operations and more. Download the Report as a PDF
Numerous courses included hands-on sustainability education. Examples include a Design Build course, engineering senior design course, LEED Lab course, Environmental Science citizen science project, climate action analysis and Environmental Science capstone experience.
The Environmental First Year Program encourages students to consider real-world environmental challenges. In the 2018-2019 academic year, students in the program attended tours focusing on stormwater management, water quality data in Rocky Branch Creek and a tour of Hodges Lab to learn about how wood pellets are created. Students also participated in service learning projects removing invasive plant species and planting trees with the Walnut Creek Wetland Center.
Research from the NC State community included sustainability-related fields such as energy storage, improving global health, limiting the impact of coal ash spills, affordable micro-housing, fast electric vehicle charging and more.
The College of Natural Resources is developing online educational modules available for anyone interested in sustainable materials and green buildings. The BioResources Journal, also produced by the College, is the largest-volume scientific journal in the world in the category of “Materials Science: Paper and Wood.”
The B Corp Handbook Instructor’s Guide was developed by The Poole College of Management’s Business Sustainability Collaborative. It includes more than 100 ideas to engage students in using business as a force for good.
26 students participated in the NC State Stewards sustainability leadership program, which led several projects to reduce energy and water use on campus, as well as other sustainability initiatives. One project included installing shower timers in Bragaw Residence Hall.
Zero Waste Wolves student organization began a paper towel composting initiative funded through the NC State Sustainability Fund for residents living in Bragaw and Metcalf residence halls. The student project was the national winner of ReycleMania’s Case Study Competition.
More than 125 NC State students in 30 teams spent February 1-3, 2019, competing in Make-A-Thon to design and prototype sustainability solutions. The winning idea was a smart window that adapts to changing levels of sunlight.
On a spring break trip to the Louisiana Gulf Coast hosted by Wellness and Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures, students learned about environmental justice topics and coastal land loss. Many other students participated in sustainability-themed Alternative Service Break trips focusing on renewable energy, environmental justice and water.
NC State’s Social Innovation Fellows worked on several sustainability-related projects including the Farmer’s Garment Project, which addresses pesticide exposure to migrant farmers lacking improper protective equipment, and whether waste from CBD oil production could be used as animal bedding instead of being sent to landfills.
53 students from NC State and other North Carolina universities participated in B Corp Clinic, which is coordinated by the Poole College of Management’s Business Sustainability Collaborative. The students helped 12 companies strengthen their social and environmental impact.
Student-led OpenGait Prosthetics won the Social and Environmental Impact Category in the LuLu eGames, which is NC State’s premier entrepreneurship competition. The company restores mobility and independence by providing high-quality, low-cost prosthetic solutions.
The Arbor Day Foundation recognized NC State University as a 2018 Tree Campus USA for promoting healthy campus trees and engaging the campus community in conservation.
71% of incoming NC State students in 2018 indicated the university’s commitment to the environment and sustainability influenced their decision to attend NC State.
239 sustainability-related events were hosted on campus during fiscal year 2019. 79 sustainability-related offerings were hosted by the NC State Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which provides non-credit courses, study trips and events for adults aged 50+.
4,200 students, faculty and staff were reached through presentations, events and high-impact student experiences organized by the University Sustainability Office.
The NC State Sustainability Fund awarded $165,000 in grants.
NC State hosted the inaugural ACC Sports Sustainability Conference in June 2019. Attendees from 16 universities spent two days discussing how to integrate sustainability in sports operations, athletic facilities, fan engagement and the student- athlete experience.
3 N.C. nonprofits receive mini-grants from the NC State Center for Human Health and the Environment to address community environmental issues including coal ash spills and water quality, asthma surveys and outreach, and environmental health literacy.
Introductory courses Recycling 101 & Composting 101 were added to NC State’s online training system, enabling all students, staff and faculty to gain a better understanding of waste management on campus.
Sustainability Partners provided monthly glimpses into sustainability practices on NC State’s campus and beyond. Tour and workshop attendees totaled 423.
The College of Natural Resources hosted the inaugural Women in the Environment Conference in June 2019. This conference introduced young women and non-binary individuals to potential careers in the environmental field.
At an Earth Day cleanup, students, faculty, staff and community volunteers collected 76 pounds of trash and nearly 40 pounds of recyclables from Lake Raleigh trails on campus. NC State Wellness and Recreation through an NC State Sustainability Fund grant has a project to restore and rebuild more than six miles of hiking and multi-use trails, boosting sustainability in the process.
