History of Sustainability

Students at the Homestead

Denison’s rich history of sustainability began in 1977, just seven years after the first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States, when Denison established the Homestead, an off-the-grid, evolving experiment in socioenvironmentally-responsible community life. Since then, the college has undertaken a number of wide-ranging initiatives that address the relationship between humans and their environment. The campus recycling program was introduced in 1984, and later evolved into a recycling center that is used by the entire community. In 1994, academic interest in environmentalism prompted the creation of an Environmental Studies major and minor.

In 2007, students and faculty together provided the impetus to create an Environmental Task Force charged with creating a plan to address issues related to environmental sustainability at Denison. The Task Force pushed for the creation of Denison’s first Campus Sustainability Committee within the University Council governance system. In 2009, Denison hired its first Campus Sustainability Coordinator to guide the college in addressing critical issues relating to sustainability.

Since 2009, Denison has become a leader in higher education by committing to carbon-neutrality by 2030. Denison is one of the first institutions to create a green revolving loan fund for energy-efficiency. The college developed the largest solar array of any college in Ohio including the first of its kind solar pollinator habitat. Denison has transformed its campus grounds to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA, Bee Campus USA and a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

2021 saw the addition of Earth and Environmental Science as a new major in addition to its already robust Environmental Studies Program.

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