Sustainable UMass

Academics & Research

Academics / Research | Sustainability

As the flagship campus of the commonwealth, UMass Amherst has been a leader in agricultural research and green education since our founding as a land grant institution in 1863.

Academics

 

School of Earth & Sustainability (SES)

SES brings together a suite of undergraduate and graduate degrees that provide students with the knowledge and professional training to address the environmental challenges of the 21st century.

Classes

Explore the different aspects of sustainability through 300-plus courses. 

Major

UMass Amherst offers over 20 majors related to sustainability. 

Graduate Programs

The university has variety of graduate programs focused on sustainability, including a MS in Sustainability Science. 

Concentrations & Certificates

The university offers concentrations and certificates related to sustainability. 

Associate Degrees

The Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst offers sustainability-related associate degrees. 

Co-Curricular Activities

Get credit for cultivating sustainability on campus through either the Eco Rep Program, Permaculture Gardening Program, or Sustainability Fellows Program.

Sustainability Curriculum Fellowship (SCF)

SCF is a year-long interdisciplinary fellowship program that enables UMass Amherst faculty to cultivate teaching excellence in sustainability.

Research

Research Centers & Institutions 

UMass Amherst has a variety of research centers and institutes spanning disciplines and specialties. 

Research Next

Research Next is the campus's official window into the research, scholarship, and creative activity.

UMass Amherst Libraries

UMass Amherst Libraries are engaged in: fostering sustainability innovations; collaborations with campus partners; educating students to create a healthier, just, and responsible world; supporting the integration of sustainability across the curriculum; modeling green practices; honoring diversity and inclusion; and promoting open access. 

Wind Energy REU program 

The program allows undergraduates to perform hands-on summer research while earning a stipend and provides a unique opportunity to network and collaborate with leaders in the field of wind energy.

 

Buildings & Infrastructure

Buildings & Infrastructure | Sustainability

The campus is home to a number of green buildings, including those certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). 

The campus's Master Plan includes a chapter that focuses specifically on sustainability. (Link leads to pdf download.)

The campus has easy access to buses, a fleet of Bike Share bicycles, as well as charging stations for electric vehicles. 

The campus uses reclaimed water for multiple uses in order to reduce potable water consumption.

The green cleaning policy informs best tools, products and practices for maintaining sustainable buildings that protect human health and the environment.

Climate Change & Energy

Climate Change & Energy | Sustainability

Climate Change

Climate Action Plan

UMass Amherst has developed a plan to reduce the environmental impact of campus life and operations. 

Emissions

The campus is continually exploring new ways to reduce campus emissions. 

Climate System Research Center 

The Climate System Research Center brings together graduate students, post-docs, research scientists, and university faculty interested in the different aspects of climate. 

Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC)

UMass Amherst NECSC is part of a federal network of eight Climate Science Centers created to provide scientific information, tools, and techniques relating to climate change.

Energy

Campus Energy Plan

UMass Amherst has developed a comprehensive energy plan that maps out the next 10 years of energy usage for the campus.

Central Heating Plant (CHP)

The CHP has helped to significantly reduce the campus’s greenhouse gases.

Energy Efficiency 

The university designates millions of dollars for energy conservation projects that upgrade or replace inefficient physical structures and technologies on campus. 

UMass Clean Energy Extension

The UMass Clean Energy Extension provides a resource to reduce market barriers and accelerate the adoption of clean energy for Massachusetts cities and towns, businesses, institutions, farms, low income and multiunit housing, and others.

Solar

The university has installed over 5.5 MW of solar capacity across campus on rooftops and over parking lots. 

Wind Energy Center

The Center has worked diligently to maintain and enhance wind energy education programs and research activities.

 

Food Systems & Permaculture

Food Systems & Permaculture | Sustainability

UMass Amherst participates in the Real Food Challenge, requiring 20% of the university’s food purchases be “real food” — local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane food sources — by 2020.

UMass Permaculture Initiative is a unique and cutting-edge sustainability program that converts underused grass lawns on the campus into edible, low-maintenance, and easily replicable gardens. 

The Local Healthy UMass Food System Initiative is a cutting-edge approach to supporting a healthy and resilient New England food system. 

UMass Student Farming Enterprise program provides hands-on farming experience and education on healthier food systems. 

A collaboration between UMass Permaculture and the UMass Student Farm, the UMass Student Farmers Market is a weekly agriculture community event.

The center integrates research and outreach education in agriculture, food systems, and the environment. 

Student Activity/Campus Living

Student Activity/Campus Living | Sustainability

Explore different sustainable student organizations and find your perfect match.  

The Waugh Arboretum tree finder provides detailed information about the trees found on the UMass Amherst campus. 

The on-campus Green Office Program encourages and facilitates energy and waste reduction practices. 

