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Lehigh is a premier residential research university, internationally recognized for research excellence and a distinctive student experience. By integrating sustainability into the university’s educational experience, we prepare our students to solve today’s challenges, while identifying opportunities to create a healthier and more sustainable future.

Through the creation of a campus that is a model of sustainability in practice, teaching, and research, Lehigh develops and empowers the leaders of tomorrow. Experiential learning opportunities give our graduates enhanced  awareness and knowledge of sustainable practices and equip them with premium skills for the workplace of the future.

By the Numbers

Academic Integration

Ensuring basic understanding of sustainability concepts is the foundation upon which sustainability is incorporated into the academic experience at Lehigh. All students participate in a twice-yearly Sustainability Literacy Assessment to identify knowledge gaps. Strategies to address those gaps are being developed and implemented in response to the Assessment outcomes. 

Lehigh University offers nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate courses that are either based in sustainability, or include sustainability-related topics. A college level    sustainability framework has been developed to guide strategic planning within each of Lehigh’s five colleges. By 2025, each of the five colleges will include at least one sustainability learning outcome that addresses sustainability as an integrated concept with social, economic, and environmental dimensions. Through interdisciplinary exposure to sustainability concepts, Lehigh students have the opportunity to leverage their inherent curiosity, engage with content, ask questions, and seek answers through discussion inside and outside the classroom.

Undergraduate Courses By College:                                                
Graduate Courses By College:
                                    
                               
                                
                                      ***See "Undergraduate Courses by College" for a combined list of sustainability classes in the College of Business and Economics. 
 

 

Experiential Learning

Lehigh's immersive, experiential learning opportunities integrate sustainability into the educational experience through hands-on, interdisciplinary activities outside the classroom. By fostering creative learning environments, Lehigh brings students together to increase their capacities for independent inquiry, take intellectual risks, and learn from faculty and staff on the journey toward tangible, sustainable results.  

By using existing infrastructure and operations across our campuses as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary learning, Lehigh seeks to increase students’    understanding of the challenges and opportunities for campus sustainability. A Campus Sustainable Impact Fellowship Program merges Lehigh’s sustainability goals with active learning and applied research for faculty and students. Lehigh students are positioned to become environmental leaders who are well prepared to face the challenges of years ahead.

Research 

With the goal of advancing interdisciplinary research initiatives and infusing sustainability throughout all five colleges, Lehigh plans to establish and implement a more accurate way to capture sustainability research data by 2022. Additionally, Lehigh will allow full and unimpeded public access to the outcomes of research, devise and implement, with the involvement of faculty, policies pertaining to public access to manuscripts, publications, etc. by 2030. This will require continuous development of infrastructure to support open access behaviors and facilitation of open processes for knowledge production.

Sustainability Strategic Plan 2030
  • Lehigh's Experimental Forest
    Lehigh’s lost forest began as a forestry research project, conceived and implemented over 100 years ago. Thousands of trees belonging to dozens of species were planted. The forest was rediscovered in 2011 and is now a working lab for student learning.
  • Trembley's Tangled Bank
    Behind Williams Hall, there’s a stretch of forest that was created in the late 60’s when Lehigh stopped mowing the land. It created an outdoor learning space for students. Ecology students come to this space to do botanical surveys of the area.
  • Repurposing Wood from Fallen Trees
    Students work on wooden furniture for a conference room. The wood comes from 200-300 year old trees that fell during hurricane Sandy and were salvaged. The wood is being repurposed using Lehigh shops and students.
  • Pop-up Parklets
    A group of students worked on developing and installing parklets - parks in miniature - throughout South Bethlehem. The parklets are meant to reduce driving and promote walkability. They serve as spots for outdoor dining, enjoying art, and socializing.
  • Installation of Solar Panels to Enhance Sustainable Farming
    A team of students, faculty, and staff installed 16 solar panels at the Goodman Campus Community Garden. The team was working toward achieving a fully energy-independent food growing enterprise.
  • Creative Inquiry and Mountaintop Initiative
    The Office of Creative Inquiry supports a wide range of interdisciplinary initiatives that help students and faculty pursue new intellectual, creative, and artistic pathways that lead to transformative innovations, expressions, and questions.