Our Major Sustainability Initiatives

Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Solar panels being installed.

As a signatory of the Second Nature Presidents' Climate Challenge, we are one of only 16 doctoral-granting institutions with a 2025 target date for this aggressive climate goal.

  • Fiscal Year 21 emissions are 51% less than 2010.
  • 100% renewable electricity for our Potsdam campus from our own 12-acre Solar PV system and local hydroelectric facilities.
Maintain Gold AASHE STARS Rating
Student looking at bottle of water from local river.

We are consistently rated gold by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education's Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (AASHE STARS) program.

Our tri-annual review of sustainability across campus shows strengths in education, research, campus natural resources, and diversity programming.

Student-Endorsed Sustainability Projects
Ken Visser and wind turbine

Students vote and volunteer to make these projects come to life each year. Some of the projects we've completed include: Installation of prototype ducted wind turbine; increased access to and protection of campus natural resources; construction of cold-climate greenhouse for research, classes and club activities; establishment of bike-friendly infrastructure and bike rental program; establishment of food waste management program for donation and recycling in our campus anaerobic digester.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
A chart showing the UN goals.

Take a deeper dive into the UN's goals here.

At Clarkson, our work-in-progress is moving to align courses, research and operations with their relevant Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) so we can all show how we integrate sustainability in all we do. 

Sustainability Support

The Clarkson Institute for a Sustainable Environment provides a home for academic programs, student activities and interdisciplinary research.

Susan E. Powers, PhD, PE, the Jean '79 and Robert '79 Spence Professor of Sustainable Environmental Systems, is the current director. She works closely with a team of colleagues and students to support, plan and implement Clarkson's sustainability initiatives. 

Alex French, assistant director for sustainability, holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy from Clarkson University and has a background in cultural anthropology and nonprofit work.

A few of the clubs that are supported and integrated into sustainability activities include the Sustainability Club, Engineers for International Sustainability, the Garden Club, the Outing Club, and more. 

Tips to Be Green

Rethink Waste

If you don't use something, you don't have to worry about recycling or disposal. So...

  • Carry your own: coffee mug, water bottle and canvas shopping bags all help to reduce solid waste and save you money!
  • Swap and share: "Take it or leave it," and the annual Clarkson campus garage sale provide venues for keeping material goods in use
  • Recycle all you can: Zero-sort recycling - it (almost) goes all into one bin
Value our Resources

Take time to enjoy and respect our setting and those you work or live with. They are priceless!

Be Efficient with Energy
  • Power Down: Put your computer in sleep mode when not in use and turn it off when you go home for the day. 
  • Cut your driving miles: Combine your travels with healthy living - walk or bike to or around campus. Carpool when you can.
  • Manage your building heat: Save energy in the summer months by closing blinds, turning off non-essential lighting, and using fans. Closing shades or blinds at night in the winter will reduce radiant heat losses.
  • Switch bulbs: Install LED light bulbs in your home, office, or dorm.
Watch What You Eat

Your food choices effect how much carbon is needed to feed our community. Try a vegetarian or vegan diet for one or two days a week and focus on locally grown or fair-trade food to really reduce your ecological impact.

Additional Campus Sustainability Initiatives, Resources and Reports

  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory report
  • Academic Classes with Sustainability content
  • Faculty doing sustainability research
  • Green Lab program
  • Sustainable Planning & Construction Plan
  • Meadow restoration projects