Innovative sustainability ideas from students, faculty, and staff are encouraged and supported at UMass Amherst. 

UMass Amherst student's can follow this model room guide to live green on campus.

Each year students lead the way with a variety of green initiatives on campus.

Residential Life provides a variety of resources that encourages sustainable living in the residential halls.  

The UMass Amherst Sustainability Explorer is an interactive map that provides details on campus sustainability initiatives. 

The New2U program collects unwanted items each spring during move-out and resells these collected items each fall during move-in. 

The university uses Single Stream Recycling, which requires that bottles, can, paper, and cardboard all go in one bin. 

The university has options to recycle unwanted E-waste. 

The campus has easy access to buses, a fleet of Bike Share bicycles, as well as charging stations for electric vehicles. 

Discover ways to save water with these great tips. 

Many of the events on campus are working on ways to reduce their impact on the environment by striving for zero waste. 

 

 

Waste & Recycling

Waste & Recycling | Sustainability

UMass complies with the Town of Amherst plastic bag ban since January 2017, also known as Article 36: Single Use Plastic Bag Ban Prohibition.  The campus also offers outdoor event water stations in an effort to reduce single use plastic bottles.

A national competition that runs from February 4-March 31 that helps colleges and universities advance campus recycling and waste reduction efforts.

UMass Amherst composts over 1,500 tons of food waste each year making it the largest recycling stream on campus. 

The university has options to recycle unwanted E-waste. 

Many of the events on campus are working on ways to reduce their impact on the environment by striving for zero waste. 

The on-campus Green Office Program encourages and facilitates energy and waste reduction practices. 

The university uses Single Stream Recycling, which requires that bottles, can, paper, and cardboard all go in one bin. 

The university is working to reduce paper waste and purchase more sustainable products.

The Surplus Property Barn (SPB) acts as a showroom for unwanted but still useable equipment and furniture from all over the campus. Any University department may obtain surplus property for on-campus use.

The New2U program collects unwanted items each spring during move-out and resells these collected items each fall during a one day move-in tag sale. 

The Office of Waste Management continually tracks the recycling and refuse data for the campus.

Idea Funding

Sustainability, Innovation & Engagement Fund (SIEF) | Sustainability


Application: Academic Year 2019/2020 proposal deadline is February 14th 2020 and the application is now open! APPLY HERE.


Established in August 2013, the fund fosters a strong culture of sustainability on our campus by providing financial support to students, faculty, and staff with green ideas. Any student faculty, staff, student group, academic class, or faculty/staff and student team can propose a sustainability project. Campus members will be limited to receiving one grant per year.

STARTING FUNDS: $50,000
AVAILABLE FUNDS AS OF AUGUST 12, 2019: $35,189.51
2019-20 DEADLINE: February 14, 2020. Application details coming soon.

Successful Sustainability projects that have been supported by the Fund:


Energy & Water:

  • Eco-Rep Low-flow shower heads in Orchard Hill Residential Area
  • Occupancy Sensors in Isenberg School of Management Classrooms
  • BioSTEAD Mobile Water Catchment System at GardenShare
  • ​SHALIA Bioplastic and Affordable Water Filter
  • Enhancing the Functionality of the Franklin Permaculture Garden Rainwater Catchment System
  • Water Metering in Showers
  • Wetland 52


Waste Reduction & Green Apparel:


Food & Preservation:

Arts & Humanities

Wellness:

Student Engagement:

  • Sustainathon 2020


The fund accepts proposals for two types of projects:

Type 1: Projects that have a quantifiable economic payback and will refresh the fund over time.
Type 2: Projects that don't have quantifiable payback but engage the campus community in reducing environmental impact or enriching student experience.

Financial Implementation Guidelines have been established by the Budget Office. Please download and review here.

Grants will be awarded based on the following criteria:

  1. ALL proposals must demonstrate how the project will support activities that significantly engage the campus community and improve the sustainability of the institution.
  2. Type 1 project proposals (those with tangible cost savings) must have a payback of five years or less.
  3. Type 2 project proposals (those without tangible cost savings but have a social value) must demonstrate how the project engages the campus community in reducing environmental impact, enriches student experience, adds aesthetic value to campus, creates social equity, or increases environmental awareness and comprehension.
  4. All proposals must demonstrate a long-term value to the University.
  5. No proposal may exceed a quarter of the current value of the total fund. Proposals cannot pay for faculty, staff, or student salaries or wages, or for the purchasing of carbon offsets or off-site renewable energy.
  6. A student designed grading rubric is used to rank the project proposals. Only the top ideas will be proposed for funding. (Resource: Grading Rubric)

Questions about the Sustainability Fund:

Email the Facilities Campus & Services Campus Sustainability Manager or call (413) 545-0799