University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Students Learn It, Live It, and Lead in Sustainability at UMass Amherst!



UMass Amherst has one of the top sustainability programs in the nation!  We are one of the very few schools to reach STARS Gold, win the Second Nature Climate Leadership Award, and be named to the Princeton Review Green Schools Honor Roll. In 2015 we were named to the Mother Nature Network’s list of 17 “amazing green college campuses.”  Watch this short video about our sustainability initiatives on campus:

Students can choose from more than 25 sustainability-related undergraduate majors, which includes more than 300 sustainability-related courses, as well as several graduate level programs with a focus on sustainability. More than a third of our majors offer opportunities to learn and practice sustainability across disciplines, with courses taught by faculty members who are passionate about changing society and protecting our environment. In addition, students can get involved with co-curricular activities such as the Eco-Rep program, a peer-facilitated class open to students of all interests and education levels, focused on working toward environmental literacy both within the program and the campus at large.  Students can also work in the Sustainable UMass office and receive academic credit in our Sustainability Fellowship Program.  Students serve in Waste & Recycling, Transportation, Energy and Green Buildings, Media & Marketing, and other positions.

Outside of academics, students have tons of opportunities to get involved in promoting green, equitable, and socially responsible efforts on campus. From the Student Farmers Markets to Protect Our Breasts and Net Impact in the Isenberg School of Business, there is something for everyone at UMass! Students looking for socially responsible part-time work on campus should consider applying for one of the seven nonprofit student-run co-op businesses on campus!

At UMass Amherst there are a lot of people to feed, we serve over 45,000 meals a day. With four dining halls, and numerous campus eateries, UMass is taking steps to make our award- winning food even healthier and more sustainable for the community. Students have gone to great lengths to make UMass a greener campus and now their work with Dining Services is furthering that goal. Recently, a group of motivated students asked campus administrators to source more “Real Food,” defined as food that is organic, fair trade, local, and/or humanely raised. After months of hard work, these same students helped Chancellor Subbaswamy sign the Real Food Challenge Campus Commitment to source 20% Real Food by the year 2020. Now a full-fledged student led partnership with UMass Dining, The UMass Real Food Challenge includes internships where students learn and teach the campus community about our food systems. Students also run the UMass Real Food Calculator, to track UMass’ progress as we reach our goal of 20% “Real Food,” which is nourishing for consumers, producers, our communities, and our Earth. UMass Amherst is incredibly lucky to have the award winning UMass Permaculture Initiative, which converts underused grass lawns right here on campus into edible, educational, and biodiverse gardens. These gardens supply fresh, organic, local food directly to campus dining services!

Sustainable UMass partners with the Student Government Association to offer the UMass Amherst Bike Share Program.  Anyone with a UCard can rent a free bike from the Student Union and travel sustainably and fossil fuel free into town to buy groceries or visit a friend on campus!  Bikes are available during the fall and spring.

Students at UMass Amherst with a new idea on how to “green” our campus can submit a proposal to the Sustainability Innovation and Engagement Fund. The fund was established in August 2013 to foster a strong culture of sustainability on campus by incentivizing students, faculty, and staff involvement. Examples of projects supported by the fund are the New2U Reuse Tag Sale, UMass Minute Riders Compost Program, and the Protect Our Breasts Earth Day Yogathon Event, plus many other projects that reduce waste or save water, electricity, and reduce carbon emissions. 

Make sure to visit the Model Green Residence Hall when you come to visit campus.  You’ll learn about all the ways you can live sustainably here when you move into one of the more than 50 residence halls on campus. And don’t forget to stop by the New2U Tag Sale during fall move-in weekend, to purchase gently used, discounted furniture, storage, clothes, dorm room decor, etc. Save money while helping raise funds for further sustainability efforts on campus!

For more information on sustainability at UMass Amherst, visit