The College of Natural Resources and the College of Education collaborated to create summer internships at bioproducts and bioenergy companies and organizations across the country for 15 undergraduate students following completion of two Forest Biomaterials courses. The College of Education also hosted a summer program to equip 15 high school science teachers from rural counties with the knowledge and tools necessary to advance the future of America’s bioenergy, bioproducts and the bioeconomy.
With a grant from NC State’s Sustainability Fund, a rare longleaf pine ecosystem is being revived on campus. The goal is to support a biologically diverse woodland with longleaf pine, other fire-resistant trees and a fire-dependent understory.
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences partnered with the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center and the African American Cultural Center to host the RISING exhibit, which shows how North Carolina’s coastal region has transformed over time due to sea level rise.
The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity hosted a workshop that educated attendees on environmental justice and how it affects communities in North Carolina and across the nation.
The Wilson College of Textiles hosted the Cotton and Sustainability Symposium where attendees learned about textile sustainability.
After a research study showed there were students experiencing food insecurity or homelessness, Pack Essentials was created, enabling students to apply for emergency funding and access other resources to help navigate difficult financial situations.
In a multi-year partnership between NC State and VF Corporation engaging Poole College of Management, the Wilson College of Textiles and the College of Design, a series called Purpose Driven Business began bringing business leaders to speak on campus about sustainability and business.
Two funds were established by Sam and Sherry Cook in the College of Natural Resources to support recruitment of forestry students from underrepresented groups.
University Housekeeping met stringent requirements and passed an extensive performance review to earn a rigorous Green Seal certification. NC State is the first university in North Carolina and the sixth in the United States to receive the certification.
54.2% of campus waste was diverted from the landfill through reuse, recycling or composting. Contributing to this are new efforts to recycle plastic film and textiles, as well as existing programs such as Wolf Pack-N-Give, which diverted 32,369 pounds of reusable items from the landfill to local non-profits, and Zero Waste Wolfpack, which reached an all-time high waste diversion rate of 44% during home football games. Recycling and reuse rates also increased in campus construction and renovation projects.
Campus energy use intensity has decreased 34% compared to the 2002-2003 baseline. This is due, in part, to energy conservation projects such as research freezer replacement, window film installation, the winter holiday savings initiative, and LED lighting upgrades in buildings including Witherspoon Student Center and athletic facilities. University Housing also underwent several efficiency-boosting projects that decreased water use by 50% in Bragaw Hall and reduced natural gas consumption by 25% in Avent Ferry Complex and North Hall.
Campus potable water use has decreased 50% compared to the 2001-2002 baseline.
NC State Grounds Services obtained designation for the Gregg Museum of Art & Design garden to be a Certified Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation.
In fiscal year 2019, the Wolfline campus bus systems had 3,362,828 passenger boardings, 700 employees and students participated in the Wolftrails alternative commute program, and 4,519 GoPasses were issued for regional bus travel.
NC State’s sustainability e-newsletter is read by more than 2,400 people weekly.
9.387 followers on NC State’s sustainability social media accounts. This is an increase of over 8% over last fiscal year.
1,555 incoming students in fiscal year 2019 requested information about campus sustainability. This is an increase of nearly 40% over last year.
There were 186,524 webpage views on sustainability.ncsu.edu.
The Princeton Review ranked NC State 42nd on its 2018 “Top 50 Green Colleges” list and 17th in 2019.
Zero Waste Wolfpack, the recycling and composting collection program at NC State home football and soccer games, was named a Green Sports Alliance Environmental Innovator of the Year. The program also won a Carolina Recycling Association Award.
NC State’s Wolf Pack-N-Give was honored at the City of Raleigh’s 2019 Environmental Awards for diverting reusable goods and recyclable materials from the landfill during student move-out.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. received the 2018 Most Sustainable Chapter Award during the annual NC State Fraternity and Sorority Life Standards of Excellence Awards.
The NC State 2019 Sustainability Award winners are Megan Boland (student category), Dr. Steph Jeffries (faculty category), Amanda Franklin (staff category), Landscape Architecture Department (department/organization category) and the Energy Storage Study for North Carolina (innovation/impact category).
Staff member Dane Johnston in the College of Veterinary Medicine received a 2018 Governor’s Awards of Excellence in Efficiency and Innovation for recycling old wooden desktops from two classrooms.
At the 2018 Citizenship, Service, Networking and Partnerships student conference, student Kyra Levau received the Community Impact Award for her efforts to reduce waste on campus.
Staff member Kerby Smithson earned a 2019 NC State Award for Excellence for his efforts to reduce campus energy consumption.
Read more in our news archives from last fiscal year, including: