Commitment in Action
Sustainability is a far-reaching effort at Denison that covers multiple programs in energy, recycling, food sources and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Denison signed the Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2010 and in 2015 Denison revised its Sustainability & Climate Action Plan which charts a course for Denison to be carbon neutral by 2030. In addition, Denison was one of the first colleges to participate in the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s Billion Dollar Green Challenge. As part of this challenge, the college created a revolving green fund for energy conservation projects. To date, the college has invested $4 million on more than 150 projects around campus. Collectively, these projects save over $600,000 a year in utility costs and have resulted in thousands of pounds of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2010, Denison has reduced its carbon footprint by 50% .
Yes. Denison contracts with Bon Appetit to provide dining services on campus. Bon Appetit is an industry leader when it comes to sustainability and their food sourcing philosophy meshes well with Denison’s sustainability efforts. About 41% of food served on campus is sourced locally. There are vegan and vegetarian options at every meal and, main courses often will center around a healthy and delicious vegetarian option.
Not at this time. While some institutions jumped to create majors specific to Sustainability, Denison believes that its unique interdisciplinary approach in the Environmental Studies Program is well suited to address the complex issues that encompass global sustainability. Denison also has a new Earth & Environmental Science Major that takes a deep dive into the science behind major earth systems and the imbalances to those systems caused by natural and anthropogenic sources.
Located one mile from campus, the Homestead is an intentional, alternative living community where sustainability is a central tenant of the residential education experience. Housing a maximum of twelve students, residents eat communally (vegetarian and vegan meals) and share responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the gardens, flock of chickens, and cabins. The cabins features a number of green features and technologies, including 26 solar panels, a wood-fired radiant floor heating system, composting toilets and a beautiful passive solar design.
Divestment from fossil fuel companies is a complex issue that impacts not only Denison’s bottom line, but also our moral and ethical obligations to address climate change and social responsibility. Denison has not yet taken a formal stance for or against divestment however, there are a number of students concerned about the issue who are actively engaged in discussions with President Weinberg and the Denison Board of Trustees who have been receptive to examining the issue more closely.
Four. The Bryant Arts Center, Ebaugh Laboratories, Chamberlin Lodge, and the Natatorium are all LEED Gold certified buildings. In 2008 the Denison Board of Trustees created a policy that all new buildings and major renovations on campus meet at least LEED Silver standards.
The Denison Sustainability Fellows are a group of 6 students who raise awareness about ecological issues and encourage environmentally and socially responsible behavior of campus residents. Sustainability Fellows develop programming and educate their peers in the residence halls about environmental and social justice issues that benefit the campus and global community.
Getting involved in one of the many co-curricular and extracurricular activities is one of the hallmarks of the Denison experience. With respect to Sustainability, nearly all of the progress we’ve made on campus has its roots in student activism and engagement. Quite frankly, when students speak, the college listens. There are many ways to get involved with student groups such as Green Team and Denison VEG that work on sustainability efforts both on campus and in the local community. In addition, the Office of Sustainability typically hires student fellows each year.