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As an institution, Lehigh is committed to integrating sustainability throughout its administrative, academic, and operational processes.  This commitment is not something that is new; sustainability efforts have occurred on Lehigh's campus for decades, but have solidified in more recent years under the direction of the Sustainability Plan and the Office of Sustainability. Over the years, Lehigh students, faculty, and staff have been identifying opportunities for innovation and implementing sustainable operational changes that will change lives, and the world for the better.  Key initiatives in Lehigh's sustainability timeline include the development of Lehigh's Climate Commitment, the formation of the Environmental Initiative, the creation of a presidential advisory group - the Lehigh Sustainability Council, the development of the university's Strategic Plan, and the adoption of Lehigh's three campus sustainability plans.

Lehigh's Sustainability Timeline

  • Signed onsite solar agreement for the Goodman Campus

  • Ninth year participation in Campus Race to Zero Waste (formerly, RecycleMania)

  • Lehigh submitted its 7th AASHE STARS report and received a gold certification. Read more about the achievement. 

  • Lehigh applied to the Green Ribbon Schools and was selected as a 2021 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee. Read more about the achievement.

  • Implemented the Sustainable & Healthful Food Purchasing Policy

  • Won AASHE's 2020 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award for the solar power purchasing collective

  • Released Lehigh Sustainability Strategic Plan 2030

  • Published Sustainability Progress Report 2019, showing progress since Campus Sustainability Plan 2020 was introduced

  • Installed three additional electric vehicle charging stations (with two ports) in Zoellner garage, Farrington Square garage, and Iacocca parking lot

  • Hosted a two-part series of Campus Sustainability Strategic Planning workshops with faculty, staff, and students

  • Initiated the development of a Climate Action Strategy for Lehigh

  • Lehigh submitted its 6th AASHE STARS report

  • Expansion of the Eco-Reps Leadership Program to include Hall and Library Eco-Reps

  • Office moved from STEPS to 516 Brodhead Avenue

  • Hosted first Sustainability Leadership Summit and awards dinner

  • Held first Sustainability Leadership and Innovation Institute for high school students (SLII)

  • Lehigh submitted its 5th AASHE STARS report and received a silver certification

  • The College of Education became the first certified College in the Sustainable Office Program

  • Kicked off the strategic planning for Lehigh's next Sustainability Strategic Plan

  • Installation of an electric vehicle charging station (with two ports) on level one of the Alumni Memorial parking garage

  • Established partnership with LANTA on a joint agreement so that Lehigh students, faculty and staff can ride on LANTA buses for free

  • Installation of 27 sets of Big Belly solar compacting trash and recycling bins throughout campus

  • Sixth year participation in Recyclemania

  • Campus Sustainability Plan 2020 released and officially communicated to campus

  • Transportation & Parking Services acquired an electric vehicle for parking enforcement and an electric bus

  • Completed Comprehensive Waste Management Plan for campus

  • President Simon signed the Real Food Campus Commitment

  • Fifth year participation in RecycleMania

    • Campus Sustainability Plan 2020 adopted

    • Rathbone achieved Green Restaurant Certification

    • Eco-Rep program expanded with specific coordinator roles

    • Sustainability Program Manager hired

    • Fourth year participation in RecycleMania

    • Achieved 10% Real Food (local, ecological, fairtrade, humane)

    • Lehigh partnered with the community on planting fruit trees along the Greenway and launched the Ambassadors program

    • Themed semesters were adopted in the Eco-Reps Program

    • Third year participation in RecycleMania

    • First water bottle refilling stations installed on campus: Taylor Gym, University Center, Rauch Business Center, E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library

    • Joined Pennsylvania Collegiate Green Sports Consortium

    • Alumni Memorial Building received 8 new waste stations

    • Second year participation in RecycleMania

    • Sustainability Plan Progress Report Published

    • First Game Day Challenge held on October 19th

    • Sustainability Program Coordinator hired

    • First RecycleMania competition participation

    • First Campus Sustainability Plan adopted
    • Alpha Phi composter installed

    • Campus Master Plan with Sustainable Design standards specifically mentioned

    • Sustainability Plan workshops throughout the university held

    • Green Fund formed

    • Sigma Epsilon composter installed

    • Lehigh Community Garden started

    • Eco-Rep Program started

    • Sustainability requirement added to Greek accreditation

    • Green Purchasing Guidelines created

    • LVAIC Director of Sustainability Initiatives hired

    • Climate Commitment signed

    • Recycling converted to single stream recycling

    • Strategic Plan written which acknowledges Community Engagement, Energy, Infrastructure and the Environment as areas of particular interest

    • Green House, a sustainability-themed student residential community started. It is now called Eco-House.