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Sustainability at Lehigh

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. Key initiatives in Lehigh's sustainability timeline include Lehigh's Climate Commitment, the formation of the Environmental Initiative and a presidential advisory group - the Lehigh Sustainability Council -- as well as the university's Strategic Plan, which includes a focus on addressing issues related to energy, environment and infrastructure.

Below you will find additional achievements over the years.

A History of Sustainability Initiatives at Lehigh University


  • Campus Sustainability Plan 2020 released and officially communicated to campus
  • Transportation & Parking Services acquired an electric vehicle for parking enforcement and an electric bus.
  • Fifth year participation in RecycleMania
  • Completed Comprehensive Waste Management Plan for campus


  • Campus Sustainability Plan 2020 adopted
  • Rathbone achieved Green Restaurant Certification 
  • Eco-Rep program expanded with specific coordinator roles
  • Fourth year participation in RecycleMania
  • Sustainability Program Manager hired


  • Achieved 10% Real Food
  • 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
  • Second year participation in RecycleMania
  • Joined Pennsylvania Collegiate Green Sports Consortium
  • Alumni Memorial Building received 8 new waste stations 


  • Sustainability Plan Progress Report Published
  • First RecycleMania competition participation
  • First Game Day Challenge held on October 19th
  • Sustainability Program Coordinator hired


  • 1st 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
  • Sustainability Coordinator hired
  • 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