Our Sustainability Plan

Sustainability Plan Update 2020

Overall, Utah State’s sustainability programs are thriving. Beyond student initiatives, the university completed its second Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report, rating at the Silver level. USU is a Bicycle Friendly University at the Silver level in a Bicycle Friendly Community. The Sustainability Council and its cross-campus membership are celebrating 10 years of advancing sustainability on the Utah State University campus, building on decades of efforts from people who came before. This update to the Sustainability Plan establishes goals that take the university to 2020 and beyond, building to the goal of carbon neutrality in 2050 and a safe, healthy future for our students, alumni, community, and their children.

Sustainability Education and Engagement

The Goals:

  • Engage 15% of the USU FTE student enrollment in sustainability by FY 2020
  • Engage 15% of students in on-campus housing in sustainability by FY 2020
  • Engage 5% of faculty and staff in sustainability

The Working Groups:

How We're Doing:

  • In 2016, the Planetary Thinking: Sustainability in the Curriculum workshop launched to provide faculty with resources and connections to include sustainability in their courses.
  • The Curriculum Work Group assisted in the compilation of sustainability course offerings for STARS reporting, and has supported the publication of these offerings to the University at large.
    Students proposed the Blue Goes Green Fee in the 2011 USUSA elections.
  • The fee passed fee at $0.25 per credit hour, not to exceed $3 per student per semester.
  • The Student Sustainability Office (SSO) was created in 2012 and is housed in Center for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning, along with Aggie Blue Bikes, Val R. Christensen Service Center, and Utah Conservation Corps.
  • The Student Sustainability Office has launched accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

students playing large chess on campus

Greenhouse Gas Reduction

The Goals:

  • Energy
    • Reduce energy 5% per square foot annually through FY 2020.
  • Transportation
    • Reduce carbon emission from the university fleet from an estimated 1,900 metric tons CO2e per year to 1,750 metric tons CO2e per year by 2020.
    • Increase the share of low-carbon transportation alternatives (carpool, bus, and non-motorized transportation) by students and employees by 5% by 2020.

Working Groups:

  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction
  • Energy and Built Environment 

How We're Doing:

  • Campus reporter app for Android and IOS allows students, faculty, and staff to easily report issues of energy and water waste.
  • 25 USU faculty drafted a resolution to accelerate the university’s efforts to become carbon neutral, which the faculty senate passed on February 4, 2019.
  • President Cockett formed a steering committee and three sub-committees to provide formal recommendations and cost estimates for reducing . This group will collaborate with the university's existing Sustainability Council and report to the faculty senate in January 2020.

solar array on a bright day

Waste Reduction

The Goals:

  • Reduce waste by 18% per weighted campus user by FY 2020 from FY 2007
  • Increase waste diversion to 35% by FY 2020 from 25% in FY 2012


How We're Doing:

  • New recycling stations were installed on campus with landfill, paper, and container bins. 
  • Outdoor recycling bins were installed in fall 2017.
  • The university installed a commercial composter in 2015, which has been so successful that demand already exceeds capacity
  • Dining Services implemented reusable to-go containers and other reusable or compostable dining items

Volunteers at a Recycling awareness booth

Principled Practice

The Goals:

  • Purchase 25% of food served in university-owned facilities that is grown or produced or both within 250 miles of Logan by FY 2020. 
  • Implement water management or benchmarking program
  • Establish green cleaning standards. Work toward LEED Existing Building requirements for green cleaning by FY 2020.

Working Groups & Partners:

How We're Doing:

  • Bathroom fixtures include low flow toilets and urinals and motion sensor sinks.
  • Extension Sustainability, Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, and Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science established a permaculture garden in 2014.
  • USU Farmers Market launched in 2016.
  • New buildings must meet commitments to LEED Silver standards and DFCM high performance building standards.
  • Approximately 80% of irrigation water on campus is non-potable canal water.

3 bikers in a park